James R. Nichols Community Service Award: Helen Salama

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Stephanie Buckingham

Organizational Development Coordinator

Congratulations to Helen Salama, an Engineer-in-Training who works on transmission and utilities projects in Freese and Nichols’ San Antonio office, for receiving the company’s James R. Nichols Community Service Award for her exceptional dedication to public service.

Helen devoted more than 1,500 hours over two years to volunteer activities that ranged from mentoring young students to acting as an Arabic-English translator for refugees in Lebanon. She has put her engineering skills to work helping Engineers Without Borders on projects in Nicaragua and Guatemala. She also has assisted multiple local groups, including the San Antonio African American Area Community Fund, Meals on Wheels, Water for People, Haven for Hope homeless shelter and the San Antonio Library.

As education chair for the American Water Works Association South Texas Chapter, she led initiative including recruiting 30 engineers to mentor high school students and coordinating programs to promote interest in STEM fields.

In nominating Helen for the award, her supervisors and colleagues called her energetic, compassionate and inspiring, embodying the spirit of service.

Helen’s “passion for service and dedication to giving back … is contagious and inspires others to give back as well,” said Jacqueline McMahon, an Engineer-in-Training in the Central Region Treatment, Transmission and Utilities Group.

The award is named after Jim Nichols, who was Freese and Nichols’ first president after incorporation, one of Texas’ most esteemed civil engineers and a dedicated servant to the Fort Worth community. Among other projects, he oversaw the design of Richland-Chambers Reservoir, the largest lake in the Tarrant Regional Water District system, and played key roles in the creation of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Read more about Jim

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Stephanie Buckingham, C.P.T.D., P.H.R., is the Organizational Development Coordinator in Fort Worth.