FORT WORTH, Texas - When it was finally time to announce the Administrative Professional of the Year cameras were ready and the room was silenced. Adding a twist to the Admin of the Year luncheon, Col. Charles H. Klinge, Jr., commander, Fort Worth District read the award citation giving everyone in the room an opportunity to guess who would be chosen as the 2012 Administrative Professional of the Year.

After a few added moments of silence built up the excitement, Klinge announced Margaret Ake, administrative support assistant, Engineering Branch as the 2012 award winner.

"I was truly surprised to even be nominated, let alone receive the award. I am truly honored to be a part of such a great branch who thought so highly of me," said the Villalba, Puerto Rico native.

Ake leads an administrative support staff of three responsible for an 85-person Engineering Branch and is the authoritative source for all clerical, training, and administrative functions. Currently taking free online technology courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has provided the former Navy petty officer additional skills in her day to day duties of managing all training and professional records, preparing travel and training requests in the Corps of Engineers Financial Management System, monitoring approved expenses, and maintaining office supply levels.

Annually, the District hosts a luncheon to honor all administrative professionals and to recognize the Administrative Professional of the Year for their exceptional performance.

"Margaret is the oil in the machine and the pinnacle of professionalism. She is always cheerful and positive, has great people skills, and is a software and CEFMS wizard. She improves not just the morale, but the atmosphere, productivity and, ultimately, the product of the entire organization," said Greg Scheurich, deputy chief, Engineering Branch.

When away from the office, Ake enjoys burying her nose in a good science fiction novel and working in her garden. The mother of four boys also volunteers with the pen pal program and supports the Fort Worth District's "Corps Cares Angel Tree" program by volunteering to purchase gifts during the holidays on her personal time.

"Being prior military you see a lot of people come together if someone is in need, which I didn't expect coming to the Corps. But the support is unbelievable at the Fort Worth District. Whether it be volunteering for the Corps Cares program, collecting school supplies for our Adopt-A-School, or just helping a fellow team member there is always an out pour of support. I'm proud to be a part of team that when they offer to lend a hand they really mean it," said Ake.