Thirty years ago, Keith Wozniak, biologist, began his government career at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District’s Regulatory Functions Branch conducting permit application reviews, and compliance and enforcement actions. This month, he retired from the district as the chief of the Regulatory Branch.
“It was a rewarding, challenging and sometimes frustrating career,” he said. “In the end, I will miss our warm-hearted people the most. I am very proud of our Regulatory staff and their incredible passion, knowledge, and technical expertise.”
Wozniak said one project that stood out in his career was an enforcement case that led to a $7.5 million settlement – the largest civil settlement for USACE.
“A $500,000 penalty was paid to the U.S. treasury and $7 million was used to acquire and restore ecosystems in the Lower Des Plaines and Kankakee River Valley,” he said.
He is also very appreciative of the phenomenal relationships the district has developed with its partners over the years.
And for USACE employees just beginning their careers, he has a few words of wisdom.
“My advice is to establish excellent relationships with your coworkers and project partners, and pursue opportunities to develop your passions or your niche,” he said. “Think outside the box always.”
In retirement, he said he plans to spend time with his son, Justin, who is autistic, to ensure he becomes as independent as possible so he can live a fulfilling life.