Coast Guard Commander Wins Honors

Monday, March 03, 2003
The Juneau Branch of the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) and the Juneau Chapter of the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers (ASPE) announced this year’s winner as Coast Guard Commander Virginia Holtman-Bell during their Feb. 22 Engineer’s Week Banquet and awards ceremony. The ASCE and ASPE chose Holtzman-Bell for the honors under the pretenses of two separate categories. They chose her for her leadership and vision as Coast Guard Civil Engineering Unit Juneau’s (CEU) commanding officer. Her position requires her to lead a 29-member team of civilian and military engineers whose efforts helped the team accomplish more than 50 civil engineering projects exceeding a value of 13 million dollars. She developed Shore Plant Dashboard Measures for all major Coast Guard facilities in Alaska, giving non-engineers an easy to understand measure of the facilities condition and maintenance backlog.

“Commander Holtzman-Bell quickly developed a plan to align the Coast Guard facilities in Valdez with the new requirements for protecting the Port of Valdez against potential future threats and sold the plan to senior Coast Guard leadership,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. David Savatgy, a CEU Juneau engineer. Holtzman-Bell is also cited for completing an infrastructure and structure analysis study for 24 Coast Guard Long Range Navigation sites, re-roofing a large aircraft hangar at the Coast Guard Air Station in Sitka, constructing cutter support building in Cordova and Sitka, and replacing aircraft hangar doors in Cold Bay and on St. Paul Island. The award for Holtzman-Bell also reflects her proven ability to satisfy customer needs, problem solving, innovation, and professional management, characteristics expected by the societies for Southeast Alaska Engineering Project of the Year consideration. “Commander Holtzman-Bell is a registered professional engineer who earned her masters degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and also served as an instructor of civil engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.,” said Savatgy. Holtzman-Bell is a third generation Coast Guard officer; her grandfather and father graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1933 and 1957 respectively. The Coast Guard recently selected Holtzman-Bell for promotion to the rank of Captain, similar to her father and grandfather. Holtzman-Bell is married to Michael T. Bell, a senior investment officer at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. They have two children, Michael Holtzman-Bell and Kathryn Elizabeth Bell.

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