Ken Salo, left, was presented the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s 2016 Lewis & Clark Engineering and
Floodplain Mapping Lifetime Achievement Award at the Montana Association of Montana Floodplain Managers Workshop at Fairmont Hot Springs. Ken’s been with Morrison-Maierle since the late 1970’s and this award honors his significant contributions to floodplain work in the state of Montana.
After graduating from Cal-Poly in 1975 with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, Ken started his career at the Montana Department of Fish and Game, Parks Division as a civil engineer. He came to Morrison-Maierle in 1978 specifically to work on flood plain studies. He worked on the company’s first six FEMA flood plain contracts in a row.
Currently Ken serves as the firm’s Chief Technical Services Officer, Senior Vice President, and as Director Emeritus of the Board of Directors. He is also the Natural Resources Market Group Leader where he directs and mentors more than 25 engineers and scientists through the company’s environmental engineering projects. In addition to these positions, he serves on the Corporate Leadership Team and was the former Helena Office Manager.
Through his projects at Morrison-Maierle, Ken oversees and is responsible for engineering design and rehabilitation of facilities including dams and dikes; concrete principal and earth-lined emergency spillways; diversion and head-gate structures; agricultural and turf irrigation systems; wastewater irrigation systems; pipelines; storm drains; lined and unlined canals; culvert and bridge hydraulics; water measurement structures and stream bank and channel erosion protection.
He performs hydraulic and hydrologic analyses for Dam Safety Investigations; Flood Insurance Studies; principal and emergency spillways; flood retention and protection facilities; major storm drainage facilities; stream channel improvements; flood and dambreak profiles and delineation; energy dissipation structures; site drainage and grading plans, and bridge or culvert crossings.
During his tenure, Ken has served as the Project Principal, Project Manager, or Lead Design Engineer on nearly all of Morrison-Maierle’s noteworthy natural resources projects.
Ken has spent numerous hours working on committees, advisory councils, and professional organizations. He’s currently on DNRC’s Extreme Storm Working Group. He’s also a member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers; American Society of Civil Engineers; United States Committee on Large Dams; Association of State Dam Safety Officials; American Water Resources Association.
While many at Morrison-Maierle have learned from Ken Salo, a few members of his market group can attest to the lessons learned from him when it comes to natural resources engineering.
Mark Franchi graduated from Montana State University and came to work for Ken 27 years ago. “He is definitely my mentor,” says Mark when referring to Ken. “He has a unique approach to engineering projects because he can see the big picture. While he’s extremely detail oriented and very thorough, he also has the ability to take a step back and look at the questions and problems before us. That’s important in the work we do.”
When Mark came to Morrison-Maierle he went to work on a project on the Fort Belknap reservation for three weeks. Combined with this experience and Ken’s willingness to teach and share his intimate knowledge of floodplain studies, Mark says he knew this was going to be the beginning of a great career.
Molly Davidson says that Ken “is a well-respected and highly admired leader of our natural resources market group and also a kind and intelligent mentor.” She says he is very thoughtful, encouraging, and offers sound advice and judgement.
She added that Ken’s “passion for water resource engineering and contractual agreements is apparent. Ken is a strong asset to Morrison-Maierle and is recognized as a great leader throughout the professional community.”