FEYA Winner Reflects on Career Accomplishments
Major Justin Delorit, Ph.D., P.E., garnered NSPE’s top award for federal engineers at a ceremony at the National Press Club on February 22. One of ten worthy finalists for the 2019 Federal Engineer of the Year Award, Delorit was named for his work as the deputy base civil engineer at the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
A member of the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, Delorit leads a team of 324 military and American and Korean civilian engineers. He directs the Air Force’s largest airfield construction program in the Pacific, which includes a $160 million initiative building protected structures for arming and refueling the fleet of F-16s at Kunsan Air Base.
Delorit, having seen the accomplishments of previous award finalists and winners, considers this award one of his greatest career recognitions, and one that validates the work and efforts of the men and women in his squadron.
“As I have come back and people have congratulated me, I tend to shift or deflect the focus away from myself and more to the fact that my role is to be the integrator of information and tell all of the stories of the work that folks are doing,” Delorit adds, “from the youngest airmen turning wrenches on HVAC systems or pouring concrete, all the way up to our flight chiefs and commanders who are managing these large programs.”
The award, Delorit says, is one that he thinks can be extrapolated to propel engineers outside of the military and public sector, pointing to the achievements of past FEYA winners who have gone on to long, fulfilling careers in academia and in the private sector.
“Based off some of my long-term goals to get into academia, I have always had my eye on this award because it was a place that I saw great engineers applying and being recognized every year.”
After receiving the award, he discussed the potential impact that engineers can have in growing the next generation of industry and agency leaders.
“We’ve all certainly discovered something we’re good at, we have all worked really hard to find that,” Delorit said, “and I think the challenge moving forward is to learn to give that away to the next crop of engineers that are going to be involved in federal service.”
In his keynote speech prior to the award presentation, Rear Admiral Edward Dieser, P.E., spoke about the role of the profession in society and encouraged engineers to face challenges head-on, while echoing the theme of this year’s Engineers Week.
“Humanity will continue to face new and recurring issues,” says Dieser, who is the chief engineer officer of the Public Health Service. “In America we face the test of aging infrastructure and healthcare. Innovative engineering will more likely hold the solutions rather than policy, and I believe as engineers and engineers of the future, we will meet these challenges to ‘invent amazing.’”
LEFT: ATTENDEES TURN PAPARAZZI AT THE CEREMONY. RIGHT: IN HIS KEYNOTE SPEECH, REAR ADMIRAL EDWARD DIESER, P.E., CHIEF ENGINEER OFFICER OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ENCOURAGED ENGINEERS TO FACE CHALLENGES HEAD-ON AND “INVENT AMAZING.”