Karen Knight, P.E., was named as the Director of Dam Safety and Infrastructure for the Bureau of Reclamation on January 20, 2020.
The Dam Safety and Infrastructure Office is in Denver, Colorado. It is responsible for the safety and reliability of Reclamation’s diverse infrastructure by effectively managing risk and maximizing the value of Reclamation’s assets for our stakeholders and the American public. The dam safety program ensures Reclamation dams do not present unreasonable risk to people, property, and the environment. Infrastructure Asset Management is accomplished through a series of asset management programs and activities including: buildings and structures, water conveyance, low hazard potential dams, transportation, operations and maintenance, condition assessments, enterprise data strategy and management, land and realty, recreation, and wildland fire management.
Knight most recently was the Director for Security, Safety and Law Enforcement where she assumed that role in 2018. Prior to serving as the Director, she served as the Chief of the Dam Safety Office in SSLE beginning in 2015.
She joined Reclamation’s Technical Service Center in 1999 where she was team leader and lead designer for embankment and foundation safety modifications at Pineview Dam, Utah. She performed comprehensive facility reviews for 12 high hazard dams; and led teams on issue evaluation studies, including comprehensive risk analysis, for a number of other Reclamation dams. She has facilitated comprehensive risk analyses for a number of Reclamation structures assessing static, seismic and hydrologic risk.
In 2004, Karen became Manager, Geotechnical Engineering, managing a group of engineers performing evaluation, analysis, design and construction support for Reclamation’s embankment dams. She performed technical and managerial oversight, including Project Management Team duties, and peer review of numerous Reclamation projects.
She became the Chief, Geotechnical Services Division in 2007 where she provided leadership over six interrelated groups of embankment dam and geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, seismologists, geophysicists, and dam instrumentation and inspection specialists. The Technical Service Center’s Geotechnical Services Division includes over 110 staff and provides technical expertise throughout Reclamation for inspection, evaluation, analysis, risk analysis, and design and construction oversight for high hazard dams in Reclamation’s inventory and numerous other significant and high hazard structures in the Department of Interior’s portfolio.
Knight has a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a registered professional engineer, a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. Society on Dams where she has served on the Board of Directors, and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials.