NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2020) – The Nashville District recognized its newest professional engineers during a ceremony today as part of National Engineers Week activities.
One by one the three engineers who received their professional licenses affixed nameplates onto the “Registered Professional Personnel” board as a record of achievement.
The inductees are Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander, passed his PE exam in the state of Virginia in April 2019; Kelley Philbin, hydraulic engineer, passed her PE exam in the state of Alabama in October 2019; and Stephen M. Salaman, structural engineer, passed his exam in the state of Tennessee in October 2019. Salaman could not attend the ceremony, so his supervisor, Cory Morgan, accepted the honor of placing his nameplate.
Joseph M. Savage, Regional Business director at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended and commented about the importance of recognizing professional accreditation.
“One of the things that I’ve really come to appreciate about professional registration is how significant this is to everyone we interact with,” Savage said. “If we want to be the nation’s engineer that the chief talks about, and to tackle the nation’s toughest engineering challenges, it’s essential that we have the professional workforce, not just with the skillsets, but the credibility, the letters behind our name that represent that level of professional excellence.”
Savage said his hat is off to those being honored and everyone else across all career fields who hold to a high standard in representing the Corps of Engineers.
Avichal, Philbin and Salaman each passed the Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination to become a professional licensed engineer. The exhausting eight-hour exam tested their knowledge for a minimum level of competency in the engineering discipline.
Ben Rohrbach, Nashville District Engineering and Construction Division chief, said this is the second year the Nashville District has honored professional engineers during National Engineers Week, something he intends to continue.
“It demonstrates a lot of initiative and care for the craft for our organization and our profession,” Rohrbach said.
Philbin, who works in the Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch, said becoming a professional engineer was always a goal and part of her personal development plan, and she studied every night and weekend for months leading up to the exam.
“I’m glad I did it. It was really tough,” Philbin said. “It takes a lot of concentration and patience, but it was well worth it.”
She said she graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and minor in civil engineering. She worked at the New York District for about four years before joining the Nashville District a year and a half ago.
Philbin added that the PE license may help her climb the ladder in the organization when the time is right, but right now she is just focused on gaining experience, learning and personal growth.
The “Registered Professional Personnel” board also recognizes professional geologists, doctorates of jurisprudence, GIS professionals, licensed land surveyors, real estate appraisers, and project management professionals.
Salaman works in the Structural Section of the Civil Design Branch and holds bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in structural engineering from Tennessee Tech University.
Morgan noted that Salaman currently serves as the Nashville District’s Bridge Safety Program manager, is the dam safety structural engineer for Old Hickory Lock and Dam, and is completing structural design projects for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project and Operations Division.
The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.