A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District engineer has been honored for his significant contributions to engineering, design, construction, research and development or planning.
Justin McDonald, senior engineering technical lead for civil works, was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Society of Military Engineers’ (SAME) Tudor Medal for his achievements for the past three years.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Joseph Schroedel, SAME’s Executive Director, congratulated McDonald for the award and his engineering leadership in a March 27 letter to McDonald.
SAME leads a collaborative effort to identify and resolve national security infrastructure-related challenges. Founded in 1920, SAME currently has more than 30,000 members. The organization unites public- and private-sector leaders and organizations from the architecture, engineering, and construction and other related communities, to support national security. The organization has awarded the Tudor Medal to a civilian engineer under the age of 40 each year since 1966.
“Justin is one of the most talented young engineers and leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with during my career, so I am not surprised with his selection as the SAME 2016 Tudor Medal winner, which recognizes professionalism and engineering leadership,” said McDonald’s supervisor, Doug Otto.
McDonald has more than 14 years’ experience in coastal, hydraulic, hydrologic, and civil engineering as well as dredging and construction contract management. As senior engineering technical lead for Civil Works, he leads a team of engineers and scientists in planning, design, and construction of complex, multimillion-dollar water resource-related projects across the Mobile District.
“The SAME Mobile Post was excited to hear that our nominee, Justin McDonald, is this year’s Tudor Medal award winner,” said SAME’s Mobile Post President Jeff Duplantis. “The recipient must possess demonstrated leadership skills and have made outstanding contributions to planning, engineering, and design, all attributes in which Justin is proficient. The SAME Mobile Post nominated him because of his professionalism, leadership, and dedicated commitment to the post.”
McDonald is actively involved in several Mobile District projects, including the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program Comprehensive Barrier Island Restoration Plan in Harrison County, Miss. The project involves dredging and placing sand on Ship Island and Cat Island to increase the resiliency of the islands, Mississippi sound, and mainland coast to future storm events.
McDonald’s team conducted extensive geophysical and geotechnical investigations to find suitable sand and built several models to determine potential effects on the project area.
The project will cost approximately $439 million. Ship Island is owned by the National Park Service, and the project is the second-largest environmental restoration effort in NPS’s 100-year history.
“The health and existence of both of these islands are critical to long-term resiliency of the estuary of the Mississippi Sound and mainland Mississippi coast,” McDonald explained.
McDonald is also the engineering technical lead for all USACE efforts on the Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment project, a 45-month, a $4.25 million collaborative study with the U.S. Geological Survey to evaluate environmental restoration alternatives for Dauphin Island habitats damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
McDonald serves as Senior Engineering Technical Lead, providing high-level technical oversight on all engineering supporting Mobile District’s civil works mission, to ensure technical quality in accordance with USACE standards.
He also mentors the district’s staff of engineering and technical leads to develop their technical, management and communication skills, and serves as the district’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) coordinator, supporting educational outreach events such as the Girls Exploring Math and Science workshop, Pathways 2 Possibilities career expo for eighth graders, and career fairs and events at Tuskegee University and the University of South Alabama.
McDonald has bachelor and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Auburn University. His previous awards include being named 2016 Mobile Area Council of Engineers Young Engineer of the Year; 2016 USACE Mobile District Professional Employee of the Year; 2016 SAME Mobile Post Outstanding Public Agency Member of the Year; and the 2015 SAME Mobile Post Outstanding Young Member of the Year. He also received the 2013 USACE South Atlantic Division Alex Van Heuvel Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Department of the Army Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service in 2011.
“I, along with all of the Mobile District family, am so proud of Justin for receiving this award,” said District Commander, Col. James DeLapp. “Justin embodies the professionalism and dedication that is a hallmark of the Mobile District. Furthermore, I know everyone will remember that Justin isn’t being honored for receiving the Tudor Medal, he’s receiving the Tudor Medal for his outstanding contributions to the district and the communities the district serves.”
The Tudor Medal is named in honor of civil engineer and builder Ralph A. Tudor. Nominees for the award must have be members of SAME for at least three years; have made outstanding contributions to engineering, design, construction, research and development, or planning for the past three years; and demonstrate leadership in managing projects or organizations.
McDonald will receive the medal at the 2017 Joint Engineer Education and Training Conference and Expo in Columbus, Ohio, in May.