A US Army Engineer Research and Development Center announcement, coupled with a past participant's discussions, led Huntington District Civil Engineer Andrew Keffer to apply for ERDC University, where district selectees partner with ERDC subject matter experts to apply and implement technical solutions relevant to division and district challenges.
Now in its third year, the six-month ERDC-U program is sponsored by the ERDC Office of Research and Technology Transfer and Directorate of Human Capital.
Chosen as one of ten participants for the FY18 program, Keffer was very interested in working with ERDC personnel on seepage control systems across the USACE dams and levees inventory.
Keffer is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of relief well systems for the Corps' Huntington District's Geotechnical Engineering Section.
Currently, Keffer collaborates with ERDC-U Mentor Isaac Stephens in the ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) in Vicksburg, Miss. He also works on other research initiatives with ERDC and USACE districts, focusing his efforts on developing Sand Boil Flood Control Tools and Internal Erosion Test Flumes projects.
With a background in civil engineering from Marshall University, Keffer is pursuing a doctorate from Missouri University of Science & Technology in geological engineering. He is performing theoretical, modeling and field research regarding relief well systems for significant design and performance-related advances. His ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of processes related to under seepage and internal erosion of dams and levees.
He worked with a number of GSL researchers in testing the Internal Erosion Test Cylinder, where water pressures are closely monitored during the erosion of a sand sample, and in the assembly of the Sand Boil Test Bed, where new flood-fighting technologies can be tested and demonstrated.
These tests permitted development of new technologies to monitor changes that are potentially indicative of internal erosion progression.
Using Keffer's experience in district flood fighting practices, his ERDC-U efforts were directed into developing new flood fighting techniques. During the 2018 USACE Executive Governance Meeting in May, Keffer joined GSL team members to present these projects to approximately 200 senior agency leaders.
Keffer's work with GSL has given him the opportunity to develop good relationships with technical experts and bring back an improved knowledge of research and engineering that will be applied to the district's mission. He strongly recommends participation in the ERDC-U program to his coworkers and colleagues throughout the Corps.