FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Governor Barbour Makes Appointments to the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors

(Jackson, Miss.)—Governor Haley Barbour today announced the appointments of Richard E. Turner, of Hattiesburg; Dr. Dennis Truax, of Mississippi State University; Ronald K. Phillips, of Fayette; and Joe W. Byrd, of Brookhaven, to the Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. This board is designed to safeguard life, health, and property, and to promote the public welfare by ensuring that each professional engineer and professional surveyor is properly qualified to practice in Mississippi. The board also regulates the practice of engineering and surveying in the state through its investigation and disciplinary authority.

“These appointees are well-qualified,” Governor Barbour said. “Each has extensive educational and professional experience as a surveyor or engineer, and I feel confident they will serve the people of Mississippi well.”

Turner earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. Since 1998, he has worked as an engineer with Hanson Pipe and Products; prior to this job, Turner worked for 27 years at the Mississippi Department of Transportation, where he served as Bureau Administrator and Engineer for District Six. A veteran of the United States military, Turner and his wife, Bonita, have two children: Jonathan and Melanie.

Truax is currently a professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at Mississippi State University, where he has worked for 24 years. Additionally, he has worked as both an engineering consultant and project engineer throughout his professional career and holds the title of principal and vice president for engineering at AtiAeration Corporation in Cleveland. Truax earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and went on to attain a master’s and doctorate degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Truax is also involved with the American Water Works Association, the American Society of Engineering Education, and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. He has been awarded a fellowship with the ASCE and was accepted into the Bagley College Engineering Academy of Fellows. In 1995, Truax was selected as “Engineer of the Year” and “Outstanding Faculty Advisor” by the ASCE. From 2001 to 2004, he served as District 14 Director of the ASCE. Since 1999, Truax has served as associate editor of the Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. He has authored almost 90 publications printed in reference papers and reports.

Phillips studied civil engineering at the International Correspondence School and has attained 12 hours of Civil Engineering Units (CEU’s) annually since 1987. He began working as a rodman, instrument man, and party chief for Michael Baker, Jr. and Maxwell T. Huff, where he completed various projects in Mississippi and Arkansas. From 1969 to 1975, Phillips was employed as the survey project manager for Commonwealth/Gilbert in Jackson, Michigan, on projects in West Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, and West Pakistan. Since 1975, he has worked as a self-employed land surveyor and mapper responsible for the maintenance of tax maps in Jefferson and Franklin counties. Phillips is a Registered Professional Surveyor in four states and is a member and past director of the Mississippi Association of Professional Land Surveyors.

Byrd is serving as County Surveyor of Lincoln County and president of Joe W. Byrd & Associates, Inc., where he performs various surveying duties, such as assessing the needs of and purchasing equipment for surveying crews and writing legal descriptions and drawing plats of surveyed land. Previously, he has worked as the owner of Byrd Surveying and as the District 7 Survey/CADD Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Transportation. From 1982 to 2003, Byrd served in the Mississippi Army National Guard; he received an honorable discharge in November of 2003, holding the rank of Staff Sergeant. A member of the Mississippi Association of Professional Surveyors, Byrd also served as Central Director from 2003 to 2004 and is now acting as President Elect for this group. He graduated in 1985 from Copiah Lincoln Community College with a Vo-Tech Certificate in machine shop.

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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741
         

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