Recapping the 2017 JETC

Sal Nodjomian SAME President

The 2017 Joint Engineer Training Conference and Expo (JETC) welcomed 1,700 attendees to Columbus, Ohio, May 23-25, for three days of education and training, networking, and celebration. Hosted by the SAME National Office and the Kittyhawk Post, the week brought together public and private sector professionals from the A/E/C industry and joint engineer community to share ideas, bridge gaps, harness capabilities, and develop solutions to challenges facing our national security, both at home and abroad.

As was evident in the 2016 SAME Annual Report video, which premiered during Wednesday morning’s general session, this event—and SAME—is about people who want to make a difference.

Thank you to all the sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and attendees for making the 2017 JETC a success. Session presentations and other event information can be found at To relive JETC in Columbus as it unfolded, search #SAMEJETC on twitter.


Featuring over 70 hours of education and training sessions, JETC offered attendees from across many technical disciplines (including environmental, facility management, business development, energy, contingency operations, and architecture and engineering) the chance to learn about innovative approaches and influential projects while earning valuable PDHs.

Presenters came from the military, government, academia, and industry, and they represented the diversity of SAME’s membership. Among the professional development offerings, the conference included two technical tours at nearby Ohio State University. One was of Ohio Stadium—”The Horseshoe”—and the other, organized by the Architectural Practice Committee, was of AIA award-winning Knowlton Hall.

JETC also included a panel discussion with the Engineering Service Chiefs. Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, USA, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Maj. Gen. Tim Green, USAF, Director of Civil Engineers, Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection; and Rear Adm. Randy Gardner, USPHS, Chief Engineer Office, U.S. Public Health Service, represented the Army, Air Force and Public Health Service. Rear Adm. John Korka, CEC, USN, Commander, NAVFAC Pacific, and Rear Adm. Jim Heinz, F.SAME, USCG, Director of Operational Logistics, U.S. Coast Guard, represented the Navy and Coast Guard, respectively.

The leaders touched on key focus areas for their respective services and also gave some insights into their projected FY2018 budgets. The Air Force for instance, does anticipate growth in sustainment, restoration and modernization funding after several years of taking risk in this area. Each of the agencies also discussed the potential for BRAC in the future, though cautioned that any new round would be different from 2005, which grew the installation footprint. A 2021 BRAC would be more strategic towards ensuring the right capability supporting the right mission is in the right location.

The leaders expressed support for infrastructure funding for the nation, but did not elaborate on specific details. They also addressed the importance of professionalism within their services and the value for their personnel in being a part of professional organizations and learning from colleagues in the public and private sectors.


Highlighting JETC’s education and training program was a multi-hour Table Top Exercise (TTEx), facilitated by the SAME Joint Engineer Contingency Operations Committee, that brought together leadership with FEMA and USAID-OFDA, engineers with each of the Combatant Commands, other government and military decision-makers, and representatives from industry firms. In total, 20 government agencies were represented and 11 industry partners. The exercise followed a looming Category 4 cyclone hitting American Samoa and Western Samoa, and went step by step of how both FEMA and OFDA would be preparing a response, who they would be coordinating with, and what the expectations are of both the federal government and the locals on the ground. The scenario intentionally looked at domestic (FEMA and American Samoa) and international (OFDA and Samoa) response planning.

As the TTEx unfolded, the combatant commands and other government and industry representatives would provide their capabilities, their requirements, and their coordinations and authorities, helping paint a picture of both the collective capabilities at the government’s disposal, but also where the gaps are and where there is capacity available that is not being leveraged—resources that are not being utilized either due to logistics or acquisition strains, or because of lack of awareness.

On the second day of the TTEx, the participants out-briefed the Engineering Service Chiefs and each of the combatant command engineers gave a presentation on where they currently are seeing the biggest challenges in planning and preparing for Humanitarian Aide/Disaster Response events. This TTEx was the second annual exercise at JETC and will now be a focal point of the conference in the future. Last year’s was centered on setting a theater of operations in North Africa, from Phase 0 through Phase 3.

Already, planning for the 2018 TTEx scenario is underway. Interested parties can learn more about SAME’s Joint Engineer Contingency Operations Committee, which organizes the TTEx, at


This year’s JETC keynote speakers were Col. Eileen Collins, USAF (Ret.), the first woman to command the Space Shuttle, and Noah Galloway, an Army veteran who lost an arm and a leg during an IED attack in Iraq, but has rebounded from bouts of depression to become an advocate for health and fitness and supporting veterans.

Collins opened JETC on Tuesday afternoon. She focused her speech on NASA’s efforts to learn from the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003 as the agency prepared for the Space Shuttle Discovery “return to flight” that she commanded in 2005. She also shared a number of photos from space of earth, to help show the role that the space program plays in supporting earth science awareness and initiatives [hear more from Collins on the SAME Real TiME Podcast].

Galloway spoke Wednesday morning following the Year in Review presentation by SAME President Capt. Mike Blount, F.SAME, USN (Ret.). Galloway took the audience back to 2001, when he enlisted in the Army while in college following the attacks of 9/11, and then to his two tours in Iraq, the second of which ended just three months in, when a vehicle he was driving was blown up by an IED. Galloway would lose an arm and a leg and spiral into depression before eventually finding a way out through fitness and competition.

Named Men’s Health “Ultimate Guy” in 2014, he went on Dancing with the Stars where he would finish third in the 2015 competition. Galloway is now an advocate for how health and fitness can bring service members and others back from depression and to live life with no excuses [hear more from Galloway on the SAME Real TiME Podcast].


In addition to helping support the education and training needs of the joint engineering community, JETC provides a forum for industry service providers and suppliers to showcase their products and capabilities in the Exhibit Hall and Innovation Theater. JETC brought together 200 companies from across the A/E/C industry. Attendees were able to meet with exhibitors, build their network of contacts, work towards joint venture and teaming arrangements, and demonstrate cutting-edge technologies.

Since the organization’s founding in 1920, SAME has fostered a collaborative environment that offers an open and professional forum for making connections and building enduring relationships. JETC’s networking opportunities—from the Opening Reception at COSI (Center of Science & Industry) to the Exhibit Hall to evening social events—are designed with that objective in mind…because together, more is possible.


As SAME’s Annual Meeting, JETC also included several SAME-related events, including the swearing in of the new SAME National President, Col. Sal Nodjomian, P.E., F.SAME, USAF (Ret.), of Matrix Design Group.

Nodjomian, who took the reins as President from Capt. Mike Blount, F.SAME, USN (Ret.), of AECOM, spoke of the importance of the Society’s volunteers, and that as SAME approaches its Centennial in 2020, the membership deserves the very best support the national leadership can provide to enable them to carry out the organization’s mission.

This year’s JETC also included the Society Leadership & Post Awards Breakfast on Thursday morning, which recognized the accomplishments of SAME’s 105 Posts, 17 Regions, and 13 Committees & Councils, and the week’s final event, the Society Ball & Awards Gala, which honored more than 30 individuals and organizations from across the uniformed services and SAME for their outstanding accomplishments.

Below is a list of those honored at JETC for their service to SAME, the uniformed services, and the A/E/C profession.

Top Posts and Region Honors:

  • Top Large Post – Hampton Roads
  • Top Small Post – Central Virginia
  • Top Medium Post – Tulsa Post
  • Top Region – Middle Atlantic

Committees & Councils Appreciation Awards:

  • Architectural Practice Committee – Daphne Gurri, AIA, LEED AP, Gurri Matute Construction Company
  • College Outreach Committee – Lt. Col. Wendell “Buddy” Barnes, P.E., F.SAME, USA (Ret.), Arcadis
  • Environmental Committee – Tim Fitzpatrick, Axys Analytical Services Ltd.
  • STEM Committee – Hal Balbach, Ph.D, QEP, F.SAME, U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory
  • Credentialing Committee – Darren Amick, Betchel Oil, Gas and Chemical Inc.
  • Energy & Sustainability Committee – Bill Naughton, PG, Veolia North America
  • Small Business Council – Jayla Pine, Baer Engineering and Environmental Consulting Inc.
  • Young Member Council – Danielle Barner, PMP, Atkins
  • Resilience Committee – Lt. Col. Gary Gordon, P.E., USA (Ret.), UMass-Lowell
  • Facility Asset Management Committee – Stacy Hirata, P.E., SES, HQ USACE
  • Engineering & Construction Camps Committee – Lt. Cdr. Cindy Miller, P.E., LEED AP, DBIA, USN (Ret.), CH2M
  • International Committee – Lt. Col. Christian Knutson, P.E., PMP, USAF (Ret.)

2016 SAME Awards & Medals Recipients:


  • Walter O. Bachus Gold Medal – Capt. Bill Bersson, P.E., F.SAME, USN (Ret.), HCR Construction
  • Goethals Medal – Christine Garrett, P.E., 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis
  • Bliss Medal – Capt. Marlyse Williams, Ph.D., USAF, U.S. Air Force Academy
  • Tudor Medal – Justin McDonald, P.E., USACE Mobile District
  • Urbahn Medal – Edmond Gauvreau, FAIA, HQ USACE
  • Sverdrup Medal – Lt. Col. Kevin Mares, P.E., USAF, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron, Holloman AFB
  • Paul R. Smith NCO Medal – Master Sgt. Amanda Wakefield, USAF, 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron, 1st Expeditionary, Civil Engineer Group
  • Technology Advancement Medal – Maj. Kevin Kaufman, Ph.D., USAR, CommScope-Government Solutions
  • Post Service Medal – Eric Canales, P.E., F.SAME, MULTATECH Engineering / Fort Worth Post
  • Young Member Medal (MILITARY) – Maj. Aaron Zorn, P.E., PMP, CEM, USAF, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Tyndall AFB
  • Young Member Medal (CIVILIAN) – Candis Hamilton, Merrick & Company
  • Student Leadership Medal – Rebecca Hamlin, University of South Alabama
  • Toulmin Medal – Lt. Col. Kevin Lovell, PMP, USA (Ret.), Stanley Consultants, “Delivering Value to the Nation” / January-February 2016
  • Sustainability Award – Towards Net Zero – Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms
  • Public Agency Award – CoastGuardShore Infrastructure Logistics Center
  • Robert B. Flowers Small Business Award – Crawford Consulting Services
  • Seymour S. Greenfield Sustaining Member Award – RS&H
  • J.W. Morris Sustaining Member Award – CDM Smith
  • President’s Medal – Henry Dulaney, P.E., F.SAME, USACE Vicksburg District
  • President’s Medal – Cdr. Joseph Angell, P.E., CCM, F.SAME, USN (Ret.), Taylor Wiseman & Taylor
  • President’s Medal – Lt. Col. Scott Prosuch, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), Tetra Tech
  • President’s Medal – Lt. Col. Jack Seibert, P.E., F.SAME, USA (Ret.), Seibert Engineering & Associates


  • Sturgis Medal (Active) – Staff Sgt. Eric Bailey, USA, Alpha Company, 169th Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Brigade
  • Sturgis Medal (Reserve) – Staff Sgt. Will Davis, USAR, 461st Engineer Company, 367th Engineer Battalion, 372nd Engineer Brigade
  • Sturgis Medal (Guard) – Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hebert, ARNG, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 769th Brigade Engineer Battalion
  • Wheeler Medal – Andrea Rodriguez, PMP, LEED AP, USACE Omaha District
  • Itschner Award (Active) – Alpha Company, 82nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
  • Itschner Award (Reserve) – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 368th Engineer Battalion, Londonderry, N.H.
  • Itschner Award (Guard) – 155th Engineer Company (Vertical), South Dakota Army National Guard, Rapid City, S.D.


  • Newman Medal – Col. Craig Johnson, USAF, 96th Civil Engineer Group, Eglin AFB
  • Goddard Medal – Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Balliet, USAF, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron, Grand Forks AFB
  • Curtin Award (Large Unit) – 11th Civil Engineer Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
  • Curtin Award (Small Unit) – 8th Civil Engineer Squadron, Kunsan AB, Korea
  • Curtin Award (Reserve) – 434th Civil Engineer Squadron, Grissom ARB, Ind.


  • Hollis Medal – Lt. Cdr. Ryan Clapp, P.E., USPHS, Indian Health Service
  • Green Medal – Lt. Jessica Sharpe, USPHS, National Park Service


  • Engineer Officer of the Year – Chief Warrant Officer Two Charles Bell, USMC, Utilities Platoon, Engineer Support Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group * previously presented
  • Senior NCO Of the Year – Staff Sgt. Christopher Panko, USMC, Engineer Platoon, Logistics Element, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Southern Command *previously presented


  • Shields Medal – Builder 1st Class Steven Williams, USN, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5
  • Moreell Medal – Lt. Cdr. Kenneth Sowell, P.E., CEC, USN, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11


  • Oren Medal – Lt. Cdr. James McFerran, PMP, USCG, Civil Engineering Unit Cleveland
  • Sargent Medal – Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence Antonucci, USCG Training Center Cape May
  • Cowart Award (Civil Engineering) – Civil Engineering Unit, Providence
  • Cowart Award (Facilities Engineering) – U.S. Coast Guard Base, Boston