LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Greatness can be achieved at various levels of one’s professional career and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee, Quyet C. La, has demonstrated that it is never too soon to start. After only four and a half years of employment with the Louisville District, Mr. La has received a prestigious military engineer award, the Steel de Fleury Medal, on June 28 for his significant contributions to the district’s environmental program.

Mr. La’s Corps career started as an engineering co-op student in January 2007, which in turn, led to being offered an internship position. Upon completion of the internship in May 2011, he became a full-time employee as an environmental engineer for the district.

“Mr. La hit the ground running with a can-do, will-do attitude and really delivered,” said Chris Karem, chief of the Louisville District’s environmental engineering division. “Through his technical and organizational excellence, he has already earned a leadership role in the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) program for the district. This, in itself, is a remarkable accomplishment considering his experience level.”

Mr. La serves as a technical manager in the district’s environmental engineering division. He conducts fieldwork, which involves surface water, groundwater and sediment sampling, develops groundwater reports, assists project management in developing Project Closeout Reports (PCOs), and he also leads the Inventory Project Report (INPR) program.

“He has unarguably become the district expert in preparing INPRs,” said Karem. “This first step is undoubtedly the most important step for any FUDS project. It establishes the course of the project, which can be long and unmanageable if not navigated strategically from inception.”

In addition to his key role in INPR preparation, Mr. La has also been assisting project management in completing multiple PCOs by the end of Fiscal Year 2011.

“Effectively completing multiple PCO reports requires thorough knowledge of the FUDS program, the CERCLA [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act] process, and many other complex technical issues,” said Karem. “Within the first month, Mr. La helped in the completion of approximately one-third of the PCOs and is doing an outstanding job.”

His professionalism and work ethic have made him an extremely valuable member of the environmental branch and engineering division. Not only has his dedication brought numerous improvements to the FUDS program, but it has also helped the program make great strides towards its completion goals.

“I'm proud to say I work for the Corps,” said Mr. La. “I would like to believe that my work assists in the programs managed by the Corps. By doing our part well, the people who would need the product that we develop will be able to address their respective responsibilities. Ultimately, the Corps is here to enhance the lives of the public. To know that I am a part of the effort of improving society makes it more peaceful to sleep at night.”