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NAVFAC Southwest Engineers and Designer of the Year Recognized During National Engineers Week

02/23/21 08:57 AM

SAN DIEGO - Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Southwest’s Dr. Michael Fraser was recognized as 2021 NAVFAC Southwest Civilian Engineer of the Year, CDR Peter Benson was recognized as 2021 NAVFAC Southwest Military Engineer of the Year, and Richard Suda was recognized as 2021 NAVFAC Southwest Designer of the Year during a NAVFAC Southwest virtual Engineers Week Event held Feb. 23.

“In honor of National Engineers Week, I would like to recognize our engineers and architects who have addressed challenges to numerous threats to our nation including a pandemic, national security, and manmade and natural disasters,” said Capt. Michael Oestereicher, NAVFAC Southwest commanding officer. “Our engineers are breaking down barriers and creating solutions for infrastructure modernization, resiliency, cybersecurity and mass telework in support of Navy and global missions.  In addition, I am pleased to recognize the 2021 NAVFAC Southwest civilian and military engineer and architect of the year.”

Dr. Michael Fraser is a senior geotechnical engineer at DCBL providing expertise on almost every project in the Navy’s Southwest area of responsibility spanning 19 Navy and Marine Corps bases. Through his leadership, technical expertise and extensive knowledge of earthquake faults, he works with engineering firms to follow complicated provisions of construction near these active faults, especially at Naval Base Coronado and after the July 2019 earthquakes at NAWS China Lake. Fraser also spends his time volunteering at the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, Calif., focusing on collection, preservation, and display of equipment associated with early American farming and construction.

CDR Peter Benson is a civil engineer serving as the Public Works Officer at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. He leads a workforce of 315 personnel who manage facilities maintenance, construction, environmental, and services program. Benson led the recovery effort from the magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes during the July 4th holiday in 2019, assessing 1784 buildings for safe occupancy and developing a $3 billion recovery program. Benson, on his off time, has spent time volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America as Scout Master Troup, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Sunday school instructor and Elders Quorum first counselor.


Richard Suda, NAVFAC Southwest senior architect, provides mentoring and guidance to junior architects. He has recently focused his skills and expertise on the high profile MQ-25 and MQ-40 unmanned aircraft program at Naval Base Ventura County, as well as the $400 million upgrade and modernization of the Navy Post Graduate School Campus at Monterey. He consistently provides design and technical skills to ensure all projects are of the highest quality within the budgetary and schedule constraints. Suda is also the subject matter expert on Anti-Terrorism Force Protection for DCBL providing guidance for all Marine Corps projects. Suda volunteers with several organizations outside of his official duties which include being a scout leader, a trustee for the Knights of Columbus, coaching Little League baseball, and sitting on the advisory board for the Fall Festival.

“It is always challenging to find the top candidates from a pool of great engineers and designers at NAVFAC Southwest, but those three individuals reflect the excellence of our Command and deserve the recognition for their accomplishments,” said John Coon, NAVFAC Southwest chief engineer and Design & Construction business line (DCBL) leader.

NAVFAC Southwest's Military and Civilian Engineers and Designer of the Year annual awards recognizes engineers, architects, landscape architects, and interior designers who portray excellence in engineering achievements, civic and humanitarian activities, as well as professional and technical activities. NAVFAC Southwest Engineers of the Year are submitted to further compete in National Society of Professional Engineer’s national awards program.

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