By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – When your peers, supervisors and subordinates all have a very high opinion of you, it is usually a sign that you are doing a good job and that you are successful in your chosen field.
That is certainly the case for Catherine Cummings, Chief of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Office, (EEO) at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District.
Cummings, who has worked in the District since 2008, was named the 2022 USACE Diversity and Inclusion Equal Employment Opportunity Professional of the Year.
“I am very honored to be recognized as the EEO Professional of the Year,” Cummings said. “I work with four of the best fellow EEO officers in the South Atlantic Division. I have a wonderful Division Chief in Renita (McNeill) and had the pleasure of working with three amazing EEO specialists in the Mobile District in Rhonda (Collier), Lebya (Harris) and Tonya (Brady) over the last 14 years.”
Mobile District Commander Col. Jeremy Chapman said Cummings’ knowledge, dedication and care of others is what sets her apart.
“Catherine provides exceptional EEO expertise and worked tirelessly to promote initiatives to expand diversity, equity and inclusion and representation in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Chapman. “She has distinguished herself by continually making significant contributions to the Mobile District’s EEO mission and public service within USACE’s workforce.”
Prior to coming to the District, Cummings served as the EEO chief in the St. Louis District and before her time in USACE she served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, where she served as an equal opportunity officer.
Cathrerine has also impressed others with her selfless attitude and approach to her work and with the expertise in which she handles her duties.
“I am here to help whomever and whenever I can, is a saying that can be heard from Catherine during the Regional EEO meetings,” said Renita McNeill, South Atlantic Division regional equal employment manager. “Putting her words into action, Catherine has positioned herself as the epitome of a dedicated EEO professional and is deserving of recognition. Not only does this award represent her service in the Mobile District, but she has also positioned herself as an outstanding, supportive leader in the region as well as the USACE EEO community.”
Despite the pressures and demands of her own work as the EEO chief in the District, when the SAD EEO chief retired, Cummings stepped in and served as acting manager until a replacement could be found.
It is this kind of dedication and service that has impressed her colleagues.
“During this transformative period in our nation’s history, Catherine innovatively accomplished seemingly impossible EEO initiatives,” said McNeill. “She masterfully encouraged her employees to excel and shared best practices with the region and the USACE EEO community. The SAD regional EEO team excels because of the notable contributions of individuals like Catherine. She has been an invaluable asset to the EEO mission.”
Cummings, who is also a wife and mother of two, has continually been committed to the success of not only the EEO program, but of the District as well, said Chapman.
“Catherine is dedicated to implementing initiatives that advance the agency’s strategic plan, developing employees and military leaders while building bridges to increase awareness and impact under the Commander’s EEO program,” said Chapman. “She demonstrates integrity, empathy, dedication and a strong knowledge of the program.”
Cummings said that she loves her job as well as working with others.
“I 100% enjoy my job,” Cummings said. “Every day is new and I enjoy working with people. I believe that with communication between each other, all things are possible.”