Michael Kennard Receives Presidential Appreciation Award

  Michael Kennard, research associate in the Environmental Modeling Research Laboratory in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, was recently recognized with a Presidential Appreciation Award. He received the award for over six years of exceptional, dedicated service to the department.

The Environmental Modeling Research Laboratory (EMRL) is managed and directed by three faculty members who are assisted in their research by ten full-time research associates and thirty graduate and undergraduate research assistants. Their primary research sponsor is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other sponsors include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Highway Administration. They have been the principal investigators on over $6,200,000 of sponsored research. This research has resulted in the development of three computer programs for computer simulations of ground water and surface water systems. The EMRL software is used by approximately 10,000 organizations in over 90 countries. In recent years, EMRL has been involved in humanitarian projects to provide modeling software and training for engineers and scientists in China and the Middle East.

With the budget and research commitments associated with a large research lab, EMRL faculty rely quite heavily on research associates to manage the day to day operations of the lab. Kennard has worked in the research lab for six and half years and is one of the senior research associates. His responsibilities include assisting in the mentoring of undergraduate research assistants. He does much of the training of the new students, and he works with them on a weekly basis to follow up on the work they have been assigned. Professor Norman Jones, Director of EMRL, comments that Kennard is an excellent mentor for the students. They appreciate his professionalism and his warm, friendly demeanor.

Professor Jones further describes Kennard's dependability and exceptional research skills. His work generally exceeds expectations and he constantly looks for ways to improve his technical skills. He has taken advantage of computer programming seminars and workshops, as well as employee training offered at BYU, including workshops on management skills, web authoring, and project management. He is also a good motivator for the rest of the lab. He is constantly encouraging the other research associates to join with him in this type of training. After the training, he is anxious to share what he has learned. This type of enthusiasm is contagious and has helped the entire staff improve their skills.

In describing his personal traits, Jones highlights Kennard's commitment to quality. He is never satisfied with a mediocre effort. Kennard insists that all research projects are well designed, thorough, and state of the art. He has a strong commitment to the university and loves working at BYU.


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