Tag Archives: USACE Southwestern Division

Little Rock District inducts newest Distinguished Civilian Employee

Deputy District Engineer Dr. Randy Hathaway and Col. Robert Dixon, commander, Little Rock District USACE present inductee Dale Leggett a plaque for being nominated into the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District USACE.

He probably never thought living his life by the golden rule would gain recognition or going to work would change a district.

Then again he was only doing his best, which is why he was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“I went to work doing the best I could do and would always look back on the biblical saying of do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” Morris Dale Leggett retired chief of natural resources management section said.

As a result Leggett’s actions were being noticed.

“I don’t think we’ve had anyone like him ever or since,” Deputy District Engineer Dr. Randy Hathaway said. “Dale was the best person in reaching out to other Corps employees. If you were sick or struggling he was always the first one lending a helping hand.”

Avid outdoorsman Dale Leggett was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Leggett made the perfect gallery candidate.

“We generally pick out one person who stands out and models those type of qualities and behaviors and he fits the Corps values of putting people first,” explained Hathaway.

Reiterating Hathaway Corps retiree Jack Johnson said Leggett was patient, understanding and caring when they worked together.

During his retirement ceremony in 2013, Morris Dale Leggett retired chief of natural resources management section is congratulated by Dr. Randy Hathaway deputy district engineer.

“You will need a lot of patience if you worked with me,” Johnson joked. “There were times I probably didn’t deserve it but he was nurturing and had more patience than anyone I know.”

Coincidently Leggett shared a similar experience when he first started out.

“Early in my career I never understood things well,” Leggett shared. “My former supervisors were all patient and understanding with me, making me realize that’s what most of us need.”

Hydraulics and technical services branch chief Michael Biggs started with the Corps in the 80’s and Leggett also shaped his career with his patience and understanding. In fact Biggs credits Leggett for some of his career skills.

“You really helped me communicate with others and taught me things that helped when I became a project manager,” Biggs concluded. “I learned to communicate effectively and understand the things you taught. You made me a better engineer.”

Equally amazing to the people he inspired were his contributions to the district.

“His name became synonymous as an advocate for natural resources and recreation programs within the district and around the Corps,” Titus Hardiman chief of natural resources management section said.

Leggett’s positive outlook was the key to his success.

“I always tried to seek more opportunities and never looked at it as a task,” Leggett said. “I walked in the office and each day it was a chance to excel.”

Being an avid outdoorsman gave him a firsthand glimpse the need to balance the demand for recreational opportunities and the districts requirement to ensure recreation and natural resources were protected.

Dale Leggett was recognized Nov. 29 as the 2017 Distinguished Civilian Employee for Little Rock District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“He was instrumental in employing a park efficiency ranking system known as the Park Operating Efficiency Review, which assisted recreation managers in making the best decision for changes in park operations,” outdoor recreation planner Christine Smith said.

Basically this meant if funding was available the parks would be getting improvements made.

Smith said POER was instrumental in communicating recreational needs to congressional delegates resulting in additional funding of more than $13 million for improvements at the projects.

Spearheaded under Leggett’s leadership the POER resulted in the district’s total annual visitation and recreational fee collections ranking in the top five of Corps districts nationally.

“Leggett was the forerunner in assuring district recreational opportunities with periodic park evaluations and modernizations,” Smith said. “He was a leader in assuring the future quality of recreational opportunities in Little Rock District with periodic park evaluations and modernization.”

Outdoor Recreation Planner Christine Smith contributed to the nomination of Dale Leggett chief natural resources management section to be inducted into the Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees.

There is no doubt Leggett’s commitment and expertise left a lasting impression on the district and that lasting impression is recognized with his induction into the Little Rock District’s Gallery of Distinguished Civilian Employees.

“Throughout his 32 years of federal service he demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and loyalty and was recognized as a cornerstone to those within the park ranger and natural resources specialist profession,” Hardiman concluded.

SWD BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT: FREDERICK OLISON

Frederick OlisonFrederick W. Olison serves as the Chief of Staff for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dallas, Texas, a position he has held since July 2012.  The chief of staff is responsible for staff operations and policies associated with more than 2,800 employees across the region. Olison is a key integrator for focusing the efforts of the regional headquarters staff and four engineer districts to best accomplish the commander’s intent. He is the principal advisor to the SWD Commander and Deputy Commander in his assigned program areas.

Olison has worked for the Corps of Engineers for 11 years. Before taking on the role as chief of staff he served as SWD’s senior environmental engineer for the Planning and Policy Division.

Olison is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, where he served for more than 25 years. His time in service included a deployment to Iraq in 2003 and a mobilization to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2008.

Olison2

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1991 from Louisiana State University.  He completed postgraduate education at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Environmental Science and is a Registered Environmental Manger. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Project Management and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Born in Selma, Alabama in 1964, Olison shared his mother’s experience as a protester in his hometown. During a peaceful protest, police were called in to disperse the crowd. As the clash escalated and protesters ran for safety, Olison’s mother fell. As a mounted officer was about to strike her with a cattle prod, he realized she was pregnant and chose not to and let her go. The knowledge of that event has led Olison to a call to service and give back to his church, community and nation as a military and civil service member.

One cannot talk about important sites in Black History without discussing Selma, best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches. The activism in Selma generated national attention to social justice, and was an impetus for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.

Black History Month

Q. Who or what inspired you to choose your career field?

A. It’s always been my father. He’s good with his hands. We worked on cars together. Working with him is where my love for taking things apart comes from. Where we differ is I don’t like to get my hands as dirty, and I would wash my hands every time I got a chance. My father would always laugh and say you need to make sure you get an education because you will never make a living if you have to get your hands dirty.

My high school electronics teacher also helped put things in motion for me. I liked his class a lot. One time I got ahead of myself and tried to reverse the polarity on a transformer plugged in my parent’s stereo… I blew it up. Not good, surprisingly enough I did not get in too much trouble.

I’ve never lost that curiosity.

Q. What has been your favorite USACE job or program to work in

A. I would have to say it’s the one I’m in now. The diversity of issues I get to work on encompasses so much. I never know what’s around the corner. I work on a range of things from strategy, design and construction, talent management and resource management. The most recent program that I really like is getting to develop an internal supervisory training course. Cultivating a High Performance Culture focuses on empowering our supervisors with performance management, communications, and relationship building skills to build a more engaged and productive workforce.

Q. The Black History Month theme this year is “The Crisis in Black Education.” Can you tell us about any education barriers you’ve overcome?

A. This is a tough one for me to answer because whatever I’ve gone through pales in comparison to the challenges the generations before me went though. Regrettably, I do believe racial stereotyping is still prevalent and creates unfair challenges for blacks and other minorities.

We are always having to prove ourselves while others are shown deference. It frustrates me when a black student works hard to get into a “good” school and you hear people stereotyping their achievements by saying they got in because the school had to meet quota.

Stereotyping is demeaning, devaluing and hurtful and unfortunately I don’t think people realize how much they do it. My advice for others is don’t internalize negative stereotypes, it will only create self-doubt and they are not a true measure of your abilities. Seek to gain knowledge about those around you and educate them. I personally enjoy breaking down stereotypes.

Education is a key that opens many doors. I encourage black students and other minority students to take advantage of every educational opportunity available. A lot of sacrifices were made for us to have those opportunities.

If there’s a barrier in your way you’re going to have to figure out how to go over it, go around it, or break it down. I know that’s easier said than done for a lot of us. Each one of us has to decide how important it is to get an education to help us pursue and achieve our goals.