USACE Galveston District celebrates Corps’ and Army’s 241th birthdays; names Employee, Engineer, Regulator and Supervisor of the Year

Published June 9, 2016

GALVESTON, Texas (June 9, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District celebrated the U.S. Army’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 241th birthdays with an awards ceremony to induct a USACE Galveston District retiree into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees, Engineer, Regulator, Supervisor, Innovator and STEM Volunteer of the Year as well as to honor staff for their contributions to the community, state and nation.

"Today we take a moment to honor the Army's and the Corps' achievements during the last 241 years and to recognize those who are making a difference in our district," said Col. Richard Pannell, commander of the USACE Galveston District. "The annual Engineer Day Awards Ceremony highlights our civilians and Soldiers' achievements in support of the Corps' mission and of our nation.” 

Among those recognized included Employee of the Year Mike Nelson; Engineer of the Year Alton Meyer III; Regulator of the Year Steven Walls and Supervisor of the Year Mike deMasi. Additionally, USACE Galveston District Retiree Fred Anthamatten was inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Employees.

Mike Nelson was recognized as the USACE Galveston District Employee of the Year.

“Mike Nelson routinely accepts difficult initiatives and sees them through to completion," said Quality Manager Colleen Chamberlain, USACE Galveston District. “His ingenuity saved the district from delayed and inaccurate navigation conversions and alignments, which would have resulted in negative cost and schedule impacts to our planning and construction navigation projects.”

Alton Meyer III began his career in federal service as a mechanical engineer in 1983. He transferred to General Engineering section in the Galveston District in June of 1985 and later to the Houston Resident Office in 1999, where he has served as a project engineer for the last 17 years.

“Al has served as a subject matter expert on all Houston Ship Channel projects,” said Resident Engineer Brandon Smolinsky, USACE Galveston District. “His historical knowledge of the channel features has aided the district in not only maintenance review work, but feasibility and design efforts in order to maintain the most efficient channel as possible.”

Steven Walls was selected as both the Southwestern Division and the USACE Galveston District’s Regulator of the Year.

“Steve has extensive knowledge of the Regulatory Program dating back to 1977, making him a valuable asset to the Corps, the public and as well as to the scientific community,” said Chief Kimberly Baggette, USACE Galveston District’s Regulatory Division. “Steve works relentlessly to protect our nation’s water resources while striving to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of the regulatory process on a daily basis and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”

Mike deMasi, chief of the Emergency Management Office, was selected as Supervisor of the Year.

"Mike deMasi's nomination package was a little unorthodox in that it came from the people he supervised,” said Maj. Woodrow Pengelly, USACE Galveston District deputy commander. “I had to concur though. Not only does Mike supervise his own people, but he manages employees across the district whenever events kick off. He projects a cool, calm demeanor in times of disaster when it is most needed."

Fred Anthamatten was recognized for his 35 years of service during the Gallery of Distinguished Employees segment of the program.

“Considered an expert in regulatory matters, he contributed substantially in developing and improving methods and procedures and teaching those methods to shape the district’s Regulatory Program; blazing the trail and setting the standard for the corps’ regulatory world,” said Baggette. “His legacy and lifetime of service preserves and protects the Texas coastal area while allowing for economic development of the region for future generations.”

According to Pannell, two new awards (Innovator of the Year and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Volunteer of the Year) were presented to Sarah Xie-DeSoto and John Davidson respectively, for their dedicated efforts to the organization.

A special acknowledgement of employees who are deployed to Afghanistan as well as those who reached five through 40 years of federal service was among the highlights of the celebration. Staff was also recognized with commander’s awards, achievement awards, certificates of achievement and appreciation as well as awards for humanitarian service and commander’s coins. Lastly, the USACE Galveston District’s Regulatory Division recognized Natalie Hubbard with the Marie C. Pattillo award and John Davidson with the Regulatory Teamwork Award.

Established in 1880, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District continues to play a key role in America’s well-being by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce and serves the nation as part of the world’s largest public engineering, design and construction management agency.

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Release no. 16-026