LOS ANGELES—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District inducted three former employees into its Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees during the District’s Retiree Recognition Day activities here Feb. 19. More than 40 retirees attended the “State of the District” presentation and luncheon at the District headquarters.
The event provided an opportunity for information sharing, as the retirees were paired with current employees who hold the retirees’ past jobs.
In her welcoming remarks, District Commander Col. Kim Colloton expressed how retiree recognition events contribute to the standards of the profession.
“It’s important because you’ve been part of the development of those still working,” said Colloton. “It’s important to us to see what we’re about and to remind us of what we’ve done and where we’ve been. You continue to influence us.”
Colloton paused to recognize the retirees who are Vietnam War Veterans, including Randy Skarseth, Ramon Andujo and LeBaron Anderson, as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of that war over the next 10 years.
“During this commemoration, we not only honor those who served, but pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by people, such as you, in support of our Armed Forces,” said Colloton.
Following a “Fit After Retirement” wellness presentation and a catered lunch, the induction ceremony was held.
Ken Morris, who retired in 2014 as the deputy chief of Programs and Project Management Division, was selected as a Distinguished Civilian Employee for his creation of a 21-course project management training program that increased Project Management Professional certifications from 30 to 60 percent, dramatically improving the performance of project managers within the District.
Now residing in South Carolina, Morris participated in the induction ceremony via teleconference and told the audience how much he appreciated his time with the Los Angeles District.
“A lot of what the District is about and who I am today is because of the people I was privileged to work with,” said Morris.
The second retiree to be inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees was Ruth Villalobos, who retired in 2008 as the chief of the Planning Division. She was selected for her demonstrated leadership skills while running an annual $30 million program and for her unique ability to interact with diverse groups to resolve extremely complex issues.
In her remarks, Villalobos echoed Morris’ praise for the people of the District.
“It’s from me being able to lead the team; it’s through their efforts that I’m honored today,” said Villalobos. “I hope you’ll continue to honor me with your friendship and the time spent together.”
George Beams, a construction manager who retired after 31 years of service in 2007, was the final selectee. As the chief of the then Construction-Operations Division, Beams oversaw one of the largest construction programs in the Corps, including mega projects at Seven Oaks Dam, Prado Dam and Pier 400, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He was lauded for his warm leadership style that encouraged openness and transparency among his peers and subordinates alike, achieving employee empowerment and enhanced morale.
“I really appreciate this award,” said Beams, who also participated in the event by teleconference. “I’ve had a wonderful career. Although we had some trying times, we overcame all of it and proved we were a professional outfit.”
Large posters with the photos of Morris, Villalobos and Beams were ceremonially unveiled during the luncheon. Their names will be inscribed on a perpetual plaque that has been displayed at District headquarters since the inception of the award in 1983.