John Bass, Senior Engineering Technical lead for Civil Works at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, has been named the 2024 MACE Young Engineer of the Year, marking a significant achievement in his distinguished career.
“It means a lot. I am humbled to be recognized amongst my peers, considering I work with several great engineers that are just as deserving,” Bass said. “I’m thankful for my family, and I’m grateful to work with a lot of great people, without their support, I am not as successful.”
Reflecting on his journey into engineering, Bass mentioned being drawn to the field in high school through math and physics. He saw civil engineering as a way to contribute to the development of the nation’s infrastructure, positively impacting communities through projects ranging from roads to water treatment systems.
Bass’s journey with the Mobile District spans more than 14 years, starting as a Co-op while still in college at the University of South Alabama. His exceptional performance during this period left a lasting impression within the Geotechnical section of the Engineering Division. Upon graduation, he transitioned into a full-time role and quickly found himself at the forefront of high-profile projects.
Early in his career, Bass played a pivotal role in addressing the aftermath of the 2011 Missouri River Flood, where he contributed to designing and implementing solutions to repair damaged levees and enhance their reliability during future flood events. His expertise in embankment dam and levee design became evident as he took on a lead role in various projects from 2012 to 2016.
During the 2015 Trinity River Basin Flooding event in Dallas, Texas, his expertise was tested as he collaborated with local USACE officials to monitor the performance of high-hazard dams, ensuring their effectiveness during flood stages.
From 2015 to 2019, Bass led the geotechnical efforts for the Mobile Harbor General Reevaluation Study, contributing to a successful plan to deepen the Mobile Harbor Navigation Channel.
Simultaneously, he managed the Inspection of Completed Works (ICW) inventory, overseeing the inspection of federally constructed levee projects and numerous flood and coastal storm risk management projects across several states.
Transitioning into Engineering Technical lead and Design Manager role for the Mobile Harbor Deepening and Widening Project in 2020, Bass oversaw the design of the navigation channel and played a crucial role in advancing the project during the pre-construction engineering and design phase.
At 36 years old, John is recognized as a leader within the District’s Engineering Division and earned the trust and respect of executive leadership at the divisional headquarters. As the Senior Engineering Technical lead for the Civil Works Program involves providing mentorship and technical oversight to multiple leads supporting Mobile’s entire civil works mission.
Steven McDavid Jr., Chief of the Project Controls Section at USACE Mobile District, expressed the team’s appreciation for having Bass on board.
“Winning this award only helps to emphasize how fortunate we are to have John on our team,” McDavid said.
Bass’s commitment to mentorship and continuous improvement is evident through his willingness to share knowledge and experiences with peers and junior engineers. His contributions extend beyond individual projects, impacting the broader business processes of the organization.