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Herbie Maurer Honored by Galveston District, Continues Varied Consulting Career after Retirement

Herbie A. Maurer, retired Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management, was inducted into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees on June 10.

The award, bestowed on retired civilian employees who have made a lasting impact on the District, was presented as part of the Galveston District’s annual Engineer Day Awards Ceremony.

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for the work I’ve done,” said Maurer. “I started from the bottom and worked my way up, and I’ve had a great career. Working with the project sponsors, the ports and other organizations was a very enjoyable part of my career.”

Maurer began his career with the Galveston District in June 1964 after graduating from Texas A&M University with a bachelor of science degree in general engineering. He served the Galveston District for 40 years, working in various positions for the Corps, including Area Engineer in the Fort Point Area Office, chief of Operations, and chief of Operations and Construction Division.

During his time at the Corps, Maurer played a major role in the continued development of the Sabine Neches Waterway, the Houston Ship Channel, the Freeport Harbor, the Brazos Island Harbor, the Texas City Channel, the Galveston Channel, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Texas City, Freeport and Port Arthur Hurricane Flood Protection Systems, the Clear Creek/Brays Bayou Channel to Victoria and the Houston-Galveston Navigation Channels.

Through his leadership, he has become a nationally recognized expert in the field of operations and maintenance. Evidence of Maurer’s work with the District can be found in the development of the processes to maintain channels and dredged material disposal areas. Maurer was also the lead advocate of the Beneficial Use of Dredged Material concept.

“Maurer’s hard work and impact on the Galveston District for the last 40 years will extend far into the future,” said Arthur Janecka, Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management. “Through dedication to his job and his commitment to quality he has brought honor to the Corps of Engineers, the United States Army, and the nation.”
In his capacity as the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management, Maurer was responsible for formulation of the Galveston District’s annual multimillion dollar congressional budget submission and key milestones, among other duties.

His recognitions include a bronze and silver De Fleury medal, which is an award given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to honor those individuals who have provided significant contributions to Army Engineering. Maurer was also honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University Kingsville.

Since retiring from the federal government, Maurer went on to another career as a consultant.

“If you continue to grow in your profession then your work will always be enjoyable,” Maurer said. “I’ll always tell those that I mentored to work towards their boss’s job and take it. Then you have one less boss to work for.”

His consulting company–Maurer Advisory and Consultant Service, Inc.–was started as a result of many phone calls from ports and industrial businesses needing assistance with federal requirements and processes for new development.

The work has been mostly oriented to serving on clients’ teams to develop studies and secure the required permits associated with coastal projects along the Texas Gulf Coast. Clients are individuals, counties, ports and industry. He has assisted most of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants along the Gulf Coast, Modification to Federal Navigation Projects with Non-Federal Funds, private coastal development, and has served as port team member with federal navigation projects studies.

He has developed maintenance dredging plans, and assists in drafting dredging contracts for many of the industry’s navigation facilities. But he has had minimal contact with dredging contractors. The dredging contractors perform dredging for Maurer’s clients after all studies are completed and permits secured. Dredgers are pretty self-sufficient, Maurer told IDR.

During the recent years, with all the hurricanes impacting the Gulf Coast, Maurer Advisory assisted contractors with drafting and submittal proposals to be pre-selected for contracting with the Corps of Engineers under the Multiple Award Task Order Contracts (MATOCS) Program. This type of contracting assists the Corps in rapid response by having contracts in place. The MATOC was used primarily in the military side of the Corps.

Maurer assists contractors in submiting proposals for specified work, in which the contractor with the best value proposal is chosen by the Corps to perform the work. This process gives the Corps great resources for rapid disaster recovery, since the Corps budget generally triples after a disaster. Maurer calls these funds “different colors of money,” the colors being disaster recovery funds, stimulus funds and normal project operation, maintenance and construction funds.

As an example, Maurer serves as a member of a design/build contract for major repairs to jetties on navigation channels along the Texas Gulf Coast awarded under a MATOC. Conti Federal Service, Inc. is the prime contractor and Luhr Brothers is a subcontractor.

One of his most challenging projects has been assisting the Port of Freeport and private industry to perform studies and secure a permit to widen the Freeport navigation entrance with non-federal funds, and to get the Secretary of Army’s approval for federal “assumption of maintenance” dredging. This modification of a federal project by non-federal interest requires conducting a study to federal requirements and securing a Department of Army permit, gain approval of Secretary of the Army for assumption of maintenance, and construct the modification in accordance with all the above.

Oh, by the way, the study and permit requires an environmental impact statement to meet each requirement, Maurer added.

As I understand, the Corps would like to use the multiple task order contracting method for dredging, but the dredging industry doesn’t want it, said Maurer. The dredging industry prefers the existing contracting procedures to meet emergencies.

The latest for Maurer Advisory is to serve as permit agent in acquiring permits for offshore wind generators in the Gulf of Mexico from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. This is just another chapter after retirement from Corps.
“Stay tuned,” he said.

Maurer has always done a lot of mentoring in the Corps.
“I’ve mentored quite a few people who are now in key supervisory positions,” he said. These personnel need to be good communicators to succeed, and he advises young engineers that at some point in their career they will need to realize there’s a bigger world other than engineering. It will be their choice to develop additional skills and become the great leaders of tomorrow.

Maurer and his wife Gloria have moved to Katy, Texas, where a swimming pool, lake stocked with fish and homework help provide a welcome to their four grandchildren, who live nearby. This new home, combined with his challenging consulting work, and ranching, provides Maurer with a happy retired life after his 40-year Corps of Engineers career.

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