The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Galveston District (SWG) held its Fiscal Year 2023, 4th Quarter Army Professional Awards Ceremony and Townhall at the Jadwin Building in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 7, 2023. More than 100 District employees attended the ceremony and townhall in person, and many more attended virtually.
Col. Rhett Blackmon, USACE, SWG commander, presented dozens of awards to District team members for their work during the 4th Quarter.
“I want to recognize the supervisors who have done the work to acknowledge folks’ contributions,” Blackmon said. “It really does mean a lot to the organization to recognize people. There’s so much work to be done, and so much of it is worthy of being acknowledged, thank you.”
Blackmon began the ceremony by giving commander’s coins to several District employees for their stand-out efforts during the fourth quarter. Honoring someone with a commander’s coin is a way for the district commander to show their appreciation for a phenomenal job. More than just a ‘thank you’ or a pat on the back, the commander’s coin is something tangible to remember the occasion. Recognized were:
For Assisting with the Corps Day Recreation Committee
Other awardees included:
The commander then presented Certificates of Achievement to the following:
Roham Bakhtyar, for contributions as a hydrologist with the Water Management Section and the development of a Real Time Simulation model used to support local water control and emergency management operations for Corpus Christi.
Brianca Banks, for contributions as a Contracting Officer Representative for the Engineering Branch, Architectural-Engineer/Value Engineering section.
Katherine Bidot, for contributions as a member of a multi-disciplinary team that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
Leticia Brown-Secci, for contributions as a Program Analyst to the Programs and Project Management Branch, she provided exceptional support to her team and mentored fellow analysts.
Ernest Fonyuy, for the development of a water management website to communicate information to the public about Addicks and Barker Reservoirs.
Jennifer Galindo, for pursuing her doctorate at Lamar Univ. with an emphasis in sediment transport modeling, and presenting her work titled, “The Assessment of Sediment Deposition at the Port of Port Arthur Using the HEC-RAS Model."
Anastasia Hollman, for exceptional support of her team. She assisted junior analysts and provided back up support to Mega Projects. She improved a presentation of sound financial information and account balancing to non-Federal sponsor and partner, the Port of Houston, which will be used as the model for all cost share accounting communication going forward for the District.
Seth Jones, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
Sara Knoll, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
MaryBeth Parker, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
Kimberly Reynolds, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
Lucille Smith, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
Angela Vaughn, for contributions to a multi-disciplinary team to include Schedulers, Operations Managers, Program Analysts, and Contracting Specialist that developed a new Operations and Maintenance P6 template to better meet the needs of Project Delivery Teams.
The commander then presented “On-The-Spot” cash awards to the following Champions:
David Besikoff, for contributions as a Program Analyst for the Programs and Project Management Branch. Mr. Besikoff provided exceptional support to his team. He quickly learned the Resource Item Funding Form (RIFF)/Work Item Funding Form (WIFF) process and trained other team members on the process, contributing to a smooth transition to the new process.
Paige Duhon, SWG Engineering & Construction Division, Port Arthur Resident Office (PARO), Engineering Group, was recognized for her work to author plans and specs for the annual maintenance dredging contract on the Sabine-Neches Waterway. She worked tirelessly with management, internal and external stakeholders to successfully support acquisition for the procurement of dredging services on the waterway.
Lesa Prokopchak for her many contributions to the success of the Galveston District. In addition to her daily workload, she volunteered for the recreation committee and offered assistance to other organizations including escorting VIP guests in the building, loaning supplies, welcoming new team members all over the District to ensure they feel included and taking extra time to give hands on training to other newer administrative support team members in the District.
Jose Vargas, for support as a Government Purchase Card (GPC) cardholder for the Galveston Resident Office, he assisted the Galveston Resident Office and Hydrographic Survey Section by making required purchases when the offices didn't have a GPC cardholder, while exercising his regular duties. Due to Jose’s arduous efforts, these offices were able to obtain the resources required to perform their mission.
John Walden, for achievement as a Survey Party chief for the La Porte Survey Office, he contributed to the Galveston District by developing a survey feature definition library to use the U.S. Army Environment Center (AEC) coding standards to streamline data processing in the Computer-Aided Design Drafting environment while exercising his regular duties. The District will be able to process surveys more efficiently due to John’s arduous efforts.
The commander then presented several employees time off awards to include:
James “Cody” Spencer
Col. Blackmon then presented the Civilian Service Achievement Medal to Patricia Delmas, for achievement as an acting section chief for the Engineering Branch, Architectural-Engineer(A-E)/Value Engineering section. She exceeded the section expectations during her tenure by awarding one of the District’s largest A-E actions of $29 million. She actively generated the required documents and provided the necessary support to help award the Sabine to Galveston, Orange Soil Subsurface Investigation task order.
Ancelmo Galindo, was then recognized with the Civilian Service Commendation Medal for commendation as an Architectural-Engineer(A-E), Contracting Officer Representative for the A-E/Value Engineering section. He exceeded the section expectations by constantly volunteering to help the A-E/V-E section meet mission critical deadlines. He actively revamped the A-E/VE Independent Government Estimate template, helped create huge cost comparison tables and helped train staff on geotechnical Low Price Technically Acceptable award procedures, all while still successfully completing his DA intern duties in other sections within the District.
The commander then recognized Gretchen Brown with the Dept. of the Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal for outstanding performance managing the Gulf Intracoastal Water Way Coastal Resilience Study, the Hickory Cove Marsh Section 1122 pilot study, and the Mary Rhodes CAP study. During the period of Jan. 1, 2023, through April 30, 2023. Ms. Brown led the project delivery teams through the final review, vertical coordination and alignment, and final submittal of these three study reports. Ms. Brown's persistence and skill directly led to the on time, on budget delivery of these studies.
The commander then recognized two Army professionals as Heroes of the Week: Jennifer Galindo and Jimmy Shaw. Heroes of the Week are recognized for going above and beyond to accomplish District missions.
Next up was recognition for Army professionals who reached a career milestone.
Recognized for completing their first year of federal service were:
Recognized for completing five years of federal service were:
Recognized for 10 years of service:
Jennifer Ramos Ortiz
Recognized for 15 years of service:
Recognized for 20 years of service:
Recognized for 30 years of service:
Recognized for 35 years of service:
Recognized for 40 years of service:
To close the ceremony, the District then recognized Janice Campbell, who will retire from federal service later this month.
The Award ceremony was followed by a District Townhall meeting.