Five for Bruce Thomson

bruce thomsonFive Questions for Bruce Thomson

Over the course of his 35-year career, Dr. Bruce Thomson, P.E., Regents’ Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Water Resources Program, has taught more than 1,500 students. Beyond educating and inspiring the next generation of civil engineers, Thomson has also helped shape the future of our region by lending his environmental engineering and water resources expertise to important community organizations and as a technical resource to the media.

1. What are you most proud of in your career?
My students, definitely. Students I have worked with are now assuming leadership roles in environmental engineering and water resource management throughout the state and region.

2. What’s one of your research highlights?
The research I did on arsenic chemistry and treatment has received the most recognition. I worked with others to help develop methods of testing the effectiveness of using granular adsorbents for arsenic removal.

3. What’s our biggest challenge regarding water resources?
In New Mexico, we have some enormous water challenges. We need to figure out how to use water fairly, equitably, and wisely because there is not enough water to continue using it as we have in the past.

4. Why did you decide to get involved in the community?
I’ve always felt that engineers ought to be involved in the public discussion because we have a quantitative way of looking at issues. When I became director of the Water Resources Program, I met more people in government and the community. Now I’m on the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA) board with some terrific members. Nearly all of the issues we wrestle with have very significant technical components and that’s where I hope that I can make a real contribution.

5. Why should students consider studying civil engineering? 
Civil and environmental engineers work directly with communities, on their critical infrastructure such as roads, water systems, buildings, bridges, and canals. There’s a lot of satisfaction in seeing the immediate benefit to the community of your efforts and expertise.

2013 Engineer of the Year in the Public Sector Award by the Albuquerque Chapter of the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers

2010 Earth Sciences Achievement Award

Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority Board member