Ingrid Howard, a geotechnical engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, was recognized in the National Society of Professional Engineers’ 2016 Federal Engineer of the Year Award Ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington Feb. 26.
Howard was nominated for this award after she was chosen as the Middle East District’s Engineer of the Year for Fiscal Year 2014, a well-deserved title, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Klein, the District’s deputy commander.
“Ms. Howard is a very gifted engineer in both her technical expertise and ability to clearly articulate solutions to senior government officials on difficult engineering problems,” he said. “She invests in the organization and the future of the engineering community through organizational committees and STEM outreach. She is an outstanding representative for the District.”
Though Howard was aware of the nomination, she wasn’t expecting that she would be chosen among the 34 agency winners.
“I was surprised when I found out,” she said. “I knew I was nominated but it’s a very prestigious award. Most of the awardees are leaders within their organizations. I was very honored.”
Known for being a role model in customer interaction, Howard received all 5s, the highest rating possible, on the customer satisfaction survey for the Air Traffic Control Tower project she worked on in Kyrgyzstan. She has briefed high level Pentagon officials from the Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of State and the Office of General Counsel on the critical project to the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan governments.
Her forensic evaluation provided crucial, fact-based data highlighting numerous prime contractor failures in designing, constructing, and testing the ATCT, a $29.4 project. The Air Force used the data she provided to negotiate a no-cost settlement with the prime contractor, and the contractor repaired the ATCT. Without her report, the government would have had to pay nearly $2 million to repair the tower.
“I just do my best and focus on the customer’s needs to make sure they’re satisfied,” she said. “Without the customer, we don’t exist. I take that very seriously and make it my priority.”
Jeffrey Raney, Howard’s supervisor, said she is the technical coordinator and geotechnical engineer on a wide range of product types with diverse customers, yet she assures customer expectations are communicated to her team and are met.
“She demonstrates an exemplary work ethic, diverse international professionalism, selfless service and flawless accomplishment of hundreds of contract actions,” he said. “She has made an invaluable contribution toward the successful achievement of the Middle East District mission.”