Employee recognition at the Institute for Water Resources (IWR) is all about acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of individuals and teams within our organization. The nominations for the 2021 Awards are coming in now – here’s a recap on last year’s winners:
Business Admin Tech Support of Excellence: Darren Nezamfar
Darren’s contributions to IWR and the Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) were exceptional during the continuing COVID crisis when he provided outstanding solutions in supporting day-to-day desktop productivity not only for HEC but for all of IWR. He consistently provided only the best hardware for HEC staff and provided outstanding computer support for the HEC classroom. Darren also supported HEC software developers by researching, recommending, and coaching on the use of state-of-the-art business productivity and software development tools in the COVID/remote environment.
Scientific/Technical Award of Excellence: Kevin Cutress
Kevin’s contributions to IWR and Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (WCSC) were vital to the success of the Oracle database revision team. He provides a bridge between the old and new as system modernization progresses, supplying expert knowledge of historic coding requirements and business logic. During this transition, he developed numerous, complex fixes and programming enhancements that have dramatically improved team efficiency and kept efforts going. His continued involvement ensures that the revised database will meet current requirements for quality and completeness.
Leadership and Mentorship Award of Excellence: Ms. Kerry Redican
Kerry Redican, IWR’s Deputy for Program and Project Management, served with distinction as a leader, mentor, and IWR Deputy for Program and Project Management. She can be best described as "the glue that kept IWR together,” especially during a very challenging and unprecedented year. Her exceptional communication skills, drive, genuine care for IWR's people and mission have significantly contributed to IWR's success in 2020.
Product of the Year (CO-AWARDEE) - HEC-HMS (Hydrologic Modeling system)
During this nomination period, HEC completed and made public releases of the Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) software and user documentation. The software contained new features that advanced the state-of-the-practice in hydrologic analysis as well as enhancements to the user interface and documentation that increase the usability of the software. The HEC-HMS software development process was significantly improved which allowed for quicker delivery of new software capability to customers.
Product of the Year (CO-AWARDEE) - RMC-BestFit (Bayesian Estimating & Fitting)
IWR’s Risk Management Center (RMC) collaborated with ERDC to develop RMC-BestFit to enhance and expedite flood hazard assessments. With BestFit, the Corps can now achieve accurate flood hazard assessments with significantly less time and effort. By including more hydrologic information, BestFit provides more accurate estimates of design flood return probabilities, which reduces the chances for over-or under-design and improves overall investment decisions.
Team of the Year: Williston Levee Accreditation Team
After Congressional interest, a combined RMC-LRH-NWO-HEC team worked through some significant ice-jam and hydrology issues to get an accreditation decision done faster than has ever been done in USACE history using a risk-informed process. The team worked through a variety of very challenging technical and viewpoint issues to develop a path forward that was supportable and technically sound. Only through the dedication and diligence by all team members that entailed a lot of late nights, work on weekends, and negotiation between differing opinions was this difficult study completed and a defendable decision reached.
Employee of the Year: Justin Pummell
An internationally recognized, multi-discipline expert, Justin Pummell always works hard, and success is readily assured when he takes on any task. In 2020, he had an exceptionally productive year with his portfolio spanning emergency management, navigation, GIS, databases, contracting and beyond. His consistent efforts in support of IWR, USACE, the Army and the Nation are always above and beyond and undeniably embody Army values. (Photo: Justin receiving an award from the former POD Division Commander).
Special Act of the Year: Will Lehman
January through March 2020, at great personal effort and sacrifice, Will Lehman served with distinction on a detail to the Federal Emergency Management’s Risk Management Directorate in support of FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0. His contributions have directly led to a substantially greater level of collaboration between USACE and FEMA in flood risk which may culminate in a long lasting, intimate relationship with FEMA.
FEMA is modernizing the National Flood Insurance Program by moving towards a risk-informed framework. FEMA approached USACE leadership about leveraging USACE’s technical expertise in the field of flood risk evaluation. USACE HQ requested Will Lehman for the assignment to be completed with FEMA Headquarters between January and March 2020. Will relocated his entire family, including two small children, to Washington DC to serve on the FEMA detail. Will’s exceptional efforts and products have been a benefit to the Nation.