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Bill McCormick

2016 Water Leaders Class

mccormickbillBill was born in the small town of Glens Falls, in the southern Adirondacks of NY, and grew up between the tourist areas of Lake George and Saratoga Springs with two older and one younger sisters. He found road bikes (bicycles) and alpine ski racing in high school, activities he continues today. His first venture west was to the State of NY College at Oswego where he got a BS in geology in May 1985. With a bust in the oil business in the mid-1980s, Bill took a job as a professional ski patrol (Gore Mtn) while waiting out a winter between undergrad and grad school, for his only 100+ day ski year to date.

Bill continued west to grad school, this time leaving NY for the University of Missouri-Rolla where in fall of 1988 he graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geological Engineering. Bill’s goal to work on dams and tunnels got him a job with the large civil engineering firm Black & Veatch in Kansas City, KS. Bill got another opportunity to continue west when a 1-year field engineer assignment on a water tunnel project in Colorado Springs came up in Dec 1989. After 6 years on field projects for Colorado Springs Utilities, bill took an assignment on a water tunnel in Las Vegas, NV for their “second straw” project in 1995. After 18 months that project was completed and Bill ended his westward migration and found his way back to Colorado. 

He founded a successful engineering firm in Salida, CO and ran it for four years, getting married and having a baby girl in that time as well. After 14 years in consulting, Bill got on with the Colorado Division of Water Resources as a dam safety engineer (DSE) in fall of 2003 with a Colorado Springs work location assigned to dams on the Upper South Platte and Arkansas River basins.

Bill worked as a DSE in Colorado Springs until 2010 when his angling to get back to a Salida home base finally paid off. In July of 2010 he was selected for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Dam Operations Engineer position, and successfully negotiated a Salida work location. After 15 months of statewide travel and dam owner experience with CPW, the chief of dam safety position for DWR came open. He was selected as chief on condition that the position be based in Salida, allowing him to keep the same office, simply changing the agency name on the lease. 

Since October 2011 Bill has been Chief of an award winning team of 11 statewide dam safety engineers. Bill and his team have responsibility for developing and executing a comprehensive dam safety risk management program for all dams in Colorado in the interest of public safety while maximizing water storage potential.

Bill thoroughly enjoys balancing his Colorado mountain lifestyle of challenging and fulfilling professional work on dam and water issues around the state, being an avid mountain biker, hiker, and skier and spending quality time with a beautiful family and friends. 


1750 Humboldt Street, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80218