Clarence “Tex” L. Kidwell
Tex became a civil engineer after his graduation in 1957. He stayed with PSC for his entire career until 1989, at which point he continued as a firm consultant until his full retirement in 2001. During his time with PSC, Tex became a principal in the firm and worked in the El Paso office.
Tex earned respect as a part of numerous projects and the engineering societies he was involved in during his engineering career. In 1967, he was named Young Engineer of the Year by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) at a joint meeting with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a member of TSPE, Consulting Engineers Council of Texas, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Construction Specifications Institute and the El Paso Guidance Council.
He was also president of the El Paso Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers in 1967 and 1968. He received several accolades and awards including Outstanding Young Engineer, Engineer of the Year, and the Distinguished Engineer of the Foundation title in 1988 from the Texas Engineering Foundation. The culmination of his life’s work was a Fellowship Award received in August 2015 from the Texas Engineering Foundation.
In an El Paso Herald-Post article in 1973, he was interviewed after receiving the Texas Society of Professional Engineers’ Engineer of the Year designation. In accepting the award, he mentioned that his passion was to seek solutions.
“To control our biggest water pollutant, human wastes,” he said, “engineers will have to draw on all sciences and technologies from biochemistry to thermodynamics.”
Tex was a respected leader during projects. Paul McMillen, PE, designed the Clardy Fox Pump Station in El Paso under Tex’s leadership as project manager.
“I liked him – he was direct, and he was thrifty,” Paul said. “Tex was always solicitous – always made sure I had what I needed.”
Among Tex’s largest projects was addressing problems in rebuilding Downtown El Paso in 1966. Dan Knorr, PE, and former vice-president of PSC, recalled when Tex “rode the dome” during the Delta Street STP job, now known as the Haskell Street Plant, which involved revamping the headworks and covering the trickling filters.
“The Haskell Street Plant, originally Delta Street STP, had 220-foot diameter trickling filters – Dow Chemical had just gotten into aeration domes and El Paso had the largest ones – that were 50 feet off the ground, about 8 to 12 feet long and about 12 inches square that were welded into a huge structure in smaller and smaller circles. They resembled igloos. Tex was in the middle of one of them 50 feet up in the air and it collapsed; he rode it down to the ground.”
Dan said this event gave birth to a new saying in the office circles. “We always said, ‘If something fails, you better stand next to Kidwell, because he always survives.’”