by Vanessa Villarreal, USACE Chicago District Public Affairs Office
George Chartouni, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Chicago District, was awarded the USACE Cost Engineer of the Year award at a virtual national awards ceremony on Nov. 12, 2020, hosted by Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commanding General.
Each year, USACE recognizes a small number of the many outstanding USACE team members, each selected for their outstanding contributions and service in many different program areas.
Chartouni joined the Chicago District in February 2009 after an 18-year career in the private sector. As senior cost engineer, he has served as a lead estimator on a variety of large projects both internal and external to the district. In 2014, he became Agency Technical Review (ATR) certified, and has become one of the Cost Mandatory Center of Expertise’s lead reviewers for projects across the nation.
In 2017, he was selected as the Cost Regional Technical Specialist for the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, and has continued his role as a cost estimator, reviewer, and resource used through the Enterprise.
This past year, Chartouni has served as the lead cost engineer on many projects, including the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study, Brandon Road Lock, a $1B project that includes an engineered channel, air bubble curtain, acoustic fish deterrent, electric barrier, flushing lock, and nonstructural measures to prevent invasive species into the Great Lakes; Chicago Harbor Lock chamber wall repairs, a $14M project that includes refurbishing chamber walls for the Chicago Lock; cost update and re-certification for the Des Plaines Upper River, a $554M flood reduction project covering the upper Des Plaines River watershed; and the Calumet Harbor Dredged Material Management Program, a $40M project for vertical expansion of an existing confined disposal facility on Lake Michigan.
“For all of these projects, George (Chartouni) has served as the lead cost engineer and prepared cost estimates at different phases of the projects, coordinating with large multi-disciplinary teams as well as serving as a technical expert on construction designs and methods,” Rana Mishra, chief, Cost Engineering, Civil Design and Specifications Section, said. “In addition, he also serves as a mentor and teacher to younger staff in the district, serving as the sponsor for two recently-hired cost engineers. George has always been eager to help train and develop our next generation of cost estimators.”
In addition, Chartouni has continued to serve as one of the main ATR reviewers for large projects throughout USACE. Some of these include: the Upper Ohio Navigation System Project, a $1.8B project in the Pittsburgh District for improvements to the upper Ohio River navigation system, specifically the Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery locks and dams; Brunswick Harbor Modification Study, a $40M project for the Savannah District for modifications to an existing navigation channel, and the largest auto port in the nation with 629,000 units imported and exported; Sector Gate Design Charrette, a $101M (via five different scenarios) study for the Jacksonville District; Cost ATR for the Southwestern Division’s Valero Floodwall, a $263M project with scope that included drilled caisson foundation floodwalls; and cost ATR for the Fort Worth District’s Lewisville Dam Safety Modification Study, a $152M project.
During the past year, Chartouni has overseen the district’s growing Interagency and International Services (IIS) cost program that provides technical assistance to non-DOD federal agencies, state and local governments, tribal nations, private U.S. firms, international organizations, and foreign governments. He has served as the lead cost engineer for the following projects for other agencies: GSA FBI Building expansion, a $1.5M project for the construction of a new facility for the FBI including offices, service areas, and other facilities; GSA- NOOA Building expansion, a $4M project which includes interior and exterior work to an existing building, including additions and renovations; and VA Building 45 Demolition, a $1.6M project that includes demolition of a historic building and site abatement. Chartouni also played a pivotal role in the delivery of multiple alternate care facilities during the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“Chartouni has worked on an impressive list of projects throughout USACE over the past 18 months,” Linda Sorn, chief, Engineering and Construction Division, said. “These are also indicative of the types of projects he has worked on his whole USACE career. Districts throughout USACE continue to seek him out as a recognized expert in his field and valuable team member. We are proud to have him on our team.”