VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District hosted its annual Engineer’s Day awards ceremony at the district’s headquarters building in Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 25.
Employees were recognized with a variety of honorary individual and team awards, and the ceremony was broadcast to the district’s teleworking personnel via YouTube Live in order to maintain safe social distancing measures.
“Engineer’s Day is a celebration of our people and the value they provide to our district,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert A. Hilliard. “These awards recognize our personnel’s exceptional commitment to duty, service, and their personal sacrifices for the sake of our community and the USACE mission. Our district relies on their determination and hard work each day, and we are proud to honor them.”
Presented for the first time this year was the Gregory C. Raimondo Public Affairs Award, named in honor of the district’s late public affairs chief who tragically passed in 2018. As chief from 2012 to 2018, Raimondo demonstrated lasting dedication to the Army and USACE missions. His passion for service and extensive community outreach efforts made him a fixture in the Vicksburg community and a champion of the Vicksburg District.
The following employees were recognized with individual awards:
Charles Allred, Jr., Operations Division, received the STEM Employee of the Year Award for his pattern of high achievement, excellence and leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math for USACE.
Vance Austin, Operations Division, received the Park Ranger Award for his professionalism and superb communication skills while performing his duties.
Robin Blake, Engineering and Construction Division, received the Emergency Management Award for her initiative, commitment and leadership in performing and completing specialized emergency mission assignments.
Sarah Breaux, Programs and Project Management Division, was the recipient of the Engineer Award for her dedication and expertise in the engineering field.
Matthew Christy, Operations Division, received the Wage Grade Leadership Award for his pattern of excellence as a supervisor, serving as a role model for other wage-system employees and leading his team to accomplish quality, productive and safe work.
Steven Finch, Office of Counsel, received the Employee of the Year Award for his extraordinary accomplishments and excellence in contributing to the district’s mission, his outstanding demonstration of Army and USACE values and his leadership and mentorship.
Dalton Hanley, Engineering and Construction Division, and David Sanders, Operations Division, each received the Student of the Year Award for their outstanding demonstration of initiative, commitment, competence and leadership while performing duties as students for their respective offices.
Lauren Harbin, Engineering and Construction Division, was the recipient of the Administrator Award for her exceptional administrative support to the district.
Paul McMaster, Operations Division, received the Paddle Wheel Award, which recognizes an employee for excellence in specific craft and trade skills, for his outstanding performance of duties and significant support to the district’s mission and goals.
Ellen McWhirter, Operations Division, was the recipient of the Volunteer Leadership Award her dedicated leadership in planning and coordinating successful projects for the district.
Eli Polzer, Operations Division, received the Scientist Award for her outstanding performance and dedication to the USACE and district mission.
Nicholas Pritchett, Office of Counsel, was the recipient of the Professional Award for his outstanding performance of duties and dedication to the USACE and district mission.
Drew Smith, Engineering and Construction Division, received the Gregory C. Raimondo Public Affairs Award for his outstanding achievement in high-profile public service, including community relations and command information and media relations that enhance USACE’s image among partners, stakeholders and the public.
Robert Winders, Engineering and Construction, received the Commander’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Winders received this award for his significant contribution to the EEO program, assuring full opportunity in employment for all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age and physical or mental disability.
The following teams were recognized with awards for outstanding performance:
The Arkabutla Lake Wage Grade Staff, Operations Division, received the Wage Grade Team Award.
Lock and Dam personnel of the Ouachita-Black River Navigation Project, Operations Division, represented by Matthew Christy, received the Team Safety Award.
The Vicksburg District Supplemental Program Project Delivery Team, Programs and Project Management Division, represented by Dylan Jenkins, received the Team Award.
The USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.