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Durst retires as director of ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Lab

Posted on February 28, 2024

VICKSBURG, Miss.— The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) celebrated the career of Bartley (Bart) Durst, director of ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL), upon his retirement from federal service.

Durst began his career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1983 as a research civil engineer intern in the Environmental Laboratory, which at the time was part of the historic Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Throughout his career, he wore multiple hats in various roles— all leading to his selection to the Senior Executive Service as Director of GSL on October 26, 2015.

During his time as laboratory director, Durst led a team of more than 450 researchers and support staff in developing technologies within geotechnical, structural engineering and geosciences. These innovative technologies include force protection, force projection, maneuver support and civil works infrastructure. In addition, Durst also led ERDC’s Military Engineering Research and Development Area, which focuses on warfighter support in force protection, force projection and maneuver support.

During a ceremony held in his honor at ERDC’s headquarters on February 15, Durst was commended by leadership, colleagues and friends with speeches, gifts and well wishes. When addressing the crowd gathered at his retirement ceremony, he reflected on his many years at ERDC and touched on his favorite moments working with his team.

“I have had such a great career,” said Durst. “My career hasn’t really been a ladder, it’s been more like a jungle gym. Each step along the way had moments that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

Durst went on to thank previous ERDC leadership who mentored him, as well as his coworkers and family members who supported him throughout his career.

“I look back on 40 years, and it seems like just yesterday I walked in as an intern,” Durst said. “This is a big, special moment for me.

Durst received numerous awards during his career, including Superior and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal, the Society of American Military Engineers Ralph A. Tudor Medal as well as several ERDC awards including the Herbert D. Vogel Engineer Award. His highest awards are the Federal Laboratory Consortium Laboratory Director of the year and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award.


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