Category Archives: Fort Worth District

Fort Worth District inducts 61st Distinguished Civilian Employee

The 2016 Distinguished Civilian Employee Award was awarded posthumously to Gene Rice, Civil Works Project Manager with the Fort Worth District's Programs and Project Management Division. Gene Rice's daughters, Caitlin (left) and Stephanie (right) accept the award honoring their father during the ceremony on April 22
The 2016 Distinguished Civilian Employee Award was awarded posthumously to Gene Rice, Civil Works Project Manager with the Fort Worth District’s Programs and Project Management Division. Gene Rice’s daughters, Caitlin (left) and Stephanie (right) accept the award honoring their father during the ceremony on April 22. USACE Photo by Randy Cephus)

Fort Worth District retirees and employees past and present, gathered at the organization’s annual retiree luncheon and Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees Induction Ceremony April 22, to recognize Project Manager Gene Rice posthumously as the 61st inductee into the Gallery.

Rice began his career of 31 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1982 in the District’s Planning Division, where he served as a planner and technical manager for flood control projects. During his tenure in the Planning Division, he received his Professional Engineer certification and completed the Planning Associates Program.

In 1997, Rice moved to Programs and Project Management Division to put his abilities to use as a project manager on the Upper Trinity River Basin studies. Working on the Upper Trinity River projects for more than 15 years, Rice became the face of the Corps as he interacted with the public at meetings with representatives of the local sponsors and cities, and in presentations to members of Congress.

The Houston native and father of two received major accolades for his contributions of the Dallas Floodway Extension Engineering Design Study and Upper Trinity River Feasibility Study. At the time, the study was the largest cost shared feasibility study undertaken by the Corps of Engineers since implementation 50/50 cost sharing provisions.

Those contributions led to him being referred to the affectionate nickname “Mr. Trinity.” Rice’s knowledge of the Civil Works processes and public involvement quickly earned him the reputation as an expert and the “go to” person to get guidance on how to overcome project challenges.

“Gene Rice was an example of what we hope to develop all project managers in to being – a technically competent engineer that could bring the technical side of Civil Works projects into focus for the staff, our partnering stakeholders and the public. He fully understood all aspects of the Civil Works Program, from planning to schedule and budget development. He possessed superior people skills that helped to meld high performing project delivery teams,” said Robert P. Morris, Jr., chief, Programs and Project Management Division and Rice’s award nominator.

From 1997 to 1998, Rice was instrumental in preparing District leadership for Senior Review Group meetings on three major focus projects, the Fort Worth Sumps, Dallas Floodway Extension and Johnson Creek. He also worked with District Hydrology and Hydraulics experts to revise the Upper Trinity River Basin floodplain maps. Under Rice’s leadership, three follow-on feasibility studies totaling over $4.6 million were negotiated that helped shape the future of flood protection in Dallas, Arlington and Fort Worth, Texas.

One notable accomplishment was when he personally briefed the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, John Woodley and HQ USACE staff in 2004 on the DFE as they prepared to nominate the project for inclusion in the President’s Budget.

Unlike many project managers, Rice worked projects through all study phases and saw them through construction. The Texas A&M University graduate worked hard throughout his career to advance complex projects and implement public involvement into study programs, while also mentoring his colleagues on all facets of the Civil Works Program. The outcome of Rice’s hard work, positive spirit and strong leadership skills resulted in District teams coming together in delivering successful projects to the community of North Texas.

While accepting the Distinguished Civilian Employee award on her father’s behalf, Rice’s oldest daughter Caitlin said, “Growing up we heard a lot about the Corps of Engineers and that if it rained, it was good thing. You all became a part of our family. Our Dad enjoyed working for the Corps of Engineers and loved what he did. We are truly honored that he was recognized for this award.”

In his last months with the Corps, Rice’s health was failing and his colleagues supported him by assisting him with physical tasks. This assistance was graciously provided by many of the project managers and program analysts that he had mentored over the years. It also allowed him to continue to give back to the community and keep his mind focused on where he could still contribute to the people of North Central Texas.

“I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Gene, but I was told that he was one of the preeminent project managers in the Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program. His expertise and knowledge of the Civil Works processes and his unselfish nature won the respect of his colleagues throughout his career. Gene left a lasting impression on the District and this was evident by all who attended the induction ceremony, knowing that he is fully deserving of this recognition,” said Col. Calvin C. Hudson II, commander, Fort Worth District.


CTAO Lab provides quality testing services for Corps projects

Patrick Spilman, laboratory manager of the CTAO Materials Laboratory and David Smith, QA manager of the CTAO Materials Laboratory advise Col. Calvin C. Hudson, II, commander, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to perform ASTM C78 flexural strength testing.
Patrick Spilman, laboratory manager of the Central Texas Area Office Materials Laboratory and David Smith, Quality Assurance manager of the CTAO Materials Laboratory advise Col. Calvin C. Hudson, II, commander, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to perform American Society for  Testing and Materials C78 flexural strength testing.

Laboratory validation is a very time consuming process as field and lab testing have prescribed procedures that must be followed. These standards are even more stringent when it comes to projects managed by the Fort Worth District’s Engineering and Construction Division.

All labs performing work on Corps projects must be validated by the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi on each testing process.

“The Central Texas Area Office Quality Assurance Facility received this validation in February 2015 in one third of the normal certification timeline,” said David Smith, quality assurance manager for the Central Texas Area Office Quality Assurance Facility.

There are two paths to USACE laboratory validation. Labs receive validation either through on-site inspection by Materials Testing Center inspectors or through an audit of accreditation documents for labs that are accredited by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory.

“The value of the validation process is to assure that materials testing for USACE construction projects is done in accordance with established standards and to assure that materials going into our projects meet the specifications,” said Alfred B. Crawley, director, Materials Testing Center at ERDC.

An on-site inspection was performed for the USACE Central Texas Area Office and its Mobile QA Lab Facility at Fort Hood, Texas. The MTC inspection included a review of the laboratory’s quality control system, other equipment, personnel and laboratory test procedures.

“Upon resolution of any deficiencies found during the inspection, validations are issued for either two or three years and can be renewed by the same process,” said Patrick Spilman, lab manager for Central Texas Area Office Quality Assurance Facility.

Quality Assurance testing must be performed by a government laboratory such as the one at Fort Hood or by the use of purchase orders for commercial laboratories to fulfill the required five percent testing the government requires. These tests are conducted in parallel with the contractor’s tests to compare and validate the results.

“Even though quality control and testing are the responsibility of the contractor, it is the policy of the Engineering and Construction Division that government quality assurance testing be conducted at a rate of at least five percent of those required of the contractor,” said Smith.

Other USACE validated labs are located in the Baltimore, Huntington, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Savannah, St. Louis, and Vicksburg districts.

“Although the Engineer Regulations do not apply to locations outside the continental United States, there is a USACE validated laboratory in the Far East District,” said Crawley.

There are many benefits to having a USACE validated facility, according to Smith. These benefits include immediate presence, immediate response for any QA test, emergency availability, on-the-spot decision making, and collaboration among contractors, other Corps districts and divisions, civilian organizations, and other military organizations.

“It took meticulous planning and a lot of hard work to ensure the testing facility met the requirements for construction materials testing using ASTM and AASHTO standards — to include having the required trained and certified personnel,” said Smith.

Some of the current testing services the Fort Hood lab performs include concrete sampling and quality tests, flexural strength tests and compression strength tests. Lab personnel also conduct various tests with soils such as moisture and density testing and lime stabilization testing. Tests for asphalt include Marshall Testing and sieve analysis of extracted aggregates.

“We can expand the use of the lab by employing qualified personnel to further increase our testing capability and expand coverage across not only the Fort Worth District but the Southwestern Division,” said Smith. “Currently we are engaged with the Tulsa District to provide testing services on The Pine Creek Lake Modification of Dam and outlet works located in Southeast Oklahoma.”

Col. Calvin C. Hudson, II, commander, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a Rainhart third point beam breaker to determine flexural strength. Flexural strength is used in hardstand pavement areas and Runway or taxiway pavements.
Col. Calvin C. Hudson, II, commander, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates a Rainhart third point beam breaker to determine flexural strength. Flexural strength is used in hardstand pavement areas and Runway or taxiway pavements.