When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) talks about Readiness, what exactly does it mean? And who exactly makes it happen?
For the USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division (LRD), Readiness encompasses all the work done to ensure preparedness to deliver LRD’s mission to the nation. It means remaining pro-active and curating a workforce that can solve complex issues with state-of-the-art solutions. When disaster strikes, the ingenuity and innovation of our team helps us respond.
Nathan Rogacki was named LRD’s Employee of the Month for March 2023 and is a prime example of how our team ensures we are ready for any challenges that lie ahead.
A Hydraulic Engineer working in Water Management as part of the Reservoir Control Center, Rogacki provides support in the execution of the Lower Ohio and Lower Mississippi flood control.
In an email sent to the LRD workforce, LRD Commanding General Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples praised Rogacki’s recent accomplishments in creating a communication product that has been crucial in integrating information from other federal agencies, and enhances USACE’s capabilities to respond to natural disasters.
“In the wake of catastrophic flooding in Eastern Kentucky (2022) and Tennessee (2021) resulting in devastating loss of lives, a need was identified to improve communications of natural disasters as they develop and unfold,” wrote Brig. Gen Peeples. “Good communication is essential to disaster preparedness and response. Nathan created a dashboard that integrates the information from USACE and other federal agencies, presents it to emergency managers and alerts national leaders. This innovative approach enhances our organization's capabilities ensuring that USACE is always well-informed and ready to respond to any natural hazard. Nathan took the initiative to learn valuable skills to develop this product which was outside the scope of traditional water management education and training. With the knowledge and expertise developed in this area, Nathan is leading efforts to establish this integrated communication center across LRD.”
Though already receiving high praise and acknowledgement at LRD, Rogacki has been with LRD for just five years, and joined the team immediately after graduating college.
“My master’s thesis was on 2D modeling of coastal breakwaters,” says Rogacki. “Whilst conducting the literature review, I kept running into publications from USACE. That left a lasting impression on me, and I knew then that I would like to work for USACE after graduating.”
Rogacki sees his job as an opportunity to provide a positive impact on his community, and the nation. He believes collaboration and communication are crucial to his role in delivering effective solutions.
“What I love most about my job is the opportunity to coordinate and interact with my colleagues here and across the nation, including other agencies, and stakeholders to provide a positive impact,” says Rogacki. “One of the most important things to me is the ability to have a positive influence.”
Rogacki believes curiosity is key, and the propensity to continue pursuing new knowledge and skills are crucial to his role. He encourages others to never hesitate to innovate.
“A piece of advice I would give to someone interested in working with USACE would be to never stop the pursuit of learning,” says Rogacki. “Whether that be through school or on the job. Continue to learn, and ask questions.”
When he isn’t seeking new knowledge, collaborating, and solving complex problems to ensure the readiness of LRD, Rogacki is often in nature enjoying a trail, or with his dog, Peanut.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than a long run out on a trail, enjoying the sun and nature.”
In her sign-off email addressing the workforce at LRD, Brig. Gen Peeples had these final thoughts.
“Nathan's dedication to serve the organization and our nation exemplifies the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -ESSAYONS. He is yet another example of how LRD continues Building Strong Together! Many thanks to Nathan for leading the way!”