Archive for the ‘Employment’ 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!


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

Helping to Build America’s Bench

October 8th, 2010

One of the most exciting things that I “get to do” is talk to young people across the country and try to encourage and energize them to pursue a career in an engineering field.   These opportunities have become more important in recent years as reports by organizations like the National Science Board show that American students are being outperformed by many of their international peers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This is particularly important for our future here at the Corps, because two-thirds of our 38,000 civilian employees are professional engineers, environmental science professionals and technical staff.

This week, I’m at the Great Minds in STEM conference in Orlando to help promote STEM to young adults and professionals from all backgrounds and encourage them to not only pursue a STEM career, but to “set the standard for their profession” by becoming leaders in their organizations. 

Furthering STEM awareness to under-represented youth is something the Corps has been doing for many years, (Click here to see more about our recent STEM efforts in San Antonio). And just a few weeks ago we took an even larger step forward when we awarded a contract to MYI Consulting, Inc., to help us host educational outreach events across the Nation as a way to stimulate interest and academic achievement in STEM. 

The students we talk to and young professionals we work with are our future, not just for us but for America.  We, the Corps, are a committed partner in strengthening America’s science, technology, engineering, math and science education.



Employment, Partnership ,

Supporting Our Wounded Warriors

October 16th, 2009

I am unbelievably proud of the Army’s commitment to taking care of our Wounded Warriors. As the father of a Wounded Warrior – and a friend to many more, I know it’s critical that we always remember, support and encourage these brave men and women, and honor their sacrifice.

There are a couple of different ways that we get to do that here at USACE. For one, we open our doors to Warriors in Transition who are still under treatment, so that they can work and still contribute to the mission, without being too far from their medical appointments. We’ve had a couple of terrific Soldiers come through headquarters.  They remind you how remarkable our Soldiers really are, and how much spirit – how much grit – they’ve got. We are also actively hiring wounded warriors who are transitioning out of an active duty role into civilian life.

This is a rock-climbing wall at Walter Reed Medical Center's Military Advanced Training Center, a facility we built in 2007 with world-class technology designed to help amputees returning from combat

This is a rock-climbing wall at Walter Reed Medical Center's Military Advanced Training Center, a facility we built in 2007 with world-class technology designed to help amputees returning from combat

Another way we try to help is something that we’re getting better and better at every day: awarding contracts to small businesses owned by Service Disabled Veterans (SDVs). As we just crossed into the new fiscal year, we’re now getting all the final numbers for fiscal 2009, and I am proud to say we broke our FY08 record of $543 million in contracts to SDVs,  by awarding $741 million this year.  A new pool and academy record!!  Not a bad jump, I’d say.

That $741 million represents about 2.81% of our total contract dollars – which is huge for us.   We’re bound and determined to crack the 3% mark for next year.

Contracting, Employment, Small Business , , , , , ,

Celebrating Engineer Week

February 12th, 2009

This Sunday begins the annual celebration of National Engineers Week, February 15-21. We are particularly excited that some of our best and brightest will be recognized for engineering excellence.

Some of our winners represent how we’re “Building the Corps to last” as our “New Faces in Engineering” winners. Others represent how we are setting the “Standard for our Profession”, such as our winners of Black Engineer and Federal Engineer of the Year Awards.

The Corps’ Top “New Face in Engineering” award winner is Timothy Ernster of GRD. Tim is an electrical engineer guiding critical projects to completion in Sadr City. He is managing electrical distribution projects in East Baghdad and a Training Center project for the Iraq Ministry of Electricity. He is making large and lasting contributions to the overall success of the reconstruction mission in Iraq.

The other top “New Faces in Engineering” for USACE in 2009 include Ms. Erin Duffy of Jacksonville District; Ms. Carmen Noltemeyer-Williams of Louisville District, leading complex geotechnical engineering analyses of dams and levees; Mr. Steven Kyle McKay of ERDC’s Environmental Lab supporting USACE’s ecosystem restoration mission; and Ms. Elizabeth Burg of ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Lab, now serving in Iraq.

Each of these “new faces” serve as outstanding examples of BUILDING STRONG for the engineering profession, the Corps, the Army, and the Nation.

Look in USA Today during National Engineers Week for the photo of Tim and other energetic and passionate young engineers that are dreaming big and helping turn their ideas into reality.

We are in the midst of one of the most challenging times in our Nation’s history, from reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, to critical work on the Gulf Coast, to rebuilding critical infrastructure around the Nation.

Together we can make a difference!

Employment, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" ,

Building a Strong Body, Mind and Corps

October 30th, 2008

As my kids and grandkids get ready for Halloween — I always look forward to seeing their pictures — I couldn’t think of a better way to finish off one of my favorite months.

Here in Washington, October has been a month of physical fitness and mental endurance. Earlier this month some of our Corps’ military and civilian members ran the Army 10-miler, while members of our team completed the Marine Corps Marathon last week. And of course, my military staff recently conducted their bi-annual physical fitness test.

Our military physical fitness tests always start by rising at “oh-dark hundred” (that’s military speak for early in the morning), and driving to Fort McNair in northern Virginia. There, we do as many pushups as we can in two minutes, as many sit-ups as we can in two minutes and we run two miles in a timed event along the parade field. We require our Soldiers to maintain a high level of physical fitness, because a healthy, fit and strong body goes a long way towards having a healthy and strong mind.

One of my top priorities as USACE commander is to build our organization “strong,” so that it is built to last. I want to keep this organization “fit,” so that we are able to make the best decisions at the right time.

One way we’re building strong is to hire passionate and talented people — folks who care about the role they play in providing the infrastructure our Nation needs. Folks who understand that they help to strengthen our economy and keep our country, Armed Forces and their families safe and secure. Folks who are willing to be stretched, who want to explore use of the latest technology on everything from geospatial mapping to the latest designing and drafting software.

The Corps is all about people. The right people make a difference, and they — more than our programs — will determine our organization’s ability to succeed now and in the future.

Employment, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , , , ,

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" , ,

Building the Bench

May 27th, 2008

When do you transform the Army? The answer is: when you are at war and have the resources and ‘real-world classrooms’ to test things out. When do you build the bench and needed competencies in the Corps of Engineers? The answer is: when you have the largest workload since World War II, and maybe in our history, and the resources and ‘real-world classrooms’ to train the next generation and test things out.

To move from “Good to Great” (which I define as: delivering superior performance in all missions; setting the standards for our profession; having a unique, positive impact on our Nation and other nations; and building a Corps to last) we need “Level 5” leaders and the right people, disciplined people, on the Corps’ bus and in the right seat on the bus. We need to be ‘Army Strong’ at all levels, from entry level to the most experienced, with a good balance of diversity – age, ethnicity, gender, and education. We need leaders in their field, certified as Professional Engineer and Project Management Professional, and licensed to professionally practice their craft. 

Context: we have the largest workload; an aging infrastructure; an aging workforce with thousands of ‘Baby Boomers’ eligible to retire in the coming years; a shortage of college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math; and, meanwhile, other countries, like China and India are graduating approximately three to five times as many engineers per capita as we are in the U.S.

Many of you have probably heard me talk about the walnuts and rice jar, walnuts being the big priorities. Well, improving our technical competency is a walnut. We have a limited period of time because of the workload created opportunity, 3-4 years, to turn the trends around and build the force – “Built to Last!”

We have already begun to take a number of initiatives.  We recently held a National Technical Competency Workshop at our headquarters in DC, in which representatives from academia, private industry, contract partners, customers, and professional societies, as well as teammates from each division and headquarters senior leaders tackled the major challenges we face on this issue.

Some of the initiatives we’re considering address training and equipping our current workforce, recruiting at the national, regional and local level, and motivating students to study math and science.

Regarding the current workforce, we want to ensure USACE employees are challenged and growing the skills they have, by giving them the right amount of technical work to do.

We also want to help our teammates achieve the technical certification in their career field. We’ll be considering a “beefed-up” Training with Industry program, and looking for opportunities to bring the trainers into USACE. That may include more frequent use of virtual training programs, where appropriate.

We could use a more structured mentoring plan, to make sure our employees are getting the guidance, support and training they need throughout their career lifecycle.  I hope to foster an environment where the staff is part of a lifetime of learning and teaching.

And, we need to be diligent with exit interviews, when our teammates leave the organization, to gather that anecdotal information about how to better retain our quality staff members.

Looking to the future, we have to become the employer of choice for new graduates, or even for established professionals who are looking for that mid-term career change.  We have to make sure people know what we do and what opportunities exist within the Corps.

The New Orleans district is leading the way and setting a high bar in this arena.  They are networking and building relationships with faculty at universities, deans of engineering schools, and professors who are tapped in to the skills and strengths of particular students. Of course, this will supplement, not replace our traditional recruiting at career fairs and other ‘direct to student’ efforts.

We are going to target our recruiting more appropriately to the specific competencies we will need in the future, as a result of our “gap” analysis.   So, we’ll seek out specific skills, such as geotechnical or GIS, and reach out to students and institutions with those strengths. To be “Built to Last,” we have to have people who are masters in their trade, as well as pentathletes.  

 For those of you familiar with Jim Collins book, Good to Great, this is the beginning of getting the “flywheel” in motion. We are just getting it started, and as we continue to focus on improving our technical competency and building a bench of disciplined people, we will gain momentum.

Employment, Miscellaneous "neat stuff" , , , ,

Corps Employment

April 21st, 2008

I talk a lot about the importance of getting the right people in the right seat on the right bus in the Corps, but that’s not as easy as it sounds.  So many times I’ve run into people who, when I tell them about the Corps, say to me, “I didn’t know the Corps did that!” So I thought I’d take a minute to talk about some of the many areas of exciting job opportunities we have at the Corps.

First of all, we have offices all over the world. You could work in Japan, Korea, Germany, Hawaii, Iraq or Afghanistan. You could work in any number of cities throughout the continental United States.

Click here for a map of our many district and division offices around the world.

And here’s the one thing that seems to surprise people the most. We’re not just a bunch of engineers. We are so much more than that. Here’s my attempt at a comprehensive list of all the job specialties – but forgive me in advance, because I’m sure I’m leaving some out:

Civil engineers, architects, ecologists, general engineers, geologists, park rangers, computer specialists, hydrologists, water resource planners, accountants, mechanical engineers, physical scientists, information management specialists, environmental engineers, attorneys, human resource specialists, cartographers, public affairs specialists, archaeologists, chemical engineers, economists, foresters, administrative specialists, electrical engineers, social scientists, environmental protection specialists, biologists, mathematicians, contract specialists, auditors, realty specialists, chemists, geographers, urban planners, industrial hygienists, safety specialists, and photographers.

I know – it’s amazing, isn’t it?  But it takes all that and more to manage the many missions of the Corps!

We’re always looking for fresh talent with a strong work ethic, public service orientation, and cutting edge skills.  If you’re at all interested, check out our employment website.

We look forward to having you on our team!

Employment , ,