Walker Lee Evey
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
In 1997, the Pentagon Renovation Program faced a significant challenge. The world’s largest office building was a hastily constructed building which had not been properly maintained or updated during its sixty year life. Initial efforts to renovate the building and to bring it to modern standards had proved disappointing. It appeared inevitable that costs would dramatically escalate, schedules would slip and construction quality would suffer. Already building occupants were complaining about the disappointing quality of projects which were being completed.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. John Hamre, decided to bring the program under new management. He selected as Program Manager an individual with a unique background. Mr. Walker Lee Evey was a contracting and acquisition specialist, not a construction or design specialist, and he brought a unique perspective on how to achieve success in complex and highly challenging projects. Evey believed passionately in the power of leadership and in the promise of extraordinary capabilities that he believed lay dormant within organizations but which can be tapped by properly motivating the workforce. Evey developed a new way of doing business; an approach that challenged the traditional design and construction paradigm by placing the responsibility for success onto the workers and giving them the opportunity to make decisions, control their own work processes and receive rewards commensurate with the effectiveness of their performance.
This new way of doing business was challenged on September 11, 2001 when the Pentagon became the target of a terrorist attack. The workers at the Pentagon came to see the challenge to re-build the building as a “final exam” which tested their new ways of doing business and challenged them to be more efficient and more effective than anyone thought possible. The outcome is a tale of heroism and hard work that pitted the brains, the brawn, and sometimes the blood, of a highly motivated workforce of common individuals who overcame adversity and achieved a most uncommon success.
Lee is currently “retired” but still maintains an active schedule. With over 30 years of results-driven contracting, acquisition and program management experience, Lee has a well-earned reputation as a go-to person for the hardest challenges in program management, negotiation and project turn-around. He is widely recognized as a best practice leader in government and enterprise operations and, as a result, is a highly regarded international speaker and mentor for programs and organizations seeking to optimize performance. Most recently, Lee was honored by selection to the prestigious National Academy of Construction and was the recipient of the Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award based on the originality, vision, breadth and impact of his professional work
Best known as the innovative Program Manager from 1997 to 2002 of the Pentagon Renovation Program (PENREN), a 10 year, $5.5 billion, major design and construction program, he reported directly to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Despite taking over the program with no previous experience in design or construction, Lee turned a program on the verge of cancellation into an internationally acclaimed award winner renowned for its technical innovation, management creativity and extraordinary project success. The program ultimately included the iconic Phoenix Project which reconstructed in only one year the damaged Pentagon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. PENREN was completed in April 2011, 14 months ahead of schedule and $100 million dollars under budget. It was honored in 2011 as the DBIA Project of the Year and selected by McGraw-Hill’s Engineering News Record as the Best Southeast Project of the Year.
Lee served, from 2004 until 2009, as President and CEO of the DBIA. Under his leadership DBIA undertook extraordinary efforts to promote process improvement in the construction sector and launched an entire curriculum dedicated to training professionals in the effective implementation of the design-build process. As a result the design-build project delivery method in the United States rapidly grew in market share. Today design-build is responsible for more than 40 percent of non-residential construction projects in the United States and is the most popular delivery methodology used in the military sector, where it holds a commanding 80 percent of market share by dollar value.
As the top civilian Air Force contracting official at the Pentagon in the late 90’s, Lee provided oversight of all major Air Force contracting programs and policies including the Air Force Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulation. He spearheaded performance-based acquisition reform and represented the Air Force at top levels of policy development.
As the Director of Acquisition Program Operations at NASA Headquarters from 1986 to 2006, Lee personally led many critical negotiations and program activities. For example, he led negotiations in Moscow and Houston with the Russian government for acquisition of International Space Station elements, critical space data, and MIR Space Station activities, meeting a Congressional deadline (that many considered impossible to achieve) for the $400 million deal. He successfully led NASA negotiations with Boeing Corporation for the $5.4 billion International Space Station Contract – the largest sole source negotiation in NASA’s history at that time. He authored the NASA Source Selection Handbook which streamlined acquisition programs, along with the NASA Award Fee Handbook - the bible for award fee procedures in the Federal Government.
At the Department of Energy in 1980 through 1882, Lee served as Procurement Branch Chief over Renewable Energy Programs , Conservation Programs, University Programs, Solar Energy Programs and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion.
Lee retired from federal service in 2002. In 2003 at the request of Department of Defense, Lee took a leave of absence as Senior Vice President of 3DI International, an international design and construction firm, and briefly returned to federal service as Senior Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Construction for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. He was known for his hands-on approach and for his visibility in helmet and body armor on project sites in the field across Iraq.
Lee earned degrees in Psychology and a Masters in Special Education from the University of South Florida, along with a Masters in Management Science from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Lee served as an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company Commander with the 1/26th Infantry Battalion, First Infantry Division, Quan Loi and Lai Khe, Vietnam. He served on many combat operations in III Corps area within Vietnam.
Lee is currently writing his first novel, “My Florida” scheduled for release in June of 2012.