News Stories

Project manager brings first-time award to district

Public Affairs Office
Published Oct. 16, 2012
John Crane, a Mobile District project manager, holds the Richard E. Bonner Award with Lisa Armbruster, beach management consultant and government affairs liaison for the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association. Photo courtesy of FSBPA.

John Crane, a Mobile District project manager, holds the Richard E. Bonner Award with Lisa Armbruster, beach management consultant and government affairs liaison for the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association. Photo courtesy of FSBPA.

John Crane, a project manager for Mobile District, was awarded the Richard E. Bonner Award from the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association Sept. 27 for his service and leadership on the Panama City Beaches Project at ceremony held in Naples, Fla.

The Bonner Award recognizes outstanding service by an individual representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and this was the first time ever a Mobile District employee was selected by FSBPA. Awardees typically come from Jacksonville District because this district has more USACE Florida projects.

The award was named in honor of a former USACE employee of Jacksonville District whose career began in Mobile District. Richard Bonner’s contributions to project management in regards to Florida shore and beach protection are highly regarded by the FSBPA.

The Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association is a not-for-profit entity with offices in Tallahassee, Fla. FSBPA was organized in 1957 at a meeting of 37 local government and university leaders concerned about the growing problem of beach erosion that had virtually destroyed important resort beaches such as Miami Beach.

"It was a pleasure to present this award to honor John," Lisa Armbruster, beach management consultant and government affairs liaison for FSBPA said. "John personifies Richard Bonner’s commitment to serving his local sponsors, mirrors his excellence with an almost 40-year career with the Corps, and shares his reputation for getting things done!"

Crane has been involved with Panama City Beach since the 1970s. After Hurricane Eloise hit in 1975, he walked the entire 18.5 miles of Panama City Beach to inspect each and every beachfront structure. This effort included crawling under buildings the storm had washed out and even under high rises where he discovered major structural issues.


In 2004 after Hurricane Ivan, Crane resurrected USACE’s involvement in the shore protection program. He was instrumental in the success of storm repair nourishment projects for 2005, 2006 and 2011. Crane also organized and led the development, funding, study process, approval, and eventual construction of the first federal project along the one-mile addition to the Panama City Beaches Shore Protection Project.


"I am pleased to have received many awards from the Corps, but it’s very special anytime you are recognized outside of your organization," John Crane said. Although he is humbled to have been celebrated by FSBPA, Crane has made it known there are many unrecognized key players from his team, other agencies and the community.

"While I am honored to have received this award from the association for what the Corps has accomplished, I didn’t do this alone," Crane said. When it comes to the planning, environmental, engineering, contracting, and construction inspection of the project; it takes a great team of people to make this happen, and we had an exceptional team on the Panama City Beaches project."

Armbruster nominated Crane for the Bonner Award and the Bay County Tourist Development Council Board of Directors and the Bay County Commissioners passed resolutions in honor him and in support of his winning the award. She also spoke on what she believes is Crane’s best attribute.

"If I had to pinpoint John’s most outstanding trait, it would be his uncanny ability to draw everyone involved in a project together; inspire them all to believe they can indeed overcome whatever challenges lie before them; and more than anything, motivate them to solve these challenges in an expedited manner," she said.

Because John is one of the most senior employees of the district, he has achieved many contributions and accomplishments that include but are not limited to:

  • Panama City Beaches Beach Erosion Control and Storm Damage Reduction Project, Project Manager
  • Deep Draft Navigation Projects including Panama City Harbor, Pensacola Harbor, Mobile Harbor, Pascagoula Harbor, and Gulfport Harbor, Project Manager
  • Hurricane Frederic (Mobile, AL, 1979), Hurricane Elena (Ocean Springs, MS, 1985), Hurricane Eloise (Panama City Beach, FL, 1975), and Hurricane Hugo (US Virgin Islands, 1989) FEMA response, Corps Office Manager
  •  National Park Service – Fort Pickens Pier (Pensacola, FL) and Fort Massachusetts Shoreline Stabilization (Ship Island, MS)
  •  Dauphin Island Emergency Berm, Project Manager
  •  Tenn-Tom Waterway Locks and Dams, Design Team Member

In addition to numerous performance recognitions over the years, some of Crane’s awards have included: Team Spirit District, Mobile Outstanding Planning Achievement Award (1988); the USACE Chief of Engineers Roger Hoell Excellence in Structural Engineering Award (1995); Special Act of Service Award (1999); the US Coast Guard’s Recognition of his efforts on several projects (2002); the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s Project Management Award (2006); the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service (2006); and the Bay County TDC’s Recognition of his efforts during the 2005-2006 nourishment project.

Crane’s service with USACE began in 1973 at Mobile District’s design branch of the Engineering Division. During this time, he became a registered professional engineer (P.E.) in the state of Alabama. He eventually transferred to the Civil Works Project Management Team of the Programs & Project Management Division in 1998 where he has managed the district’s numerous, large civil works projects along the coastlines of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.