2018 National Engineers of the Year recognized

WASHINGTON, DC – On April 4th, 2019, the Office of the Chief recognized Fiscal Year 2018 National Engineers of the Year award recipients in the Washington Office. The award recipients included:


Portrait photo of Dana Taylor. Flags on the background.
Dana Taylor, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa Whitman National Forest

2018 National Managerial Engineer: Dana Taylor, Pacific Northwest Region, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, in recognition of her outstanding leadership in the management of the engineering program and road system on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, creative planning and budgeting processes to maintain an effective, efficient road system, improving organizational effectiveness, preparing and overseeing all timber road work and building strong partnerships with Federal Highways Administration to successfully complete a $5 million road improvement project along the Hells Canyon National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. Dana has been involved in removing aquatic barriers, reducing sediment, and enhancing stream habitat in support of the endangered Salmon recovery and taken the lead on Burned Area Emergency Response, salvage logging road and access as the result of a devastating fire season. Dana has been on the forefront of implementing new ways of doing business which includes stewardship contracting, partnerships, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity & Blanket Purchase Agreement contracts, and requirements for Federal Lands Transportation Program, Emergency Relief for Federally Owned roads, and BAER processes. Dana is also recognized for her leadership in formally training and teaching engineers in the Pacific Northwest Region to become certified CORs as being a member of the R6 Engineering Cadre.


Portrait photo pf Ralph Gonzalez. Flags in the background.
Ralph Gonzales, Washington Office, National Technology and Development Program

2018 National Technical Engineer: Ralph Gonzales, Washington Office, National Technology and Development Program in recognition of his outstanding leadership in developing solutions for the Fuel Geysering phenomenon, which is an international problem threatening lives of those who interact with fuel transport containers and volatile fuel-powered equipment. Ralph led a team to launch a National Awareness campaign to educate agency employees and partners about the threats of Fuel Geysering. Ralph’s team conducted scientific laboratory tests to confirm that geysering not only occurs with chainsaws but anytime closed containers experience pressurized conditions and an ignition source. As a result, a partnership was created with Stihl where they have committed significant resources to help solve the problem, including 60 European chemists and Stihl equipment product engineers. Ralph also partnered with Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute and, through the International Organization for Standardization, re-wrote specifications for fuel-powered equipment to ensure new standards to reduce the likelihood of injury and death. Ralph also worked directly with OGC resources advocating for Forest Service employees who had suffered second and third degree burns along with unignited fuel-related injuries. In addition to the Fuel Geysering project, Ralph was selected for the 2017 Senior Leader Program where he lead an engineering project to partner with the military for Forest Service engineering needs related to clearing a backlog of over $5 billion in deferred maintenance. The project, Joining Forces for Infrastructure Improvement, addresses and facilitates a resolution to decrease the backlog of deferred maintenance.


Portrait photo of Herman Wendell. Flags in the background.
Herman Wendell, Pacific Southwest Region, Plumas National Forest

2018 National Engineering Technician: Herman Wendell, Pacific Southwest Region, Plumas National Forest in recognition of his outstanding leadership and for his ability to quickly and effectively respond to transportation needs across the Pacific Southwest Region during the Mendocino and Thomas Fires of and post storm of 2017. Herman provided rapid response for ERFO repairs, Fire Suppression Repair, BAER and Timber Program Support on multiple units. Herman and his crew, with the coordination of timber cost share cooperators, completed $1.5 million in road repairs in FY18.  In addition to his accomplishments, Herman has been a leader in the Forest Service for 43 years serving the transportation and facilities needs of the Plumas NF and beyond. Herman has been a mentor to many young engineers and engineering technicians across the Forest Service teaching sound engineering practices for both design and construction. He truly cares for the land and is a tireless servant of the people.


Photo of Ryan Cole
yan Cole, Pacific Northwest Region, Mt Hood National Forest

2018 National Engineering Technology Applications Person: Ryan Cole, Pacific Northwest Region, Mt Hood National Forest in recognition of his outstanding leadership by leading engineering’s efforts for the Eagle Creek Fire Recovery in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, completing a 120-day detail as the Clackamas River District Ranger and providing timely engineering geology support for the four Forests and Scenic Area covered by the Pacific Northwest Sub-regional Engineering Organization. After the Eagle Creek Fire, Ryan played a key role in the recovery efforts as a BAER representative during contract preparation and administration in the effort to reopen Multnomah Falls Lodge, which receives 2.2 million visitors annually. He coordinated and collaborated with external partners, including Multnomah County, Oregon Department of Transportation, and Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries in assessing the post-fire, geologic hazard response. Methods used included rock scaling, rockfall barrier design and installation, and hazard tree falling. Ryan also performed additional public service on behalf of the agency by giving presentations to grade school students and the local community on being a Forest Service Geologist and the geology of the Mt Hood Territory.

Winners’ personal biographies and photos will be posted to the Engineering Field Notes [Internal Link] on the Technology & Development website [Internal Link].