JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast is proud to announce its 2018 Military and Civilian Engineers of the Year.
NAVFAC Southeast Contingency Engineer Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Thrun was named the Military Engineer of the Year and NAVFAC Southeast Public Works Business Line Facility Sustainment Manager Chris Cook was named the Civilian Engineer of the Year. Thrun was also named the Military Engineer of the Year for all of NAVFAC.
"Every year we recognize both military and civilian engineers who stand out in their profession," said NAVFAC Southeast Commanding Officer Capt. Pat Garin. "These awards recognize Ryan and Chris' exceptional talent and achievements."
Award winners are selected based on their achievements and innovation in engineering over the past year. Additionally, their education, professional registration, continuing education achievements, professional and technical society activities, awards or honors, and civic and humanitarian activities are also considered.
Thrun reported to NAVFAC Southeast as the Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Director (FEAD) aboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in August 2016, then reported as the NAVFAC Southeast Contingency Engineer aboard NAS Jacksonville, Florida in June 2017.
As the FEAD, Thrun expertly led a staff of engineers and acquisition professionals in the execution of 26 recapitalization projects estimated at $9.8 million. Despite low manning in an extremely austere location, Thrun excelled in resourcing and managing his team, overcoming logistical support challenges, employing superior networking skills, sound engineering knowledge, and construction experience through his staff. He ultimately led his team to successfully complete $42 million in design work and $67 million in high-quality construction.
As the Contingency Engineer, Thrun led preparation and recovery efforts for two Category 4 hurricanes; Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas and Hurricane Irma, in Florida. For both disasters, he established and led the NAVFAC Southeast Emergency Operations Center, coordinating initial support from 17 field organizations across the Southeast and ultimately employing reach-back from field offices across the continental U.S. post storm, he led the establishment and deployment of engineering response teams to evaluate infrastructure safety and provide damage assessments and cost data for over 1,000 facilities.
"I am extremely honored to be given the title of Military Engineer of the Year." said Thrun. "I could not have executed any of the accomplishments over the past year without the amazing talent and unwavering drive of the CEC officers and NAVFAC civilians I worked with at PWD Guantanamo Bay and work with at NAVFAC Southeast. These are the folks who truly deserve the recognition for all of their hard work. I just happened to be in the same room as them."
"Ryan is a superb leader," said Garin. "He is a remarkable engineering officer who sets the example."
Receiving the Civilian Engineer of the Year award is NAVFAC Southeast Public Works Business Line Facility Sustainment Manager Chris Cook. Cook manages the entire preventive maintenance program for all dynamic systems in the Southeast region. Cook's efforts raised the Southeast region from a 38 percent planned maintenance (PM) level to a 61 percent PM level resulting in less unscheduled and break down maintenance thereby saving money.
Cook personally designed or managed professional engineering services to 17 naval bases from simple re-roofing jobs to technical redesigned mechanical systems for administrative buildings in the hot, humid, mold susceptible climate of the south. His highly esteemed reputation created demand for his professional services from locations in Japan, Italy and Hawaii.
Cook volunteered to serve as the interim Deputy Public Works Officer in New Orleans for 120 days while the position was recruited and filled permanently. He led a 120-person combined military and civilian workforce in support of a joint military air reserve base. His responsibilities included maintenance and repair of 228 facilities valued at $1.2 billion.
"It is a true honor to receive this award," said Cook. "I'm extremely grateful for the opportunities I've had, especially working for PWD New Orleans and the dedicated professionals there. This award is representative of the hard work and customer service that they and the NAVFAC Southeast team provide to our supported commands."
"Chris has demonstrated an ongoing ability to lead, coach, and facilitate administrative and technical staff across business lines, commands and the Navy enterprise," said Garin. "He is results oriented and exhibits a willingness to assist others. He is a tremendous asset and we are lucky to have him at NAVFAC Southeast."
NAVFAC HQ selects a civilian and military engineer of the year from the award winners of each regional NAVFAC command. These two individuals are then nominated as the NAVFAC candidates for the prestigious National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Federal Engineer of the Year award.
The overall winners selected to represent NAVFAC at the NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year Awards Ceremony are Southeast's Lt. Cmdr. Thrun and Calvin Austin from NAVFAC Washington, who received the 2018 NAVFAC Civilian Engineer of the Year Award. The awards ceremony will be held Feb. 23, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at which time NSPE will announce the 2018 Federal Engineer of the Year.
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