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Archive for the ‘Corps Projects’ Category

Depending on Small Business

December 13th, 2010

President Obama has called small business the “backbone of our economy.” At the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we recognize the immense value that small businesses offer our Nation by creating jobs — they employ 50% of U.S. workers — and energizing local communities. We greatly depend on small businesses to help us provide value to the Nation through any number of projects and programs that support our military and civil works missions at home and in 39 nations around the world.

Last week, we were proud to participate in the Society of American Military Engineers’ Small Business Conference near Dallas, Texas. It gave us a chance for us to thank the small business community for the hard work they’ve done for our Nation this past year and hear from them what we can do to help make it easier to serve.

In 2010, they provided our Nation a tremendous value by executing more than $9.7 billion on USACE projects worldwide, including nearly $900 million of which was executed by small businesses owned by our disabled veterans. That’s building strong!

But these contracts are more than numbers on a ledger. They represent the innovation and determination of small business owners to help strengthen our Nation’s infrastructure and economy by developing and implementing environmentally sustainable solutions, constructing flood risk management projects, and developing programs that aim to energize our Nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math, to name just a few.

Small business are vital to meeting the engineering demands of our Country. We need them to continue to thrive so that they can share their expertise, ingenuity and energy to help build our Country STRONG!

Van

Contracting, Corps Projects, Employment, Infrastructure, Small Business ,

One Project at a Time…

September 25th, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about some of the progress we’re making with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (see “The Stimulus“). 
 
As a follow up to that, I wanted to share this newsclip that shows the money is being spent – wisely – and in some unbelievably important ways.
 
We are not just creating jobs, but repairing infrastructure in a nation that the American Society of Civil Engineers scores with a D-. Translation: we need a lot of this kind of work to reduce risk for our families and homes, and to secure our nation.
 
Check it out – click the link below, then scroll down the left side to “Tuttle Creek Dam Project” or search for “Tuttle Creek” in the search function.
 
Click here to see the story.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams , , ,

A Diamond in the Rough; Celebrating 75 Years

July 28th, 2009

This week, I’m in Nebraska, honoring the 75th anniversary of our district office in Omaha. That’s pretty remarkable – 75 years. That’s the traditional “diamond” anniversary.

Next week, I’ll mark 36 years with my bride, and I sure hope we make it to 75! I remember my 50th birthday, we were getting ready to go out.  I looked in the mirror and  pulled a “Fonzi” (from the Happy Days TV show) – took out my comb and put it away without using it- like my hair looked perfect already.  I turned to her and said, “I just turned 50, do I look it?”

She said, “You used to.” That still cracks me up.

So this anniversary has me thinking about how much things change through the years. The Omaha District was originally established in 1934 as part of what was then known as “Missouri River Division” with a straightforward mission of navigation on the main stem of the Missouri, and nothing else. 

My, have times changed!  Now they do a little bit of everything… dams, levees, flood-fighting, military construction, environmental clean-up… and the list goes on.

Here’s a link to a story about some of the really neat things the Omaha District has done through the years – check it out.

It all boils down to people, though – and Omaha has some GREAT people. Since 2001, more than 100 employees of that small district office have volunteered for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and elsewhere. That’s America’s Heartland, right there.

People are like diamonds – you find out what they’re really made of when you put them under great pressure. The people who’ve made the Omaha District successful these past 75 years are diamonds in my book with all 4 C’s – my own 4 C’s: Character, commitment, Competency  and Chemistry!

Congrats, Omaha District!

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams, Navigation , , ,

I Get To Do This!

June 23rd, 2009
Sometimes in this job, I get to do the coolest things.
 
I recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony in partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). We unveiled ten campsites built to tackle a special challenge – taking care of medical patients undergoing long-term treatments in Little Rock, Arkansas. Check this local tv story out.

Corps Projects, Miscellaneous "neat stuff", Recreation , , ,

Corps Celebrates Earth Day

April 22nd, 2009

Today is Earth Day, and we began celebrating this important initiative last weekend by taking part in the National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall. The fifth annual Expo, hosted by EPA, showcased innovative sustainable designs and projects created by student teams from colleges around the country. USACE had two booths, staffed by our hard-working volunteers, that featured our Environmental Community of Practice and our lakes and recreation areas.

USACE senior leaders tour the National Sustainable Design Expo

USACE senior leaders tour the National Sustainable Design Expo

While the event was a great opportunity to attract and encourage graduating college students to consider joining our team, the best part was seeing the great desire these students have to make the world more sustainable.

Sustainable energy is a crucial mission that we are proud to play a key role in accomplishing. The Army and Department of Defense are heavily involved in reducing energy consumption and finding renewable and alternative forms of energy, and your Corps of Engineers is a key player in this effort.

Base Realignment and Closure and our historically large, military construction mission provide a golden opportunity. For this fiscal year, which began in October, the Army budgeted for and began building 14 exciting, renewable-energy projects. Two projects worth noting are a geothermal heating and cooling project at Fort Sill that will save nearly 2,500 barrels of oil per year, and solar walls and rehabilitation shops at Fort Knox, which will save 2,400 barrels of oil per year. These projects will have a lasting impact to the economic and environmental health of this Nation. I love it!

We are working hard to meet Army sustainability goals, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and our energy contractors have already invested more than $418 million in 70 energy related infrastructure projects at 30 Army installations over the past few years. We project a total contractor investment of about $194 million, of which $58 million is for renewable energy-related projects this fiscal year.

The Corps of Engineers is working hard to build this nation “energy strong” now and for the future.

Corps Projects, Environment/Sustainability, Infrastructure , , , ,

Deeds, Not Words

August 8th, 2008

This week, I am in Pennsylvania with most of our Corps senior leaders, as we put some “elbow grease” into finalizing our new Campaign Plan. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it’s our organizational vision, mission, goals and objectives. It’s our priorities – what we are really going to focus on in the next 3-4 years.

We officially launched the new plan this week, and it looks like this:

Vision: A GREAT engineering force of highly disciplined people working with our partners through disciplined thought and action to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to the Nation’s engineering challenges.

Mission: Provide vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters

Goal 1.  Deliver USACE support to combat, stability, and disaster operations through forward deployed and reachback capabilities

Goal 2. Deliver enduring and essential water resource solutions through collaboration with partners and stakeholders

Goal 3. Deliver innovative, resilient, sustainable solutions to the armed forces and the Nation

Goal 4. Build and cultivate a competent, disciplined, and resilient team, equipped to deliver high quality solutions
 
This is what you can, and should, expect from us, and what we look forward to delivering with excellence! This wouldn’t be possible without every one of our 32,000+ dedicated employees of all ranks and job descriptions! They truly are the “Cornerstone of the Corps!”

I’d love to know what you think!

Corps Projects, Employment, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , ,

Military Construction

June 5th, 2008
A few months ago, my friend Bo Temple, Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations, blogged about some of his experiences as he visited some of our military construction sites around the world. Well, I just got some updated information about our massive military construction efforts and I wanted to share the latest.
 
This is some of the new family housing in Korea

This is some of the new family housing in Korea

We are facing the largest military construction workload since World War II.  Between fiscal years 2008 and 2013, we will manage an Army military construction program totaling an estimated $39 billion. That is peaking right now, in 2008 and 2009, at about $10 billion per year, as we meet the intense demand brought about by Army transformation, global restationing and base realignment and closure.
 
Some of the accomplishments we’ll see from this include: 47 child development centers, accommodating nearly 9,500 children; 112 Armed Forces Reserve Centers or Army Reserve Centers; approximately 38,100 permanent barracks spaces and more than 66,500 training barracks spaces; over 1,200 Family housing units; 13 Brigade Combat Team complexes; and nearly 120 range facilities. 
And this is the inside view...

And this is the inside view...

This program is spread out all around the world. In the southwest at Fort Bliss, we’re delivering a building per week for the next five years. In the Pacific region, the Corps will continue the massive construction underway in Korea with Camp Humphreys planned as the new home of the U.S. Forces Korea in 2012.  Meanwhile, in Japan, massive construction efforts include airfields, operational facilities and housing to support a major realignment of bilateral forces in both mainland Japan and Okinawa.
The bottom line with our military construction mission is that we must ensure the Soldiers and their Families have facilities commensurate to the quality of their selfless service to the Nation, and I am proud that the Corps is a part of it!

Corps Projects, International and Interagency Services, Military Programs , , , , , , ,

Rebuilding Trust in New Orleans

April 30th, 2008

I just returned from a visit to New Orleans, seeing some of the reconstruction progress as I toured the area with the Emir of Qatar, who generously donated a lot of money to the city to help with the rebuilding. The trip reminded me of a comment we received in a recent blog.

Ray Broussard of New Orleans posted the following comment:

“Public trust and faith in the Corps cannot even be earned again – not in the short term anyway. As before, the Corps will regain public trust very slowly over time as we slowly forget, forgive and die off, unless… structures fail again when tested by storms.”

I’m certain that Mr. Broussard’s comments reflect the feelings of many of his fellow citizens, and I appreciate his candor. I am genuinely empathetic for what the people of the greater New Orleans area have been through. I want you to know that rebuilding your trust is incredibly important to me, and enabling Gulf Coast recovery is our #1 domestic priority.

The progress I see each time I visit is really remarkable. The region has a better hurricane and storm damage reduction system in place than ever before in its history – and it will continue to get better.

But don’t just take my word for it! I encourage you to get out and see for yourselves the gates, the pumps, and all of the work designed to reduce your risk. And remember – that’s “reduce risk,” not “guarantee safety.” It’s incredibly important that everyone remember there is no way to eliminate risk altogether.

We know that we lost the trust and confidence of many citizens of southeast Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and we fully understand that regaining their trust and confidence will not be the result of anything that we might say, but through the quality of the work we, and our many partners, are doing.  Deeds, not words.

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Gulf Coast Recovery, Levees , , , ,

The Pulse and the Mitigation

March 28th, 2008

I wanted to give you a quick update on the Missouri River “pulse” and mitigation actions we are taking to eliminate its effects downstream of Kansas City.

We did initiate the seasonal “pulse” to release additional water from the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River in South Dakota at midnight Tuesday night (March 25). This is something we’re required by law to do so that there is enough water in the upper reaches of the river for the endangered pallid sturgeon to spawn…areas that did not receive the “natural pulse” of recent rains.

I can’t stress enough that we wouldn’t have released this in the first place if we had felt it would negatively impact health and safety. I do understand, however, that many people are worried, and because of that, we worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find an alternative that will alleviate any concerns about flooding downstream.

We are reducing the amount of water we release from five other reservoirs in the Kansas City area that feed into the river system farther down the line. This will eliminate the effect of the pulse below Kansas City completely, and remove any risk to the areas impacted by the recent flooding.

Thank you for your feedback and for keeping us accountable. It is our mission and commitment to protect public health and human safety as we fulfill our responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Infrastructure, Locks and Dams , , , , ,

Balancing the Nation’s Water Resources

March 25th, 2008

(Originally posted March 25, 2008)

Here at the Corps, we are often faced with many challenges as we serve the Nation. Managing our precious water resources in sustainable ways that serve the needs of both people and nature is one of the biggest of those challenges.

One of the critical balancing acts begins at midnight tonight, March 25, as we initiate a two-day “pulse” of water from the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River in South Dakota, to make sure there is enough water downstream for the endangered pallid sturgeon. This increased water flow is essential to the fish in the upper reaches of the river – an area that has not experienced any of the recent rains, and is experiencing very low water levels right now.

I want to say right up front that we would not be doing this if we felt that there was any risk to the health and safety of the people downstream. Given the forecast models we’re looking at now, the flows resulting from this pulse won’t be anywhere near high river stages. We are closely monitoring the forecasts and runoff and if anything changes, we are prepared to make adjustments. We are releasing this pulse to comply with the Endangered Species Act, and the judgments of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service experts who have determined that this release of water is the best way to replicate the increased water flows that would happen naturally in the spring, if there were no dams on the river. Over the course of the year, the impact of the pulse will reduce the levels in each of the large upper three reservoirs by less than a tenth of a foot.

Also, it’s very important to note that there won’t be any impact to historical and cultural sites along the reservoirs that are significant to the Missouri River Basin Tribes. Finally, I want to reemphasize that we would not initiate the Missouri River pulse if we were aware of any risk to the health and safety of people down river, or if we thought that we would be adding to their current hardships from the flooding.

Our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery go out to all those who have been so terribly affected.

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Environment/Sustainability, Locks and Dams , , , , , , ,