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Posted 2/12/2013

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By Clem Gaines

Dr. Robert Wright, a program manager in the Programs and Project Management Division-Civil, was honored as a Modern Day Technology Leader at the 2013 Black Engineers of the Year Awards ceremony at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 8. Dr. Wright leads Project Delivery Teams on both military and civil projects for the Baltimore District.

“I am extremely honored to nominate Dr. Wright as a Modern Day Technology Leader,” said Col. Trey Jordan, Commander and District Engineer. “Dr. Wright is a talented engineer who has made a significant contribution to the Baltimore District during his three year tenure.  His achievements are outstanding and have been a model for the rest of our project engineers to emulate.”

Education has been the foundation of his success.  A native of Washington, D.C., he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineer from Morgan State University in 1997. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Toledo. “Overall, I feel that my education has trained me to solve problems, prioritize tasks and utilize time management.  When I passed my dissertation defense, I knew I could do pretty much anything I set my mind to,” he said. 

He is one of 13 Modern Day Technology Leaders honored at the ceremony from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“His management of several key projects for Baltimore District has proven him to be an invaluable asset to the Civil Project Management Branch. His unlimited potential for future contributions will shape the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and benefit the nation,” noted Dave Morrow, Chief, PPMD.

His background includes construction sweat as well as academic success.  “I started in the construction industry as a general laborer at the age of 18. While an undergrad at Morgan State, I worked as a laborer and researcher under a NASA grant,” Wright said. After graduation from the University of Toledo, he was the director for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program for Toledo City Schools. 

His academic research included the development of deep sub-surface X-ray heavy metal detection equipment, and the development of numerical models to simulate sustainable landfill cap covers utilizing waste material and native vegetation. His private sector experience includes work on construction projects for high profile firms such as Chrysler, Ford, GM, Pfizer, National Harbor Group and several local and federal government entities.

He also encourages youth to pursue age-level interest in STEM subjects. “I would suggest middle school kids to look for local community programs to perform projects and experiments. Older youth should express their interest to teachers – they may be surprised how much information their teachers have in these areas.”

Highlight his personal theme of accomplishment, Dr. Wright is a chef (one of three in his family). He has owned a restaurant and a food truck. “This is not really all that different from being an engineer. They both utilize math and project management,” he said.

baltimore district engineering awards STEM technology USACE