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Posted 6/14/2017

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By Sean McBride


Did you know that “awards season” is such a common term that it actually has a Wikipedia entry? The Charleston District hasn’t received any Oscars or Grammys or Tonys, but we have recently received a few awards that would fall under those same levels of success in their respective fields.

At the end of March, the District’s Corporate Communications team (aka the group that brings you this Palmetto Castle) was notified that they were selected as a finalist for the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil award. This prestigious award is the highest honor in the public relations field and has only ever been awarded to one other USACE district in the past. The nomination is for the District’s “Pulling for Unity” campaign in the Multi-Cultural Public Relations Category. This campaign features the District’s annual sweetgrass pulling event, paired with STEM outreach to students and a final presentation of sweetgrass discs to the Mother Emanuel AME Church following the tragic shooting in 2015. On June 8th,in New York City, the Corporate Communications team learned they had earned a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for second place.

Two weeks later, at the Fiscal 2016 Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff Safety Awards in Fort Benning, Ga., the District’s safety officer, Shelia Sollis, was awarded with the SA/CSA Individual Award of Excellence in Safety. To be considered for an award, individuals and units must have made significant improvements and contributions to accident prevention efforts, among other criteria, during the previous fiscal year. Sollis earned the award for her part to reduce the number of accidents the Charleston District had in the prior year and her campaigns for various safety areas.

A month went by and another award was received, when the U.S. Coast Guard presented awards to several members of the Charleston District team for their role in Hurricane Matthew post-storm actions. Lt. Col. Matthew Luzzatto, district commander, and Maj. Jason Legro, deputy commander, were given military awards and the District’s Navigation team, consisting of Brad Schultz, Kenny Millbrook, Matthew Boles, Matthew Foss, Sonja Tyson and Scott Glass, received Civilian Certificates of Merit. The team quickly came back to Charleston after the state-wide mandatory evacuation to begin surveying the waterways to locate any problems for vessel navigation, which resulted in the Captain of the Port being able to open the harbor 24 hours earlier than expected.

One day later, the Charleston District received four awards at the annual Federal Executive Association Employee of the Year Luncheon. Sonja Tyson, Outstanding Technical Support Employee; Gwen Michael, Outstanding Administrative Support Employee; Scott Glass, Outstanding Federal Supervisor; and the District’s Survey Team, Outstanding Customer Service Effort, all earned the distinction of the top federal government employee in Charleston in their area for their efforts. Winning four of the possible nine categories eligible is a tremendous accomplishment.

In three months, the Charleston District has been recognized with numerous awards, many for the first time. The Charleston District is continuously humbled by these award bodies who chose our employees and teams for these prestigious awards. We won’t let these awards get to our heads and we’ll continue to serve the city, state and nation as we always have.