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Nashville District’s Luke Navarro selected for ERDC University

Posted on June 28, 2023

VICKSBURG, Miss.— Researchers from 10 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Districts have been selected for the 2023 session of the Engineer Research and Development Center University (ERDC-U).

Luke Navarro, a realty specialist with the Nashville District, has been chosen as a participant for this detail program, now in its eighth year.

The 12 selectees were announced by ERDC-U Program Manager Antisa Webb, who serves as Chief of the Office of  Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT), Technology, Knowledge and Outreach (TKO) Division. The Class of 2023 orientation session was held Feb. 27 through March 2 at ERDC headquarters.

“ERDC-U offers partnerships between USACE Division and District participants and relevant laboratory mentors for six-month research projects, resulting in technical solutions benefitting their workplace, the Corps and the Nation,” Webb said. “By working with these subject-matter experts from ERDC’s seven state-of-the art laboratories, participants will focus on real-world solutions as they also develop leadership skills for their home organization.”

Having worked for the Nashville District for the past six years, Navarro plans to transition to a new role following his six-month ERDC-U project as a geographic information system (GIS) specialist supporting the district’s Real Estate Branch.

Navarro will be collaborate with researchers Richard Johansen and Jennifer Laird at ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory to apply GeoAI and data science tools to automate analysis of geospatial data.

The program is co-sponsored by ERDC’s Directorate of Human Capital (DHC) through an application and selection process. Program funding is split between the selectee’s Division or District for choice of labor costs or travel with the other funded by ERDC.

As Lt. Col. Joe Sahl of the Nashville District said in his endorsement letter, “Mr. Navarro consistently impresses with his strong communication skills, outstanding technical abilities, and commitment to mission execution. As a Nashville District (LRN) Park Ranger, he provides visitor assistance on multiple issues to the visiting public on a routine basis. Mr. Navarro frequently provides consultation and updates to his chain of command on matters related to Natural Resources Management (NRM). His depth of knowledge regarding GIS, Water Safety, and intrapersonal communications makes him an invaluable member of the LRN Park Ranger team. In addition, he currently serves as the LRN representative to the National Innovations team and the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division (LRD) Water Safety team where he consistently works on numerous projects to increase the effectiveness and efficiency with the NRM program. Continued investment in the professional development of Mr. Navarro will benefit the Nashville District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Luke has a track record of high performance, creativity, and professionalism needed to become an effective leader who is dedicated to excellence. I recommend him with absolute confidence that his technical competencies and collaborative spirit will ensure a successful integration into the ERDC University team.”

“ERDC-U experiences build a collaborative and continuing partnership with ERDC team members as an investment in the future of the Corps, along with career-long problem-solving contacts,” Webb said.

The ERDC University Program specifically seeks individuals with interest and experience in general scientific and engineering fields encompassing one of the following areas:

  • Civil Works and Water Resources
  • Environmental Quality and Installations
  • Geospatial Research and Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Military Engineering

Participants serve as a member of the interdisciplinary Research and Development team reporting to Lead Project Managers and/or Research and Development (R&D) Direct Program Managers. The incumbent supports and possibly leads any number of activities to develop R&D.

In his welcome to the new class, ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman said selectees will “have the opportunity to make great relationships that can help you the rest of your career, and we can learn about District needs from you.”

For program questions, contact  Applications for the 2024 program will open October 1 for GS-7-13 team members through the “Opportunities” icon at:


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