Joel Sprague, P.E., a Senior Engineer and Technical Director with TRI Environmental’s South Carolina laboratories in Anderson and Greenville, has been presented the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers’ Piedmont Chapter 2019 Engineer of the Year Award. The Chapter’s highest award is annually given to an engineer who has made outstanding contributions to his or her profession, public welfare and/or mankind.
Sprague was recognized for his over three decades of contributions to the development and application of the only new major class of construction materials developed in the 20th century – geosynthetics. Geosynthetics are heavy-duty synthetic textiles, membranes, and related products that have enabled many US textile and plastics companies to diversify and expand production. These materials are now commonly used in waste management, road and bridge construction, environmental remediation, and water resource conservation. Through leadership roles in ASTM International, Sprague has originated or contributed major revisions to over 20 international standards on geosynthetics and erosion/sediment control. Additionally, he has been an instructor of numerous short courses and authored over 50 articles and technical papers on the development, testing, and application of geosynthetics and erosion/sediment control systems.
Sprague was further recognized for his pioneering work in full-scale performance testing of civil engineering systems. He led the establishment of TRI’s unique laboratories for the full-scale evaluation of innovative technologies, including the Denver Downs Research Facility (DDRF) in Anderson and the Roads to Rivers Research Institute (3RI) in Greenville. These laboratories primarily focus on evaluating products used to enhance erosion and sediment control on construction sites, systems used to improve runoff water quality, and materials used to extend the life of paved and unpaved roads. In association with the International Erosion Control Association and numerous municipal, county, and state agencies, the TRI laboratories host an annual training and field day that attracts professionals from around the state to learn about the latest in erosion and sediment control and stormwater management technologies.
In addition to his membership in the National Society of Professional Engineers, Sprague is a Fellow in ASTM International, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Geo-Institute/Committee on Geosynthetics, the International Geosynthetics Society, and the International Erosion Control Association. He has previously been recognized by ASTM International with the 2003 Award for Outstanding Article in ASTM’s Geotechnical Testing Journal, the 2004 Richard S. Ladd Standards Development Award, and in 2017 with ASTM’s most prestigious award – the Award of Merit. Also, Mr. Sprague was awarded the International Erosion Control Associations’ Most Distinguished Technical Paper Award in 2007.
Denver Downs Research Facility 4915 Hwy 76 (Clemson Blvd.) Anderson, SC 29621