District’s FY21 ‘of the year’ recipients named

Outreach Specialist Ron Wooten receives a commander's coin from Galveston District Commander Col. Tim Vail during an awards ceremony held July 1, 2021, at the District's headquarters. Wooten earned the coin for being named the Galveston District’s “Volunteer of the Year." Wooten leads all senior leadership and stakeholder visits, where he goes above and beyond to coordinate all logistics aspects of high-profile visits. His photography skills also proved invaluable to the district’s public affairs mission, where he volunteers to provide photo support whenever necessary.

Posted on July 28, 2021

The Galveston District honored eight awardees for their exceptional contributions and work during Fiscal Year 2021 and in previous years.

Commander Col. Tim R. Vail and Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Mangement Mr. Byron Williams presented the awards during a ceremony held at the District’s Headquarters in Galveston on July 19, 2021, where they spoke about the accomplishments of the awardees.

First, Vail and Williams inducted Dolan D. Dunn into the Galveston District’s “Gallery of Distinguished Employees.” Dunn’s career with USACE spanned from 1973 to 2014, and worked in a variety of positions across multiple departments, including operations, maintenance, and regulatory. During his tenure, Galveston’s Regulatory Division became the lead regulatory division for the entire state of Texas. Dunn’s contributions during Hurricanes Ike and Rita were also highlighted during the ceremony.

Michael D. Gonzalez, a supervisory civil engineer, was named Galveston’s “Engineer of the Year.” Through his guidance, various project engineers completed a number of high-visibility projects, to include the Port Mansfield breakwater structure and beach renourishment. Gonzalez also developed a ‘shoal-rate calculator’ that provides better, more accurate forecasted shoal quantities.

This year’s “Innovator of the Year” was Kelsey Ciarrocca. A cartographer in Galveston’s Real Estate Division, she implemented a cloud-based work management platform within the district and Southwest Division to help streamline real estate acquisition procurements and reporting. Ciarrocca’s innovation allowed for instant access to real time data, reports and dashboards.

Project Manager Jayson Hudson earned Galveston’s “Regulator of the Year” award. As a founding instructor for the Regulatory Coastal Issues Prospect Course, Hudson teaches up to two classes each year sharing his expertise in stream mitigation, alternative energy, and functional assessments.

Outreach Specialist Ron Wooten was named the district’s “Volunteer of the Year.” Serving as an active lead on all senior leadership and stakeholder visits, Wooten went above and beyond to ensure and coordinate all logistics aspects of high-profile visits. His photography skills also proved invaluable to the district’s public affairs mission, often volunteering to provide photo support whenever necessary.

Akram Obo-Obeid, a civil engineer with the Corpus Christi Resident Office, was recognized as the “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Volunteer of the Year.” As part of his outreach, Obo-Obeid speaks to a variety of students—elementary school to college—on the opportunities STEM education and careers can provide them.

Katie Parks, an administrative program manager for the Engineering and Construction Division, was 2021’s “Supervisor of the Year.” Parks routinely provides training for her division and has been instrumental in improving the onboarding procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dale Williams, a cost engineer, earned the honor of “Employee of the Year.” Williams was involved in a variety of facility maintenance and dredging operations. These include high-profile new work projects such as the Houston Ship Channel, Sabine to Galveston, and the Matagorda Ship Channel. He also volunteered for the USACE Readiness Program’s Planning and Response Team.

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