Tag Archives: Corps of Engineers

Recognizing Hispanic American Heritage amongst the ranks

by Jay Townsend

Hispanic-American Soldiers have served in the U.S. Army for more than 236 years in support of the nation.

The representation of Hispanic-Americans on active duty has increased by 10 percent during the past 30 years. In 1985, it was three percent, and in 2016 it is 13.7 percent.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a major Army command comprised mostly of civilians.

Typically in a USACE Command there are a few Army “green-suiters” that make up the command team, aside from that the number of Soldiers begin to dwindle.

SWD has two additional Soldiers that serve alongside the division’s 85 civilians. Both of those Soldiers happen to be Hispanic Americans.

Lt. Col. Rene Rodriguez, operations officer, is an Army Reserve Soldier and 1st Lt. David Sanchez, military personnel officer is a Texas National Guard Soldier.

Both are serving on orders in the Southwestern Division.

Rodriguez, from Farmersville, Texas joined the military 17 years ago.

While reflecting on his career Rodriguez said “the Army has provided me with advanced training and a wide array of leadership opportunities that will give me an edge when my military career is over.”

Sanchez, a Los Angeles, California native said he joined because he wanted to serve for those who couldn’t.

“It’s a privilege and honor to serve our country. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience the pride and comradery that comes with putting on the uniform,” said Sanchez.

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Rodriguez and Sanchez said they were proud of their heritage and the role Hispanic-Americans have played in the Army and Corps’ history.

USACE Resource Manager of the Year

USACE Fort Worth District

Robert T. Geiger has been named the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resource Manager of the Year.

Geiger, Chief Financial Officer for the Fort Worth District was directed by the district commander to develop a resource management plan to achieve a balanced workforce-to-workload ratio based on the projected reductions in future work.

Fort Worth district’s manpower significantly increased in previous years to account for increased projects initiated by the Base Realignment and Closure and American Recovery and Reinvestment Acts.  With these projects coming to a close, it was imperative that the district reorganize itself to seamlessly transition from the robust workforce to one that was much leaner, without losing any of its current capabilities.  A critical piece in the tasking was to make the right reductions, in the right places, at the right time so there would be no degradation in the functionality of each of the component divisions and support staff.

Serving on the commander’s advisory board, Geiger played a key role in reduction in force preparations and a request for reduction in force authorization. However, through careful planning and effective resource management, the district was able to avoid the reductions.

The forward thinking resource manager, who was also performing duties as the district’s deputy commander, developed a strategy to compassionately trim the workforce while having the least impact to the livelihoods of the district’s government employees. This was done through a series of initiatives beginning with retirement options to those who were retirement eligible, releasing contract workers and rehired annuitants before federal employees, and reassigning personnel to fill critical vacancies.

Geiger is an expert in assessing funding streams and manpower affordability. In recent years Fort Worth District programs surged from $800 million to $3.3 billion before returning to $1.2 billion; while the district’s full time employees ranged from approximately 1,200 to its current strength of just over 1,000. During that time the district was affected by shifting missions, significant organizational changes, and geographical adjustments to construction field staffing. His leadership in developing and implementing a responsible strategy to adjust to changing mission requirements was the key to the successful transition. The strategy included staffing preparations for the program surge as well as a strategy for the return to program normalization with minimum impact to the permanent workforce.

Because of Mr. Geiger’s willingness to go beyond the call of duty, the district compassionately and responsibly establish the right sized organization to fit current and future requirements, minimally impacted current federal employees, and promoted junior leaders as they filled critical vacancies left by departing members.