NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 20, 2015) – Valerie McCormack, archeologist, Project Planning Branch, Environmental Section, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Employee of the Month for February 2015.
McCormack is being recognized for her significant contributions to the project planning branch and diligent work when she organized the recent National “Consulting with Tribal Nations” training Jan. 12 through 15, which was hosted by the Nashville District. The training is semi-annual training conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters and the Tribal Center of Expertise.
“She is a tremendous asset to our office, district, division and nation,” said Tim Higgs, Nashville District chief, Environmental Section. “We are glad that she is a member of our team.”
According to Higgs, in her job in the environmental branch, McCormack has an incredible amount of knowledge about regulations, policies and procedures while working with almost every branch managing archaeological sites and historic buildings. He said she shouldered the significant workload as the lead for site planning for the events including prior planning and coordination through district and division.
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander, said McCormack arranged for the meeting facilities and supporting equipment. Her most recent training seminar was attended by 50 participants including archeologists, outreach coordinators, environmental and regulatory staff from 14 districts, headquarters, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, four federal and two state agencies, and Tribal Historic Preservation officers from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town of Oklahoma.
“I’m honored to be recognized for my work,” said McCormack. “Working with tribes is extremely rewarding because I’m able to learn of their concerns and it helps our district build better relationships and honor trust relationships with tribes.”
Hudson said the training was instrumental in considering tribal concerns into the Corps’ planning evaluations and permit reviews prior to decisions. The training provided valuable knowledge on tribal sovereignty and the federal government’s trust relationship with tribes. As follow-up to the training, McCormack also hosted the Tribal Liaisons Community of Practice meeting at the district office Jan. 15-16, 2015. Tribal liaisons from various districts attended to share knowledge and coordination experiences and this meeting provided a great forum for tribal liaisons to share experiences in incorporating tribal concerns and further developing tribal relations.
"She is always eager to go beyond what is required to advance consideration and protection of cultural resources in the Nashville District Planning and Regulatory programs,” said Hudson.
McCormack began working with the Corps in 2007 for the New Orleans District, and took the archeologist position in 2008 at the Nashville District. She previously worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Monongahela National Forest, West Va. She also provided fieldwork throughout the eastern United States, Mexico’s Gulf Coast and Belize.
“Valerie is a true professional, who works hard, she is motivated, a good person to work with and we appreciate her work ethic,” said Mary Lewis, a biologist and Outreach and Silver Jackets coordinator in the Project Planning Branch. “She is most deserving for this award because of the extra effort she puts forth to her job, most frequently exceeding the requirements of her position.”
Higgs said her patience and willingness to be of assistance to anyone at any time shows her dedication to her profession and the personnel at the Nashville District.
McCormack said she was surprised and honored by the award and feels the award is a team effort she credits her Project Planning Branch coworkers for support and motivation.
“It is rewarding to work with skilled and professional colleagues throughout the district,” said McCormack.
McCormack added that she thinks working as an archaeologist is special because of here enjoyment she enjoys managing sites and historic buildings with rangers and staff at various resource offices around the district.
Higgs said her organizational skills, positive attitude and work ethic were instrumental in effectively resolving this task. She interfaces with almost every branch in the Corps, managing archaeological sites is part of planning projects, Operation Hydropower, Real Estate actions and regulatory permits.
McCormack said project planning work is both interesting and rewarding, and said she knows there are many people that work hard, care about their project, take pride in their job and equally deserve to be honored and recognized. Nonetheless, she said that she is happy to be recognized.
“My motivation is my husband Ryan and my two children that keep me grounded and motivated,” said McCormack. “I believe it is our responsibility as human beings to care for cultural resources and gain more information about past lives and cultures no matter if it is prehistoric cultures or segments of societies.”
McCormack’s hobbies include gardening, hiking, camping, an aspiring yogi and knitter, and spending time with family.
Hudson said McCormack demonstrates teamwork, exceptional professional pride and unity by the capacity of her work ethic and possesses a wealth of administration knowledge and functions that she exercises on a daily basis to continually improve our processes for the Nashville District and Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.
“Her outstanding performance along with her great attitude for service significantly contributes to another successful job by the Nashville District Project Planning team and contributes to the mission of the district,” said Hudson.
For more news, updates and information please follow the Nashville District on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Nashville District on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvilledistrict.