USA: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Announces 2013 Engineers of the Year

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Announces 2013 Engineers of the Year

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) announced the winners of its Military and Civilian Engineers of the Year Awards Jan. 14.

Lt. Cmdr. LaKeeva Gunderson from NAVFAC Far East was selected as the Military Engineer of the Year and Joshua Tomblin from NAVFAC Atlantic was selected as the Civilian Engineer of the Year for 2013.

“We are very fortunate to have a broad and deep bench of experienced and talented engineers who epitomize professionalism and the ‘Can Do’ spirit that is the foundation of our 170-year NAVFAC legacy,” said NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. Kate Gregory. “Both are exceptional representatives of the entire NAVFAC professional community, and it’s a pleasure to recognize the contributions they made to the profession of engineering, to our supported commanders, and to the communities in which they live.”

Gunderson and Tomblin will represent NAVFAC in February at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) will announce their 2013 Federal Engineer of the Year.

In her role as production officer for Commander Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, Gunderson managed the maintenance of more than 2,400 facilities, 741 personnel, the operation of all base utility systems, and 990 vehicles and 13 cranes in support of FLEACT Yokosuka.

She led innovative energy initiatives which resulted in a savings of more than $1.2 million annually and provided two percent of the base’s energy requirement. In addition, Gunderson reduced transportation costs by $215,000 per year by modifying shuttle services, eliminating low use vehicles, and implementing cost-saving changes.

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, Gunderson immediately dispatched facility assessment teams to coordinate repairs. She also led operational planning teams developing contingency plans for scenarios associated with the Fukushima nuclear reactors, and coordinated transportation for the departure of 3,400 military dependents. Due to limited Japanese power generation, she implemented more than 30 base-wide measures, working with 83 tenants to identify mission-specific measures, and led a community awareness campaign that resulted in a 25 percent energy use reduction compared to the previous summer.

“I feel appreciated and appreciative for being selected by my leadership as the Engineer of the Year,” said Gunderson. “I also feel fortunate to be able to shine the spotlight on the people within the Production Division of PWD Yokosuka. It is only because of them and the work they do on a daily basis that I am able to accept this honor.”

Tomblin performed as a structural engineer and design manager for several projects at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, greatly improving the quality of life and operational capabilities of Joint Task Force (JTF) Horn of Africa. Between January and March 2012, he led a team that developed contract solicitations with a combined estimated value in excess of $150 million for a combat aircraft loading area, parallel taxiway extension, and ammunition supply point.

Following the magnitude 7 Haiti earthquake in January 2010, Tomblin deployed for 22 days to the country in support of the JTF responsible for evaluating and repairing damaged infrastructure to cargo operations at the marine terminal in Port-Au-Prince. He developed repair concepts, developed and enforced load restrictions to allow immediate use of the facilities, provided technical support and monitored conditions during construction.

In addition, Tomblin deployed with military construction forces to Monrovia, Liberia supporting a structural failure investigation and repairs of a floating pier. He verified the structural response with an analytical model, and then coordinated the redesign of the pier.

On his own time, Tomblin lead an Engineers Without Borders team that improved potable water quality in Champai Commune, Takeo Province, Cambodia by constructing a slow-sand filter to treat up to 500 gallons per day of contaminated water, and a rain water harvesting system that captures and stores 1,000 gallons of drinking water.

“My experience has taught me that no matter where you go within NAVFAC, you will find an immensely capable individual working tirelessly to provide a service to our warfighters,” said Tomblin. “This may be my time of recognition, but there are many others equally deserving of such.”

Naval Today Staff, January 16, 2013; Image: NAVFAC