NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 15, 2015) – A repair team at Cheatham Dam received the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Hedgehog Award today in recognition of the team’s work to repair the dam’s spillway bulkheads in preparation for a $9.2 million spillway gate repair contract.
Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, Nashville District commander, lauded the repair team for fixing cracked welds and failed components, while exposed to high temps and wearing welding jackets and respiratory equipment.
“The fact that you did this in the heat with protective equipment and you did it safely is that much more meaningful,” Murphy said. “It’s an honor to lead folks like you, doing more than you have to do. And even with the limited resources you have, you make it work. So I appreciate it.”
The spillway bulkhead repair team consisted of Terry Hudgins, senior mechanic chief in the power house; Josh Marcum, journeyman mechanic; Ramiro Santoyo, journeyman mechanic; Larry Myers, maintenance worker; and Chris Sherek, maintenance worker.
“This is one of many jobs that they do every day… it came on us to pick the job up, get it done before the contractor arrived… they jumped on it and got it knocked out,” said Cayce Tiesler, Cheatham Dam Power Plant superintendent.
Hudgins said the team worked tediously to cut off metal pieces that were deformed, to ground down to the good metal on the spillway gates, and reinstalling clean metal.
“It was not easy, Hudgins said. “I think we had a heat index one day of 110. So when you have that kind of heat index and you’ve got welding gear on, respirators and everything, it gets exciting.”
The spillway gates were under a lot of pressure during the May 2010 flood, and the Corps recognizes this aspect of dam safety and the importance of making these repairs at Cheatham Dam.
“Spillway gates are essential during flood events,” said Mike Wilson, deputy district engineer for Project Management for the Nashville District. “You can tell these guys are passionate about their jobs… I really appreciate the work that is done out there (at the dam).”
Wilson also praised the team for exceeding standards for the repairs and for getting the work done in a hot environment while maintaining personal safety throughout the process.
“It was tremendously hot this summer during the time they were working,” added Freddie Bell, Nashville District’s Nashville Area manager. “Being inside of the bulkheads welding with the proper equipment on was a daunting task.”
The Hedgehog Award is given quarterly by the Nashville District to individuals or team of employees to recognize excellence.
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