David D. Chai, Chief of Security Operations Branch in the Programs & Projects Management Division (PPMD) for the Far East District was selected as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 2020 Program Manager of the Year.
As the supervisory program manager and chief of the Security Operations Branch, responsible for nine employees, and a $2.3 Billion program in Korea, Chai works on some of the most complex and secure facilities in the world.
The majority of projects in his portfolio tend to carry with them a degree of operational significance and helps to better support the warfighter, which in turn helps strengthen the ROK/U.S. alliance. Chai and his team also have been active in spreading the knowledge they have gained to our partners throughout USACE.
“My team and I have worked tirelessly to better support the enterprise by offering and lending our experience out to our sister Districts in Honolulu, Japan, Fort Worth, Middle East, and ERDC,” said Chai.
Chai said his selection as program manager of the year came as a bit of a shock.
“I was absolutely floored when I got the call on my selection,” said Chai. “The gesture for the nomination alone was humbling, but to actually receive the award is just a whole other level. Being named USACE Program Manager of the Year is really indicative of the challenging programs we run as a district. This is a team sport and requires a lot of the good folks in this district to work as a single unit to deliver the program.”
Chai said when he first joined the district, it was an eye-opening experience how much emphasis the organization put on career-development and training. He said this emphasis helped paved the way for individuals to earn credentials and in turn perform better at their job.
“This place is special and it makes folks want to grow both professionally and personally,” said Chai. “I feel I've done that and I'm grateful for all the opportunities afforded to me.”
Chai said the district is a second home to him, adding that the relationships developed here helped him succeed in delivering the program and being awarded the honor of PMP of the year.
“I see this more as a group achievement rather than an individual one,” said Chai. “My success has truly been a reflection of those around me. I may be getting much of the acclaim, but I know that the heavy lifting and credit belongs to those that I work with here. If anyone seeing this were to take away anything, it'd be that if you take care of your people, they'll take care of you!”
For FED, this is the second year in a row that one of our program managers has been honored with this distinction. Last year Jennifer Moore, Chief of the Air Force program branch, won the award.
“I think that's compelling and says a lot about our mission,” said Chai. “I'm blessed with a great team and a command that really puts people first. I'll carry these experiences throughout the rest of my career.”
Chai said he wanted to thank the Commander, Col. Christopher Crary, deputy district engineer, Rich Byrd and fellow chiefs and peers as well as his team and the PPMD family.
The USACE 2020 Program Manager of the Year Award will be presented to Chai at the USACE 2020 National Awards Ceremony on July 30, at USACE headquarters.