14-052 Walla Walla District announces annual award winners

Published July 18, 2014

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Several civilian employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District were presented awards during a June 27 ceremony at the District’s headquarters. 

Jeff Lyon, an electrical engineer in the district’s Electrical Design Section, received the Public Outreach & Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education program award for coordinating National Engineers Week activities within the district and at many Walla Walla-area schools. For the past several years, Lyon led fellow Corps engineers in supporting National Engineers Week school activities, getting young people interested in what can be done with a little science and imagination.

Jeannette Wilson, a facilities and equipment manager in Operations Division, received the Quality Proponent award for her initiative and contributions to process improvements and coordination for future joint-district navigation system maintenance outage planning.

Spence Reynolds, a project engineer scheduler in Construction Branch, received the Project Management Business Process award for complex scheduling coordination and overall PMBP improvements.

Support Employee of the Year awards in two categories were presented to employees with more than 5 years of federal service who provided exemplary service, exceptional devotion to duty, and significant, broad-scope contribution of to the efficient and economical operation of the District.

-- Dave VanDewark, a supply technician in the Logistics Management Office, was honored in the pay-grade 9 and under category for his role in developing a more efficient annual property inventory process implemented across the district.

-- Stacy Wachob, a program analyst in Operations Division, was recognized in the pay-grade 10 and higher category for her contributions to budget process improvements.

Outstanding Achievement awards were presented in three categories to employees with more than 5 years of federal service who made a contribution in a career field other than engineering that resulted in material improvement in service, substantial financial or manpower savings, or in significant social or technological improvements or progress:

-- Marie Palmer, a contract performance specialist at Lower Granite Lock and Dam, was honored in the pay-grade 9 and under category for, most notably, developing an efficient process for guiding contracts through administrative requirements;

-- Mark Jones, an architect-engineer (A-E) contract coordinator in Engineering Division, was recognized in the pay-grade 10 and higher category. In addition to supporting a recent high volume of A-E contracts, he authored a new district quality-management process to ensure A-E contracting requirements were consistently performed, improving quality and efficiency.

-- Gene McDonald, a power plant mechanical planner at Lower Granite Lock and Dam, was honored in the trades-and-crafts category for coordinating numerous special projects involving hydropower and fish passage. He was also instrumental in the research and procurement of a water blaster -- a "green" alternative to sandblasting to remove paint from structures which significantly decreased waste stream and reduced the risk of a release into the environment.

Jeremy Giovando, an hydraulic engineer in Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, received the Engineering Excellence Award.  Giovando earned Engineer of the Year honors for his excellence in reservoir regulation, hydrologic studies, and engineering support to planning studies for the Walla Walla District. His most notable accomplishments include multi-agency coordination to regulate reservoirs in the region; hydrology and hydraulics modeling and analysis for the Columbia River Treaty Review, Boise River General Investigation study and Weiser River water-storage and flood-risk-management studies.

Sarah Reagan, an office automation assistant at Lucky Peak Dam and Lake, was honored as the New Employee of the Year. A first-year Pathways program employee, Reagan researched, learned and executed complicated federal rules, regulations, laws and policies through a steadfast common-sense approach, quickly assuming the additional responsibilities of an administrative officer, supporting 14 employees.

Peter Gibson, an electrical engineer, was inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees for being a leader with imagination and vision throughout his 29 years of service with the Corps. His dedication to mission excellence and mentoring staff led him to establish a centralized Power Plant Apprenticeship Program, located at McNary Lock and Dam, for the Walla Walla District’s Operations Division. This program became a model for the entire Corps of Engineers, spurring other districts to establish similar training programs. Gibson began his Corps career as an electrical engineer-in-training at McNary Lock and Dam in 1979, and many job titles and locations later, retired at McNary as operations project manager in 2008. He again answered the call to service soon after retirement to represent the District as lead negotiator during union collective bargaining negotiations over several years.   


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 14-052