The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently selected Norman Friedrich, P.E., Civil Engineer, with the Iowa NRCS in West Union as the agency’s nominee for Federal Agency Engineer of the Year (FEYA). Friedrich was one of 32 finalists for the award which was announced Feb. 22 at the National Press Club in Washington DC.
The competition, sponsored by the Professional Engineers in Government Practice Division of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), recognizes Federal engineers for their professional accomplishments and civic contributions.
Typically, the honor is reserved for a current employee, either civilian or military, who is either a licensed professional engineer or engineer in training and who works at a federal agency that employs at least 50 engineers worldwide. There are nearly 800 engineers who work for the NRCS. The annual competition honors federal engineers for their professionalism, engineering accomplishments, and civic and humanitarian activities.
"Norm’s ability to break down complex issues into bite-size, easy-to-understand pieces has been crucial to the successful training of nearly 650 AutoCAD users within NRCS,” said Christian Osborn, NRCS State Conservation Engineer in Iowa. “He has advanced AutoCAD and Global Positioning Systems technologies throughout the agency, helping increase the efficiency of NRCS engineers and conservation planners—and ultimately improving the customer service we provide farmers and landowners across the country.”
During his 34-year NRCS career, he has led the state’s efforts to incorporate Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data into NRCS engineering design programs, developed nine engineering design spreadsheets and provided leadership with the agency’s adoption of time-saving technologies like pipe camera inspection systems and bathymetric survey equipment.
Friedrich graduated with distinction from Iowa State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Iowa. He recently concluded serving a 120-day detail as the NRCS national Engineering Software Coordinator.
Along with decades of service to NRCS, Friedrich volunteers locally and globally in supporting several issues including world hunger reduction and mental health. He is a founding member of his local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and serves as board vice-president.
This is the second time an Iowa NRCS engineer received this recognition. Retired State Conservation Engineer Mark Jensen was the National NRCS Federal Engineer of the Year in 2006.