MOBILE, Ala. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, experienced a year of significant achievements, partnerships, and successful projects in 2023. This year-in-review highlights key events and milestones that showcase the district's commitment to excellence, collaboration, and service to the community.
“As we look back on the year, our team has once again demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and service to the community,” said Mobile District Commander Col. Jeremy Chapman. “This year offered many challenges, but our entire team ensured that Mobile Delivered!”
The year kicked off with a momentous ribbon-cutting ceremony for the James A. Haley Veteran's Administration Bed Tower in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 21, 2023. This $148.6 million project, managed by USACE, marked the first major design-build construction for the VA under approved Congressional legislation. The bed tower added 245,000 square feet of new space, including 96 medical-surgical single-patient rooms and 40 intensive care unit beds. Additionally, it introduced new amenities such as a cafeteria, outdoor dining area, retail store, and support offices.
Regulatory achievements also took center stage in January, with the issuance of a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for a $2.5 billion aluminum mill and low-carbon aluminum recycling facility in Baldwin County, Alabama, by Atlanta-based Novelis.
In April, the district, in collaboration with Corps Headquarters personnel and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, conducted a hurricane tabletop exercise along the Gulf Coast. This strategic session aimed to enhance preparedness and response capabilities in the event of a hurricane making landfall.
Furthermore, Mobile District entered into a partnership agreement with Franklin County, FL, to address long-overdue maintenance dredging of two federal navigation channels (Eastpoint Channel and Two-Mile Channel). The dredged material from Eastpoint Channel will be repurposed to create a Beneficial Use site that supports tidal marsh development and provides critical wildlife habitats.
A significant addition to the vessel fleet occurred in May, as the district, and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority welcomed the Miss Agnes, a custom 26-foot marine survey vessel. This multibeam and single-beam capable vessel, equipped with advanced surveying technology, enhances the district's capabilities in hydrographic surveying.
In June, the district hosted a Multi-Lateral Disaster Response Lessons Learned Workshop, bringing together soldiers from Peru, Brazil, and Chile with disaster relief responsibilities. This collaborative event facilitated the exchange of experiences and lessons learned in responding to recent disasters, fostering international cooperation in disaster management.
Many project sites host several events throughout the year. In October, West Point Lake Project site hosted a truly heartwarming event the 44th annual "Special Day for Special People” at the Rocky Point Recreational Area. It was a day that brought together over 800 people, the West Point Lake project staff went above and beyond to make this day truly special for mentally and physically challenged individuals of all ages in the local community.
The year concluded with the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX). Established in 1996, this partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division and the Engineer Research and Development Center has made significant contributions to airborne lidar bathymetry. The ceremony, held at the Hancock County Performing Arts Center in Kiln, Mississippi, recognized JALBTCX's accomplishments over the past 25 years and looked forward to its continued success.
Lastly, this year was filled with achievements and outstanding performances. Below are some of the many standout individuals:
• Accolade: Awarded the prestigious Steel de Fleury Medal
• Recognition: Tina's significant contributions to Army Engineering have not only made an impact on the field but have set a standard for excellence.
• Accolade: Named the National Cost Engineer of the Year
• Recognition: Allan's outstanding contributions and dedicated service to engineering have earned him this esteemed title, reflecting his commitment to excellence in his field.
Carlos Whetsone and Roger Wilson Jr.:
• Accolade: Named recipients of the BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Award)
• Recognition: Carlos and Roger have been recognized for their significant contributions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), demonstrating a commitment to advancing the collective STEM workforce of the future.
“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication from the entire Mobile District team,” said Chapman “We look forward to building on this success and continue to deliver!”