SAVANNAH, Ga. – A Georgia Tech graduate has been named to lead the Engineering Division of the Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tracy Hendren (BS 1994, MS 2006) assumed responsibility for planning, directing, coordinating and executing the engineering components of the Savannah District’s military construction, civil works, and hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste programs in March 2018.
Among his responsibilities, Hendren oversees engineering designs for the $973 million Savannah Harbor Expansion Project which will deepen the nation’s fourth busiest container port an additional 5 feet. The expanded 40-mile-long, soon-to-be 47-feet-deep channel passes the main downtown area of Savannah. The Savannah harbor is a major contributor to the Georgia economy.
Before taking over the senior engineering post, Hendren headed the hydrologic and hydraulic engineering branch which dealt with the civil works portion of District’s engineering program. Now he will also oversee engineering of military construction projects at Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina, such as firing ranges, barracks, runways and other support facilities.
Hendren grew up with an “engineering gene.” His father operated an engineering and construction company where he spent much of his youth. At Georgia Tech he took naturally to the challenge of the engineering program.
“We had some of the greatest instructors,” Hendren said. “The professors were known around the world for their expertise. Mostly, though, they taught us how to think – solve engineering problems and get to a solution.”
Mainly, however, he remembers visiting the famous hot dog eatery, The Varsity, just off campus. “We’d go there to watch the Tonight Show, eat and study,” he said. Maybe not the best study habits, but it worked for him.
On a dare from a friend, Hendren took the exams to be certified in civil engineering and in mechanical engineering – a rare achievement. “We both had our civil certification and both took the mechanical exam,” he said. “I passed; he didn’t.” Hendren is a registered professional engineer in Georgia.
After a number of years working in the private sector, Hendren joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1998 in Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked as a water manager, dam safety officer and as the geotechnical engineer serving as the lead for several projects including the Herbert Hoover Dike System. Following his tour in Jacksonville, he spent 10 years working at the South Atlantic Division in Atlanta. He moved to the Savannah District in 2014 to lead the hydrologic and hydraulic engineering branch before being promoted to his current post.