Mike Graham is retiring from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District and ending his 41-year federal service career.
Following 10 years as an Army engineer officer, Graham joined the federal civilian work force and spent time with both the Kansas City and Savannah Districts before joining the Middle East District (TAM) in 2006.
In a ceremony hosted by TAM Commander COL Philip M. Secrist III, with Transatlantic Division Deputy Commander COL Stephen H. Bales, TAM Deputy Commander LTC Richard Collins, other District leaders and team members attending from throughout the District.
Graham’s wife Shannon, son Jacob, daughter Katherine and granddaughter Peyton, along with other friends and pastor Douglas Frazer also attended in celebration.
During remarks, several guest speakers shared personal stories about working with Graham, discussing his leadership, loyalty, dedication and commitment. TAM retiree Caryl Hickel spoke about Graham’s technical knowledge and willingness to teach when she was new to the District and before the two of them were USACE instructors together.
Project Management Branch Chief Joe Zaraszczak talked about Graham being his life line/phone a friend for USACE business processes issues and shared a great story about a softball game where he and Graham were both injured badly enough to involve a hospital visit.
Chief of Programs and Project Management Annie Cain discussed Graham’s technical expertise, relationships and commitment to whatever was asked of him during the multiple positions he’s held during his time with the District. During his tenure as Chief of the Contract Close Out section, 292 contracts have been closed out while he has supervised contractor officers and specialists, program managers and analysts.
After being presented a Civilian Service Commendation Medal and the coveted retirement certificate, Graham thanked everyone and then explained why he’s retiring now versus waiting for January and the new calendar year. “I was commissioned into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on 25 September 1978. It’s the end of the fiscal year and the end of a pay period,” Graham said, mentioning the he’s making life easier for the bean counters with one last favor.
Graham’s long and successful professional career officially ends and his retirement begins Sept. 28. He and his family plan to remain in the local geographic area for a while, although he says there are several options open to him with beautiful sunrises they are considering for the future.