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Local Engineer Receives National Award

Nominated by Supervisors, Peers, and Employees

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region recently awarded Amy Thomas, a Portland, OR based Forest Service employee and U.S. Army veteran, as the Region’s Managerial Engineer of the Year for 2023.


In March 2024 Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region identified winners for annual Engineer of the Year Awards in four categories. Award recipients were nominated by their supervisors, peers, and employees.


Amy Thomas, Managerial Engineer of the Year for 2023

“Amy has been a champion of ‘doing our work differently’ and integrating across and among agency offices, other federal agencies, and external stakeholders,” said Christy Darden, Director of Engineering & Fleet for the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region.  “Her dedication and contributions have resulted in successful implementation of key initiatives including the Great American Outdoor Act and collective hiring events. While this award is for her managing skills, Amy is also a great supervisor, coach, and mentor.”


Thomas was recognized for her support to critical regional and director area initiatives in providing engineering, fleet, and sustainable operations policy, guidance, and program across national forest lands across Oregon and Washington. During the agency’s inaugural national and regional hiring events for engineers, Thomas provided key leadership and helped streamline the hiring process, which resulted in the appointment of many internal and external candidates. This crucial employment effort resulted in an increase of overall agency engineers throughout the Pacific Northwest Region. 


According to her colleagues Thomas’s success is a direct result of her dedication to agency mission, commitment to the agency values, and her professional communication skills that incorporate her experiences as supervisor, manager, coach, and mentor. She is known to focus, invest, and lead in team building, improved program management, and innovative outreach and recruitment approaches.


“My favorite part of this agency is the diversity of people and professions I get to work alongside of and with to solve complex problems,” Thomas remarked. “The opportunities are endless and, after 14 years working in engineering roles for the Forest Service, I recently moved to the Congressional Justification Branch in Strategic Planning, Budget & Accountability. I am looking forward to bringing my regional engineering experiences to this position to contribute to budget formulation.”

Thomas currently works in the Congressional Justification Branch of Strategic Planning, Budget, and Accountability for the agency’s national office. In her previous role she served as the Deputy Director of Engineering & Fleet for the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region.


Prior to joining the USDA Forest Service, Thomas worked for various agencies within the Department of Defense, beginning her professional career as an active-duty US Army engineer officer.  Thomas is a 1998 graduate of West Point, US Military Academy, with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and earned her Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in 2005.


Thomas in no stranger to change. When she was growing up her father was active-duty Army so her family moved all over the country and spent a few years overseas in South Korea. She is now working remotely for the national Forest Service office in Washington D.C., and continues to make her home in Portland, OR which she calls her “forever home.”

New Sullivan West Campground Picnic Shelter. USDA Forest Service photo.



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