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    2020 Project Manager of the Year, Stacy Gray dishes on her USACE career

    2020 Project Manager of the Year, Stacy Gray dishes on her USACE career

    Photo By Randy Cephus | Stacy Gray, the Fort Worth District Dam Safety project manager points out the area...... read more read more



    Story by Edward Rivera 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Southwestern Division

    From joining the Fort Worth District in 2001 as an economist to being selected as the 2020 Project Manager of the Year, Stacy Gray, recounts her journey with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    Growing up, Gray wanted to become a veterinarian, but Marine Biology won out. “I love animals,” she said. “But in the end, common sense prevailed. I felt like I’d come home and cry every day over the animals I couldn’t help and had to put to sleep or watch die on my table.”

    Born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Gray began college interested in pursuing Marine Biology, but “the first semester of chemistry cured that notion,” she said. “I decided to switch to a business management degree and just work for a company where I could vicariously interact with marine life.”

    Once in the College of Business she learned that economics was just “common sense with silly names” and switched yet again because the average starting salary for an economist was better than the average starting salary for someone with a management degree.

    Gray joined the Fort Worth District in 2001 as an economist right after completing her master’s degree. She worked as an economist on both Civil Works and Military Master Planning teams, which eventually lead her to become a lead planner in the Military Master Planning field.

    “During that time, I also began working on my project and program management skills, and architectural and engineering contracting skills as the single point of contact in USACE for Air Force Material Command’s privatization and enhanced use lease program, and Naval Surface Warfare Center’s master planning program,” she said.

    After a brief stint in the private sector from 2006 to 2008 as a master planner, Gray returned to USACE and focused on Civil Works Planning, which in 2013 led to her current role managing Dam Safety related projects such as Issue Evaluation Studies, Dam Safety Modifications, and Reallocation studies.

    Although recognized as 2020 Project Manager of the Year for her work and leadership on several high-profile projects to include the Lewisville Dam Safety Modification, her most influential assignment was the few years she spent in Military Master Planning. Gray said, the work their team did for Intelligence and Security Command right before and for a few years after 9/11, Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, and 4th Infantry Division, then at Fort Hood, was most influential.

    “I can’t pin it to one particular project, but all the changes and deployments that started with 9/11, and the way the country came together in the face of a threat…that was when I knew public service was my calling,” she said. “Seeing how we could implement change to make our Soldiers’ workplaces better, more efficient, and their living spaces more comfortable to improve their quality of life was very rewarding. That has carried into my current role as the Non-Routine Dam Safety Program Manager. Knowing that we are reducing the risk to the people who live and work downstream of our dams and thereby improving their quality of life is a big part of what keeps our teams focused on the mission no matter what obstacles are put in our path.”

    According to Gray, when she accepted the job as an economist back in
    2001, she never expected to be responsible for planning, execution and close-out of nine-figure projects that drew the attention of Congress, or a virtual team that includes more than 100 people nationally.

    “The versatility of a career with the Corps of Engineers is something I never understood until I began moving about within the organization. There are not many places with so many opportunities to do something new and different while working for the same company or agency,” said Gray. “From economics, to military master planning, to civil works planning, to program and project management, to dam safety… with each step I have received the gift of learning new things, meeting new people, and broadening my understanding of our organization, the world we live in, and the other cultures we share it with.”



    Date Taken: 08.03.2021
    Date Posted: 08.03.2021 14:36
    Story ID: 402354
    Location: DALLAS, TX, US 
    Hometown: FORT WORTH, TX, US

    Web Views: 227
    Downloads: 0