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Called to serve: EGLE staffer balances service to the State of Michigan and to his country

As part of Veterans Day, MI Environment today is highlighting staffer Adam Donne, a geologist in EGLE’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division (RRD), who now serves as the commander of the 1433rd Combat Engineer Company – Infantry out of Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy is a Silver-Level Employer, recognized by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for its commitment to military veteran recruitment, training and retention practices. The Veteran-Friendly Employer program helps qualified organizations recruit and retain top veteran talent while providing others a road map to improve their recruitment efforts.  

Imagine starting your career at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) after graduating from Western Michigan University and then being activated by the Michigan National Guard to assist with Michigan’s response to COVID-19 in the Detroit area. That’s what happened when Adam Donne joined the department. After serving with the Guard for three months, Donne returned to EGLE eager to begin his career. But that lasted only roughly six months before being activated again – this time to support the state’s vaccination effort.

Adam Donne in uniform serving overseas.

Adam Donne serving overseas.


While supporting or running vaccination clinics at county health departments, colleges, and other organizations, Donne learned he would be put on active duty and deployed to the Middle East for one year. While there, Donne’s company – the 1436th Engineer Vertical Construction Company, completed over 90 construction missions.

It wasn’t until the spring of 2023, that Donne returned to EGLE after a leave of absence for what turned out to be roughly two and a half years.

EGLE’s support of Donne was recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) with its “Above and Beyond Award” the weekend before he returned to the job. The award, presented to Donne’s supervisors – Jeff Pincumbe and Aaron Berndt – recognizes employees who exceed the legal requirements of USERRA by providing additional, non-mandated benefits to service members while activated/deployed. EGLE was nominated for the award not only for the outstanding benefits that are provided to service members, but also for its continuous support that Donne received his peers and supervisors. Donne notes that EGLE was also a nominee for the Secretary of Defense Employee Support Freedom Award – the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of employees serving in the Guard and Reserves.

Brigadier General Jeffery Terrill (Land Component Commander, Michigan National Guard), Aaron Berndt (Geological Services Section Supervisor), Adam Donne, Jeff Pincumbe (Hydrogeology Unit Supervisor), Gary Aten (ESGR State Chair - Michigan).

Brigadier General Jeffery Terrill (Land Component Commander, Michigan National Guard), Aaron Berndt (Geological Services Section Supervisor), Adam Donne, Jeff Pincumbe (Hydrogeology Unit Supervisor), Gary Aten (ESGR State Chair - Michigan).


“Since returning, I have fully reintegrated back into work at EGLE,” says Donne. “On the National Guard side, I recently became the Commander of the 1433rd Combat Engineer Company-Infantry (CEC-I), out of Fort Custer Training Center, Augusta, Mic.

“Although having an unusual start to my career at EGLE, I could not be more thankful for the support I have received over the years, as well as the continued support I receive from all my colleagues.”

“Adam is certainly blessed with two wonderful opportunities: Service to the State of Michigan through his work here in EGLE and serving Michigan’s governor and the President of the United States through his Army National Guard service,” said Jim Day, senior lead of EGLE’s Veterans Employee Resource Group – EGLE Vets – and senior environmental quality analyst in EGLE’s Materials Management Division.

“For those of us in EGLE Vets, who have served in the military at various times periods, in both peacetime and in time of conflict, and for various durations, we are grateful for younger generations volunteering to serve,” Day added. “We are doubly grateful to Adam for his service to the State of Michigan in his current capacity as a field geologist in RRD. 

“Based out of the EGLE Filley Street Lab in Lansing, Adam can find himself involved in drilling oversight of muti-day environmental site investigation projects around the state, providing drilling and sampling support to RRD field operations staff, RRD’s Superfund Section, and other EGLE Divisions. His technical schooling and experiences, combined with leadership opportunities of the Michigan Army National Guard, allow him to better interact with drilling and sampling team members, property owners, and to ensure utility location and other loose ends are tied up, before the drill rig first pierces ground surface.

“As related by an RRD District staffer, ‘When Adam is on the job, project management is certainly in good hands!’”