The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division is proud to recruit top-tier talent, and through hard work, dedication, and adherence to the mission, many teammates find themselves fulfilled by the work they do to help others.
On Thursday, July 28th, LRD Risk Analysis Coordinator working in the Planning and Policy Division, Matt Shanks, was awarded the USACE National Flood Risk Management Program 2022 Silver Jackets Coordinator of the Year.
When asked about the most fulfilling part of his role at LRD, Shanks said it’s “being able to support districts and the communities that they serve through interagency collaboration.”
“Silver Jackets” are interagency teams that facilitate collaborative solutions to state flood risk priorities. The state-led teams bring together multiple state, federal, and sometimes tribal and local agencies to learn from one another and work together to reduce risk from floods and other natural disasters. By applying their shared knowledge, the teams enhance preparedness, mitigation, and response and recovery efforts.
The Silver Jackets team is the forum where all relevant agencies come together with the state to collaboratively plan and implement that interagency solution. Through partnerships, Silver Jackets optimizes the multi-agency utilization of federal resources by leveraging state/local/Tribal resources including data and information, talent, and funding to minimize duplication among agencies.
Shanks began his career at LRD in April of 2020, which is also when he was assigned as a Silver Jackets coordinator. Though his time at LRD has only reached 2 years, he has already exceeded expectations that allowed him to receive this great recognition.
“(I was) assigned as the Silver Jackets Coordinator upon assumption of the new position in April 2020,” said Shanks. “Prior to this, I had limited experience with the program through some support at the Chicago District.”
The call for nominations to receive the award included a justification narrative from a military leader from a USACE District, Major Subordinate Command, center, laboratory, or HQ. Shanks supervisor, LRD Biologist and Deputy Chief of the Planning and Policy Division, Hank Jarboe, nominated him for the award. Criteria for selection included the ability to bring together and improve coordination among teams, understanding federal agencies’ programs that intersect with flood risk management issues, and demonstrated leadership in the National Flood Risk Management Program.
Shanks believes it was his transparency, honesty, and timely communication with the district staff as well as HQ program managers that lead to his accomplishment.
“Communication with all stakeholders and partners both internal and external to the organization is critical to your success,” said Shanks. “Critically thinking through each assignment you've been given and always looking for innovative ways of meeting objectives. Don't assume the way it’s been done in the past is the way it needs to be done in the future.”