Deputy District Engineer for Programs & Project Management

Elizabeth (Liza) R. Wells, P.E.

Portland District
Published Jan. 9, 2023

Liza Wells is the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management and the Senior Civilian for the Portland District. She assumed this position in May 2021.

The Portland District has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and diversified civil works programs. Covering most of Oregon and southwestern Washington, Portland District is operating locks and dams along the Columbia River, managing dams in the Willamette Valley for flood risk management, maintaining Oregon’s coastal rivers for navigation, and leading the nation in hydropower generation, all while ensuring equal attention is placed on environmental protection and restoration, fish and wildlife enhancement, and recreation. A Corps Center of Expertise, the Hydroelectric Design Center, is co-located within the Portland District.

In this position, Ms. Wells provides district leadership in establishing and maintaining processes to manage the scope, quality, cost, budget and schedules of all district projects. She oversees and directs all civil works programs management activities, including program and budget development, preparation for Congressional testimony, oversight of program execution and reprogramming actions. Further, she is responsible for all civil works planning functions for the district, including plan formulation, economics, and environmental resources.

Prior to joining the federal service, Ms. Wells worked as a hydraulic engineer, project manager, and engineering supervisor in the consulting engineering industry for 13 years. During this time, she modeled, designed, and tested operational and structural fish passage and water quality improvements for hydropower facilities, water supply projects, and environmental restoration projects.

Ms. Wells began her service with the Portland District in September 2009 as a hydraulic engineer in the Hydraulic Design Section. Since then, she has served in various roles in the Engineering and Construction Division: as Chief, Hydraulic and Coastal Design Section; Chief, Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch; and most recently, Chief of Engineering and Construction Division, responsible for planning, design, and construction for civil works projects such as dams and navigation locks, flood and erosion control facilities, marine structures, and fish passage facilities.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is a registered professional engineer in the state of Washington. Ms. Wells is married with two children and enjoys sewing and outdoor activities such as gardening, walking, and sailing.