By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities
RICHLAND, Wash. – Doug Hamrick, retired chemical disposal project manager, will be honored with Washington State University Tri-Cities’ Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in recognition of his service, career achievements and dedication to the promotion of educational excellence.
He will be presented with the award during the 2016 WSU Tri-Cities commencement ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash.
Problem solving, leadership, degree expertise
Hamrick graduated from WSU Tri-Cities in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He began college to further his career potential, but the value became much more than he had imagined.
“After I got out of the Navy, I got a job where I got promoted to supervisor after a couple of years and just kept advancing,” he said. “But one day, my boss took me aside and said, ‘Look, you are going to reach a point where you can’t rise any higher because you don’t have a degree.’
“I started out thinking it was a necessary piece of paper on the wall, but after eight years of going to night school and working as a supervisor, I started to realize that this was all worth something,” he said. “Now 30 years later, I know how important it was.”
He said his degree from WSU allowed him to grow not only his knowledge in engineering and project management, but also his problem solving ability, experience in finance and leadership skills.
High-hazard experience; service in retirement
Hamrick has 40 years of experience working in nuclear operations and chemical weapons demilitarization. He served in leadership positions at high hazard facilities at the Hanford site, Rocky Flats, Colo., and Anniston, Ala.
He was project general manager of the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility 2002-09 while the facility completed construction, performed startup testing and completed the destruction of weapons containing the nerve agents sarin and VX.
Since returning to the Tri-Cities in 2012, he has devoted his retirement to community service. He serves on the Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity board of directors as treasurer and volunteers two days a week to help build houses for deserving families.
He is an instrumental partner and coordinator for the Coug House that WSU Tri-Cities is building with Tri-County Partners. The home will go to a family that escaped war in Burma and lived for years in a refugee camp in Thailand before coming to the United States.
WSU scholarship sponsors
Hamrick and his wife, Julia, are the sponsors of two WSU scholarships: the Bud and Joan Simmons Scholarship for Chemistry and the Hamrick Family Scholarship for Mechanical Engineers.
Hamrick also serves on the REACH Museum Foundation board of directors as development committee chairman.
“Doug continues to give of his time and expertise to ensure students of all types have access to opportunities for bettering their educational experience, whether that be through the construction of the Coug House or through scholarships,” said WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Keith Moo-Young. “He’s a prime example of how students can use their educational experience to pursue opportunities beyond their career paths. He has used his education to give back to the community.”
Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities public relations specialist, 509-372-7333, firstname.lastname@example.org