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Memphis civil engineer wins national career achievement award

Posted on January 24, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Memphis District, congratulates its Operations Division Chief, Andrea L. Williams, for winning a Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Global STEM Conference Award for Career Achievement in Government.

This extraordinary win is representative of Williams’ exceptional contributions to USACE and her dedication to advancing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiative throughout her career. Her outstanding leadership and exemplary commitment have profoundly impacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ success.

Her contributions and career achievements include holding a critical role in the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 recovery efforts, coordinating crucial contracts in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and leading the multi-agency national response to the 2022 Low Water event on the Mississippi River.

Her accomplishments are a testament to her dedication and influence as a leader, engineer, and community advocate.

Williams became the first woman to serve as the Memphis District’s Operations Division Chief and shoulders significant responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the district’s Physical Support Branch.

As operations division chief, Williams oversees the Corps’ premier marine maintenance facility, Ensley Engineer Yard, and the Mississippi River Regional Channel Improvement fleet. Her exceptional management of these crucial assets, including several revetment units, the Dredge Hurley, the Motor Vessel Mississippi, and three pumping plants, showcases her leadership abilities and dedication to the USACE mission.

Beyond her outstanding professional accomplishments, Williams’ active involvement in professional organizations and community outreach programs exemplifies her dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others.

As a Zeta Phi Beta Sorority member, she developed and conducted workshops to support pregnant teens staying in school, underscoring her commitment to education and empowerment. Moreover, her volunteer work for the Memphis City Schools’ Our Children, Our Future Program and regular participation in career fairs for Memphis City Schools, Shelby County Schools, and Tipton County Schools demonstrate her passion for nurturing future generations and promoting career opportunities in engineering.

In his letter announcing Williams’ big win, Tyrone D. Taborn, CEO and Publisher of U.S. Black Engineering and Information Technology magazine, wrote, “Ms. Williams’ achievements in STEM stood out among the hundreds of nominations that were evaluated by the BEYA Selection Panel.”

Williams graduated from Tennessee State University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Williams also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Williams started her USACE career as a co-op student, joining the Memphis District in 2000 as a Construction Branch civil engineer. She was promoted many times throughout her career, with her first being in 2002 with a step up to a supervisory civil engineer position as the Water Data Section chief in 2002.

In 2011, Williams moved to the Operations Division where she served as the Ensley Engineer Yard plant section chief. Williams later joined the Galveston District in 2019 as an operations project manager over Wallisville Lake and Addicks and Barker Dams. In January 2020, she deployed to Afghanistan for two years, supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, where she was the Technical Services Branch chief. Williams returned to the Memphis District in January 2022 when she was selected to serve temporarily as Operations Division chief, only to go on and fill the position permanently shortly after that.

Williams’ award presentation is scheduled for February 17, 2024, at the BEYA Awards Ceremony at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland. A livestream of the event is accessible at


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