District Digest News Stories

Navarro named Nashville District Employee of the Month for March 2019

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published May 2, 2019
(USACE Photo by Mark Abernathy)

Luke Navarro, a Natural Resource Specialist (Park Ranger) Pathways student, at the Cordell Hull Lake Resource Manager's Office is the Nashville District Employee March 2019.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 1, 2019) – Luke Navarro, a Natural Resource Specialist (Park Ranger) Pathways student, at the Cordell Hull Lake Resource Manager's Office is the Nashville District Employee March 2019.

Navarro is being recognized for his contributions and support during the absence of staff members, Navarro managed logistics for a new security system that was installed at all area campgrounds and day booths surrounding Cordell Hull Lake.  He monitored, read and maintained traffic counters for the visitation estimation reporting system and ensured that new shelter reservation boards were installed. 

“Luke is an invaluable asset to our staff and we are glad that he is a member of our Cordell Hull team.  We definitely appreciate his contributions that makes Cordell Hull Lake a better place for all who visits,” said Mark Herd, Cordell Hull Lake Resource Manager.

According to Herd, in just months of working at Cordell Hull Lake, Navarro has gained an incredible amount of knowledge about regulations, policies and procedures and has shouldered the significant workload with a positive "can do" attitude.

“He has exceeded all our expectations,” said Herd. 

Herd, said Navarro started working at the district in 2018 through the Pathways Internship Program which offers current students enrolled in college, trade school or other institutions paid opportunities to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and explore careers while completing their education.

According to Herd, as a pathways park ranger Navarro provides direct support and customer service to lake residents, visitors and adjoining property owners of the lake.  He helps manage shoreline and assist with the park ranger program.  His job requires him to consistently provide key support for activities around the lake, and he helps maintain the Recreation Management Program

“Rangers are the face of the Corps and have to interact with the public daily and Luke helps us maintain a cohesive relationship with our lake residents and staff.” said Herd. 

Herd said, Cordell Hull Lake is one of the most used lakes in the Nashville District and is located on the Cumberland River in Smith, Jackson, and Clay counties of Tennessee.  Rangers support variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year.  Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities from which to choose, including: fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, hiking, horseback riding and other numerous ways to enjoy nature. 

Luke is a true professional, who is always helpful, motivated and dedicated to meeting the needs of those he works with, serves through his work around the lake and we appreciate him for that,” said Ashley Webster, a park ranger at Cordell Hull.

“He is most deserving for this award because of the extra effort he puts forth in his job, most frequently exceeding the requirements of his park ranger position,” Webster said.

Herd said Luke has a patience and willingness to be of assistance to anyone at any time shows his dedication to his profession.

Navarro was taken by surprise by the award, and he feels great to know his fellow rangers and the district appreciates the work he does.  He credits his Cordell Hull Lake coworkers for support and motivation.

“This is so cool and I am happy about working as a park ranger for the Corps,” said Navarro. “This has been a long time coming and one of the best things about working for the Corps is, being able to work in an environment that I love, serve the public, and meet people from all walks of life.”

Webster said Navarro’s organizational skills, positive attitude and work ethic were instrumental in helping him format Cordell Hull Lake's new Master Plan, ensuring it meets 508 compliance.

“These exceptional efforts greatly exceed what is usually asked of a new Ranger Trainee,” said Webster. 

Herd said in addition, he provided support to the Use Fee Cashier, formulating USACE and America the Beautiful Pass Tracking forms.  He took the initiative to construct new maps for the Cordell Hull Lake's camping patrons at both Salt Lick Creek and Defeated Creek Campgrounds.  The maps greatly enhance the visitor's recreational experience and will provide guidance for years to come. 

Navarro said he knows there are many people that work hard, take pride in their job and equally deserve to be honored and recognized. Nonetheless, he said that he is happy to be recognized.

“This is an awesome achievement,” said Navarro.  “I love working outdoors, and having the opportunity to work as a park ranger, using new technology to interact and provide service and information to customers and residents of the Lake.”

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District Commander recently had lunch with Navarro and said his initiative, team player mentality and a constant desire to learn makes him a valuable asset to the Nashville District.

“His outstanding performance along with his great attitude for service significantly contributes to another successful job by the Cordell Hull Lake team and contributes to the mission of the district,” said Jones.

In Navarro's off-duty time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Christine and daughters, Kyla and Ella.  He loves all outdoor activities, and especially working on his family farm and being outdoors. 

He is a native of Northern California, and is currently on track to graduate from the University of Oregon in June with a degree in Natural Resources.

After Navarro graduates college in June 2019 with his second degree in natural resources, he will begin as a full-time park ranger at J. Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, Tenn.

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