Lt. Cmdr. Riley Smith, Stephen McKay and Motohisa Suzuki, were recently selected as Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East military, civilian and host-nation engineers of Fiscal Year 2020, respectively.
“These employees truly earned this noteworthy recognition and are superb representatives of our extremely hard working and talented 2,000 plus workforce,” said Capt. Tim DeWitt, NAVFAC Far East commanding officer. “Congratulations on a job extremely well done!”
Lt. Cmdr. Riley Smith
Smith leads a team of 22 from the Singapore Area Coordinator (SAC) public works office, whose mission is to provide comprehensive shore facilities management, operations maintenance, construction, environmental management, and base operating support services for SAC and its tenants.
Included in those efforts, Smith led the team in compliance with the U.S. Navy’s Overseas Drinking Water program, earning them a full “Certificate to Operate” to provide the installation with high quality drinking water certified by a variety of tests based on Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
When asked about his achievement as Military Engineer of the Year, Smith credited his team for their hard work and described them as selfless and dedicated to the mission.
“I have a great team of professionals who, despite the challenges that got thrown in their way, persevered to get the job done," Smith said. "I don't really take credit for the award—I feel it is recognition of everyone's hard work. For all of the people involved, what stands out to me was their professionalism and selflessness—they just wanted to make sure the job got done right.”
McKay provided top-tier engineering support and coordination as demonstrated by his work on an Installation Restoration Project for in-situ remediation of a groundwater solvent plume and his support of the new Wastewater Treatment Plant and Airfield Repair projects at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, according to Alex Ramos, NAVFAC Far East Public Works Business Line director.
“Stephen provided leadership and guidance for Public Works Departments in Far East, directing the entire Far East region in dramatically improving Maintenance Execution Plans in aligning with Navy Targeted Investment Areas via Condition Based Maintenance (CBM),” said Ramos. “NAVFAC Far East dramatically went from an average region to the enterprise leader in CBM planning—entirely due to the leadership and guidance from him.”
In consideration for the award, judges looked at the extra work McKay continually took on in high-level senior engineering roles in the command including as the Public Works Business Line and the Facilities Management and Sustainment director roles, said Ramos.
McKay also volunteers with "Engineers without Borders" and travelled to Guatemala for nearly two weeks to design a water filtration system specific to the local water source and assisted with follow-on work to build and install this system.
As the only electrical engineer at Naval Air Facilities Atsugi Public Works Department, Suzuki personally led the design of 45 vital multi-disciplined design-build and design-bid-build construction projects (more than $65 million worth of work). His list of his projects included high-voltage equipment replacement, dormitory renovation, air terminal renovation, and elevator replacement.
His efforts were vital in keeping some of the most crucial and oldest infrastructure in the Navy—mission ready, said DeWitt.
“It is a very challenging position, there are so many regulations and design standards we have to understand and if we make a mistake it affects the project,” said Suzuki, who also cited the language barrier as another challenge. “We have to understand U.S. and Japanese standards, and it can be difficult to apply Japanese products with the U.S. Standards.”
Suzuki credited his team as being instrumental to his success.
“Without the support of my team, I couldn’t get such an award—I have to say thank you to them,” Suzuki said. “Atsugi has only one engineer, but my team enables me to handle so many projects; we overcome this difficulty as a team.”