March 2016 Meeting

Monday, March 14, 2016
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
J.L Goins Administration Building, Faculty-Staff Dining Room (Next to Cafeteria)


Promote STEM As A Living STEM-Historian

Barry Thacker, P.E.
Schnabel Engineering, LLC
Knoxville, Tennessee


How can we motivate the best and brightest K-12 students in Tennessee to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)? Try killing two birds with one stone: Teach aspects of the new Tennessee education standards for American History to 5th, 8th, and 11th graders as a STEM character who lived it. Barry Thacker, P.E., will demonstrate how it’s done by portraying David R. Thomas, a mining engineer who played a key role during the Coal Creek Labor Saga. Hear first-hand accounts from the Coal Creek War, the Great Fraterville Mine Explosion of 1902, and the Cross Mountain Mine Explosion and Rescue of 1911. Learn how Engineer Thomas helped preserve Welsh literature in America during the time when it was illegal to even speak the Welsh language in Great Britain. Amanda Hara from WVLT Channel 8 News produced a story about bringing Coal Creek history back to life. Who knows, maybe this presentation will motivate geologists from ETGS to portray John Wesley Powell or Florence Bascom in a K-12 classroom setting.


Barry K. Thacker, PE, is a principal at Schnabel Engineering in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is also the founder of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit watershed-restoration group. Mr. Thacker holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in civil engineering from the University of Louisville. He is a recipient of the prestigious Hoover Medal bestowed by an international consortium of engineering societies, the joint GBA/ASCE Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award, and the Governor’s Outstanding Tennessean Award. McGraw-Hill’s Engineering News-Record magazine named Barry one of construction’s top-25 newsmakers in 2013.


Page updated May 26, 2018