Brig. Gen. Richard Kaiser, Commanding General Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, inducted Steve Durrett, Louisville District deputy district engineer, into the Senior Executive Service Feb. 12 stating the SES designation is equivalent to being a general officer in the military—the top one percent.
Kaiser stated the SES members provide knowledge, skills and abilities at the policy level as he addressed an audience of approximately 80 members from the district, division and family members.
“This particular branch of the service, notice I did not say Army, recognizes we must have a Corps of leaders,” Kaiser said. “Steve, its folks like you who provide that consistency and glue. Without that keystone, the arch would crumble,” he added.
Durrett will work from the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division where he will lead the business directorate.
The SES selection came from a culmination of Durrett’s 32-year professional career. He has served several deployment and temporary duty stations including nine months at the division office; six months in St. Louis District working with fleet operations; six months in Iraq and one year at headquarters working with the levee safety program after Hurricane Katrina as the first safety program manager. Currently, he is involved in a Corps Headquarters team developing policies and procedures for a levee safety program. Prior to his role as deputy district engineer, he served as the chief of engineering division in contrast to his start in the district in the geotechnical engineering section.
“He is not afraid to make the tough decisions,” said Col. Christopher Beck, commander, Louisville District. “Steve’s ability to do what is best is amazing. From day one, he has guided and mentored me. Organizationally and personally, I thank you very much and wish you the best as you move forward.”
The district presented Durrett with the Army Superior Civilian Service Award for his strategic vision and his role in the reauthorization of Olmsted Locks and Dam and the managed downsizing of the district workforce. The senior leaders presented him with a wooden clock in the shape of a castle, and planning, programs and project management division presented him with a Louisville Slugger bat decorated with a district coin and engraved with “You really knocked it out of the park.”
“You are my family. I am going to miss this district. I thought I would never leave these doors without retiring,” Durrett said. “In the Corps, we support not only the military, but the citizens of these United States. I want to thank everyone here and everyone who works here. This has been home. It has been a pleasure.”