SWD commander promoted to brigadier general

Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division

Paul E. Owen, Commander of the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at a ceremony in Dallas, Texas, Jan. 25, 2018. Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, officiated at the ceremony.

Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite prepares to present newly promoted Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen with a General Officer’s Belt. The history of the General Officer’s Belt dates back to World War II. It was first introduced in 1944 as authorized by the Army Chief Of Staff. The thick black leather belt has an 18-karat gold-plated buckle imprinted with an eagle. General officers wear the belt at their discretion.

“Generals are not selected for what they have already accomplished, but rather for what our nation needs them to do in the future—and what the Army expects them to do,” Semonite said.  “Leadership is in demand now more than ever.  This promotion shows Paul Owen’s potential to serve our nation, our soldiers, and our civilians.”

Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen receives a general officer flag during his promotion ceremony in Dallas Texas on Jan. 25, 2018. General officers are issued a flag embroidered in the center with his or her rank. The general’s flag, when displayed, signifies the general’s presence, and the respect and courtesy afforded to the rank of general officer. Representative of an Army Brigadier General.

Owen, who oversees the Southwestern Division, one of nine Corps of Engineers major subordinate commands, said “The path I’ve been on with the Army since 1990 has taken a new direction.  My aspiration is to be worthy of the challenges that come with my entry into the General officer ranks.”

Brig. Gen. Paul E. Owen thanked all the Noncommissioned Officers, Dept. of Army Civilians and Officers that have helped prepare him for the rank of Brigadier General during his promotion ceremony in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 25, 2018.

Owen took command of the Southwestern Division on June 29, coming to the Division from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he served as the Chief of Staff. He received his commission from the United States Military Academy in 1990, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. He holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

With four District Offices in Little Rock, Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas, SWD encompasses all or part of seven states, and covers some 2.3 million acres of public land and water. As the SWD Commander and Division Engineer, Owen oversees hundreds of water resources development and military design and construction projects.  The Division also supports emergency response and recovery efforts when hurricanes or other natural disasters occur, whether within or beyond its area of responsibility.

Corps, Contractors Seek Beneficial Relationship

When about 120 contractors and federal employees gathered in North Little Rock in December, the event looked more like a high school reunion than the Little Rock District’s 12th Industry Days event. But that relaxed look and feel did not stop potential contractors from preparing for the coming fiscal year’s work.

“Industry Days allow us to meet with potential contractors and introduce them to our contracting process which allows us to conduct market research,” said Sandra Easter, chief of the contracting division.

Little Rock District’s Industry Days Forum participates continue to increase as government representatives and contractors meet to discuss business opportunities for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Corps had representatives from Little Rock, Memphis, Fort Worth, Vicksburg, Kansas City districts as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration, National Park Service, General Services Administration, U.S. Forest Service, Army Reserve, Arkansas National Guard, Little Rock Air Force Base and Department of Veteran Affairs.

“Each government representative gave brief overviews of their contracting requirements and participated in a panel discussion with our industry partners,” added Easter.

Attendees received information about $1.4 billion in upcoming fiscal year 2018 projects.

“During the event we also provided training on the basics of government contracting, solicitations, requests for proposals, requests for quotations, proposal writing, joint ventures and source selection,” said Easter.

Each federal agency also had the opportunity to conduct a focus group.  These focus groups are designed to provide information about a specific business line or federal agency.

“Our hope during this less formal setting is to provoke two way communication between each of us by providing contractors the opportunity to discuss business opportunities from the project list,” said Easter.

—(Left) Colonel Robert Dixon, Little Rock District commander and Sandra Easter, chief of Little Rock District’s Contracting Division look on as Little Rock District team members discuss business opportunities with a contractor.

Industry Days provide a valuable forum for both the government and contractors to understand each other’s need to and ultimately provide the best product, on time and on budget.

This type of events is just awesome for my small veteran owned business said Donald McDaniel of Palomar Modular Buildings.

“This type of event allows me to network, which is crucial for a small business,” said McDaniel, “I have the opportunity to talk to various contractors and the federal agencies to see how I can expand my business.  I encourage any small business to attend these types of forums and I’m looking forward to next year’s event.”

For more information on Little Rock District’s 2017 Industry Day forum visit https://youtu.be/YTGC9jpGstg.