Chris Lannutti is a nice, easygoing guy. He comes to work every day, tries his best, communicates as clearly as possible, and asks the right questions. That’s not just a typical workday for him; it’s his philosophy.
That philosophy could be credited to Lannutti being named USACE Logistics Activity’s (ULA) “Employee of the Year” for 2021 during a recent awards ceremony at the Galveston District headquarters.
“I was very appreciative and surprised,” said Lannutti, who serves as the District’s logistics management specialist. He credited his success to the efforts of his coworkers. With the departure of a teammate in 2020 and two retirements since then, Lannutti said keeping logistics up to par has been an all-hands effort.
“Some days, it feels like we’re staying afloat, but we’re all charging forward together,” he said. “My role is to help [everyone] within the Logistics office. I have to wear all the hats and fill in when others are busy or away.”
Lannutti’s work touches every department and effects every member of the Galveston District. He does inventory accountability checks for all 67 accounts; manages the district’s property book valued at more than $25 million; disposes of excess property; and teaches and trains other employees on how to effectively—and properly—manage their property.
He said every day is different at work. Some days, he’s tagging laptops and computers. Some days, he’s washing a fleet of cars. And some days, he’s showing others how to manage their supplies and equipment.
Lannutti—as well as many of his colleagues—also attributes his most recent accomplishment to his ability to take on multiple roles and tasks at work.
He’s been performing the logistics balancing act since he joined the Corps in 2012 when he served as the transportation fleet assistant at the Albuquerque District during his first assignment. In 2014, he accepted a position as transportation officer for the Japan District. He also filled in as property book officer, facility manager, and logistics chief from time to time. In 2018, Lannutti returned to the U.S. as a supply specialist at the Galveston District where he again “wore many hats.” In early 2021, he was promoted to logistics management specialist, where he’s been ever since.
“I sort of fell into this field,” Lannutti said recalling his early plunge into logistics. Before he joined USACE, he was a U.S. Navy Sailor working in the weapons department onboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). Still a teenager, Lannutti was responsible for a few million dollars’ worth of bombs, missiles, tools, equipment, and preventive maintenance. On the ship—and in the military—he learned to account for everything placed in his charge. Failure to do so would result in dire consequences, both financial and disciplinary.
“That’s where I started getting myself organized,” he said. “Just maintaining all of that at 19 years old taught me a lot.”
After the Navy, he worked for several Walmart stores in the Corpus Christi and San Antonio areas managing high-dollar assets.
“I managed several millions of dollars of property and inventory,” he said. “I learned the skills to qualify for the transportation position at the Albuquerque District.”
“Chris’ customer service is what sets him apart,” said Travis Byrd, Galveston District’s logistics manager and Lannutti’s supervisor. “He gets a good comment on our customer surveys at least once a month.”
Many of those accolades come from Lannutti’s friendly and relatable way of talking to people, Byrd said.
Good communication skills are also a must, Lannutti said. “I try my best to communicate as clearly as possible. Many times, I find that I am speaking a different language since not everyone speaks logistics,” he said laughing. “Taking the time to clarify helps others understand how I can help them. Not every response is going to be what a person wants to hear, but I do my best to help [customers] meet their needs as close as possible.”
Byrd also attributed Lannutti’s volunteerism as a major contributor to his recognition. “He’s always volunteering for logistics emergency response missions,” Byrd said, mentioning Lannutti’s 2021 deployment to support Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. “He’s helping out volunteering not just in this office, but also across the Corps.”
“I’m just doing my job,” Lannutti said with the unassuming, honest candor that has made him a standout Galveston employee and the Corps’ top logistics person.
Lannutti also received the Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal for his accomplishments. The medal citation read: “Chris’s expertise, drive, and determination contributed to his success. His productivity allowed the logistics office to maximize its resources running several other functions while executing the mission.”