Red River Valley Water Supply Project

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Ken Vein has worked on many historic projects over the course of his careers in engineering and public service. During his time as the Grand Forks City Engineer and Public Works Director, he fought the historic flood of 1997 and helped plan the recovery from the natural disaster. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he has worked on drought mitigation as a consulting engineer and through his seat on the Grand Forks City Council, as well as his service on two prominent North Dakota water boards.

K.Vien 2023Ken was first elected to the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District Board of Directors (Garrison Diversion) in 2004. Over the years, he has served as the Garrison Diversion Chair and Vice Chair. He currently Chairs the Garrison Diversion Red River Valley Committee. In 2012, he was elected to his first term on the Grand Forks City Council. The Council seat led to Ken becoming the City’s appointed representative on the Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) Board of Directors, where he currently serves as Vice Chair.

Garrison Diversion and LAWA are the co-sponsors of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP), a drought mitigation project that will serve up to 50% of North Dakota’s population when it is constructed. “The importance of Garrison Diversion and LAWA coming together to accomplish drought resiliency for central and eastern North Dakota cannot be understated,” says Ken.

Grand Forks is among the three largest end users of the RRVWSP. Due to his City Council seat and serving on the LAWA and Garrison Diversion Boards, Ken has a unique 360-degree perspective on the project that he has helped shape since its very beginning.

“The need for an emergency water source has been recognized since the time of North Dakota’s statehood. There have been several unsuccessful attempts until the Red River Valley Water Supply Project found its footing,” he explains. “The progress we’re seeing now is unprecedented. It’s truly gratifying to see construction moving forward and witness this historic project come to fruition.”

In addition to his considerable public service duties, Ken is part of yet another historic and high-profile North Dakota project. Since 2019, he has been the Director of Design and Construction for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Construction began this summer in Medora and is expected to be complete in time to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the United States on July 4, 2026.

When he’s not working on the Presidential Library or promoting the RRVWSP, Ken enjoys riding his motorcycle, four-wheeling, riding bike, and spending time at the family lake cabin. He and his wife, Debra, have two sons. The couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2023, a milestone celebration to go along with Ken’s many professional accomplishments.