Tuscaloosa, Ala. – The University of Alabama Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering recently honored three alumni at a banquet.
Dr. Joseph Allen Jr. was awarded the Keith Woodman Award, and Dr. Kenneth R. Odom and Charles E. Orr were honored as Distinguished Departmental Fellows.
Allen received his bachelor’s and master’s of civil engineering from The University of Alabama in 1973 and 1974, respectively. He obtained his Juris Doctor from UA School of Law in 1976 and was admitted to the Alabama State Bar that same year. He became registered as a Professional Engineer in Alabama in 1981. He earned his Ph.D. from UA 1988 in civil engineering with a concentration in structures.
Allen has practiced law in state and federal courts in Alabama since 1976 with a focus on the interface of engineering and the law in such areas as construction contracting and product liability. He has also served as a forensic engineering expert, working for individuals, construction companies and insurance companies.
He remain active in structural engineering, involved in software development for TrimJoist Corporation that manufactures parallel chord, wooden trusses with glued, oriented strand board end sections that are trimmable on the jobsite.
During his involvement with the civil engineering department, Allen was instrumental in the inception of the JD/MSCE program wherein students can obtain a graduate engineering degree while attending law school.
This award was created to honor and thank professors Warren Keith and “Woody” Woodman, and to recognize a few of the many worthy alumni of the department who have conducted their careers in the spirit exemplified by Keith and Woodman, whose accomplishments have brought honor to us all.
The Distinguished Departmental Fellow award honors those who have exhibited qualities that distinguish him or her as an outstanding engineer, having excelled in their profession, and having shown strong concern for the advancement of the educational aspects of the department.
Odom is currently a senior engineer in Hydro Generation for Southern Company. He received his bachelor’s and master’s in civil engineering from UA in 1989 and 1999, respectively. He is a member of Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, and received the Outstanding Senior Civil Engineering Student Award.
He worked with Mobil Oil in Beaumont, Texas, and Almon Associates in Tuscaloosa. He served as assistant city engineer for Maryville, Tenn., and was later promoted to director of engineering and planning. He enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee in 2000, graduating in 2003. His dissertation involved working with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to optimize a water quality monitoring network.
Odom went on to fill roles with the U.S. Geological Survey in Kentucky, Alabama and Colorado as surface water specialist and studies section chief. He currently leads the technical studies group in Reservoir Management for the hydroelectric projects in the Alabama Power Company system.
Odom serves as secretary for the Alabama Chapter of the AWRA and enjoys volunteer work at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. He enjoys teaching and interacting with students as much as possible.
Odom and his wife Shanda reside in Sumiton, Ala., and have two sons.
Orr, a registered Professional Engineer, served as vice President of construction engineering for the DCH Healthcare System in Tuscaloosa for 17 years. In this capacity, he served as the corporate officer responsible for the planning, design and construction of new and renovated medical facilities on the four campuses of the DCH Healthcare System. The number of projects varied between 25 and 70 each year. Orr was also responsible for the administration of all professional design and engineering services in support of DCH Healthcare System projects.
Prior to his service in the healthcare field, he was executive vice president and operations manager for Almon Associates. In this capacity, he served as chief operations officer and directed all internal operations of a 60-person design firm that provided engineering, architectural and surveying services. Earlier in his career, Charles served as chief, Solid Waste Section, of the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville, Tenn. He directed statewide regulatory activities in the area of solid and hazardous waste collection and disposal.
Orr received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UA in 1976 and his master’s degree in civil engineering in 1972. He was inducted into the Chi Epsilon Honor Society in 1965. He currently resides in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Joy.