KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Each year, a panel of judges established by the National Society of Professional Engineers selects the Federal Engineer of the Year winner. Nominated engineers from various U.S. federal agencies, departments, and military branches are evaluated based on factors such as engineering achievements, professional and technical society activities, education, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Justin Delorit, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) deputy commander, was selected as the 2019 NSPE Federal Engineer of the Year at the 40th Annual FEYA Banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Feb. 22, 2019.
Upon receiving this prestigious award, Delorit reflected on not only his accomplishments and contributions in the engineering field, but all of the things his squadron has done as an organization to be successful.
“This is a really great honor,” said Delorit. “As an engineer in the U.S. Air Force, and specifically at Kunsan …we are tasked with providing for and protecting humanity, and in our Air Force capacity, we are trusted with our nation’s security.”
Ensuring that his squadron commander’s vision for the 8th CES is met, Delorit and the “Red Devils” have made it their mission this year to make infrastructure, engineering contingency concept of operations, and the well-being of Wolf Pack Airmen a priority.
“In July of 2018, we had an Air Force-directed facility condition assessment,” said Delorit. “This is part of an Air Force-wide effort and idea to assess the condition of facilities so we fund renovations at the right times, as opposed to after they fail … which is a shift in the paradigm.”
The Air Force Installation Mission Support Center provided a full-spectrum look at all of the base infrastructures during the assessment, including water, waste water, electrical distribution, facility systems, and roads. The assessment shed light on the conditions of the base infrastructure and where the 8th CES needed to apply their efforts.
“A facility’s rate of deterioration increases with time, as does the cost of investing in that facility,” Delorit said. “Instead of letting that facility fail, needing replacement, we try to figure out the right time to invest in that facility so that we get maximum payoff for minimum cost. This is the first step in that effort.”
Since his arrival at Kunsan, Delorit has lead a 324-member team of military, American, and Korean civilian engineers in executing a $910 million design and construction program. He also directs U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ largest airfield construction program, a $160 million initiative that builds protected structures for simultaneous arming and refueling of Kunsan’s F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet.
Delorit has served in the Air Force for 13 years, and attributes his success and accomplishment to his family, mentors, and leadership.
“In the military, we can’t do this without family,” said Delorit. “Everybody sacrifices, not just the Airmen who come to Kunsan. My wife and two daughters have sacrificed a lot for me to be here, taking them from a place they love every few years to really follow my dream.”
Through his previous doctoral research addressing water scarcity challenges, Delorit created predictive frameworks that provide users vital information to make proactive, economically sound, and environmentally conscious water resources decisions that align with existing institutional barriers.
“I just finished my Ph.D., and spent 3 years working for someone who taught me that the true essence of engineering is as much about inspiration as it is perspiration, as in hard work,” said Delorit. “He played a large role in defining who I am as an engineer, and my current boss, the Red Devil, and Red Devil Airmen here at Kunsan, provide inspiration to the work we do every day.”
This is Delorit’s second tour at Kunsan, and he will soon be returning to his family at his next duty station, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.