NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 16, 2022) – Aric Payne, a biologist in the East Branch of the Regulatory Division, is named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for January 2022. He is recognized primarily for his efforts as the 2021 Tennessee Nationwide Permits (NWP) Supplemental Documents Project Manager.
Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Payne’s selection stating, “Aric’s willingness to take on additional duties, balance demands for two districts and independently complete them within tight time frames reflects positively on the district and was critical to support the successful delivery of regulatory programs.”
Payne is responsible for extensive coordination with other districts and divisions to develop regional conditions to tailor the NWPs for Tennessee’s aquatic resource functions and services. He is responsible for advertising NWPs processes and analyzing comments, culminating in the preparation of over 50 highly complex documents. Impressively, Payne accomplished this daunting task while simultaneously serving on a developmental detail with the Seattle District Aquaculture Reinforcement Team.
Payne began his career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an Aquatic Biologist in the Huntington District’s water management section in January 2015. He made his way to the Nashville District in August 2017, where he works as a biologist in the Regulatory Division.
“There are a lot of great employees within the Nashville District, and to be named as an employee of the month is very rewarding,” Payne said. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a great organization. I think this is also a reflection of the co-workers and teammates around me.”
Payne’s career in the regulatory division spans a breadth of skills serving in several roles and responsibilities. He has experience working on small projects, including farmers and/or landowners, to large commercial development projects, coal mining projects, mitigation, and shellfish aquaculture projects in Seattle, Washington.
Casey Ehorn, Payne’s supervisor, describes Aric as an ideal role model who sets the standard of excellence on all his projects, including supporting the Seattle District’s Aquaculture Reinforcement Team. “In both his ‘regular’ LRN job and the Seattle District Aquaculture assignment, Aric never hesitated to take on a difficult or complex project, always going the ‘extra mile’ to communicate with permit applicants, and regularly produced high-quality technical documents” Ehorn said.
Ehorn goes on to note another of Payne’s accomplishments, “Aric’s hard work, high quality work products, and leadership skills over the past year have resulted in his selection as a Regulatory Community of Practice (HQ) detailee this spring – where he will be further supporting the analysis of regional and national level issues.”
“There’s no shortage of opportunities to work on a wide range of projects that are technically challenging and rewarding,” Payne said. While Payne enjoys working at USACE, he also finds it personally fulfilling. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to live and work close to where I grew up. There are a lot of fantastic recreational opportunities in southeast Tennessee, from hiking to kayaking and hunting, etc. I love being outdoors, so living somewhere with those opportunities is a privilege,” Payne said. “Additionally, I’m thankful to work with a fantastic team of people, who provide support and are fun to work with.”
“I know I’ve said it before, but I have tremendous respect for our folks on the front line, interacting with the public on matters that can often be contentious,” Sahl said. “Aric, thanks for being awesome. You are a great example of what Nashville District is all about. Well done and well deserved!”
(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.