NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2020) – Gary Heesaker, park contract inspector at J. Percy Priest Lake, is the Nashville District Employee of the Month for July 2020.
District leadership recognizes Heesaker for his excellent performance assisting in the overall administration of contracts for operations, maintenance, and renovations of buildings, grounds, utilities and recreation facilities. He also implements the quality assurance program for a contract valued at over $1 million supporting recreation and environmental stewardship at J. Percy Priest Lake.
The Minnesota native studied at Bemidji State University. After school, he served for six years on active duty in the U.S. Navy in the submarine service. After his military service, he worked for the Exelon Corporation at a nuclear plant holding several positions such as shift supervisor, shift manager, nuclear oversight, work week manager and cycle manager. He joined the Corps of Engineers in 2017.
Coworker David Parsons said Heesaker showed great initiative during a time in which J. Percy Priest Lake is understaffed and has had unprecedented attendance rates. In fact, he responded to 90 percent of the time-critical maintenance requests that were reported daily while continuing to perform his primary role flawlessly, Parsons noted.
“He aggressively responds to every maintenance issue that has arisen, a role which is not part of his normal job duties,” Parsons said. “This outstanding level of performance has allowed J. Percy Priest to operate during peak summer attendance with no disruption to customer service.”
Heesaker explained that the most enjoyable and challenging part of Heesaker’s job is that there is no such thing as a routine day and no day is the same as yesterday.
When asked how he felt when he learned about the award, Heesaker said, “I was very surprised since everyone here works very hard - it's an honor.”
But it is not all work for Heesaker. In his off time, he enjoys being in the outdoors and hosting friends and family who visit the Nashville area with his wife, three adult children and two grandchildren.
Greg Thomas, J. Percy Priest Lake resource manager, lauded Heesaker for doing an excellent job as the quality assurance inspector.
“Gary is a joy to work with and he always has a great attitude and gets along with everyone!” Thomas said. “He ensures that our contractors perform at the highest possible level and he goes above and beyond by performing small maintenance jobs and anything that is asked of him.”
Lt. Col. Sonny Avichal, Nashville District commander, said its an honor to recognize Heesaker as employee of the month for his commitment to the district’s mission.
“Gary’s outstanding support to the public is commendable and his determination and positive attitude combined with resourceful thinking continue to get the job done!” Avichal said. “Gary’s initiative is a huge benefit to the district.”
(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.)