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IWR Welcomes Dr. Pfenning as New Deputy Director

Published Aug. 8, 2019
Pfenning, Mike photo

Pfenning, Mike photo

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA.  The Institute for Water Resources (IWR) welcomes the new Director of the National Capital Region (NCR) office, Dr. Michael F. Pfenning.  In his role as Director of the NCR, Dr. Pfenning also serves as the Deputy Director of IWR.  As such, Dr. Pfenning oversees a multi-disciplinary center that includes international programs, navigation, flood risk management, regulatory, and natural resources management.  These programs support USACE’s Civil Works (water resources) missions through water resources planning, policy and decision-support model development, as well as training and national/international interface with academia, professional societies, and non-government organizations.  

Prior to becoming NCR Director, Mike Pfenning was the Program Manager for Water Security at IWR while stationed at the USACE Europe District’s Central Area Office in Sembach, Germany. As IWR’s Program Manager supporting the North Atlantic Division’s (NAD’s) International Water Security Program in the Europe and Africa regions, he provided program management experience, leadership, and interagency collaboration in support of the water security programs of USACE’s key regional stakeholders. He also served as IWR’s Program Manager supporting the Pacific Ocean Division’s (POD’s) International Water Security Program in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. 

Mike previously served as the Program Development Branch Chief within the Civil Works (CW) Program Integration Division of USACE Headquarters.  His branch was responsible for developing, establishing, and prescribing both the annual Civil Works budget guidance and the annual Civil Works budget. He also led the annual defense before Congress of the results of the annual Civil Works budget development process, and provided program-wide analysis and rationale for budget recommendations made to USACE senior leaders, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) (ASA(CW)), the Office of Management and Budget, and the Programs Community of Practice.  Prior to joining USACE as a DoD Civilian in September 2010, Mike retired from Active Duty with the US Army in May 2010. In his last assignment on Active Duty, he served in the Pentagon as the Executive Officer for the ASA(CW) from August 2008 to April 2010. Mike previously commanded the Gulf Region Division-North District in Northern Iraq from July 2007 to July 2008. Before this command, he served as the 61st District Engineer and Commander of the St. Paul District from June 2004 to June 2007. While serving as the St. Paul District Commander, he spent six months deployed to New Orleans as the Task Force Hope Operations Officer in leading response and recovery efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Born in Vermont, Mike was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers upon graduation from the United States Military Academy (USMA) in 1980. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from USMA, as well as a master of science in Mineral Economics (1990) and a doctorate (1993) in Operations Research from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

His military education includes the U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger schools, the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, as well as the Command and General Staff College. Mike also served as the Military Fellow, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C., while assigned as a student at the US Army War College.

Mike’s significant civilian and military awards and decorations include: the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award; the Army Distinguished Service Medal; the Army Bronze Star; the Army Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; the Army Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters; the Iraqi Campaign Medal; the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster; the Silver de Fleury Medal; and the Humanitarian Service Medal. Mike is married to the former Sally Ciereszko. Mike and Sally have four children, Bryce Edwards, Elizabeth Pfenning, Brian Pfenning, and Benjamin Pfenning.

Mike’s wealth of program management experience, leadership, and interagency collaboration, will prove an asset in his new role at IWR.  

“Mike Pfenning is the consummate professional … competent, selfless, and dedicated.  He is the person you turn to for results oriented outcomes, and the NCR and IWR are extremely fortunate to have him part of the team.  That said, Mike’s greatest complement is that as an exceptional leader and mentor, a person that leads and inspires others to perform to ever higher potentials.  Mike is top drawer.”

                                                                                                                ‒ Joe Manous, PE, PhD

                                                                                                                    Director, Institute for Water Resources


Learn More

For more information, visit IWR’s website.