Distinguished New Engineer

Courtney Thomas, P.E.

Black & Veatch

For outstanding leadership that both mentors and develops teams; for full-throated advocacy of others; and for consistently going above and beyond in service to SWE and her community.

Courtney Thomas, P.E., is a licensed civil engineer working with Black & Veatch on water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Black & Veatch is a 100% employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company. A California native now based in Portland, Oregon, Thomas serves as an engineering manager charged with preparing conceptual and detailed designs as well as supporting construction in water/wastewater treatment facilities, well sites, water storage tanks, pumping stations, and pipelines.

Thomas specializes in design and construction of water storage and transmission. Because she has a professional engineer license in California and Oregon, her projects are often in areas of high seismic activity. She has aided in the design of some of the region’s leading seismically resilient water systems. Thomas has also served as an internal quality auditor; worked to promote sustainability as a certified Envision professional; and developed tools for expanding design capabilities.

Since the beginning of her design career, Thomas has supported and led some of the Western Region’s most critical infrastructure projects. Early on, she was lead civil designer on an intake pump station replacement project for the El Dorado Irrigation District in Northern California. This pump station improved the reliability and control features of the district’s water intake system in Folsom Lake, well known for showing the variability of the state’s water resources. This design had to account for substantial variations in the lake’s level while maintaining selective temperature control of the intakes. This project was successfully completed and built, and is in full operation.

Thomas’ organizational and planning skills set her apart, including her ability to develop sequencing plans, create and maintain tracking logs and schedules, and support projects through their construction phases. She has also updated and rewritten several emergency action plans and conducted functional exercises for several dam owners in California, including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Upper American River Project. This project alone consists of 11 dams.

A first-generation college student, Thomas obtained a B.S. in environmental engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2015, where she served as a Society of Women Engineers section officer for three years. During her senior year, she served as president of the section and was recognized as an Outstanding Collegiate Member during that fiscal year’s Regional Awards. She has continued her involvement in SWE professional sections in California and Oregon and in regional and Society-level committee roles. Thomas is also an active member of the American Water Works Association and co-led the development of the Pacific Northwest Section’s first-ever diversity, equity, and inclusion event.

Thomas spends much of her free time exploring Pacific Northwest hiking trails, rivers, and lakes, and taking road trips all over the Western United States with her partner and dog.