USACE Galveston District Spotlight on Nelida Vazquez-Figueroa

GALVESTON, Texas (March 1, 2016) ­– Nelida Vazquez-Figueroa displayed a knack for numbers from an early age and after completing an introductory accounting course at the Advanced Computer & Electronic College, during her senior year in high school, she knew she would put her talent for numbers to work in the financial field. Now a program analyst for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Galveston District, she oversees various financial aspects of the Regulatory Division – a department best known for evaluating permit applications for construction activities that occur in America’s waters and wetlands.

“I enjoy being part of an important mission not only for the Galveston District, but for our nation,” said Vazquez-Figueroa. “I seek opportunities to maximize our resources,” said Vazquez-Figueroa.

While Vazquez-Figueroa relies heavily on her analytical skills to perform her job duties, her favorite aspect of this career is the ability to mentor others working in her field.

“It’s rewarding when other program or budget analysts in the district or region have enough trust in me and my expertise to know that I will guide or point them in the right direction,” said Vazquez-Figueroa.

A native of Puerto Rico, her federal career began on the other side of the world, in Augsburg, Germany, as an accounting technician working for the U.S. Army’s 69th Signal Battalion. Vazquez-Figueroa credits the Army’s promotion opportunities for helping her to move up the career ladder.

“Each position has been a stepping stone that has helped me to gain understanding in the financial field, from lower level responsibilities to where I am today,” said Vazquez-Figueroa. “I’m truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work for some amazing military organizations that execute incredible missions.”

Vazquez-Figueroa earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in accounting, from the Arecibo Technological University College of the University of Puerto Rico as well a Master’s Certificate in Federal Financial Management from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School. Currently, she is pursuing a certificate in program and management analysis from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School.

When she isn’t maximizing taxpayers’ resources for the USACE Galveston Regulatory Division, Vazquez-Figueroa is busy with her two children and their friends, who also call her Mom. Vazquez-Figueroa also enjoys dancing, shopping and spending time at the beach.

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Little Rock 2016 Engineer of the Year

Jim Milam has been named Engineer of the Year by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District. Milam, who lives in Mountain Home, Ark., is the lead engineer for testing and maintenance of hydroelectric power plant equipment within the district.

Milam’s award announcement was the district’s capstone event during the 2016 Engineers Week, Feb. 22 thru 26 that honors how engineers make a difference in the world and increases dialogue regarding the need for engineers in the future.

“It’s a humbling honor to be named Engineer of the Year,” said Milam as he accepted the award from Chief of Engineering and Construction Division Tony Batey. “I’ve seen some really good engineers receive this award and it’s an honor to be recognized among them.”

Milam’s efforts have resulted in decreased forced hydropower outage times and improved safety for the repair of generation equipment. It is estimated that about $6 million dollars of added revenue was returned to the U.S. Treasury as well as $23 million of added benefits because of his efforts.

“I’ve known Jim for a very long time, it’s no surprise he’s being recognized for his outstanding work,” said Batey. “Jim is recognized as an expert in power plant equipment and is regularly consulted by other districts on the engineering analysis and repair of power plant electrical equipment.”

Milam has worked as an electrical engineer at the Bull Shoals Power Plant for more than 30 years and has almost 32 total years of federal service.

“The great people I’ve worked with in the district office, project offices and the hydropower section have made my job fun and rewarding,” Milam said. “I’d like to thank them all.”

Milam is a 1976 graduate of University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. In 1981 he earned a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He is also a licensed professional engineer in the state of Arkansas and an Arkansas licensed master electrician.