Freese and Nichols Expands Coastal and Navigation Services Capabilities Across Southeast U.S.
Freese and Nichols has added three members to its Coastal and Navigation Practice, bringing deep and diverse expertise to help clients with coastal engineering, beneficial dredged material use, restoration and resiliency solutions.
Coastal Engineers Chris Mack, PE, PMP, and Joel Tillery, PE, CFM, and Coastal Environmental Scientist Ryan Fikes have a range of experience that includes federal coastal projects, surge modeling, restoration design and coastal ecology.
“With their varied skills, these new team members give us broader capabilities in coastal engineering, modeling and conservation through both direct project experience and from an academic research perspective,” said Robert Chambers, Environmental Science & Coastal Group Manager.
Chris Mack, PE, PMP
Chris Mack, PE, PMP, is Freese and Nichols’ new Lead Technical Professional for Coastal Engineering. His nearly 30 years of experience is almost evenly divided between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private engineering and consulting firms.
Chris has led projects involving shoreline protection, coastal engineering, hazard mitigation, ecosystem restoration and climate change studies across the Southeast, including in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia, and other U.S. coastal locations. His broad technical expertise ranges from hydrology/hydraulics and floodplain management to design-bid-build project delivery, permitting and FEMA flood mapping. And he understands the complex contracting laws governing multimillion-dollar federal and state contracts.
Chris is licensed as a Professional Engineer in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama. He also is a certified Project Management Professional and a member of the Project Management Institute. And he’s a Technical Committee member for the USACE South Atlantic Coastal Study and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute, the Association of State Floodplain Managers and the North Carolina Association of Floodplain Managers.
He received an MBA from the Citadel, a master’s in Computer Science from the College of Charleston/the Citadel joint program, a master’s in Civil (Coastal) Engineering from North Carolina State University through the collaborative USACE Coastal Engineering Education Program and a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from NC State.
Joel Tillery, PE, CFM
Joel Tillery, PE, CFM, is a Senior Project Manager with 17 years of experience focused on coastal restoration, flood risk reduction and the use of green infrastructure to protect communities from severe storm events.
Joel, who is based in the New Orleans office, has led multidiscipline teams on projects for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and for municipal clients in Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. His expertise includes hydrologic and hydraulic analysis, pump station design, channel improvements, erosion control plans and marsh creation to protect fragile coastal areas. He has worked on strategic plan development and risk analysis of complex flood control structures in New Orleans and has designed watershed restoration projects to help drive urban renewal.
Joel is an instrumental addition to our team who will provide project and technical leadership on integrated watershed management studies, coincident flood analyses, coastal ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure planning and design, flood and coastal storm risk management engineering and design, and other water and coastal resources initiatives.
He received a master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Mississippi State University. He also received a Graduate Certificate in Coastal Engineering from the University of New Orleans.
Ryan Fikes, a Coastal Environmental Scientist and Ecologist in the Austin office, is a trained biologist with expertise in coastal ecology and habitat restoration. His career focus has been on developing and implementing innovative approaches to conserve, protect and restore vital ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
His experience includes work as a Gulf Restoration Scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, where he provided in-house scientific expertise to identify and evaluate restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to ensure investments were scientifically sound and integrated with other projects and achieved realistic outcomes.
He also served as Deputy Director & Restoration Program Manager for the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc. where he managed strategic partnerships, including the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Program. Fikes has conducted research at the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and was a fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Ryan’s experience and knowledge complements our coastal ecology team in the planning and delivery of natural and nature-based features to provide for coastal protection, restoration and resiliency.
Ryan is a member of the Science Advisory Committee for the Texas One Gulf Center of Excellence at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a Technical Advisory Committee member for the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan.
He received master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Biology from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.