Major Justin Delorit, Ph.D., P.E., admitted that in addition to being humbled as the National Society of Professional Engineers’ 2019 Federal Engineer of the Year, he was also overcome by another feeling.
“I just got off the plane from South Korea, so I’m a little jet lagged,” he told an audience at the 40th Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 22.
There would be no rest for the winner, however, as Major Delorit needed to board another flight returning to South Korea following the ceremony. He had hoped to spend some time at home during his stateside trip, but his work at the Kunsan Air Base in the Republic of Korea required him to return to his post immediately.
It was this work, among his many accomplishments and contributions in the engineering field, that earned Major Delorit the prestigious honor. Delorit credited his wife and two daughters, his mentor, and his commander for their support throughout his pursuit of a career in engineering.
His responsibilities in Korea include leading a 324-member team of military, American, and Korean civilian engineers in executing a $910 million design and construction program. More specifically, he directs the Pacific Air Forces’ largest airfield construction program, a $160 million initiative that builds protected structures for simultaneous arming and refueling of Kunsan’s F-16 fleet. Through his previous doctoral research addressing water scarcity challenges, Delorit created predictive frameworks that provide water users vital information to make proactive, economically sound, and environmentally conscious water resources decisions that align with existing institutional barriers.
Delorit holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University, and his master’s in engineering management from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is a member of numerous organizations including NSPE, the Society of American Military Engineers, the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, and the American Society of Civil Engineers – Environmental and Water Resources Institute.
His civic and humanitarian activities include leading an annual community cleanup in Evansville, Wisconsin, providing free site design services for a community dog park, volunteering as a water resources ambassador with the Clean Lake Alliance, and volunteering in liturgical services on base and in his hometown.
“We’ve all certainly discovered something that we’re good at,” Delorit said after he was named the winner. “We’ve all worked really hard to refine that [talent], and I think the challenge moving forward is to learn to give that away to the next crop of engineers who are going be involved in federal service.”
A panel of judges established by NSPE’s Professional Engineers in Government selects the FEYA winner. Hailing from various federal agencies, departments, and military branches, the nominated engineers are evaluated based on factors such as engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. For more information about the program or how to submit nominations for 2020, contact Erin Garcia-Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-684-2884.