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Andrea L. Williams is a supervisory chief engineer in the operations division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division, Memphis District.

One of the defining moments in her career was when she oversaw rescue efforts during the 2011 Mississippi floods. She provided flood safety analysis and predictions, enabling higher leaders and commanders to make informed decisions.

At the same time, she coordinated the transportation of equipment and barges to ensure a swift response. Her leadership helped prevent the loss of countless lives and an estimated $840 million in damage to agriculture and property.

In 2022, Williams coordinated the response efforts of multiple agencies and nongovernmental partners during a historic low water event on the Mississippi River. Her coordination prevented potential economic and logistical disasters on the nation’s most significant avenue of commerce, resulting in an estimated $18 million in savings.

In her acceptance speech on receiving the career achievement award at the 2024 BEYA gala, she thanked her command leaders for nominating her.

“This award is a testament to government STEM initiatives that I’ve embraced to impact change over my 25-year career,” she said. The initiatives include collaborative research efforts that combine diverse expertise, streamline processes to enhance efficiency, and advocate cutting-edge technologies to facilitate breakthroughs. This has allowed us to maximize groundwater use in the rural Arkansas area, advance wastewater treatment in DeSoto County, Mississippi, and enable continuous transportation of goods and services down the Mississippi River during record low water for two consecutive years. Engineers in government must drive impactful change by embracing continuous learning, fostering collaboration, prioritizing ethical consideration, and staying adaptable in the ever-evolving technological landscape. “Leaving a landscape involves a commitment to innovation, problem-solving, and a focus on sustainable solutions that positively impact society,” she said.

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