USACE teammates win Black Engineer of the Year Awards
By Bernard Tate
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters
WASHINGTON — Four people with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been honored with Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA). They received the awards during the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Conference Feb. 16-18 in Philadelphia.
Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell, officer-in-charge of the Iraq Area Office for Middle East District (MED), received the Professional Achievement in Government award for his leadership as the Nashville District commander.
Tamika McDowell, a project engineer in MED's Qatar Area Office, received a Modern-Day Technology Leaders award for work performed while with Wilmington District.
Cedric Bazemore, a project engineer with the Engineering and Construction Division in Japan District, received the Most Promising Engineer in Government award.
Henry Dulaney, chief of Engineering and Construction Division in Vicksburg District, received Career Achievement in Government award.
The conference, sponsored by the Career Communication Group, Inc. (CCG), promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in high schools, and encourages high school students to consider technical fields as careers.
The conference also recognizes outstanding accomplishments in STEM in industry, education, and government in three major areas:
- The Black Engineer of the Year award, which is presented to individuals in more than two dozen categories, such as career achievement, lifetime achievement, most promising engineer, outstanding technical contribution and professional achievement.
- Special recognition awards, which were presented to 16 individuals.
- Modern-Day Technology Leaders, with more than 200 recognized.
Lt. Col. Anthony Mitchell
As Nashville District commander from July 2009 through June 2011, Mitchell was responsible for water resources development and waterways operations in the Cumberland and Tennessee River basins, covering 59,000 square miles across seven states. His position required significant community involvement and public participation as the district prepared to rehabilitate Wolf Creek Dam.
During the May 2010 flood in Nashville, Mitchell led the district team in implementing water control measures. This reduced the flooding on the Cumberland and the lower Ohio Rivers, saving millions of dollars in property damages.
"I wanted the district team to know that I was there with them, weathering the storm and handling adversity," Mitchell said. "I wanted to exemplify what Martin Luther King Jr. said -- 'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.'"
In three years with USACE, McDowell is pursuing her dream to establish a career in the construction industry. Before joining the Qatar Area Office as a project engineer, she served as an office engineer and contract administrator for the Special Operations Command Resident Office at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Tamika came on board as a new federal employee and quickly learned and applied our USACE change management and contract administration processes," said Vernon Crudup, resident engineer for Military Construction in the Qatar Area Office. McDowell also worked for Crudup at Fort Bragg. "She took on these responsibilities in one of the most demanding construction field offices in Wilmington District, managing more than 10 MILCON projects and more than 25 OMA (operations and maintenance-Army) task orders annually for a demanding customer."
"Normally, these functions are performed by a GS-12, but Tamika took them on as a GS-11," Crudup added. "It was one of the toughest assignments that could be given, and she performed exceedingly well."
Her team was focused on streamlining office engineering functions to manage more than $200 million in workload in the Fort Bragg office. Her nomination said that she exceeded the milestones set to accomplish construction modifications by 25 percent.
Bazemore was selected as one of the nation's most promising government engineers from nominees worldwide. The Most Promising Engineer in Government is an engineer who is early (3-10 years) in his career and demonstrates "tremendous potential for future contributions."
Bazemore was nominated by Kellis Nobles, chief of Construction Branch at Japan District, and endorsed by Catheren Gill, chief of the district's Engineering and Construction Branch. Nobles wrote, "I have personally witnessed and have been impressed by his many accomplishments as a project engineer and leader, and his potential for added responsibility is exceptional."
Vicki Gatlin was a project engineer in the USACE Fort Bragg Area Office when Bazemore worked there as a student on a semester-on/semester-off schedule.
"Cedric was truly a diamond in the rough," said Gatlin, now the senior project manager for the Installation Support Team in Savannah District. "I had the pleasure of mentoring him when he first started working for USACE. His first day on the job I sat him down and gave him some big sister advice. He was receptive and immediately implemented my advice. Cedric proved to be a good listener, hard worker, very dependable, and hungry to learn. I was excited to hear about his prestigious award, and I know he will continue to shine as he soars to the top. I am blessed to have Cedric as a friend."
Dulaney called receiving the award "a great experience. Not just the award, but networking with people; a lot of them experts in their fields. It was a well-attended conference. There were about 10,000 people."
He had worked for the Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) during high school and college, which led to him becoming an engineer. After college Dulaney worked for Proctor & Gamble, but his experience with ERDC brought him back to USACE. "The Corps works for the greater good, and they shared the same values I did."
Dulaney hopes that news of his award will help encourage students to consider engineering or a technical field.
"I hope they will see that it's a field where you can be successful and help others," he said. "It's a very good field, and you can make an impact for good. I enjoy what I do."
(Joan Kibler of Middle East District, Todd Lyman of Japan District, and John Surratt of the "Vicksburg Post" contributed to this article.)