Category Archives: Southwestern Division (Dallas)

SWD Employee Spotlight – Sean P. Sackett

Sean Sackett from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District recently completed a temporary rotational assignment with the Headquarters, Office of the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting in Dallas.

Position:

Permanent Position – Supervisory Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer, Contracting Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Japan District (POJ)

Temporary Position – Procurement Analyst, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, HQs, Office of the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting – Dallas (PARC-Dallas)

Years with Corps: 8 years with Corps; 127 day rotational assignment to USACE HQs, PARC-Dallas

Q: Why did you apply for a developmental in PARC-Dallas?

A: I saw this developmental assignment as a rare opportunity to work at a USACE Headquarters Office as a PARC Procurement Analyst. In Japan District, I’ve worked very closely with our regional Senior Procurement Analyst in the PARC-Dallas office for several years, and wanted the opportunity to understand the key focus areas HQUSACE PARC analysts consider when performing comprehensive reviews requiring HQUSACE PARC or higher level approval for a variety of complex actions.

Japan District’s military construction workload, which is the largest in the Pacific Ocean Division, has exploded by over tenfold since 2011. Prior to 2011, the Japan District would rarely have projects that reached the acquisition threshold requiring PARC approval, which was a steep learning curve for the district. By understanding the full gamut of the PARC review and approval process through firsthand experience, the objective would be to take back lessons learned and address any review issues early on at the district level, thereby creating efficiencies in executing Japan District’s mission requirements more effectively.

Q: What lessons learned will you take back to the Japan District?

A: While working in the PARC-Dallas office, I performed comprehensive reviews for various requirements from two Divisions’ areas of responsibility—the Pacific Ocean and the Northwestern Divisions–, which has provided me with insight into how other districts execute their mission requirements. Some district offices have excellent practices and approaches in the development of their acquisition tools, and I will share some of those best practices with my home district and division area of responsibility. This experience has broadened my knowledge of the USACE enterprise, enabled me to sharpen my skillsets, and equipped me with additional tools to make me an even better, well rounded, contracting officer and acquisition professional.

Q: What’s been the best part about your developmental?

A: Performing reviews on cost reimbursable requirements that require Pentagon- level approval has been one of many highlights during my tenure here. Having the opportunity to perform reviews for a variety of documents in multiple divisions has definitely created an opportunity for me to learn each district’s unique mission requirements, while also assisting each district to meet their customers’ needs.

On a personal note, the staff at the PARC-Dallas office treats you like family.  From the first week of my arrival, folks here showed me shortcuts to avoid traffic after working hours, the best places to eat in town, and always made sure I was taken care of. This place has all of the great ingredients that create a productive, efficient, and positive work environment. Everyone pulls together to help each other out when team members were overwhelmed, and there is a strong sense of team spirit and camaraderie that makes you want to continue to work harder and strive for excellence in everything you do.

Q: What’s been the hardest part of the developmental?

A: This office is probably the best kept secret in the USACE, and the crown jewel of Texas. The hardest part for me is leaving the phenomenal staff here. I thoroughly enjoyed the mission that we’ve accomplished this fiscal year 2016.  The collaborative efforts of the PARC staff and working with subject matter experts in procurement law, contracting, engineering, and construction, coupled with resolving myriad issues and challenges, were some of the most memorable highlights that I’ll always cherish and remember about this office.

Q: Did you get to explore the Dallas area much while you were here?

A:  Absolutely. While in Dallas, I was fortunate to watch the longhorns stampede at the Stockyards in Fort Worth, attend a Texas Rangers Baseball game to witness a grand slam and home run for the win, watch the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Miami Dolphins at the sidelines of the AT&T Stadium, become a member of a local Muay Thai club in Richardson, and reconnect with old friends I’ve met in other USACE districts across the enterprise.


Hispanic Heritage Month – Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America

Brig. Gen. David C. Hill
Brig. Gen. David C. Hill – Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Division

Each year, we observe Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to recognize their many contributions to our nation’s legacy. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16, and Chile on Sept. 18.

This year’s theme, chosen by the National Council of Hispanic Employment Managers is: “Embracing, Enriching, and Enabling America.”

The theme invites us to reflect on Hispanic Americans’ not only embracing America and its culture but also bringing their own traditions, culture, language, values, work ethics and ideals to the vitality and meaningful legacy in our Nation’s cultural framework.

Hispanic Americans have long played an essential role in our country’s remarkable culture, heritage, and the building of this great nation. They also have a proud and distinguished history in the U.S. Army and Corps of Engineers.

The number of Hispanic Americans serving their country in the U.S. armed forces continues to grow. In 2010, Hispanics represented the third largest ethnic group among the nation’s 21.8 million veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Within the Army Corps of Engineers, we have slightly less than 800 members of Hispanic descent, and around 100 within the Southwestern Division. They serve in a wide variety of positions, across all career fields and pay grades, both civilian and in military uniform.

This month the Army will reflect on the accomplishments of Hispanics Americans like General Richard E. Cavazos the first Hispanic 4-Star General and Brig. Gen. Carmelita Vigil-Schimenti the first Hispanic female to attain rank of general.  The Army will also focus on unselfish contributions like those made by Distinguished Service Cross recipient Cpl. Aristides Sosa, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, during the Vietnam War. Sosa purposely jumped on top of a grenade during the Tet Offensive to save a comrade.

One great example of the Hispanic American influence in our Army is the 65th Infantry Regiment. Based in Puerto Rico, the unit was the only all-Hispanic unit to serve during the Korean War. Nicknamed the “Borinqueneers” in honor of a native Puerto Rican Indian tribe, the 65th displayed true heart and valor during the Korean War. During a three-year period from 1950 – 1953, the unit participated in nine major campaigns, earning a Presidential Unit Citation, a Meritorious Unit Commendation, and two Republic of Korea Unit Citations. Individual unit members earned four Distinguished Service Crosses and 124 Silver Stars.

I ask you to share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.