Public Announcements


Army Engineering and Construction Camp Sponsorship Recipient’s Letter from Camp

Dear Savannah Post,


    I would like to thank you for sponsoring me to the 2017 SAME Army Engineering and Construction Camp which was held in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The camp was unlike anything I have ever experienced before and it helped me realize how important and necessary it is to have young people such as myself take an interest in and become engineers.


    One of the great things about the camp was meeting people from all over the country, each with their own background, skills, and aspirations. Upon arriving in Mississippi I met twelve other campers at the airport and we quickly became friends through card games and by sharing riddles on the bus ride to the 168th National Guard Armory. There we would meet the other campers and be divided up into teams for the week of competition which was to follow. I became a part of Red team and along with nine other campers we were able to prove that we were the best team of engineers there. We were able to solve whatever problem or situation placed in front of us and not only solve but solve efficiently, just as a an engineer facing a real world problem would need to.


Throughout the week challenges and situations were placed before us that gave us a glimpse into what engineers work with everyday. One of these challenges was to given to us on the first day there and that was to create a concrete which was not only as strong as we could make it but also cost effective. Being the first task thrown at us, the team was able to get a feel for each other and see how all of our minds worked. Roles quickly developed and efficient teamwork began to take place. This was evident on the last day of camp when our concrete was proven to the best of all four teams, We’re talking the strongest, most economical set of non air entrained concrete cylinders ever created by a group of aspiring engineers.


Not only was it a pleasure to meet and get to know my fellow campers, it was also great to have what were called a pilot and first mate, these were young engineers assigned to each group who had just graduated college and received their B.S. degrees in their respective field of engineering. Being able to speak to them and ask them questions about their experiences truly helped give different perspectives on different fields of engineering.


There were many places we visited and things we learned during camp, there was never a moment to spare for as soon as we awoke our day was filled with activity. Of the many activities and places visited one of my favorites was the tour of Vicksburg Military Park. Here we learned how a Confederate engineer was able to set up a defense of the river city against an overwhelming Federal force. This showed me that battles are not only fought and won by soldiers but by engineers. Engineers see the landscape and set up the battlefield in their favor or they see a defensive position and find a way to infiltrate it as the Union engineers were doing at Vicksburg so long ago. Learning of this has peaked my interest in becoming an engineer as well as an officer in the world’s greatest military.


The ending of camp was something special; after testing the concrete each team had created we were taken to the Vicksburg district Army Corps of  Engineers Headquarters. There Red team would lead all in the singing of the National Anthem, as we demonstrated we were not only the best engineers but also the best singers. The closing ceremony took place as special guest speaker General Wher, Head of Army Engineering Post, spoke to us about how to become an effective team and took questions from the campers. I was able to ask him about his Sapper tab on his uniform and see what his most fond memory of blowing something up was. But what was something truly special was Ret. General Flowers being in the crowd, (his granddaughter was actually on Red Team) he briefly talked to us about the importance of young minds taking to the fields of engineering. But this wasn't just any ordinary man speaking, General Flowers had a way of captivating the room with his words, I mean when he spoke you just knew people were truly listening. I believe his words resonated inside every camper that day and perhaps even the parents, they certainly resonated with me.


Following the talks of General Wher some of his Colonels and General Flowers certificates and awards were handed out. I was honored to have been chosen by my peers on Red Team to receive the leadership award. The previous night I was also awarded the “Most Likely to be America’s Next Top Poet” seemingly due to the fact that on the night we all arrived to camp when it was my turn to speak to the campers about myself I joked that I like long romantic walks on the beach and poetry in order to get them all to laugh seeing as I am seen as a guy who would not enjoy those two activities (By the way it worked, everyone in the room cracked up!)


I would like to thank you once more for providing me with such a great experience. I was able to have a look into some more fields of engineering and develop a greater understanding of the profession. The camp also allowed me to reinforce my drive of wanting to become an Army  officer, to be that man in the room that General Flowers was at the closing ceremony. As look to gain admission into West Point and become part of the Long Grey Line, I will continue to remember the experiences that drive me.




Rodrigo R. Artolozaga


Meet the 2017 SAME Savannah Scholarship Recipients

Joe Bersson

Joe attends Auburn University. He is assisting in the assembly of the brand new FINO (Films, Interfaces and Nanostructures of Oxides) Lab at Auburn which he feels is one of his proudest accomplishments... He plans on continuing his involvement and will begin conducting his own research projects this upcoming fall. Joe was inducted into Chi Epsilon, and the national Civil Engineering honor society. Through his involvement in Chi Epsilon Joe gives tours around the civil engineering building for prospective students at Auburn University. Joe is very fortunate to represent the Civil Engineering Department on an exchange program to China. Through a competitive application process he was chosen to participate in seminars, tours, and lectures in order to learn more about sustainability in China and to forge a stronger relationship between the universities.


Emma Benfield

Emma attends Clemson University as a Biological Sciences major with a minor in Psychology, and plans to seek a career in Neurobiology. She is a member of the Clemson Club Volleyball team and was elected treasurer for the 2017/2018 season. Emma works for Dr. June Pilcher as an undergraduate research assistant on activity in children. She enjoys dogs, painting, popcorn, and music. Emma’s parents are Gary and Vicki Benfield. 


Casey Flint

Casey attends Yale University and is continuing paid research under Dr. Andre Taylor, in Yale's Transformative Materials and Devices lab.  He is working independently on transparent conducting surfaces, which uses a plastic thin film with a sacrificial surface of Titanium(IV) oxide, in order to create a very thin silver web network on the surface through vapour deposition.

Casey is a Yale Residential Life Counselor, and works with international students to explore summer life on campus.  He took a summer class on Material Sciences focusing on polymers.  In mid-August, Casey will participate in a second-year summer cruise with NROTC, and will be underway in a submarine for several weeks. 


Nicholas Flint

Nicholas attends Georgia Tech and is an Electrical Engineering major. And when he is not taking classes or studying, Nicholas plays bass guitar for the Georgia Tech Studio Jazz Ensemble. He is an active member of the Men's Crew at Georgia Tech. Just recently, Nicholas’s team placed third in the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Regatta held in Oak Ridge, TN. Additionally he trained and participated in the Dad Vail Regatta on May 12-13 in Philadelphia, which is the largest collegiate rowing regatta in the country. Nicholas has an internship this summer working with the network technology team at Dominion Power in Richmond, VA.


 Samantha Howley

Samantha attended Richmond Hill High School in Richmond Hill, GA. She was a member of multiple organizations for her high school and community; notably the National Honor Society, the RHHS yearbook staff editor, the Interact Club and on the team of the Varsity Women’s soccer team. Samantha will attend the University of Florida majoring in environmental science. She is the daughter of Christina and Brian Howley.


Nolan Jackson

Nolan is a junior in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Southern University. He enjoys hunting, fishing, video games, and most of his classes. Some of his favorite classes are Statics, Dynamics, and Solid Modeling and Analysis. He loves to understand why things in the world react the way they do. Nolan has extended his studies beyond the regular curriculum as he is doing some undergraduate research with one of his professors. Nolan is involved on campus with a multitude of organizations. These include Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Phi Kappa Theta, Engineering Organization Partnership (EOP), and the National Society of Leadership (NSLS). Nolan is the president of SAME, Phi Kappa Theta, and EOP. Nolan founded the EOP last semester with the help of the presidents of the other engineering organizations. Nolan is actively involved as a Student Leader of ASME. Nolan’s Social Fraternity requires philanthropy work; he works with the Red Cross to put together community blood drives.


Gavin Smith

Gavin attended Effingham County High School in Springfield, GA. His extracurricular activities included hunting, fishing, FFA and competing in Muay Thai. Gavin will attend Georgia Southern University majoring in electrical engineering.   His parents are Diane and Bart Smith.




Fort Gordon Briefing -- July Luncheon

John Ramey's July luncheon briefing on Fort Gordon is available to download here


2017 SAME Savannah Industry Day Presentations

The presentations from the 2017 SAME Savannah Industry Day are available to be downloaded with the links below:

USACE Savannah

USACE Jacksonville

USACE Mobile

USACE Wilmington

USACE Huntsville

USACE Charleston

NAVFAC Southeast

EPA Region 4

GA Ports


Keynote: Improving your proposal

2017 Handout

Savannah Engineering Academy

Industry Day Attendee Roster




Operation Homefront Backpack & Supplies Drive

It's that time of year again.  The SAME Savannah Post Board is gearing up to support the annual Operation Homefront Back to School programs at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield on July 25th and 27th respectively.  We invite all Annual Program Review attendees to help us support the mission of supporting military and their families.  If you'd like to be a part of this, please bring any backpacks and/or school supplies you'd like to donate and the Board will accept from you at the time of registration.  There is no obligation to participate but we invite each of you to help us support this mission.


USACE Savannah March & April Luncheon

Tom Woodie's slides from the March luncheon can be downloaded here

Part II from the April luncheon can be downloaded here




2017 E-Week Presentations

The presentations from our 2017 E-Week are available to download here:

Flood Risk Management for Coastal Assets

GPA Critical Infrastructure Necessary for Disaster Preparedness

AT/FP 101

Cyber Resiliency

Monumental Glazing Systems

Flood Resiliency Planning

Resiliency Strategies

Dam Safety from a Resiliency Perspective

When Rivers and Infrastructure Collide

Energy Master Plan


2017 SAME STEM Camps

Information for the 2017 SAME STEM Camps for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, and Exploring Engineering Academy is now available!  Scholarships applications are due by March 24th.


US Air Force Camp

SAME Savannah Scholarship Info



2017/2018 Scholarship Applications

SAME Savannah Scholarships for the 2017/2018 school year have opened.  Instructions are available here: link


COL Griffin’s December Presentation

COL Griffin’s December presentation is available here


2016 Scholarship Recipients

2016 Recipients: $7,500 Scholarship over 5-years at $1,500 each year

Nicholas Eldridge  Attended White County High School in Cleveland, GA/Leader in ROTC, and he has been accepted at University of North Georgia in mechanical engineering. Nicholas like to hunt and fish in his free time His parents are Billy & Shannon Eldridge.

Nicholas Flint  Attended Savannah Arts Academy in Savannah, GA, and has been accepted at Georgia Tech to study electrical engineering. Nicholas plays keyboard in the band, RIPTIDE, and is a backup vocalist. He is working this summer as a lifeguard. Nicholas plans to join the Air Force. His parents are Molly & John Flint.

Preston Johnson  Attended Porter-Gaud High School in Charleston, SC, and has been accepted at Georgia Southern University in mechanical engineering. Preston likes to hunt and fish, and ride anything with wheels. His parents are Preston and Rhonda Johnson.

Savannah Kay Francis  Attended Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, AL, and has been accepted at Auburn University to study Biomedical Science.   She is working as a lifeguard and is a part-time teacher at Covenant Classical School and Daycare. She plans to attend medical school and apply to the Air force Professional Scholarship Program to join as a Medical Officer, following in her father’s footsteps. Savannah Kaye’s father is Steven Francis.


4-Year Scholarship for $5,000 – continued from 2015 award

Emma Benfield  Attends Clemson University as a Biological Sciences major with the intent of going into neurological biology. Emma is on the Clemson University club volleyball team, a member of 88.1 WSBF FM Clemson, and also an avid fan of Clemson Football! She enjoys painting and is fond of punk rock. Emma’s parents are Gary and Vicki Benfield.

Joe Bersson  Attends Auburn University majoring in Civil Engineering.   His extracurricular activities and affiliations involve Auburn University Honor’s College, Engineers Without Borders, IMPACT Student Volunteer Organization, and Greek life. Joe’s parents are Bill and Ann Bersson.

Casey Flint  Attends Yale University.  This summer Casey is at Navy Summer CORTRAMID East for Naval ROTC. His parents are John and Molly Flint.


$5,000, 4-year scholarships – continued from 2013 award

Becky Bersson  Currently in the University Scholars program at The University of Alabama pursuing a BS in mathematics and a MS in applied statistics. Becky is very involved in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and works for a nonprofit teaching a class at the local high school. This summer she is interning at FedEx Headquarters in data analytics. Her parents are Bill and Ann Bersson.

Erin Simmons  Currently studies aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. She enjoys everything to do with space, and hopes to work at NASA upon graduation. In the Spring 2016 semester, she worked with a team designing a rover to tunnel into the summit of Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the solar system, as a part of a competition by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Erin is interning at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.   She is the daughter of Tracy and Gordy Simmons.

Philip Panhorst  Currently interning at the water quality department of the Georgia Aquarium.   In August he will begin his seventh and final semester at Georgia Southern University and graduate in December with a bachelor's of science in biology and a minor in chemistry.  Philip is president of the natural history collections club and has held multiple student assistant positions in the biological collections of the university including the United States National Tick Collection.  The past three summers he has worked as a paddleboard instructor Philip has a passion for wildlife and the outdoors. .  His parents are John and Theresa Panhors.


2017 E-Week Call for Speakers

Speakers are invited to submit abstracts on the many facets of Resiliency affecting our nation. Our communities must prepare for a future with a wide spectrum of possible threats, weighing risks and probabilities to determine the best actions today that can minimize loss in a future event. This year, E-Week Technical Training Day will consider how the engineering community is taking a proactive, flexible approach to assessment, analysis, and adaptation, to prepare for potential disasters and minimize impacts to our communities.


Selection Process Dates:

Call for Presentations Opens: October 1, 2016

Deadline for submission: December 2, 2016

Acceptance notifications: January 13, 2017 (Registration discount for Speakers)

Final presentations due in PPT format: February 20, 2017


Submission Instructions:

All speakers must submit an abstract of their presentation. Each abstract must contain the following information:

  • Title should capture in 10 words or less the topic covered

  • Up to a 300-word description, be as concise as possible

  • 120-word biography of the presenter or each panelist

  • Length of session; 25-30 minute presentation plus 15 minute Q&A


All questions and submissions should be emailed to Margaret Walton and Hollie Dupes


2016 Annual Program Review Presentations

Thank you to those who attended our 2016 Annual Program Review!

Links to the presentations are below:

2016 Handout

Huntsville Engineering Center


USACE Savannah

USACE Mobile

USACE Jacksonville

USACE Charleston

USACE Wilmington


GA Ports Authority



President's May Letter

Dear SAME Savannah Post Members,

First up a big THANK YOU to all those working so hard to put together our Annual Program Review! It will be our premiere event of the year and feature a greater variety of speakers and attendees than ever. Frankly, the new DOD conference attendance rules have made organizing this year’s program an uphill fight but through the deft maneuvering of BG (R) Joe Schroedel and the efforts of our two Fellows Gwen Parker and Sally Riker as well as great cooperation from our USACE counterparts led by Major George Mitroka from Savannah District we’ve finally gotten to “yes.”

 This year our program features a small business show case and young member haunted pub crawl on the 14th followed by program reviews on the 15th. This is also the month for our annual Golf Tournament here in Savannah so please make sure you sign up for this event on the 14th as well. To date we have over 300 personnel signed up to attend and we still have a week to go so this is shaping up to be one of our best attended events. Please see our website to sign up today.

We had a great time at our annual Joint Engineer Training Conference May 24-27 in Phoenix, AZ along with at least a dozen other attendees from Savannah Post. It was a great opportunity for learning, networking and hearing from the military services Senior Engineer Leaders and the leadership of our Society. I was honored to receive 10 Streamers and Awards on your behalf at the Annual Awards Breakfast. Thanks to the efforts of our Streamer Committee, committee chairs and all of our volunteers Savannah was one of only a handful of posts to receive all the streamers that were up for grabs. This exceptional achievement marks us as one of the best Posts in the nation and I couldn’t be prouder to lead this great organization. THANKS so much to all of our volunteers as YOU are the ones who make this Post great!

This will be my last President’s Letter since my term ends this month. I’ve begun the process of handing over the reins to Maureen Hoke. Maureen served our Post in numerous capacities including Vice President, founded our Student Chapter at GSU, spearheads our STEM outreach efforts and has chaired committees and been on our board for years. She brings a wealth of experience and energy to the position. We also have several other new officers who will be taking over this summer – please join me in congratulating and supporting Maureen and our new officers assuming leadership of our Post.

It has been a fast paced year in which we’ve accomplished a great deal in terms of our Post priorities of growing our Military involvement, stepping up STEM outreach and supporting our Veteran and military population. We implemented several initiatives such as luncheons at Fort Stewart and Operation Homefront that we’ll institutionalize to keep getting after these priorities. I’m humbled, blessed and honored to have served alongside you this past year and it was my privilege to lead in a professional organization I’ve admired since I first joined the Army 26 years ago. Please keep up your great energy, enthusiasm and continue to keep our Post at the top.

Thanks again for all you are doing, have done and will do in the future for our Society and our Profession and I look forward to continuing to serve with you in the Savannah Post in the years ahead.  



R. Daren Payne, PMP

Lieutenant Colonel, US Army

Savannah Post President


2016/2017 Post Officer Election Results

Congratulation to our SAME Savannah Post 2016-17 Officers!

Post President – Maureen Hoke

1st Vice President – Kevin Chafin

2nd Vice President – Joel Burke

Secretary – Ashley Sebring Gallegos

Treasurer – Gavin Carey