DI’s James Landreth wins Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security ‘Engineer of the Year’ awards
Daniel Island resident James Landreth references his recent employee of the year awards with a clear pride in eyes. He has pride in himself, his work, and the institutions that gave him the honors.
Working as a mechanical engineer in the Coast Guard, in December of 2018 Landreth was allocated the Engineer of the Year award by both the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, which sits above the former organization. The Coast Guard has some 87,000 military and civilian employees, while the DHS has close to 230,000 staff members.
“I’m on a great team,” Landreth said. “I can’t say enough good things. It’s an individual award, but the Coast Guard and my team, in particular, is really great. I got a lot of great support from my supervisors. I had a lot of challenging assignments that just worked out.”
And the accolades keep coming. In January 2019, Landreth was named a top 10 finalist for Federal Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers. While Landreth did not win the top prize, which was announced late last month, he is among an elite group of front-runners for the award, as the U.S. federal government has over two million employees.
Originally from Alabama, the serviceman graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2008 before joining the Navy to work in the submarine program. After eight years active duty in the Navy, Landreth joined the Coast Guard as a civilian engineer, where he works on the propulsion systems on the National Security Cutter, the largest class of active patrol cutter in the Coast Guard.
“The location was good,” Landreth said when asked why he joined the Coast Guard in 2016. “My wife and I were looking to stay on Daniel Island, in Charleston in general. This position opened up and it was a great fit. I wanted to stay in the national defense space. It was a great opportunity and the timing was right.”
“The Coast Guard’s got a great mission,” he added. “The submarine portfolio is sometimes a little bit more global and it’s great to be working with a Coast Guard where the mission is much closer to home in terms of homeland defense.”
Landreth said that his technical work mostly falls under drug interdiction. The Coast Guard was noted for its efforts in this field in November, thanks to several U.S. cutters seizing approximately 18.5 tons of cocaine off of the coasts of Mexico, South America, and Central America.
“The fact that my work is hopefully directly linking to alleviating that problem [drugs] or at least combating it in any way is really important,” Landreth states. “I guess it’s a great measure of effectiveness for how our team is doing, how I’m doing towards stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.”
Landreth, his wife, and three children have been Daniel Island residents since 2015, when the Navy brought them to the area.