Academy of Distinguished Alumni

headshot of David Ford

David T. Ford

PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 1978
MS, University of Texas at Austin, 1975
BS, University of Texas at Austin, 1973

David Ford is an outstanding leader and prominent contributor to water resources engineering, planning, and management, especially in the application of risk-based analysis for flood damage mitigation and real-time flood response decision making. He is responsible for pioneering research that is directly applied to engineering practice and is an exemplary mentor of young engineers. He is also one of the most trusted figures in California's flood control arena.

He is the owner and president of David Ford Consulting Engineers, a water resources engineering firm in Sacramento, California. 

Ford received his undergraduate and both graduate degrees at The University of Texas at Austin in hydrologic and water resource system engineering. A member of Chi Epsilon and the ASCE chapter as a student, he is still active in ASCE divisions, institutes, and committees and mentors younger members. 

After earning his PhD, Ford was employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the Hydrologic Engineering Center in Davis, California, promoting use of systems analysis to support water management decisions by the Corps. He has also served as lecturer, thesis and dissertation advisor at the University of California, Davis; and California State University, Sacramento.

Ford established his own consulting firm in 1990. His technical specialties have evolved to include watershed engineering analysis, river hydraulics analysis, reservoir system analysis, project benefit/risk analysis, real-time forecasting, flood warning systems, decision support systems, training, and software development to support water resources engineering analyses. 

Recently, Ford was principal-in-charge of the consulting team working with the California Department of Water Resources and US Army Corps of Engineers on the Central Valley Hydrology Study.  The study has produced information to characterize flood hazard throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins, where flood risks are among the highest in the nation. 

On a national level, Ford and his staff are testing and documenting a real-time decision support system that expands and enhances the data and information available to USACE water managers. This includes data and information about the current state of watersheds, likely future state of watersheds, and consequences of management actions. The data and information will help water managers make wise operation decisions. 

Ford received the ASCE 2015 Julian Hinds Award for his outstanding contributions and leadership in water resources engineering, planning and management.