John W. Keys

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John W. Keys III (1941–2008) was the director of the United States Bureau of Reclamation from 2001 to 2006.

Early life and education[edit]

Keys graduated from High School in Sheffield, Alabama. He then received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1964 and a master's degree in civil engineering from Brigham Young University in 1971. Keys also did further studies at Colorado State University.[1]


Keys first began working with the Bureau of Reclamation as a civil and hydraulic engineer in 1964. In 1986 he was appointed the Northwest Regional Director, overseeing operations in Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming. He retired from that position in 1998. For the next three years before returning as commissioner Keys spent most of his time flying his personal aircraft for humanitarian purposes.

Keys left the position of Commissioner in 2006 but was at times consulted by his successor Bob Johnson. Keys later died in a plane crash on May 20, 2008. Keys was a resident of Moab, Utah at the time of his death.


In May 2009, the pump-generating plant at the Grand Coulee Dam was renamed the John W. Keys III Pump-Generating Power Plant in honor of Keys' service.[2]


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