EWeek 2024 Employee Spotlight - Sammy Nmair

Transatlantic Middle East District
Published Feb. 21, 2024
Updated: Feb. 21, 2024
Sammy Nmair at a project site in Bahrain.

Sammy Nmair at a project site in Bahrain.

Florida HHD Project

Florida HHD Project

Tank in Egypt During the Revolution

Sammy Nmair remembers when the Revolution began in 2011. Here is a tank his family saw in Egypt During the Revolution.

Columnbarium Project in Arlington National Cemetery.

Columnbarium Project in Arlington National Cemetery.

Ord Weitzel Gate Project in Arlington National Cemetery

One of Sammy Nmair's projects was the Ord Weitzel Gate Project in Arlington National Cemetery.

When Sammy Nmair began his job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM), as a project engineer for the district’s Bahrain area it was like joining the family business. Nmair’s journey was inspired in part by his father who had previously worked for TAM in the early 2000’s.

Nmair’s family also lived in the Middle East during his formative years and while studying civil engineering at the American University in Cairo, Nmair and his family had a front row seat to history as the Arab Spring Revolution began in Egypt on January 25, 2011, and lasted for 18 days. The people of Egypt began protesting the government and Nmair remembers, “one million people were in Tahrir Square demanding the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.”

In early February, the Nmair family was evacuated by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo when the embassy moved approximately 3,000 embassy employees. The evacuees were moved via busses and taken to the airport.

“I remember tanks and checkpoints were all on the highway. It seemed like the entire international expat community were at the VIP terminal in the airport. We had no idea where we were being sent to. Twelve hours later we were on a plane when we learned we were heading to Greece then to Jordan,” He recalled.” TAM supported the Nmair family throughout the evacuation process.

Nmair returned to Virginia to continue his civil engineering studies. He graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in civil and infrastructure engineering with a concentration in construction from George Mason University (GMU).  This seemed natural to him as he comes from a family of engineers, including both his parents and siblings.

After graduation he had the opportunity to work on diverse projects in different positions. First, he got a job in the private sector at Balfour Beatty Construction doing special projects ranging up to $10 million from concept to completion of projects.

In 2019, he joined USACE in Florida working on the high-profile Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) Project surrounding Lake Okeechobee as the senior project engineer where he successfully closed out four projects. 

In 2021, he shifted to the Norfolk District where his work focused on projects in Arlington National Cemetery. He did a restoration for one of the original gates of the cemetery where restored them and placed them back in their original location on the grounds. He also restored the amphitheater in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the columbarium’s. He also oversaw the review of the mega project expansion at Arlington National Cemetery.

During that project, Jeff Pohlig, TAM area engineer in Bahrain, called Sammy and asked if he would like to come work in the Middle East. “Yes sir,” Nmair declared, “that has always been my dream to work overseas.” He started at the Bahrain area office in January of 2023.

He's currently working on two projects in Bahrain, “The P-964 shore to ship utilities project which provides the Navy that provides power, telecommunications, water, and sewage connections for the ships that dock at the pier. They are also connecting via a tunnel to provide power across the base. The other project is P-974, electrical system upgrade, to create a new loop of electrical connections.” Additionally, he’s working on a project in the UAE.

“Sammy excels at coordinating utility outages with Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NCTS), the United Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Naval Support Activity Bahrain (NSA) in order to successfully execute contract P-974 NSA Bahrain Electrical System Upgrade and P-964 Shore to Ship Utilities.  Often approval requires creative solutions for alternative power, water, and cooling sources which require expeditious execution of contract modifications.  These modifications ensure the USACE projects continue on schedule while stakeholders are able to maintain national security capabilities,” Pohlig said.

“Getting to be hands on is what attracted me to construction,” Nmair said, “I get to see the product as it is being built to its completion. With the amount of work I put into these projects, I want to see the day-by-day process come to fruition. That’s how I get gratification from the work I do.  I also love working through the problems we face and finding solutions to finish these jobs.”

“I’m still young, but in five years I’m hoping to move forward into engineering management promotions. My goal is that by the end of my career I will manage large scale programs that help my agency reach their mission.”

Nmair intuitively speaks the language of leadership with gratitude for those who has helped him along the way. As he looks to the future, “Hopefully, I can give similar opportunities to someone else one day.”