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Thursday, September 09, 2010

NAVFAC Engineer Recognized for Superior Civilian Service as IA in Afghanistan

By Annalisa Cachin, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- A Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic civilian electrical engineer returned Aug. 30 from a six-month Individual Augmentee (IA) assignment having received the Army's Superior Civilian Service Award.

John Puvogel was assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghan Engineer District North (USACE-AED-N) and received the award from Col. Thomas Magness, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kabul District, for outstanding service throughout his IA.

While collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Puvogel made significant contributions to establishing policy for Task Force Power, whose mission is to protect warfighters and electrical resources by increasing electrical and fire safety awareness.

"John displayed an energy in tackling the most difficult designs and design reviews," said Mark Hogue, engineering branch chief, USACE-AED-N. "He went on to develop a spreadsheet that became a design requirement for all contracts that basically led contractors through load calculations to come up with non-debatable generator selection."

Puvogel was in charge of the planning and repair of electrical systems for existing buildings in Afghanistan that were not completed according to code.

"In construction work in the states (United States), we take for granted that contractors understand design concepts, codes, etc.," said Puvogel. "It is a little different in an environment where you are teaching the concept and basics of electricity to the engineers and contractors performing the work."

According to his supervisors, Puvogel's ingenuity and insight increased quality and safety standards, requiring contractors to design safer and more efficient places to work. He demonstrated a high level of initiative and skill in devising new work methods and procedures. During his time in Afghanistan, he brought many new ideas to USACE. His positive influence was a key element to keeping his colleagues motivated given their intense work environment.

The Superior Civilian Service Award is the third highest award granted by any commander (brigadier general and above) or civilian equivalent organizational heads. Its purpose is to recognize superior service of major significance to a subordinate command or staff element.

"It is a pleasure to have people with outstanding technical abilities that also become friends and come together to get huge amounts of work done," said Hogue. "It is a real career highlight for me to be here and have folks like John to lead design and construction for the Global War on Terror."

"One thing I will always remember is seeing Afghans, who now have electricity for the first time because of the work we are doing for them," said Puvogel.

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