Public Relations

Daily Pioneer News

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UWP alumna recognized for engineering accomplishments

PLATTEVILLE - Amy Dessner, a 2002 University of Wisconsin-Platteville civil engineering alumna, was one of 16 engineers nominated by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to be a member of the 2010 New Faces of Engineering.

Dessner was recognized for her leadership during a rare rain event in southeastern Minnesota in August 2007 that destroyed communities and caused widespread erosion. She used her engineering expertise to direct stabilization for the massive landslides that were threatening homes and businesses.

"To have my work recognized, but also be among such a diverse and talented group of young engineers is an honor," Dessner said. "Reading through the profiles, it's easy to see that engineers touch people's lives in so many ways."

Dessner works on an engineering staff of eight for the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service and focuses on the 11 counties in southeast Minnesota, providing assistance on projects that reduce erosion or improve water quality. She visits potential sites to determine if a project is feasible and eligible for the federal cost share program.

Once a project receives funding, she directs a field survey and collects hydrologic, soil and land use data, begins design and draft plans, and then oversees construction.

Dessner said, "I take the project from start to finish - I see this as an advantage because observing how things are built provides insight as to how they should be designed. Surveying my own projects keeps me in touch with the latest equipment and software, and gives me intimate knowledge of the site."

Dessner is currently working on a manure storage basin for a dairy farmer, compost facility plans for a hog farmer and rehabilitation of two dams that were built about 40 years ago by the NRCS.

"I am so grateful for my education and experience at UWP," said Dessner. "The professors I had in the civil and environmental engineering department sincerely cared about my success and always had time to lend a helping hand to me and my peers - whether it was a question on homework, class schedules or big decisions like a career choice. My continued contact with the university and the lifelong friendships I established provided a network of support that I can rely on to this day."

Dessner has been a member of ASABE since 2006 and was also recognized for her work in the book "Changing Our World - True Stories of Women Engineers."

She and her husband, Eric, who is an electrical lineman, live on a hobby farm east of Rochester, Minn. They have two sons: Jacob, who is 5, and Brady, who is 1.

Contact: Amy Dessner, alumna, Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, UWP Office of Public Relations, (608) 342-1194,

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