Expert in hydraulics computing technology for more than 50 years dies

Augustine J. “Jay” Fredrich, a highly accomplished hydraulics engineer, professor, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers computer modeler, has died. He was 81.


Fredrich, P.E., D.WRE(Ret.), F.ASCE, was first employed by the Little Rock (Arkansas) District of the Corps of Engineers as a hydraulic engineer. When a computer program he wrote came to the attention of the Corps’ Hydrologic Engineering Center in Sacramento, California, the director hired Fredrich to work on the development of a similar program for much larger systems elsewhere.

He was selected as engineer-in-charge of the Corps International Hydrologic Decade project, an effort to develop computer programs to be used by the United Nations in nations with sparse hydrologic data. He led pilot projects for government agencies in Peru and Guatemala to test the programs in 1968 and 1969. Fredrich was then loaned to UNESCO to teach computer modeling in an international program for Latin American engineers in Brazil.

In 1972, he was chosen by the American Political Science Association and the U.S. Civil Service Commission as a Congressional Fellow, the first civil engineer ever chosen for the program in its 20-year history.

After all this, Fredrich decided it was time to complete the requirements for a master’s degree in civil engineering at California State University in Sacramento and become a registered professional engineer, which he did in 1972.

His congressional fellowship complete, Fredrich was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C., as a senior policy specialist, where one of his most important assignments was preparation of the Corps’ response to President Jimmy Carter’s list of water resources projects he wanted to terminate. His last years with the Corps were spent at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he was the first civilian director of the Corps’ Institute for Water Resources.

Fredrich accepted a position as professor of engineering technology in a newly established ET program at Indiana State University, Evansville, where he soon became chair of the division, was much lauded, and held positions until his 2003 retirement. Afterward he went into consulting work.

An active Life Member of ASCE, he served a four-year term on the Technical Council on Computer Practices, and another term on the Executive Committee of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, and in 1993 received the Society’s Julian Hinds Award. In 2009 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute, and in 2012 he received the Society’s History and Heritage Award. He was also a Diplomate of ASCE’s American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

He was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Civil Engineering in 1989. He was the ASCE Citizen Engineer of the Year in 1991 and the ASCE Indiana Section Engineer of the Year in 1993.

Fredrich authored or coauthored more than 50 professional papers and also wrote Sons of Martha, an anthology of readings on civil engineering history and ethics, among other works. Additionally, he lent his efforts to career awareness camps for middle school students and was a lifelong active participant in his Catholic faith.

After his experience in Latin America he became a soccer fan, and when his sons came of age he became a volunteer coach in recreational soccer programs in Fairfax County, Virginia, and back in Evansville.


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