NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March. 25, 2020) – Zach Griffin, junior level structural engineer in the Engineering and Construction Division, Structural Section, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District employee of the month for February 2020.
Griffin is being recognized for his significant contributions as the lead designer in which he developed shop quality drawings, weld designs, rigging details and the plans and specifications for the subsequent rehabilitation of the Lake Barkley emergency gate.
According to Cory Morgan, chief of the Structural Section, Griffin led a team in late January that lifted and removed the gigantic 110-foot-long, 500,000 pound gate for repairs.
It was the first time it has been removed from the Cumberland River since the lock was constructed 50-years ago. Removal of this gate allows the performance of a year-long, multi-million dollar construction project to repair and repaint the enormous structure.
“We are really proud of the job he’s done at Lake Barkley,” said Morgan. “He handled himself like a seasoned professional while interfacing with Operations Division, Contracting, the Marietta Repair Station, the guide and contact with the USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Fleet Heavy Maintenance Fleet team and numerous other project delivery team members and stakeholders.”
Morgan said he was very impressed with Griffin’s cool demeanor and how he exhibited tremendous flexibility while coordinating frequently changing requirements with personnel across the Great Lakes and Ohio Rivers Division. This ensured the critical lift occurred safely and on schedule.
“He is an invaluable asset to our office and we are glad that he is a member of our team,” said Morgan. “Zach willingly takes on all assignments with confidence and utilizes lessons learned from his personal experiences and those of his colleagues to improve on a daily basis. He is an engaged, personable young engineer who works well with other project delivery team members and his colleagues.”
Morgan said Griffin performs design and analysis related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of our locks, dams and flood control projects. He prepares contract drawings, specifications and scopes of work to construct or fabricate these components, and performs regular inspections of in-service structures to assess their condition and make recommendations for repairs.
Griffin began working at Nashville District in November 2018 after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Science in Structural Engineering from the University of Alabama.
Morgan said Griffin has demonstrated a capacity to successfully complete complex projects due to work ethic, technical competence, and the desire to learn from the senior structural engineers in the Structural Section.
“His work on the Barkley Emergency Gate was especially praiseworthy due to his ability to navigate a number of changes to funding, design criteria, and acquisition strategy from the start of the project to award of a contract and the subsequent lifting of the Emergency Gate by the R3F Heavy Maintenance Fleet.”
Morgan said he hired Griffin after graduating from the University of Alabama as his first full time job. He has already proven to be an invaluable asset to the Structural Section in his short USACE career.
“He is an easy employee to manage, he is motivated, strives for excellence on a daily basis and elevates everyone around him” said Morgan.
Griffin said he was caught off guard by the award but is happy his hard work is getting noticed. He credits his coworkers and the staff at Lake Barkley for the support.
“I am thrilled about working with all the field office staff and maintenance teams at the projects,” said Griffin. “This job is great because I usually don’t have two days alike and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work as an engineer building, and inspecting structural components of the locks, dams and levee systems,” said Griffin.
Griffin is a native of Panama Beach, Fla., and said gets his work ethic from his parents. He loves the beach and being around water.
Griffin’s hobbies include playing sports, listening to music, exercising and enjoying the beach.
Lt. Col. Sonny Avichal, Nashville District Commander said Griffin’s work ethic, initiative, team player mentality and a constant desire to learn and be challenged at work makes him a valuable asset to the Engineering and Construction Division.
“His outstanding performance along with his commitment to quality is unquestionable and his performance has clearly raised the bar of excellence for the Nashville District and the Corps of Engineers and contributes to the mission of USACE,” said Avichal. “His initiative and dedication cleared the way for success.”
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