A Forestry Service employee serving at the Savannah River Site has been recognized for his “outstanding” leadership.

James Thompson, construction group leader for the United States Forest Service – Savannah River, has graduated from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regional Leadership Development Program, earning recognition as the outstanding leader in the program, as selected by his peers.

Thompson was awarded the Alex Van Heuvel Leadership Award. To win the award, Thompson had earn top marks in training sessions – both practical and classroom-based – shadowing and class leadership.

“That Jim was selected by the other participants in the program to win the Alex Van Heuvel award did not surprise any of us,” said Anne Kiser, deputy forest manager for the USFS-SR. “Jim is a natural leader and a very hard worker. I am thrilled that his peers in the program felt the same way and honored him by nominating and selecting him. Jim is naturally modest and was genuinely surprised to be the winner of the award. However, we have observed his quiet, confident leadership for the past few years. What a delight it is for us to watch Jim develop and grow into his full leadership capability.”

Thompson was one of 16 participants to graduate from the yearlong program and the only representative from the U.S. Forest Service. He and his fellow graduates were recognized at a ceremony Oct. 18 in Atlanta. The program began Nov. 13, and covered about 600 hours of training and time, both during normal duty hours and on personal time.

Thompson was nominated by USFS-SR Manager Keith Lawrence, who praised Thompson, saying that the decision to nominate him was a very easy one.

“It was a blast,” Thompson said. “It was a really intense program, and it kept us busy. The program and its intensity provide real benefits – I was forced to manage these responsibilities while carrying out my normal job and my home life. They teach you a set of skills, and you are forced to use the skills you are developing.”

Through an Interagency Agreement with the DOE-SR Operations Office, USFS-SR manages approximately 170,000 acres of onsite natural resources, including watershed protection and improvement, thus providing habitat for endangered animal and plant species while generating revenue from the sale of forest products.

USFS-SR, a unit within the Southern Region (Region 8) of the U.S. Forest Service, shares the service’s mission to conserve the lands in partnership with the people it serves.