Deborah H. Lee

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Ms. Deborah Lee is the director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). With a staff of nearly 130 federal, cooperative institute and contract employees and visiting scientists, NOAA-GLERL and its partners conduct integrated scientific research on the Great Lakes and coastal ecosystems; develop and transition products and services; and share knowledge and information to advance NOAA’s goals of science, service and stewardship. As director of GLERL, and a member of the federal Senior Executive Service, Ms. Lee serves as the laboratory’s leader, providing guidance through conceptual development, implementation, and management of integrated, interdisciplinary scientific research and communications programs. In addition to her role as director of GLERL, Ms. Lee serves as NOAA's Regional Team Lead for the Great Lakes, facilitating collaboration across a network of more than 800 NOAA employees and partners representing the agency’s diverse capabilities across the region.

To her position at GLERL, Ms. Lee brings 30 years of professional experience in water resources research and management at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA. Prior to her current assignment, she served as the Chief of Water Management for the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 2001 to 2014. In that role, she directed lower Ohio and Mississippi River flood control and oversight of Great Lakes regulation. During that time, she served a detail as the Acting Regional Business Director and Dam and Levee Safety Officer from July 2013 to July 2014. Ms. Lee is a licensed professional engineer, certified professional hydrologist, and Past President of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. She has received multiple awards, including three Superior Civilian Service Awards, certificates of appreciation from the International Joint Commission and the Mississippi River Commission, International Joint Commission Award of Merit for Professional Contribution, and most recently, the 2017 NOAA Research Inclusion and Diversity Award. Ms. Lee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from The Ohio State University and completed post-graduate civil and environmental engineering studies at the University of Michigan.


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