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Posted 11/30/2017

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By Eileen Williamson
Northwestern Division, US Army Corps of Engineers


After 34 years of service to the Department of the Army including four years of Vietnam-Era active duty and 15 years in academe as a teacher and administrator, Dr. James Hearn retired on October 31.

Dr. Hearn was presented the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal for inspirational leadership to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 2003 in the Los Angeles District and from 2007 with the South Pacific Division. Since 2009, he has served as Director of Regional Business for the Northwestern Division where he led the Business Resource Division. The Northwestern Division is among the largest of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Division executing with programs and projects in civil works, military construction interagency support and environmental remediation.

“It has been an honor to serve these 8-plus years in [the Northwestern Division]. I can think of no better place to be or no better group of professionals to serve,” said Dr. Hearn.

As Director of Regional Business, Hearn provided strategic leadership and technical expertise to the Northwestern Division and its five operating Districts in Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle and Walla Walla, Washington.

In addition to providing regional finance and accounting, budget, manpower and management support, he led the Business Management Division, which provides regional governance and strategic planning; and the Business Technical Division, which provides technical advice and direction on regional engineering and construction challenges.

During his time with the Northwestern Division, Dr. Hearn developed, established and ultimately ran the Regional leadership Development Program, which has become a model of leadership development across the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The lasting impact of leader development on division employees has had a similar impact on Dr. Hearn. “I’ve met many [Corps employees] during my District and project visits, Regional LDP Classes or Career Development presentations. Whether you know it or not, you have left an indelible mark on me that I will remember very fondly forever,” said Dr. Hearn.

Dr. Hearn voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan as Director of the Joint Programs Integration Office, U.S. Forces Afghanistan from July 2010 to January 2011 where he coordinated all construction and worked closely with Coalition Forces (International Security Assistance Force ) and the Department of State though the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“Dr. Hearn is sincere, well respected, and trusted by those he works with in and outside USACE. He has been a mission-focused, results-oriented leader, who cares for people and is committed to excellence. He is a mentor and shares his experiences to help others accelerate their understanding of USACE as well as their careers,” said Maj. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, Northwestern Division Commander presenting Dr. Hearn with the distinguished honor.\

“While [more than 30 years] is a long time, it is still hard to leave. There is no greater work experience than to be part of a great team. I am part of one such team, and it is hard to let go,” said Dr. Hearn.