2018-2019 Chattanooga Branch Officers

Past President | Jeff Parris | P.E.
Firm:  Arcadis
Phone: [423]

Jeff Parris has more than 17 years of experience in private and commercial industries with specific emphasis on the Civil Engineering in soil and groundwater at Energy and Resource sites. He has experience in public works, multiple Departments of Transportation (DOT), multiple utility and energy agencies and the Department of Defense (DOD). 

Areas of expertise include stormwater conveyance, detention/retention ponds, site grading roadways, sedimentation and erosion controls. Power generation experience includes fossil, coal combustion products, nuclear, combustion turbine for simple cycle and combines cycle, solar power, owners engineering services, permitting and construction support. 


President | Ben Byard | PhD, P.E.
Firm:  Tennessee Valley Authority
Phone: [423] 751-2487

Ben has been the treasurer of the ASCE Chattanooga Branch since 1975, and was the assistant  treasure before that starting in 1929.  It is believed by many economist that his finical ineptitudes may have contributed to the stock market crash of 1929.  In addition, he is the Practitioner Advisor to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Student ASCE chapter, and Membership Champion. 

Ben is a Bridge Program Manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority.  He is also active in the American Concrete Institute and is a voting member of committees: ACI 231 - Properties of Concrete at Early Ages, and ACI 213 - Lightweight Aggregate and Concrete.


Vice President | Bethany Griffin Butler | E.I.  
Firm:  Tennessee Valley Authority
Phone: [423] 751-6005

Bethany is a 2015 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she received her B.S. Civil Engineering degree. She was highly involved in the ASCE student chapter where she held the positions of Treasurer and Steel Bridge Captain. While in school she was awarded the ASCE Tennessee Section Chattanooga Branch Scholarship and the ASCE Tennessee Section Student Chapter Member Award (2015).

She interned at TVA for several years before starting with them fulltime at the being of 2016. Her current position is in the Transmission Engineering: Line Engineering group designing transmission lines. She is a certified Engineer Intern and plans to sit for her P.E. in 2020. She was recently awarded the Young Engineer of the Year Award for 2018.

She is involved in the STEM Enrichment program through TVA, where she teaches upcoming sophomore girls in high school about Transmission Line Engineering. Spending time with her husband and family is very important to her. In her spare time she enjoys reading, riding motorcycles, playing with her two dogs, and is involved in her church.


Secretary | Jonathan M. Smolen | P.E.  
Firm:  S&ME Inc.
Phone: [423] 499-0957

Jonathan attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where he earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  He began his career in Geotechnical Engineering in 1998 as an engineering co-op for Law Engineering in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Jonathan currently serves as the leader of the geotechnical engineering group for the Chattanooga, Tennessee location of S&ME, Inc. He has performed geotechnical studies and managed construction testing for fossil fuel plants, nuclear power plants, dams, multi-story buildings, and multi-acre industrial developments.  He is a registered engineer in Tennessee and Georgia. 

Jonathan moved to Chattanooga with his wife Patti in 2005. They currently live in the Brainerd area with their three sons.


Treasurer | Melissa De Alejandro Kelly | P.E. 
Firm:  Woods Engineering
Phone: [423] 771-4430

Melissa De Alejandro Kelly is a registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee with a background in project management and structural engineering. She is originally from Monterrey, Mexico where she obtained her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. She lived in England for several years, where she attended the University of Cambridge and graduated with a MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development.

Melissa has been involved with the Chattanooga Branch since 2016 where she served as Young Member Chair and is the current Treasurer. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and travelling with her husband and two children.


Assistant Treasurer | Don Warrington | PhD, P.E.  
Firm:  Tennessee Valley Authority
Phone: [423] 488-8590

Don Warrington has had a long career in the foundation construction industry.  From 1852 to 1996, Don's family was the principal owner of Vulcan Iron Works Inc., and he was employed there in various capacities from 1978 until 1999.

He's an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga covering soil mechanics and foundation design.  Don's published numerous books on geotechnical and marine engineering and is currently consultant and designer for Pile Hammer Equipment/Vulcan Foundation Equipment, who now own, service, and market the Vulcan product line.

Don earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, Masters of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and PhD in Computational Engineering from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Tennessee and Ohio.  


Chattanooga Development Symposium Director | Maria Price | P.E.  

Firm:  City of Chattanooga
Phone: [423] 643-5961

Maria is a registered Professional Engineer in TN & VA with a B.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Tennessee Technological University.   She has a diverse background in transmission engineering, environmental & construction activities, utility project management, multi-discipline project management and code enforcement.  Maria has employment history with TVA, TDOT, several private firms and currently utilizes her talents for the City of Chattanooga's Land Development Office.  She was named ASCE TN Section Government Engineer of the Year in 2017 and is on the state board of ASCE's Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI).  She is the Creator & Director of the Chattanooga Development Symposium.

Besides her involvement in ASCE, she is chair of the Girl Scout Gold Award Review Board and Girl Scout Volunteer Appreciation Task Force for the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians, formerly Charity Director for ConNooga and is involved in the Chattanooga Alumni Chapter of Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority.

When not working or involved in charity work, she spends time with her husband, 2 daughters & Australian Cattle Dog.  She enjoys board games, off-roading, muscle cars and cooking.


2018-2019 Chattanooga Branch Committee Chairs

Life Member Committee Chair |   
Phone: [423] XXX-XXXX
Young Member Committee Chair | Melissa Kelly | P.E.  
Firm:  Woods Engineering
Phone: [423] 771-4430
Nominating Committee Chair | Brandie Cookston | P.E.  
Phone: [423] XXX-XXXX
Scholarship Committee Chair | James Kapsho | P.E.  
Firm:  Retired
Phone: [423] 602-2095

ASCE Tennessee Section