NORFOLK, Va. – Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Maine recently announced Lt. Cmdr. Chris Thomas, P.E., its 2022 Military Engineer of the Year.
Thomas is a native of Fort Washington, Maryland.
“Please join me in congratulating Lt. Cmdr. Chris Thomas, earning the first Military Engineer of the Year for Officer In Charge of Construction Portsmouth Naval Shipyard,” said Capt. Frank CarrollOICC PNSY commanding officer. “He had an amazing year documented in submissions and is most deserving.”
Thomas been instrumental in the initial foundation of a $1.7 billion multi-mission dry dock effort to recapitalize PNSY, formally establishing a new command charged with providing robust on-site construction oversight and command-level accountability for resident engineering services, as well as coordination among stakeholders.
The OICC PNSY team has executed numerous large contracts and is applying innovative and efficient processes to improve critical existing drydock complexes as a part of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) aboard PNSY. SIOP is a Navy-wide effort to modernize infrastructure at the four public shipyards, including critical dry dock repairs, restoring and optimally placing shipyard facilities, and replacing aging and deteriorating capital equipment.
Lt. Cmdr. Chris Thomas, P.E, OICC PNSY Military Engineer of the Year
Assigned to NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic, a fleet engineering command within NAVFAC Atlantic, Thomas was tapped to move to OICC PNSY in March 2021. Noted for his engineering acumen and leadership strengths, Thomas oversaw the team development of 15 distinct projects, leading his team to manage a program valued at $2.3 billion overall.
“I’m humbled and honored to be selected as the OICC’s Military Engineer of the Year given the work being executed to support the shipyard and the Navy,” said Thomas. “I’m extremely proud to be a part of this team.”
Construction efforts to date include the installation of deep foundation elements, dredging, underwater rock blasting in an operational environment, sheet pile cellular cofferdams, delivery and installation of 5,600-ton pre-cast concrete structures, crane rail to support a 140-ton crane, train rail to support submarine power units, and mechanical and electrical utility distribution infrastructure.
A herculean effort in both scope and value, Thomas has kept an aggressive tempo to keep the important venture on schedule—these projects have a direct and immediate impact on critical shipyard operations, supporting the shipyard’s ability to conduct maintenance, repairs, and upgrades quickly and efficiently and returning submarines to the fleet on time. This, in turn, supports the Navy’s operational posture and enables the fleet to be wherever it’s needed, whenever it’s needed, around the globe. Using a new 120-ton crane, Thomas also supervised a $60 million refueling complex as well as assistance to the shipyard as they finished submarine repairs during a notable overhaul.
Beyond the myriad complex features associated with the operational requirements project, Thomas also oversaw the official commissioning of the OICC PNSY command as executive officer in September 2021.
Thomas is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, receiving both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Thomas is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois.