JAMES DANIEL REEVES
Dan Reeves retired Jan. 3, 1991 after more than 30 years of service, all with the Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District. He began his career designing the mechanical components of navigation and flood control projects in the district.
When construction of the navigation system was mostly completed, he utilized the expertise he honed while designing the mechanical components of the navigation locks and dams to continue his stellar career as a mechanical engineer in the Maintenance Engineering Section of Operations Division.
He possessed exceptional engineering skills. To this day, more than 20 years after the end of his career, many of the drawings, maintenance procedures, and lists of critical spare parts created by Dan Reeves are still referenced and used daily by maintenance crews on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.
Dan Reeves was known for his ability to work with people. He was the go to person that everyone could call whenever they needed help. His greatest enjoyment was assisting employees in the field. The district’s floating plants personnel considered him a valuable source of information because of his intimate technical knowledge and his ability to remember the smallest of details. He also possessed the ability to draw detailed sketches that clearly communicated complex engineering concepts.
Dan Reeves invented a jacking system for miter gates that became industry standard and a procedure for tensioning the adjustable diagonal bracing on miter gates to keep them plumb and level. He was also instrumental in developing lock dewatering procedures and methods for the safe disassembly of the large components on the locks.
His expertise was invaluable during the Dam 2 barge accident in 1982, the miter gate failure at Kerr Lock in Tulsa District in 1986, and the barge accident at Sanders Lock and Dam in 1990. Each of these incidents could have closed the MKARNS for months had it not been for Dan Reeves’ engineering skills and expertise.
Dan Reeves’ dedication, loyalty, and faithful service contributed substantially to the successful operation of the MKARNS. His contributions have far outlasted his career and the system’s outstanding reputation for reliability is largely attributable to his work.