Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Brooks announced Kendra Leibman and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Sandmel as the command’s 2020 Civilian and Military Engineers of the Year, respectively, Dec. 19.
“Ms. Leibman and LCDR Sandmel were selected from among many exceptional candidates at NAVFAC Northwest for their outstanding engineering contributions to naval shore readiness in the region,” said Brooks. “I deeply respect their hard work, commitment, and dedication.”
As an Environmental Restoration Manager, Leibman led efforts to investigate and treat Per-and Poly-Fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in communities near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Her early engagement in problem identification, project development, and program implementation led to successful response actions which were vital to address and reduce potential exposure in public and private drinking water. She demonstrated exceptional environmental engineering expertise and successfully executed actions from release confirmation to construction of a drinking water treatment system, which resulted in the successful operation of a public water treatment plant in September 2019.
“It has been an amazing experience to be part a project of this magnitude,” said Leibman. “This project could not have been successful without the dedication and close involvement from Navy management and contract staff, the Town of Coupeville staff, and our contractors. I am honored to receive this award on behalf of my team of many.”
Sandmel has been responsible for the community development and mentorship of 425 engineers, shop employees, and contractors, and the flawless execution of over 13,700 in-house service, recurring, and project actions valued at $21 million at Naval Base Kitsap. He also served at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, during the design and execution of over $26 million in projects. His commitment to integrity and diplomacy strengthened relationships and trust with onsite contractors, and directly led to the success of several military constructions projects supporting Joint Operations throughout the Horn of Africa.
"I'm both humbled and honored to be selected as the NAVFAC Northwest Military Engineer of the Year,” said Sandmel. “This selection is truly a reflection of the dedication and professionalism of the civilian workforce I've had the privilege of working with over the last few years. Those in Djibouti, and now those in the PWD Kitsap Production team, continue to impress me every day."