The Next Federal Engineer of the Year

When Dr. Lisa Fotherby, P.E., won NSPE’s2010 Federal Engineer of the Year Award, she was beside herself. She, out of the more than 96,000 engineers employed by the federal government according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was being recognized for her work

“You have this feeling that there are so many other good people around you, but you’re astonished that you get to be recognized,” she says.

Another engineer will soon feel that recognition. NSPE will name its 32nd Federal Engineer of the Year on February 24. This year’s finalists come from three branches of the military, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Department of Agriculture.

Fotherby says the award was more than a welcomed acknowledgement of her commitment to engineering principles: It brought attention to her work at the Department of Interior’sBureau of Reclamationfinding environmentally-oriented solutions for river restoration. This year’s FEYA should look forward to similar attention, she says.

The 2011 nominees are:

Gordon S. Bjorkman, Jr., Ph.D.,P.E.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards—Bjorkman, a senior level advisor for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has spearheaded a number of industry-wide accomplishments over the past three years in support of the safe storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel.

MAJ Scott M. Breece, P.E.
U.S. Air Force
Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe (HQ USAFE)—Breece, chief of readiness operations for the Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, recently acted as lead programs engineer for Special Operations Command Central, the base for Special Operations Forces, which involved overseeing the design and construction of new facilities for command’s headquarters.

Angela L. DeSoto-Duncan, P.E.
U.S. Department of the Army
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—DeSoto-Duncan is chief of technical support for the Hurricane Protection Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She is working as design lead for the $1.3 billion Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier, the largest design-build civil works project in the history of the Corps of Engineers and the largest surge barrier of its kind.

CDR G. Scott Gesele, P.E.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard—Gesele, chief of facilities engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the structures on the 103-acre campus. He provided strategic guidance to the academy’s many previously uncoordinated sustainability initiatives, focusing their efforts, which included increasing the amount of waste recycled and installing two “cool” roofs, among other projects.

Daryl Hammond, Ph.D., P.E.
U.S. Air Force
Headquarters Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency—Hammond spearheaded a $1.2 million design-build project at the MacDill Air Force Base in Florida; resolved electrical problems in the power plant at the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska; led a project to install and evaluate state-of-the-art surge protection and harmonic filtering devices; and developed new curriculum and lesson plans for an electrical power systems course at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

LTC Robert F. Hynes, Ph.D., P.E.
U.S. Department of the Army
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—Hynes, deputy commander of the Far East District for the Army Corps of Engineers, has been involved in management of U.S. and humanitarian interests globally. As the chief of the Mosul office in Iraq from 2008–09, Hynes managed a team of over 100 employees dedicated to the reconstruction of the country.

Randal L. Petty, P.E.
Tennessee Valley Authority—Petty, a senior project manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority, has twenty years of civil engineering experience providing innovative solutions in the water resource, electric generation and transmission, and waste environments. Petty recently directed efforts to engineer and construct a major transmission infrastructure project comprising a new substation, an expansion of an existing substation, and construction of over 60 miles of transmission lines.

Vincent P. Sobash, P.E.
U.S. Department of the Navy
Naval Facilities Engineering Command—Sobash, emergency management program specialist for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command within the U.S. Navy, is an expert in contingency engineering and disaster response, and he ensures disaster readiness for a 3,500-person organization both at home and in support of worldwide relief efforts. He deployed with the Joint Task Force following the Haiti earthquake and worked in many ways to aid the country.

CDR Machelle Vieux, P.E.
U.S. Department of the Navy
Naval Facilities Engineering Command—Vieux, a public works officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command within the U.S. Navy, serves as base engineer for a $2.2 billion air facility. This facility has water, industrial, and sewer treatment plants, as well as electrical grids and substations, all of which support a base population of 12,000 personnel living on the west coast homeport.

Jerry D. Walker, P.E.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service—Walker, an agriculture engineer for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides leadership on the issues of water quality, irrigation, and drainage. Walker has conducted or coordinated training of over 400 federal and nonfederal engineers and technicians over the last three years, in a wide range of water management or irrigation topics, including system planning, design, management, evaluation and operation, and troubleshooting, thereby significantly improving agency capacity.

NSPE will name it’s finalist at an awards luncheon 12:30 p.m. February 24 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Invited guests include all nominees and their agency heads or commanders; leaders from engineering associations; members of Congress and their staff; members of the judging panel; and local media and journalists. Tickets are $60 per person. For more information about the FEYA program or to order tickets, contact Erin Reyes at, or visit theFEYA Web page.

Published February 7, 2011 by NSPE

Filed under: Federal Engineer of the Year,

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