By Susan Lester, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Public Affairs
Lt. Riley Smith (left) assists Ensign Christopher Villalta with his estimating homework during the Construction Management phase of the Civil Engineer Corps Officers Basic Class. Photo by Ensign Krista Bix.
Civil Engineer Corps Officers School (CECOS) instructor Lt. Riley Smith was honored as the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) 2012 Officer Instructor of the Year (IOY) during a ceremony Feb. 28 at the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Capt. Kevin Brown, commanding officer, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering (CSFE) and CECOS, said, “Lt. Smith has performed brilliantly in the execution of his duties as an instructor and mentor. He has had a positive and creative influence on all new Civil Engineer Corps officers he has touched. He adroitly used all his tools and neutralizes his weakness to be the most effective instructor delivering the highest quality training possible. Earning the distinct honor of NETC’s Officer Instructor of the Year is a testament to his infallible work ethic and deep devotion to CECOS’ mission.”
“I’m extremely humbled by my selection,” Smith said. “Although I’ve worked hard for my students, most of whom are newly commissioned Civil Engineer Corps officers preparing for their first naval assignment, I’ve felt there was always more to be done. In our 21st century Navy, where personnel are expected to accomplish critical missions in challenging environments despite limited resources, we can’t afford anything less than having the very best Sailors and Marines.”
Smith is the director of the Civil Engineer Corps Officer Basic Qualification Course and assistant course director for the Naval Construction Force Operations Basic Course. He has been teaching students for almost two years at CECOS and suggests to those considering instructor duty or wanting to make a difference, to remember the importance of that role. “I start each class with a dash of motivation, a personal story which relates to both the topic at hand and the duties of students’ future assignments, and use the depth of my personal knowledge to impress upon students the importance of the topic to their professional success,” explained Smith.
Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Jordan, director of the CECOS Seabee Readiness Division and Smith’s supervisor, said, “Lt. Smith is a phenomenal instructor. He is down-to-earth and he relates to students through his personal experience. He is technically and tactically sound in his instruction and delivery.”
“When I return to the fleet, I will bring a newfound appreciation for quality training, as well as the instructional practices I learned and practiced at CECOS. Instructional management, curriculum development, exercise planning, and mentoring are invaluable skills that I will use to continue educating, inspiring, and leading the Sailors of today’s Navy,” Smith said.
The NETC Military Instructor of the Year award program recognizes Navy and Marine Corps instructors and facilitators who exemplify personal excellence and display outstanding instructional and leadership performance. The program highlights the significant contributions of individuals throughout the Naval Education and Training enterprise who have been nominated by their command based on their sustained superior performance over the course of the past year. Nomination packages, highlighting the nominee’s accomplishments, community involvement, and personal and professional growth, are submitted to NETC headquarters in Pensacola. An awards committee reviews the packages and selects the most deserving candidates for IOY honors, which include receiving a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal and an IOY plaque.
For more information on the Civil Engineer Corps Officers School, visit their website: https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csfe/cecos/ .