CEE Master’s Student Honored as 2023 Military Federal Engineer of the Year

This award is a testament to the staff within the Camp and how hard they work to serve the mission.

Congratulations to CEE Master’s student LT Frank Sysko, who was named the 2023 NAVFAC EURAFCENT Military Federal Engineer of the Year. Sysko is currently working on a graduate degree in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM). NAVFAC EURAFCENT stands for Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Europe, Africa, Central Command.

Sysko made significant contributions during his time with NAVFAC EURAFCENT at Camp Lemonnier Djibouti (CLDJ), which is the primary base of operations for the U.S. Africa Command in the Horn of Africa. “I was very honored to receive this award,” Sysko said. “There are a lot of great engineers who work hard and have made major mission impacts. This award is a testament to the staff within the Camp and how hard they work to serve the mission.” 

As Production Division Director at Public Works Department CLDJ, Sysko expertly led a cross-functional team of 20 personnel in the successful management and operation of all self-sustaining camp utility systems encompassing electrical power, water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. System improvements made under his leadership increased the ability to meet mission demands and positively impacted personnel. 

Sysko served in Djibouti from June 2021 through June 2022. He started his CEE program while overseas by completing the Master-track Certificate in CEM, earning six credits in secondary electives. He currently is a full-time student on campus as part of his career ladder as a Naval Officer. He is completing his program while his wife completes her degree at U-M in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering with the Coast Guard. Both will graduate in April 2023 and move together to Washington, D.C., where Sysko will serve as the Facilities Program Manager for the White House Military Office over the next three years.

“I’m very thankful to be here at U-M,” Sysko said. “Prof. Kamat provided the guidance necessary for me to build a successful application package for the Navy’s approval. I have been impressed with the faculty, students, and U-M’s reputation. The caliber of speakers who visit from industry and share their perspectives makes me confident that what I learn here will be directly correlated to my future career.”

Sysko brings practical engineering experience to his studies. During his deployment, he oversaw the execution and phasing of various generator maintenance and overhaul contracts, spearheaded onsite design reviews for CLDJ’s future power plant, and executed a power control system replacement to increase generation and reliability. Sysko also oversaw the operation of a reverse osmosis water purification unit plant, ensuring the safe consumption of drinking water per the Overseas Environmental Baseline Guidance Document standards.

Focused on increasing capacity and capability, Sysko also initiated the implementation of a calcite injection system to protect the water system from corrosion and installation of high efficiency filtration membranes, increasing overall capacity. Additionally, he developed an Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program water project that will increase water production and improve recycled water usage for CLDJ; this project was briefed in FY22 and selected as EURAFCENT’s #1 energy program project. 

According to the nomination from his command, Sysko “routinely and consistently demonstrates the high standards expected of a SEABEE (member of the Navy Construction Battalion) and Naval Officer, and has made a significant impact to the Navy mission.”


Portrait of Mason Hinawi
Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering