By John Budnik
USACE-Alaska District Public Affairs
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – His dedication to public service and eagerness to accomplish more to support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ mission in Alaska landed him a prestigious accolade in the construction field.
Joel Spano, lead quality assurance representative in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District’s Alaska Area Office, received the 2017 Chief of Engineers Hard Hat of the Year Award Aug.1 during a national ceremony in Washington, D.C. The honor was presented by Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Houston. Award nominees are open to all Corps personnel working in the field on construction projects worldwide.
"This award is the highest point in my career," Spano said. "It is truly an honor to dedicate myself to directly supporting the Army and Air Force personnel and reach this pinnacle."
Spano, originally from Pawcatuck, Connecticut, is responsible for providing mechanical support for military construction projects across Alaska. His duties include performing quality assurance inspections and supporting the commissioning of electromechanical systems. During a time of reduced staffing, Spano volunteered to serve as project engineer on multiple large scale and complex military projects valued in excess up to $35 million such as the Buckner Fitness Center expansion on Fort Richardson and the JBER Hospital dining facility.
"Joel is the epitome of what it means to be a public servant working for the Army," said Michael Presley, Office Engineer for the Alaska Area Office. "His expertise in mechanical systems while upholding the Corps and Army values makes my job as his supervisor easy."
Since 2002, Spano has served in the Alaska District’s Engineering, Construction and Operations Division. Previously, he was a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician in the Air Force from 1992 to 2002. Currently, Spano is an assistant coach for the Eagle River High School bowling team. He resides in Eagle River with his wife, Christina, and has two children Cameron, 17, and Savannah, 16.