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Another Year of Excellence as IWR Celebrates with Awards

Published March 5, 2020
The Scientific / Technical Award of Excellence recognized the Mosul Dam Bottom Outlet Plunge Pool, a team effort led by Mr. Mike Phillips from IWR’s Risk Management Center (RMC).  Shown here are Mike Phillips and Bill Empson with Sal Todaro and the Iraqis at the Mosul Dam, Iraq (2019)

The Scientific / Technical Award of Excellence recognized the Mosul Dam Bottom Outlet Plunge Pool, a team effort led by Mr. Mike Phillips from IWR’s Risk Management Center (RMC). Shown here are Mike Phillips and Bill Empson with Sal Todaro and the Iraqis at the Mosul Dam, Iraq (2019)

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR) recognized team members for stellar performances during calendar year 2019 at its monthly Town Hall on February 27, 2020.  IWR Director Dr. Joe Manous recognized employees and teams from all IWR’s centers for their work in support of the USACE mission.  Dr. Manous remarked, “The level of exemplary achievement this past year was remarkable and reflects the skill and dedication of not only those being recognized today, but all USACE employees who contributed to these achievements”.

The Scientific / Technical Award of Excellence recognized the Mosul Dam Bottom Outlet Plunge Pool, a team effort led by Mr. Mike Phillips from IWR’s Risk Management Center (RMC).  The plunge pool below the Mosul Dam bottom outlet experienced extensive erosion requiring a complete redesign.  A key component of the redesign solution was the inclusion of an innovative dentated flip bucket to reduce erosion.  The design team applied a 3D-CFD model to better predict the reduction in erosive energy and optimize the design.  The dentates were successfully commissioned in January 2019, showing significantly increased aeration and jet trajectory (less erosive energy).

The Team of the Year Award recognized the Mekong River Commission Sustainable Development Team, led by Dr. Guillermo Mendoza from IWR’s National Capital Region (NCR) office.  The team contributed significantly to recent improvements in cooperation between counties along the lower Mekong River for the management of shared water resources.  Working through USACE’s Pacific Ocean Division, the work assisted in building partnerships with the riparian countries, the U.S. Department of State, and stakeholder groups to produce multiple Shared Vision Planning (SVP) tools and deliver technical training.

The Product of the Year Award acknowledged the Regulatory Training Program Modernization and Delivery, which was greatly assisted by members of IWR’s National Capital Region (NCR) office regulatory team.  This Regulatory Training Program produced innovative approaches and cost-effective management of training for USACE regulators across USACE.  This is the first standardized regulatory training program to be implemented by USACE and was designed to address an important Civil Works issue – consistency in application of the Regulatory Program across the Nation.

The Business / Administrative Support Award of Excellence went to Ms. Kristy Riley from IWR’s Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) for her outstanding contributions as a Project Manager and management of contracting actions.  During 2019, Kristy also earned her Project Management Professional certification.   Ms. Riley has proven a positive, professional, and caring person as she steadfastly seeks workable solutions to complex challenges.

The Leadership and Mentoring Award of Excellence was awarded to Dr. Mark Sudol from the NCR.  Dr. Sudol demonstrated exceptional and effective leadership and mentorship while serving as Director of the Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center (NDC) during 2019.  In addition, his support to the Civil Works Business Intelligence (CWBI) program was instrumental in achieving significant advances in the operability and applicability of this initiative.  Mark has been successful in setting strategic direction and following up on that direction through effective communication skills and care for team members.  He has made a lasting impression on stakeholders and effectively shaped USACE data delivery.

The Employee of the Year Award acknowledged the numerous contributions of Ms. Dawn Palma from HEC.  Dawn demonstrated leadership, integrity, and perseverance during a significant transition of HEC staff, while effectively sustaining operations to support the HEC mission.  Due unexpected personnel losses, Ms. Palma personally assumed responsibility for three additional positions that included budgeting, financial analysis, and program management, while continuing her normal duties as Chief Administrative Officer and supervisor.  Her expertise with hiring actions and personnel management were successful in filling these positions quickly.  Dawn also managed a number of significant additional duties that include the HEC safety program, cyber security readiness, and facilities management.  Ms. Palma was an inspiration to the entire organization through her skill, perseverance, and dedication.

The Special Act of the Year is not an annual award, but applied only when special recognition is appropriate.  This Special Act recognizes Mr. Bill Empson from RMC, who through dedication, leadership, and extraordinary contributions successfully served as USACE’s lead engineer in support of the Mosul Dam rehabilitation.  Through multiple extended deployments to Iraq, Bill demonstrated technical expertise and leadership as he advised the Iraqi government, on-site contractor, and various U.S. Government organizations on the effort.  Mr. Empson is the epitome of a civil engineer and USACE employee and well deserves this Special Act recognition.

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