2009 Federal Engineer of the Year Award

2009 Federal Engineer of the Year Award

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Cutting-Edge Technologies in Environmental Engineering Earn 2009 Federal Engineer
Of The Year Award >>

2009 FEYA Winner

Kirankumar Topudurti, Ph.D., P.EThe FEYA winner is Kirankumar Topudurti, Ph.D., P.E. Topudurti, the deputy director of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, is internationally recognized for his contributions in environmental engineering. He has authored 38 refereed publications, presented over 50 national and international conference papers, served as environmental technology delegate to Russia and Ukraine, is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, and currently provides leadership in development and execution of a $100 million research and development program. He has advanced over 20 innovative hazardous waste treatment, sampling, and measurement technologies including implementation at over 100 hazardous waste sites. Topudurti's research has also advanced the science behind E-beam technology, which exposes contaminated water to a stream of high-energy electrons, improving system design to enhance the destruction of toxic organics and reduce overall toxicity of contaminated groundwater. He has also provided important research for aiding rapid, cost-effective cleanup of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination.

Top Finalists

Daryl R. Armentrout, Ph.D., P.E.
Daryl R. Armentrout, Ph.D., P.E.Tennessee Valley Authority
Armentrout, a senior specialist with the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville, is excelling in the third installment of a long career with TVA and currently directs a staff of engineers and technicians that provide environmental engineering services. After significant accomplishment in engineering design and construction and nuclear quality assurance, he is now committed to reducing the environmental footprint of TVA. In this capacity, Armentrout recently addressed technical aspects of the remediation projects within the Daniel Boone National Forest to manage waste issues that threaten the ecosystem and provides guidance in the monitoring design as well as the implementation of restoration services. He also possesses an unwavering commitment to the next generation of engineers, currently serving as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Tennessee College of Engineering, where he teaches Professional Development I and II to undergraduate engineering students. In addition, Armentrout serves on a distinguished board of ABET for the accreditation of civil engineering programs across the nation.

LCDR Nathan William Epling, P.E.
LCDR Nathan William Epling, P.E.Department of the Interior, National Park Service
Epling, a civil engineer with the National Park Service in Asheville, North Carolina, has an uncommonly wide range of responsibilities covering a diverse range of engineering and project management activities. These include managing water and wastewater project; designing and constructing a comprehensive inspection program for water and wastewater systems in addition to the dam inspection program in collaboration with the Bureau of Reclamation; serving on the park's NEPA/NHPA compliance team; providing design reviews of all major park construction projects; and assisting the regional Public Health Consultant in conducting concession operations inspections. An example of Epling's innovative engineering work is the design of a sewage drip drain-field system treating waste from a restaurant and large campground utilizing integrated fixed-film activated sludge treatment to insure proper wastewater treatment in a sensitive natural environment. He holds a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Mercer University and is currently completing a master's program in civil engineering at Norwich University. Epling is active in outreach and volunteer opportunities such as Engineers Without Borders, MATHCOUNTS, and Habitat for Humanity.

LDCR Darren Russell Hale, P.E.
LDCR Darren Russell Hale, P.E.Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic
Hale, a public works officer at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, is a leader in energy conservation, having spearheaded a $20 million dollar project to decentralize an installation's steam system thereby saving $2 million dollars a year. He has led extensive planning and coordination efforts for robust $164 million-dollar military construction and public-private partnership projects and over $25 million in special projects. Hale also excelled in a combat environment while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan. During his deployment he commanded 50 successful combat convoys, planned and executed construction projects for critical operational facilities, and personally mentored a Brigadier General in the Afghan Ministry of Defense Facilities Department regarding project programming and construction management promoting Afghan self-sufficiency. Hale holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas.

Farhad Memarzadeh, Ph.D., P.E.
Farhad Memarzadeh, Ph.D., P.E.Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health
Memarzadeh is the director of the Division of Technical Resources in the National Institutes of Health. He is an internationally recognized expert on biomedical research laboratories and has conducted pioneering research using advanced numerical analysis to study different aspects of infection transmission, including the interaction between the human cough and the building ventilation system. Through his research, he was able to optimize building systems to simultaneously improve energy efficiency and infection control. His innovative design approach, which will be reflected in the 2010 Health Care Guidelines, will revolutionize the construction of new isolation rooms and the renovation of existing ones. In addition to this work, Memarzadeh spearheaded the development of American National Standard Institute Standard Z9.11-Laboratory Decommissioning standard which provides the research community the first authoritative guidelines on decommissioning a research laboratory in preparation for renovation or demolition.

Nancy Jane Oliver, P.E.
Nancy Jane Oliver, P.E.U.S. Air Force, Headquarters Air Force, Office of The Civil Engineer, Programs Division
Oliver is the chief of Military Construction Policy and Analysis for the U.S. Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer and is responsible for policy oversight and analysis of a $10.6 billion military construction (MILCON) program, 914 ongoing projects at 166 Air Force bases worldwide. During a major program transition, she established critical working relationships among intra-agency stakeholders and established common goals to ensure successful program execution. Her career also includes being hand-picked by the U.S. Air Force deputy engineer to serve as the civil engineer force development panel chair for one year, responsible for crafting the force development strategy for 16,000 civilians in 49 engineering specialties. She also previously provided leadership as deputy base civil engineer at Langley Air Force Base, the number two leader and senior civilian. While in the position, the 543-person squadron overcame Hurricane Isabel damage, deployed 120+ members to Kuwait and Iraq, bedded down the first operational F-22 squadron, and was named the Air Force's number two large engineer squadron.

Craig Alan Phillips, P.E.
Craig Alan Phillips, P.E.Department of the Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
Phillips is the chief scientist and the dynamical and autonomous systems head at the Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. He has over 25 years of experience working at a very broad technical level on a variety of anti-air warfare, ballistic missile defense, fire support systems, and modeling and simulation programs. He was instrumental in developing new modeling and simulation capability to predict the effects of explosives on targets and the reaction of propellants to bullets and fragments. Phillips is currently serving as the management consultant on the follow-on Rocket Motor Warhead Impact Modeling program. He has also had significant impact on a number of critical Navy missile programs, and has led multiple teams in developing concepts for theater and area ballistic missile defense. He has achieved recognition as a missile guidance expert and his guidance algorithms have been used in a number of Navy guided projectile and missile programs.

Michael A. Stover, P.E.
Michael A. Stover, P.E.Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Indian Health Service
Stover, a design engineer consultant with the Public Health Service, Indian Health Service, has managed and designed the White Mountain Apache Tribe's (WMAT) highest priority sanitation facility over the past three years. This surface water treatment facility will divert two million gallons per day of river water and treat it via conventional treatment processes in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act to serve 10,000 residents of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Stover directly performed a large majority of the technical design including conceptual identification of facilities, calculations, construction drawing preparation and design using CAD resources. He directly managed 100 percent of the technical project management activities. His design innovatively integrated a raw water settling pond with rainfall harvesting and recycling of filter backwash water, increasing the overall efficiency of the facility and providing for the highest level of redundancy and future capacity opportunity. He was awarded the Department of Health and Human Services Green Champion Award for Energy and Water Conservation for his design.

Major Patrick C. Suermann, P.E.
Major Patrick C. Suermann, P.E.U.S. Air Force, Air Education and Training Command
Suermann is currently the national building information model standard testing team leader and doctoral candidate at the University of Florida, where he spearheaded the industry workshop BIM4Builders, which brought together world-leading engineers, architects, owners, academics and software vendors in the field of building information modeling. He also orchestrated embedded research with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at both Seattle and Louisville districts, completing a statistical analysis of the impact of their test bed BIM projects. Suermann was previously named Outstanding Academy Educator at the U.S. Air Force Academy—the highest possible teaching honor—before being selected by the Department of Defense chief architect and BIM executive committee to serve on the committee and lead the testing team. Suermann also holds the distinction of being the first-ever Rinker Scholar at the M.E. Rinker, Sr., School of Building Construction at the University of Florida.

Terry O. Woods, Ph.D., E.I.T.
Terry O. Woods, Ph.D., E.I.T.Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration
Woods, Ph.D., E.I.T., is a mechanical engineer with the Food and Drug Administration and is the lead expert on the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatibility requirements for all medical devices. In this capacity, she ensures there is a clear safety profile for all medical equipment or implants that might be seen in an MRI suite. She works internally with FDA reviewers and implant and MRI manufacturers to evaluate testing, guidance and standards. Woods was tasked by the American Society for Testing and Materials to lead the development of compatibility standards for MRI. She wrote the first safety standard and led the development of four more published standards addressing the principal safety issues of MRI. All were formally recognized by the FDA and are under consideration for adoption as global standards. As medical technology continues to evolve, Woods continues to lead working groups and standards activities to identify issues, define research, and craft standards to address new challenges. 

Sponsored by the Professional Engineers in Government, this honor is awarded to an engineer employed by a federal agency that employs at least 50 engineers worldwide. Candidates are nominated by their employing federal agency. The Federal Engineer of the Year is selected by a panel of judges established by NSPE-PEG who consider engineering achievements, education, continuing education, professional/technical society activities, NSPE membership, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities.