Tag Archives: SWD

Little Rock District inducts newest Distinguished Civilian Employee

Deputy District Engineer Dr. Randy Hathaway and Col. Robert Dixon, commander, Little Rock District USACE present inductee Dale Leggett a plaque for being nominated into the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District USACE.

He probably never thought living his life by the golden rule would gain recognition or going to work would change a district.

Then again he was only doing his best, which is why he was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“I went to work doing the best I could do and would always look back on the biblical saying of do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Morris Dale Leggett retired chief of natural resources management section said.

As a result Leggett’s actions were being noticed.

“I don’t think we’ve had anyone like him ever or since,” Deputy District Engineer Dr. Randy Hathaway said. “Dale was the best person in reaching out to other Corps employees. If you were sick or struggling he was always the first one lending a helping hand.”

Avid outdoorsman Dale Leggett was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Leggett made the perfect gallery candidate.

“We generally pick out one person who stands out and models those type of qualities and behaviors and he fits the Corps values of putting people first,” explained Hathaway.

Reiterating Hathaway Corps retiree Jack Johnson said Leggett was patient, understanding and caring when they worked together.

During his retirement ceremony in 2013, Morris Dale Leggett retired chief of natural resources management section is congratulated by Dr. Randy Hathaway deputy district engineer.

“You will need a lot of patience if you worked with me,” Johnson joked. “There were times I probably didn’t deserve it but he was nurturing and had more patience than anyone I know.”

Coincidently Leggett shared a similar experience when he first started out.

“Early in my career I never understood things well,” Leggett shared. “My former supervisors were all patient and understanding with me, making me realize that’s what most of us need.”

Hydraulics and technical services branch chief Michael Biggs started with the Corps in the 80’s and Leggett also shaped his career with his patience and understanding. In fact Biggs credits Leggett for some of his career skills.

“You really helped me communicate with others and taught me things that helped when I became a project manager,” Biggs concluded. “I learned to communicate effectively and understand the things you taught. You made me a better engineer.”

Equally amazing to the people he inspired were his contributions to the district.

“His name became synonymous as an advocate for natural resources and recreation programs within the district and around the Corps,” Titus Hardiman chief of natural resources management section said.

Leggett’s positive outlook was the key to his success.

“I always tried to seek more opportunities and never looked at it as a task,” Leggett said. “I walked in the office and each day it was a chance to excel.”

Being an avid outdoorsman gave him a firsthand glimpse the need to balance the demand for recreational opportunities and the districts requirement to ensure recreation and natural resources were protected.

Dale Leggett was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“He was instrumental in employing a park efficiency ranking system known as the Park Operating Efficiency Review, which assisted recreation managers in making the best decision for changes in park operations,” outdoor recreation planner Christine Smith said.

Basically this meant if funding was available the parks would be getting improvements made.

Smith said POER was instrumental in communicating recreational needs to congressional delegates resulting in additional funding of more than $13 million for improvements at the projects.

Spearheaded under Leggett’s leadership the POER resulted in the district’s total annual visitation and recreational fee collections ranking in the top five of Corps districts nationally.

“Leggett was the forerunner in assuring district recreational opportunities with periodic park evaluations and modernizations,” Smith said. “He was a leader in assuring the future quality of recreational opportunities in Little Rock District with periodic park evaluations and modernization.”

Outdoor Recreation Planner Christine Smith contributed to the nomination of Dale Leggett chief natural resources management section to be inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees.

There is no doubt Leggett’s commitment and expertise left a lasting impression on the district and that lasting impression is recognized with his induction into the Little Rock District’s Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees.

“Throughout his 32 years of federal service he demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and loyalty and was recognized as a cornerstone to those within the park ranger and natural resources specialist profession,” Hardiman concluded.

SWD Black History Month Spotlight: Ernest Burford

Burford 2New Orleans, Louisiana native Ernest Burford serves as Assistant Division Counsel for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dallas, Texas, a position he’s held since 2009.

As an SWD attorney Burford works to resolve key issues in civil works, labor and employment, and federal regulatory areas of law.

Black History Month

Before joining the Corps he worked as a litigator at several federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, the U.S. Postal Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His areas of practice include labor and employment, civil works, environmental law, real estate, administrative law and general law.

Burford has been in practice for more than 25 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctor from Southern University Law Center.

Q. Have you encountered any education challenges or hurdles that you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?

A. When I attended LSU in the late 70s, the campus was not a place that was welcoming to African Americans outside of the sporting events. David Duke, a Ku Klux Klan leader, was a regular speaker at the Student Union where large crowds of students supported his racist message.

Q. Is there a defining moment from your formative years where you made a personal decision to get the education and experience you need to be where you are now in your career?

A. I attended Catholic schools until I went to college. Without the excellent education I received there, I doubt I would have been successful in my higher education experiences. The first day at my high school all students were asked where they planned to attend college; there was no other option. My friends in public school were asked “what are your plans” after high school. The seed that is planted in a young mind is so important to his or her future success.

Q. Was there someone along the way that inspired you or believed in you more than you believed in yourself? How important was it to have a mentor along the way?

A. My mother, who was an educator. She always emphasized the importance of education and set an example for me by obtaining her doctorate after the age of 40. She made me believe I could accomplish anything I was willing to work hard to achieve.

Q. What advice would you share with teenagers about choosing a STEM related or government service career?

A. You cannot go wrong choosing a career in STEM. It is the wave of the future.  Government service is a great career path. You will be provided opportunities and challenges early in your career that your peers in private industry will only dream about.