A Distinguished Civilian: An Advocate of Trust

Fort Worth District, USACE
Published May 14, 2024
Distinguished Civilian - Don Wiese

Don Wiese provides his thank you remarks as the 71st inductee for the Fort Worth District's Gallery of Distinguished Civilians. (US Army photo by Patrick Adelmann)

Distinguished Civilian - Don Wiese

Don Wiese, the 71st inductee, receives his lapel pin and plaque from Col. Calvin Kroeger, commander of the Fort Worth District, to signify his official induction into the Fort Worth District's Gallery of Distinguished Civilians. (US Army photo by Patrick Adelmann)

Distinguished Civilian - Don Wiese

Over 70 friends and family of the Fort Worth District attended the induction ceremony of Don Wiese, on March 14, 2024, into the District's Gallery of Distinguished Civilians. (US Army photo by Patrick Adelmann)

Distinguished Civilian - Don Wiese

Don Wiese is honored, on March 14, 2024, as the 71st inductee for the Fort Worth District's Gallery of Distinguished Civilians. (US Army photo by Patrick Adelmann)

In the 1970s, Fort Worth District leadership took action to preserve the legacy of the outstanding people who contributed above and beyond expectations towards mission success of the district. The first “class” of 10 inductees to the District’s Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees was in 1978.

On March 14, 2024, over 50 friends and family of the district celebrated as the 71st inductee, Mr. Donald Wiese, was honored for his accomplishments.

Col. Calvin Kroeger, commander, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, opened the ceremony with welcome remarks. “Don is a true steward of our engineer regiment and our profession, and it is an honor to recognize him today.”

“I had the pleasure of speaking with Don and his wife Kim, and I can see why he was nominated for such a prestigious award,” Kroeger stated.

Donald Wiese began his federal career with the Fort Worth District in 1974 as a park ranger at Benbrook Lake. This role laid the foundation for a career of excellent service and contribution.

As Don quickly advanced in his career, he assumed lead roles at the district office for multiple high-visibility initiatives within the operations division. His outstanding achievements during this period included preparation of district-wide policy and guidance on shoreline management, forest management, hazardous tree management, natural resources mitigation, endangered species management, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementation.

Tim MacAllister, chief of operations division, recalled moments where Don’s impact truly shined.

“Don’s reputation, and expertise enters the room before he does, especially with navigating through many challenges with NEPA,” MacAllister said. “The biggest lesson I learned from him was how we can balance the mission without sacrificing our principles and maintaining the wildlife management areas as needed.”

Don implemented the environmental review guide for the operations division’s environmental compliance program in the Fort Worth District and organized major timber salvage efforts after record flood events in East Texas. He played a key role in the operation and maintenance oversight of the 25,000-acre white oak creek mitigation area during the district’s mission expansion from 16 to 25 multipurpose reservoirs.

Don also worked on emergency operations associated with Hurricane Rita in 2005, Hurricane Ike in 2008, and the Arkansas Ice Storm in 2021.

Don was also appointed as the environmental stewardship business line manager for the district and contributed to multiple national level working groups, to include the national stewardship advisory team, to advise and bring awareness to needed and on-going ecosystem management research and performance measures related to operational USACE projects.

He consistently provided technical input, leadership, and management for assigned studies, primarily lake project master plan revisions, to ensure national/regional water resource, recreation, natural resources, and real property needs were addressed. These efforts covered 15 different lake projects across six different districts.

Don impressively surpassed all challenges presented in his unwavering support to the Fort Worth District. His biggest challenge included the development of environmental stewardship training utilizing a two-phase training program for more than 100 park rangers, lake managers and natural resources specialists. The training was comprised of land management history and policy followed by specific emphasis on processing land use requests, managing encroachments, and pursuing proactive management of natural resources.

Don retired in December of 2007 with 33 years of expertise, mentoring, and leadership under his belt, but returned to the district as a rehired annuitant on four separate appointments between 2008 and 2021.

Arnold Newman, deputy district engineer, reflected on Don’s biggest impact post-retirement. A key aspect of his work being the production of quality operations master plans within the operations division’s budget framework.

“After Don’s retirement, we persuaded him to return as a rehired annuitant for five more years in the regional planning and environmental center,” Newman explained. “It was at this time that he made his biggest impact on the district, region and enterprise by partnering with Eric Irwin to build the RPEC’s reputation into a nationally recognized entity for quality master plans and being the go-to center for teaching others how to do operations master plans.”

Apart from his five years working in RPEC, Don spent the greater part of his career in the operations division. He has continued to be a pillar for the district and community at large by being an advocate for people, readiness, and partnerships.

For more than 40 years, Don Wiese has played a pivotal role in the overall success of the operations and maintenance missions and has exceeded the expectations placed upon him in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, and the Nation!