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Director, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center

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Mr. José E. Sánchez became Director of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi., in August 2013.

ERDC R&D supports the Department of Defense and other federal agencies in military and civilian projects. Principal research mission areas include Warfighter support, installations, environment, water resources, and information technology. 

CHL is the national laboratory for the specialized professional field of coastal and hydraulic engineering. Research is conducted primarily in Vicksburg, Mississippi., with one field location in Duck, North Carolina. As director, Sánchez leads a team of more than 200 researchers, support staff and contractors. He is responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating a multi-million dollar research program; developing new and strategic research program areas in coastal and hydraulics; and managing physical facilities with a total area of 1.5 million square feet. Ongoing projects range from design guidance to three-dimensional numerical models to produce cutting-edge products for successful coastal and inland water resources management.

Prior to his current position, Sánchez served as chief of Asset Management, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and was responsible for developing, coordinating, and executing an integrated national plan and investment strategy for maintenance and recapitalization that improved reliability and minimized the risk of more than $200 billion in water resource infrastructure assets critical to the United States.

Sánchez has more than 10 years experience as a research hydraulic engineer in CHL, responsible for planning, conducting, and reporting on a variety of complex hydraulic investigations utilizing both physical and numerical models. The majority of studies focused on navigation lock filling and emptying system evaluation, design, surface and groundwater hydrology, and computational fluid dynamics. He has also served as a consultant and as technical advisor in several international research efforts.

Sánchez received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico in 1993 and 1995, respectively, and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute. He is a registered professional engineer in Mississippi and a member of the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) and the Transportation Research Board. He is president of the Mississippi Professional Chapter, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and has authored or co-authored numerous publications. He has received the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award Conference’s Civil Engineering Distinction Award, Superior Civilian Service Award, Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, Achievement Medal, Emerald Honors’ Special Recognition, and has been twice recognized by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States.