During the District’s Winter Ball, Dec. 6, 2013, Frederic “Fritz” Blake was officially inducted into the District’s Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees. The Gallery was established in 1984 so that honorees’ “careers will provide an inspiration to those that follow.” The Gallery is located in the main lobby of the Albuquerque District Office.
Blake began his career of over 30 years with the Corps of Engineers in 1978 in the District’s Plan Formulation Branch, where he served as a regional economist, preparing economic and socio-economic analyses, including benefit/cost ratios for flood control projects within the Albuquerque District. From 1985-1994, he continued in Plan Formulation Branch as the District Planning Study Manager. During this period, Blake led the efforts for several planning studies, including the Alamosa, Colo., Local Protection Project; and the Cuchillo Negro Dam, near Truth or Consequences, N.M.
In 1994, Blake moved to the Civil Works Project Management Branch, where he worked until his retirement in 2008. There he served as the senior civil works project manager, managing several of the District’s highest profile projects. He led multidisciplinary Corps/stakeholder/customer teams in developing plans to restore the ecosystem within the Rio Grande Bosque. This included a number of projects including the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Feasibility Study; the Rio Grande Fire Rehabilitation Program; the Ecosystem Revitalization at Route 66 project; and the Albuquerque BioPark project. He also managed design/build teams for the Las Cruces Flood Control Project, and the environmental restoration project at Bottomless Lakes State Park near Roswell, N.M.
As the District’s coordinator for activities within the Rio Grande Basin, he actively engaged stakeholders from other federal agencies, states, cities, watershed conservancy districts, and non-governmental organizations, as well as key Congressional members and their staffs. He also led extensive coordination efforts with potential customers in support of the future Rio Grande Environmental Management Programs in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.
While working in the District, Blake’s innovative and adaptable attitude and responsiveness to customer needs was demonstrated when he determined a solution for flooding issues in Albuquerque’s South Valley. The result: the Albuquerque West Levee Section 595 project, constructed in summer 2008. Through his strategic alliances and collaborative approach, Blake led the resolution of several complex issues with the multiple stakeholders for this project.
He demonstrated these same qualities in his leadership of the Bosque Wildfire project, which was a 2004 Congressional Add in response to fires that occurred in Albuquerque’s forested area along the Rio Grande during the summer of 2003. Under Blake’s exceptional and effective leadership, this project delivery team accomplished planning, design, and award of the initial construction contract for fire recovery efforts in just seven months.
Since his retirement from the Corps, Blake has been working as a senior planner in the Surface Water Division of Tetra Tech, Inc., an international engineering company. His work has been centered on water resource studies for federal, state and local engineering and planning agencies.
Blake has been married to his wife Melissa for 28 years.