President Trump appoints Reeder as Mississippi River Commission member

Published May 24, 2018

President Donald Trump appointed James A. Reeder as a member of the Mississippi River Commission May 17, 2018.

Commission appointments are nominated by the President of the United States and vetted by the U.S. Senate.

Reeder replaces R.D. James, who was first appointed to the commission in December 1981. James resigned upon his confirmation as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works on Feb. 12, 2018.

Reeder is only the third civilian from Tennessee ever appointed to the commission. W. Richard Hall (Dec. 16, 1974 - Nov. 2, 1979), who was R.D. James’ predecessor, and Frederick Kellogg (Oct. 22, 1965 - July 31, 1974) are the other two.

Reeder is project director for the Memphis River Parks Partnership (a nonprofit organization) in Memphis, Tennessee. In this position, he oversees construction and operational activities on a six-mile riverfront area along the Mississippi River, which includes 12 parks and the Beale Street Landing facility.

Reeder worked as a re-employed annuitant for USACE from August 2009 to June 2012. During this time, he served as deputy director of Programs Directorate and chief of Civil Works Integration for the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Mississippi, responsible for programming and executing all features of the $1.1 billion programming/budgeting mission for the division. In the Corps’ Middle East District in Winchester, Virginia, he served as program manager for the $300 million Iraq Military Sales Program and as project manager on specific projects

From August 2007 to July 2009, Reeder worked for Hills International Engineering in Iraq, providing support to the USACE Gulf Region District. He served as the program manager for the $290 million U.S. Military Construction Program and served as project manager for a number of projects related to Iraqi infrastructure reconstruction and security/military projects.

 Reeder worked for the Corps’ Memphis District from May 1974 until he retired in February 2007. He served in various leadership and management capacities dealing with the planning and design of civil works flood control and navigation projects. During this time, he served as a hydraulic/hydrologic engineer responsible for project design; a study/project manager leading interdisciplinary teams to accomplish project goals; the chief of the Program Office responsible for developing and executing the district’s $150 million annual budget and program; as executive assistant/congressional liaison; and as deputy/assistant to the director of the Planning, Planning and Project Management Division. He also served a tour in Baghdad, Iraq, with the Corps’ Procurement Contracting Office, serving as deputy to the director of the Reconstruction Program, assisting in managing and leading more than 300 civilians, contractors and military service officers in the execution of the $1.4 billion Iraq Reconstruction Relief Program. During his tenure at the district, Reeder was awarded two Superior Civilian Service Awards and the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Christian Brothers University in Memphis and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Memphis. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee.

As a civilian commissioner, Reeder will help the presidentially appointed river engineering experts oversee the Mississippi River and Tributaries project. The commission, established in 1879, includes three generals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, one admiral from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and three senior civilians. The commission's authority extends the entire length of the river, transcends regional politics and provides for greater public participation.

Since the MR&T was authorized by the 1928 Flood Control Act, the nation's $15.5 billion investment in MR&T construction projects (including levees, floodwalls, reservoirs, floodways, channel improvement, and operation and maintenance) have prevented more than $1 trillion in damages. It is a comprehensive, unified system of public works that provides unprecedented flood risk management and an equally efficient navigation channel.

For more information on the Mississippi River Commission, visit:

Reagan Lauritzen

Release no. 18-034