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Cleary named Nashville District Employee of the Month for November 2020

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Jan. 8, 2021
Ryan Cleary, project engineer at the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project Resident Engineer Office, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for November 2020. (USACE photo)

Ryan Cleary, project engineer at the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project Resident Engineer Office, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for November 2020. (USACE photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 8, 2021) -- Ryan Cleary, project engineer at the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project Resident Engineer Office, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for November 2020.

Cleary is recognized primarily for his construction management, contract administration, and quality assurance activities as the contracting officer’s representative for the National Park Service’s Big Creek Road Stabilization and Repair Design-Build Project near Whitley, Kentucky, in Big South National Park.

“As the COR for this project, with minimal labor dollars and a short two-week window for actual construction, Ryan had to mitigate against delays. To do so, he quickly negotiated the addition of geotechnical borings to assist with definition of the contractor’s design, taking into account there were no additional funds to absorb any substantial differing site conditions once the construction began,” said Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander.

The commander emphasized that the Corps of Engineers values its partnership with the National Park Service, and so he is pleased to recognize Cleary for excelling in communicating issues, keeping them involved and aware of contract decisions, thus exceeding the expectations of the customer.

Flooding in 2019 made the gravel road unstable that leads to the Cumberland River, the only access to a water intake serving McCreary County, Kentucky. About 50 feet of roadway washed out, and NPS partnered with the Corps of Engineers, which contracted with QBS Inc., in Alliance, Ohio, on the $224,277 repair project.

Project Manager Greg Bishop said due to Cleary’s diligence on monitoring cost, particularly supervision and administration labor, the Nashville District is returning $7,328 to the National Park Service for the construction project completed under budget and ahead of schedule in October 2020.

“Ryan was also able to coordinate with the electrical company for the installation of electrical conduit in the area of the road repair, which will allow for the removal of temporary overhead power lines at a later date,” Bishop said.

Cleary previously worked as a contractor quality control manager for Heeter Geotechnical Construction on the Chickamauga Lock Excavation Project completed in January 2019. That experience, plus additional private sector experience, is benefitting the Chickamauga Lock Resident Office in finding cost-effective solutions to unique construction issues, like those encountered on the Big South Fork project.

The Nashville District, NPS and contractor overcame design and construction challenges, and the relationship and open communication with Kenneth Gilreath, NPS representative, proved to be very exceptional and led to valuable coordination with local utilities involved with the project, Cleary said.

Cleary said he is honored for being nominated and selected as employee of the month.

“However, it is never true that one person is responsible or makes a project.  The team for this project was second to none. I could not have asked for better QA support in the field than provided by both Larry Brown and Jordan Matthews. Tommy Long’s mentorship recommendation to pursue additional geotechnical investigation was spot on. As project manager, Greg Bishop was involved and provided crucial client interface,” Clear said.

Cleary also lauded the contractor headed by Bob Franks and Mike Travis who were always responsive, provided excellent design and construction quality control, and were able to deliver the final product two weeks sooner than scheduled.

“All these parties working in concert and harmony is what ultimately led to the success of this project,” Cleary noted.

Cleary is originally from Oklahoma and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He served as an Army engineer officer from 2004 through 2009 in Germany. He then worked for both construction management and structural engineering firms. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a master’s degree in historic preservation.

In his off time, Cleary enjoys spending time with wife Tara, sons Paul, 9, and Oliver, 4, and daughter Sophia, 2. His hobbies include construction history and woodworking.

The Oklahoma native began working with the Nashville District in January 2019 and said he loves the opportunity to be a part of a team of professionals and being able to solve problems.

Long said Cleary is a valuable addition to the team and added that the project delivery team’s exceptional execution led to confidence and trust with NPS stakeholders. His effort led to a stronger relationship, which will hopefully lead to additional collaboration in the future, he added.

“Ryan is a West Point graduate. The effort he puts into his projects reflects the Army values.  He is low key, modest, was quick to learn our processes, and has been able to handle every challenge he has been given,” Long said.

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)