By Bill Couch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- A longtime employee at Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Midwest's Public Works Department (PWD) Great Lakes was honored with NAVFAC's Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award March 1.
Ken Endress, who began working at Great Lakes in 1979 as a general engineer while also serving as a Navy Reservist, currently serves as real property accountability officer in PWD Great Lakes' asset management branch. He was recognized as this year's honoree during the annual Great Lakes-area Seabee birthday ball in Gurnee, Ill.
"Ken is an excellent choice and is clearly deserving of the recognition," said Jim Nelsen, PWD Great Lakes deputy public works officer. "Ken continues to be a great representative of the public works department, NAVFAC and Naval Station Great Lakes. His dedicated service is a benchmark for all of us."
Endress began his Department of Defense career in 1971 as an active-duty engineering aide with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 and left active duty as staff civil engineer for Naval Station Guam in 1978. Joining the Navy Reserve, he served in NMCB 25 as training officer, admin officer and later, executive officer. Following assignments including Naval Construction Regiment 2, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Naval Reserve Readiness Command 13, he retired from the Naval Reserve Civil Engineer Corps Volunteer Training Unit at Great Lakes as a commander in 2000.
Endress' career as a civil servant at Naval Station Great Lakes has been as a general engineer, facilities management specialist, real property officer and deputy assistant regional engineer before assuming his current job in 2009. He is currently responsible for maintaining all records relating to real estate and facilities at Great Lakes.
"I am very humbled to receive this award," said Endress. "I thank all those Navy military and civilians and my family over these many years for their wise direction and support of me. I pray that I have made my commands and the Navy as whole a better place to work and serve. I have truly enjoyed working for the Navy and with my co-workers and serving my church, my community, and organizations where I have lived."
Endress' supervisor, who submitted the nomination, remarked that Endress' legacy is positive and enduring.
"The award given is a lifetime achievement award, and Ken has certainly achieved numerous milestones and goals in his career," said Endress' supervisor, PWD Great Lakes Facilities Management Division Director Glenn Yurgil. "I am sure we will continue to see Ken's achievements well into the future. My best goes out to Ken and his family--congratulations!"
Endress' coworkers also appreciated his style of servant leadership.
"Ken has been an invaluable asset to NAVFAC and me," said Endress' PWD Great Lakes coworker Randall Gooden. "From my first day in the office, Ken has been my mentor, helping me develop in everything from writing skills to understanding the Navy's facilities database systems and property record cards. If you don't know something about Great Lakes, ask Ken. He will know the answer, or on the rare occasions he doesn't, he knows right where to find it."
In nominating Endress for this year's award, NAVFAC Midwest noted that he has been honored as the Naval Station Civilian Employee of the Year and a finalist in the Chicago Federal Employee of the Year for his community service. With this award, NAVFAC recognized Endress' knowledge of engineering, his efforts to continuously improve processes and products, and his support of a cooperative, professional working atmosphere--an important consideration when dealing with multiple local, state, and national organizations.
Endress has made many contributions in support of his community, as well. For more than 41 years, he has participated in the national Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), which is focused on facilitating engineering support for national security by developing relationships and competencies among members of the armed forces, public and private sector engineers, and related professionals. He also serves as vice president of his church council and has helped lead several church-sponsored community support efforts, including the annual CROP Hunger Walk and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
"Starting with his entry into boot camp at Great Lakes, through his active duty, Reserve duty, and federal civilian service, Mr. Endress has faithfully served our country for over 42 years," said NAVFAC Midwest Commanding Officer Capt. Rod Worden. "Mr. Endress has dedicated his life in his service to his country, not only in and out of uniform, but also with his in-depth training and mentoring of the people who have worked with him. He has excelled at every opportunity that has risen in his path, and he is well deserving of this recognition."
The Peggy B. Craig Lifetime Service Award was established in 2012 in honor of a longtime NAVFAC headquarters employee to honor NAVFAC civil servants with 20 or more years of selfless and dedicated service to NAVFAC, the 1st Naval Construction Division, the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, or any subordinate unit. Criteria considered include a nominee's impact on the organization and people that they serve, demonstration of a strong and consistent record of professional excellence in their field, and demonstration of a strong sense of "servant leadership."