Out of some 34,000 civilian employees worldwide who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this year’s top civilian is in Fort Worth.
The Corps recently honored Rumanda Young with the Morris Civilian of the Year Award, which recognizes the civilian employee achieving the highest overall standards of excellence. Young is chief of the Master Planning Section of the Fort Worth District’s Regional Planning and Environmental Center and also serves as regional energy program manager for the Corps’ Southwestern Division in Dallas.
Young, 36, said she was surprised and humbled at receiving the award, and actually first thought her commander was mistaken when he told her about the honor. She was honored for her work in energy conservation and addressing sustainability concerns at military posts.
“I’m a civilian in the military world,” she said. “This is something I’m passionate about.”
Currently, Young is leading a team developing an analytic tool to help reduce energy consumption at military installations. A pilot program is being tested at Fort Hood in Killeen and at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. The Defense Department spent $4.1 billion in energy costs in 2011.
“Dr. Young’s pioneering work in master planning and resource management, and her teaching and mentorship of students and staff, represent a new generation of leadership that is advancing the Department of Defense energy sustainment mission,” said Col. Charles H. Klinge, the Fort Worth District commander, in a statement.
Young, who joined the Corps’ Fort Worth District in 2005, holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Arkansas and both a master’s degree in city and regional planning, and a doctorate in environmental planning and public policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. Earlier this year, she won the 2013 Society of American Military Engineers Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler Medal and was the 2012 Landscape Architect of the Year for the Corps of Engineers.
Oh, and she teaches at both UTA and Southern Methodist University.
The Morris award is named after Lt. Gen. John W. Morris, who was the Army’s chief of engineers from 1976 to 1980.
Sundance Square chief pleased with crowds coming to plaza events
Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth, can’t help but exude excitement when he talks about the the new Sundance Square Plaza.
Last week, when Campbell gave an update to the City Council on Sundance Square, the downtown entertainment, shopping, residential and office district, he rattled off some strong bullet points about the plaza’s success since it opened in November.
• About 25,000 people came down to the plaza during opening weekend festivities.
• About 6,500 people showed up for a New Year’s Eve event that wasn’t even advertised.
• About 7,500 people came down to watch ESPN’s Final Four broadcasts from the plaza in April.
• And movie night averaged about 4,000 people each.
In the past nine months, 37 private events have been held in the pavilion on the plaza, and the Westbrook and Commerce office buildings that bookend the plaza are nearly full.
Retailers in Sundance Square are seeing a boost in business, with sales running about $9 million ahead of last year, Campbell said. And that doesn’t include the Cheesecake Factory, which is on schedule to open in the first couple of weeks of December in part of the former Barnes & Noble space. That restaurant will do about $10 million in annual sales, he said.
“I could have never predicted we’d move that quickly,” Campbell said. “It’s been fun to see what’s happened there.”
Bell shifts corporate jets to Meacham
As Bell Helicopter moves operations out of Alliance Airport to its newly expanded headquarters complex in east Fort Worth, one small piece has shifted to Meacham Airport.
The manufacturer has moved its two corporate jets to hangars a few miles south of Alliance at Fort Worth Meacham Airport, with about four or five employees on site, said spokesman Brian Bianco.
Bell already has vacated half of its space in a building near the Alliance Airport control tower and moved its sales and marketing and military programs teams to its new headquarters. Workers in the other half will move to east Fort Worth next year when a new flight training academy is completed.
Bell’s space at Alliance is being taken over by BAE Systems, which has set up shop to upgrade F-16 fighter jets for South Korea and potentially other customers.