Benge named 2020 District Project Manager of the Year for managing $175 million border wall infrastructure project

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published Jan. 11, 2021

While managing a $175 million design-build border wall infrastructure project (RGV-07) in Starr County, Texas between fiscal years 19 and 20, Jamie Benge had no idea her work would be recognized as an outstanding accomplishment. 

The Louisville District named the Air Force Reserve Section chief as the 2020 District Project Manager of the Year for her work with the border wall.

A native of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, Benge serves as a program manager for the Air Force Reserve Program and has worked almost 13 years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District.  

According to Reserve Support Programs Branch Chief Cristie Mitchell, Jamie was recognized as a star performer for her contributions in 2019 to the project management career field while working on the high-profile border infrastructure program in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District.  

“Jamie managed the RGV-07 design-build project in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas,” Mitchell said. “This project consisted of construction of approximately 15 miles of new 30-foot bollard fence along the cities of Salineño, Roma, Rio Grande City and LaGrulla. The approximate cost of the project is $175,000,000.”  

A project manager is responsible for managing the scope, schedule and budget of a project by working collaboratively with other functional areas within USACE, along with the stakeholders, Mitchell said.

“I directed the PDT (project delivery team) in this high-profile program with efficiency in delivery time by awarding RGV-07, 20 days ahead of schedule, which exceeded the customer’s expectations,” Benge said.

One of the most challenging aspects of the project was the development of the project schedule.

“The stakeholders’ expectation was to solicit and award the Request for Proposal as quickly as possible,” Mitchell said. “Ms. Benge coordinated with the PDT and developed a schedule in which the reviews were completed on time, and all milestones were met. Ms. Benge stayed on top of the schedule and proactively managed upcoming milestones and activities.”

According to Benge, she received exceptional, positive feedback from the stakeholders associated with her communication, continuous improvement, accountability and performance skills. 

“Trust was established, and interpersonal relationships were developed with the Fort Worth District to work jointly as ‘one team’ to accomplish the project objectives,” she added.

The Louisville District Project Management Division’s senior leadership nominated Jamie after discussing all project managers’ accomplishments during the past year, according to Mitchell.

“Ms. Benge’s accomplishments were so significant that she became the choice as PM of the Year,” Mitchell said. “Jamie’s willingness to volunteer for a tough project with team members from all across the country shows what kind of person she is. She is very deserving of any accolades she receives.”  
Louisville District Commander Col. Eric Crispino presented Jamie with the Project Manager of the Year Award during a virtual ceremony held in the fall of 2020.

“Jamie’s organization and attention to detail contribute to the success she has seen as a project manager. Her technical background and ability to know what questions to ask to further the project help ensure her projects go as planned,” Mitchell said. “Her proactive communication is outstanding as well. Jamie is one of the most dedicated employees I’ve had the honor of working with.”

As the Air Force Reserve Section chief, Jamie manages 14 personnel, including project managers, program analysts and management information specialists. The Air Force Reserve Program consists of approximately 120 projects in design and construction.

Benge earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky. She is a registered professional engineer in Kentucky and a Project Management Professional.

“I (am) very honored and proud to be a recipient of this prestigious award; I am grateful for receiving it,” Benge said. “I cannot forget the support that has been offered to me by my peers and leadership. It felt great to be recognized for my hard work.”