Deborah H. Lee, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, F.ASCE, SES, director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
As director of GLERL, and a member of the federal Senior Executive Service, Lee serves as the laboratory’s leader, providing guidance through conceptual development, implementation, and management of integrated, interdisciplinary scientific research and communications programs.
With a staff of nearly 130 federal, cooperative institute, and contract employees and visiting scientists, NOAA-GLERL and its partners conduct integrated scientific research on the Great Lakes and coastal ecosystems, develop and transition products and services, and share knowledge and information to advance NOAA’s goals of science, service, and stewardship.
Lee also serves as NOAA’s Regional Team Lead for the Great Lakes, facilitating collaboration across a network of more than 800 NOAA employees and partners representing the agency’s diverse capabilities across the region. She brings 30+ years of professional experience in water resources research and management at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA. She served as the chief of water management for the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of USACE from 2001 to 2014. In that role, she directed lower Ohio and Mississippi River flood control and oversight of Great Lakes regulation. During that time, she served a detail as the Acting Regional Business Director and Dam and Levee Safety Officer.
Lee is a licensed professional engineer and certified professional hydrologist, is board certified by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, and is currently vice president of the ASCE Environmental Water Resources Institute. She has received multiple awards, including three Superior Civilian Service Awards, certificates of appreciation from the International Joint Commission (IJC) and the Mississippi River Commission, the IJC Award of Merit for Professional Contribution, and most recently, the 2017 NOAA Research Inclusion and Diversity Award.
She holds bachelor and master’s degrees in civil engineering from The Ohio State University and completed postgraduate civil and environmental engineering studies at the University of Michigan.