Leader Development Program

Applications for the 2020-21 LDP Class have CLOSED. Applications for the 2021-22 class should open in the fall of 2020.


Developed with support from the SAME Foundation, LDP identifies and cultivates talent from within the SAME membership to address the nation’s grand challenges. Participants explore individual strengths and team dynamics. The program supports the development of the next generation of world class military, government, civilian, and industry leaders for the Society and our Nation. LDP is a yearlong commitment, running from Joint Engineer Training Conference (JETC) to the following JETC.

Read about the program in the SAME Bricks and Clicks blog.

About the Leader Development Community of Interest

Leader development is a key part of the 2020-2025 strategic plan under Goal 3: Develop Leaders for the Profession. To address this goal, the Leader Development Program task force has evolved into the Leader Development Community of Interest. If you are interested in supporting the Society's leader development efforts, log into your member profile and join the Leader Development Community of Interest on the member dashboard. The COI steering committee will reach out to all interested community members. Download bios of the current LDP Task Force here.

Learn More about the Leader Development Program

Working with support from the SAME Foundation, the Leader Development Program (LDP) was developed to identify and cultivate A/C/E leadership from within the SAME membership. Through this program, SAME fills a vital training gap within our industry, delivers value to our members and Posts, and ensures strong leadership for the future our nation.

Program Year: May, 2020 – May, 2021

Program Overview

The program is a yearlong commitment beginning at the SAME Joint Engineer Training Conference (JETC) 2020 to be held in Washington, DC. The graduation will be held at JETC 2021 in Portland, OR.

The one-year program is broken into three themes

  • Know Yourself
  • Know Your Team
  • Know Your Future

The opening kick-off at JETC 2020 will be facilitated by a professional experienced in the science of personality strength assessment and leadership coaching with the goal of identifying how each candidate’s perception of the world around them informs their decision-making, and ultimately defines their values and beliefs.

The face-to-face at JETC 2020 will set the foundation for the rest of the year. The inaugural class will consist of 18 candidates, 1 from each SAME region and 1 from the International Committee.


Participants will select a mentor to help shepherd their professional development throughout the year. If you don’t have a mentor in my mind, ask your Post President, Regional Vice-present, or LDP task force for suggestions. The Academy of Fellows has offered to make themselves available to LDP participants as mentors.


Meet the 2020-21 Class

Tasmin Brown, Senior Project Manager, Stantec Consulting Services Inc. (California Region: San Francisco Post, Walnut Creek, CA)

Maj Joshua Carroll, Engineering Flight Commander, 8 Civil Engineer Squadron, Kunsan Air Base (International Committee, Republic of Korea)

Agapito Diaz P.E., Project Manager, AECOM (Pacific Region: Guam Post, Hagatna, Guam)

CPT Thomas Fakler, P.E., Civil Engineer, Ulteig (Great Lakes Region: Minneapolis-St Paul Post, Fargo, ND)

Summer Gladden CF APMP, LEED AP BD+C, Proposal and Marketing Manager, Leebcor Services, LLC (Middle Atlantic Region: Central Virginia Post, Williamsburg, VA)

LT Kristi Gordon, P.E., CEC, USN, FEAD Director, PWD Meridian, NAVFAC SE (Lower Mississippi Region: Vicksburg Post, Meridian, MS)

Capt Gregory Hege, Chief, Operations Engineering Element, 628 CES (Carolina Region: Charleston Post, Charleston, SC)

LT Christopher Joseph, P.E., LEED AP, USNR, Project Manager, Stanley Consultants, Inc. (Texoma Region: San Antonio Post, Round Rock, TX)

LT Aaron Kotlarz, P.E., CEC, USN, Public Works Officer, Commander, Fleet Activities Okinawa (International Committee, Japan)

Jared Matthews, P.E., Mechanical Engineer, Merrick & Company (South Atlantic Region: Space Coast Post, Merritt Island, FL)

SMSgt Philip McAlpin, Jr., Operations Flight Superintendent, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron (Missouri River Region: Minot Post, Minot, ND)

Ree Miskimon, Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications, PRIME AE Group, Inc. (North Atlantic Region: Baltimore Post, Baltimore, MD)

Capt Arpan Patel, P.E, USAF, Team Chief - Civil Engineer, Air Force Civil Engineer Center (South Central Region: Panama City Post, Burke, VA)

Vinnie Plocido, Senior Planner, WSP (Ohio Valley Region: Pittsburgh Post, Pittsburgh, PA)

Bruce Preston, Director of Operations, TSK Architects (Southwest Region: Phoenix Post, Mesa, AZ)

LT Kevin Remley, P.E., Senior Environmental Engineer, Indian Health Service (Northwest Region: Gem State Post, Fort Hall, ID)

Colleen Rust, PG, PMP, Project Manager, Sundance Consulting Inc. (Rocky Mountain Region: Albuquerque Post, Albuquerque, NM)

Scott Turygan, P.E., PMP; Civil Engineer; US Army Europe, G34 Protection (European Region: Rhein-Main Post, Mainz, Germany)


Download the Participant bios here.

Meet the 2019-20 Class

Ilana Almquist, Marketing Coordinator, Coffman Engineers, Inc. (Pacific Region)

Holly Bigelow, Program Manager, Wood (European Region)

MAJ Craig Bryant, P.E., Operations Officer, Fort Hood, TX (Texoma Region)

Mark DeSouza, Civil Site Design Project Manager, Thomas & Hutton (Carolinas Region)

Angela Gomez, Business Manager, KOMAN Construction LLC (Southwest Region)

Patricia Graham, Project Geologist, EnSafe Inc. (New England Region)

LT Mike Guaigua, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Navy (International Committee)

Erin Krug, P.E., Structural Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Great Lakes Region)

Sean Lebel, P.E., Operations Manager, AECOM (Mid-Atlantic Region)

LCDR Sam Lee, Civil Engineer, U.S. Navy (Northwest Region)

Melissa Lewis, Supervisor Project Management, Scott Air Force Base (Missouri Region)

Capt Brendan Maestas, Instructor, Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio Region)

Ben Nichols, Project Executive, Harkins Builders, Inc. (North Atlantic Region)

Zakary Payne, Associate, Matrix Design Group, Inc. (Rocky Mountain Region)

Claudia Penny, Assistant Project Manager, HCR Construction, Inc. (South Atlantic Region)

Jorge Rodriguez, Senior Engineer, M.S. Hatch Consulting, LLC (California Region)

Stephen Shattuck, Civil Engineer, formerly with LandMark Engineering (South Central Region)


Download the Participant bios here.

Program Objectives

  • Support the development of the next generation of world class military, government, civilian, and industry leaders for the Society and our Nation.
  • Understand individual strengths and how to apply these strengths to achieve success.
  • Understand team concepts including roles, responsibilities, accountability, and groups.
  • Develop leadership skills through training, assignments, a service project, and other opportunities.
  • Foster engineering leadership for the Nation!

Who May Apply?

Members of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) with at least one-year membership in the Society as of December 2, 2019, and with at least five years of progressive professional experience may apply.

The target participant is an enthusiastic, mid-career professional dedicated to the Society who exhibits the leadership talents and capabilities necessary to become a leader.

Participation Outcomes

Upon completion of the 2020 Leader Development Program (LDP), participants will gain the following in preparation for increased leadership responsibilities:

  • 35+ hours of formal leadership training
  • A perspective larger than their organization
  • Ability to understand and embrace change
  • Incorporate the perspectives of peers, customers, stakeholders, and industry partners
  • Ability to make timely, sound, and risk-based decisions
  • Understand how leaders articulate and use vision and values
  • The power of diversity
  • Promote cooperation, coalition team building and networking
  • Develop knowledge and skills necessary to form relationships, teams and partnerships
  • Develop an understanding of mission, vision, and challenges of partnering agencies and stakeholders
  • Learn to think strategically
  • An understanding of government and Congress

Participant Responsibilities

Commitment of Time – Selection and participation is a privilege. Participants must commit to the time during and after normal duty day hours. Participants must be able to travel. Participation is entirely voluntary. Most employers cannot afford for staff members to engage in a yearlong program where the employee will be away from their office responsibilities. Therefore, this program has been designed to offer optimal benefits using the least amount of out-of-office time possible. Estimate time required by participants:

  • 2020 JETC – 2 days (12 hours of formal training)
  • 2021 JETC – 1.5 days
  • Monthly Sessions – 11 hours
  • Monthly Preparation and Reflection – 14 hours
  • Reading Assignments – 24 hours

Attendance – Program participants will be expected to attend all on-line class sessions, as well as JETC 2020 and JETC 2021. If a participant misses more than three (3) hours of program sessions, or a mandatory program session, he or she may be dropped from the program.

Utilization Project – Design and execute a Utilization Project that leverages relationships and resources of the Society at the local or national level.

Program – Participants will meet with leaders from government, private sector, and academic fields to discuss issues impacting government and explore each topic with special attention focused on building core competencies.

Program Tuition Cost – The SAME Foundation is funding the Leader Development Program due to the generous funding of individual members, sustaining members, partners and friends of the Society. Participants will have their JETC 2020 and JETC 2021 registration, travel, lodging, associated travel expenses, training and administrative costs paid by the SAME Foundation. Salary, books and all other costs are paid for by the candidate or candidate’s organization.

Participation Details

Methodology – Training information will be presented through a combination of classroom-style lectures, seminars, simulations and hands-on experiences throughout the program year with participants engaging in detailed class discussions and synthesizing concepts for application in their current leadership roles.

Reading Assignments – Participants are required to read and be prepared to discuss five books.

Reading List

Month Book Author Pages
May/June/July 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership w/workbook John Maxwell 256
August/September/October Know your Teams: Good to Great Jim Collins 320
November/December/January How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie 291
February/March/April Start With Why Simon Sinek 256
Optional The Carpenter John Gordon 160
Optional Precious Present Spencer Johnson 80


Mentoring – Participants will select a mentor to help shepherd their professional development throughout the year. The mentor will help participants become more effective in their current roles and maintain career ownership.

How to Apply

Each applicant must submit the following as part of the application:

  • Online Application and Answers to Narrative Questions
  • Resume
  • Letter of Recommendation from Employer


In the online application, participants are asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. Referring to your biographical information, education and work experience explain how you meet the selection criteria?

  2. Provide a brief synopsis of your background, including activities, which show possession of the ability to lead and/or manage. Outside activities include leadership in performing various community, religious, and civic programs and activities.

  3. What do you expect to gain from the LDP experience and how do you see that effecting your leadership capabilities in the future?

  4. How do you see applying what you gain from the program towards your future involvement in the Society?

Each applicant must submit a letter of recommendation from her or his direct supervisor, stating why they are a solid candidate for this program. If the supervisor is unavailable, submission of a short statement regarding their unavailability and a letter from a former supervisor, or someone in a leadership position above the applicant’s supervisor will be accepted.


Applications are no longer accepted for the 2020-21 class. Applications for the 2021-22 class should open in fall of 2020.

Meet the LDP Management Team

National LDP Chair: LTC Michael R. Darrow, P.E., PMP, F.SAME, USA (Ret.)

National LDP Chair: Caroline Roberts, GISP

LDP Monthly Webinar Lead: James S. Blake II, CQM

LDP Book Discussion POC: Angie Martinez Goral, P.E.

LDP Mentor POC: Susan Thames, F.SAME

LDP Projects Lead: Caroline Roberts

LDP Classroom Lead: Caroline Roberts

LDP Overall Curriculum Lead: Mike Darrow

LDP Alumni POC: Vacant