NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 11, 2016) – A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District received the 2015 Department of Defense Value Engineering Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon June 28, 2016.
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering Kristen Baldwin presented the award to Paula Coleman, value engineering officer in the Nashville District’s Engineering and Construction Division, and Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, Nashville District commander.
DOD honored the district for significant fiscal year 2015 value engineering-related efforts that resulted in cost savings, cost avoidances, quality improvements and produced efficiencies for the Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project. Three value studies resulted in a combined cost avoidance and savings of $54.2 million with a total cost savings of approximately 21 percent for the construction project.
Maj. Gen. Donald E. Jackson Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy commanding general for Civil and Emergency Operations, attended the ceremony and lauded the Nashville District’s value engineering team for the hard work and dedication that garnered DOD recognition.
“I’m constantly amazed by the people, districts, missions, the things we are able to do - things we do for our nation and the challenges we are able to overcome every day,” Jackson said.
The Great Lakes and Ohio Division and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters selected the Nashville District for this award, and then submitted an award nomination to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the eventual 2015 Value Engineering Project of the Year Award.
In the packed Pentagon Auditorium, the atmosphere set the stage to honor the award winners for their efforts to streamline operations, improve quality, and reduce or avoid costs. DOD realized $3.1 billion in cost savings and avoidances in fiscal year 2015 and continues to use value engineering to help programs execute within their resources.
“This is a phenomenal award that speaks to the value of these processes and the incredible dedication and talent of the Corps teams involved,” said Murphy.
During the ceremony, officials acknowledged Coleman and the district’s value engineering program for getting the best services for the very best value for the Center Hill Dam project.
“It was so gratifying to see our district’s value engineering program recognized at this level,” said Coleman. “I stood and represented, but this was a team effort.”
Murphy said Coleman is responsible for ensuring value engineering reviews for each project, completing quarterly and annual reports, and coordinating and tracking training to facilitate continued VE studies. Value engineering reviews basically serve to help the Corps get the best value and best quality goods and services for construction projects, he said.
Coleman began working for the Corps in 2001 and said that she enjoys working with people and sharing information that helps save money and cut costs. She said this award is special because during 2015 she lost her father from a battle with cancer and during the ceremony she thought of how proud he would be.
“I was very nervous and didn’t want to embarrass myself nor the district so I thought about my dad and it helped me get through the ceremony,” said Coleman. “This is a team effort. My goal is always cut costs for the Corps and to be successful, which leads to success for our overall team and produces great results in the end. My job as a value engineer is to help bring great minds together to get positive results.”
Murphy said Coleman’s leadership resulted in huge savings. So significant were the savings and results, it was selected by Headquarters USACE as the overall winner by the Value Engineering Advisory Council.
“That’s incredible!” said Murphy. “If we divided that savings up evenly between them, that would be about $1.73 million saved per person. That’s an incredible return on investment considering the relatively limited amount of time invested to figure out these innovate solutions.”
Cullum Miller, civil cost engineer in the Engineering and Environmental Services Branch, said Coleman is a team player, hard worker, and is a smart professional who is always willing to try new ideas to help the team. He said she is dedicated to helping and exceeding the needs of her co-workers and those she serves around the district.
“She does her job well and one of her best qualities is that she brings a lot of people to the table to reach one common goal,” said Miller. “She always looks to improve the process and continues to play a big role in our success in the district.”
Don Getty, project manager in the Planning, Programs and Project Management Branch, said Coleman is a team player that puts in a lot of time and extra effort that exceed the requirements of her position.
“I always apply a litmus test to our Corps process to benefit the cost,” said Getty. “However it has been my experience that with our value engineer effort, under Paula’s tutorage, the benefits have always exceeded the cost.”
The Center Hill Value Engineering team:
The Roller Compacted Berm Value Engineering Team (2013 Study): Howard Gault; Bernie Schulte; Loren McDonald and Taylor Hayes, a former Nashville District employee.
The Dam Safety Seepage Value Engineering Team (2010 Study): Michael Murphy; Ramune Morales; Clint Neel; Tom Herbert; Amanda Burt and John Ermer.
Value Engineering Change Proposals: Brad Long; Beryl Newsome, and Mike Zoccola, both retired employees.
During the ceremony, Baldwin presented awards to several military services and defense agencies: four to the Army, three to the Army Corps of Engineers, four to the http://www.navy.mil/Navy, one each to the Marine Corps and Air Force, five to the Defense Logistics Agency, one to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and three to the Missile Defense Agency.
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