NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 28, 2022) – Justin Tabor, senior cost engineer assigned to the Technical Services Section, is named U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for April 2022. He is recognized primarily for his efforts as a senior cost engineer supporting the Kentucky Lock Total Project Cost Update.
Lt. Col. Joseph Sahl, Nashville District commander, announced Tabor’s selection and said, “This has been a long time coming.”
“You are a great example of the expertise we have in the Nashville District; your reputation is well-deserved and extends nationally,” Sahl said. He noted Tabor’s professionalism and thanked him for his commitment to “getting it right,” even under pressure.
Tabor’s role as a senior cost engineer is to give an account of total project costs. These costs not only include current market conditions, but an educated forecasting of future market conditions. In his role, Tabor worked on the Chickamauga Lock mega project. However, after his colleague, Martin Lockard, had an emergency medical issue, Tabor stepped up as the senior cost engineer for both Chickamauga and Kentucky Lock mega projects.
While taking on the additional project, Tabor provided direction and oversight of the Kentucky Lock Addition Total Project Cost Update including each phase of the Cost and Schedule Risk Analysis Crystal Ball process, and final development of the Total Project Cost Summary (TPCS).
As Nashville District’s number one priority, and one of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division’s top priority projects, Kentucky Lock Addition Project is very important for all involved.
“It’s been especially challenging keeping up with all day-to-day changes in today’s market where conditions are changing so fast,” said Tabor.
Despite the pressure and the changes, Tabor led the team in the development of the Joint Risk Register items and associated risks, as well as impending costs and schedule impacts considered in the Crystal Ball Risk model. With input from senior leadership, Tabor also edited the risk register, to provide a more accurate depiction of costs and risks.
In response to congressional interest, Tabor provided support and information for the Corporate Board and Executive Leadership to communicate with the division staff, making it possible to respond to congressional inquiries. Further, he coordinated with the Walla Walla District about all deliverables and resolution, successfully obtaining the Kentucky Lock Addition Fiscal Year 2022 TPC Update Certification.
According to Sahl, “cost engineering and scheduling is a tough business – always being questioned and second guessed.”
Despite the challenges, Tabor finds cost engineering very rewarding, “I really enjoy being involved in all the different phases of a project from conception through completion.”
Tabor began his career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2010 as a cost engineer for the Louisville District. He moved to the Nashville District in 2019 after completion of the Olmstead Dam Project, where he served as the chief of contract performance.
“We really wanted to have him on board with the Nashville District. He is one of the smartest cost engineers in the country, and I knew he would be a great asset,” said Martin Lockard, also a senior cost engineer.
Cost engineering requires a great deal of conceptualizing, forecasting, and thinking far outside of the normal “box.” To Lockard, these are areas Tabor excels in, and considers the work he’s done on Chickamauga and Kentucky Lock, “nothing short of amazing.”
In addition to his normal duties, Tabor conducts a bi-weekly mentoring session for two junior cost engineers. “This was started by Omar Acevedo shortly before he moved to project management,” said Lockard.
He explained these mentoring sessions were not a part of Tabor’s job description, nor are they required, “but what we do isn’t really taught at university level, it’s just something you have to pick up along the way, and Justin’s ensuring the younger engineers have every opportunity to learn,” Lockard added.
Reluctantly shy, Tabor notes the honor of employee of the month came as, “A complete surprise! Ultimately, it’s reflective of a team effort. I was entrusted to calculate data and tell today’s story of where we are, based on the inputs given by the entire Kentucky Lock team.”
He attributes his success to the lessons he’s learned from those around him, “I’ve been afforded opportunities across the district, division, and enterprise to work with exceptional coworkers and leaders. I’ve observed and taken in all their knowledge and expertise and applied it to my work and how I go about each day.”
(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.