Category Archives: Locations

Corps lays foundation for Fort Sill training support facility

By Edward Johnson

FORT SILL, Okla. — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, personnel were on site Feb 2, 2019, overseeing operations as contractors lined up 22 cement mixer trucks to pour a concrete slab, as part of a troop training support facility currently under construction here.

Scheduled for completion in late summer 2019, the facility will include an open, high-bay vehicle storage space, offices, classrooms and a consolidated entry and reception area.
Supporting facilities will also include exterior lighting, storm drainage, fire protection systems, walkways, curbs and a vehicle parking area.

With fair skies and relatively warm winter weather, crews were able to work at a more rapid pace than expected.

“Today we’re placing the third slab for this project, which consists of approximately 1,500 cubic yards of concrete,” said David Smith, a USACE laboratory manager and construction material engineer assigned to the Army Corps’ Fort Sill project office, “We’re using two pump trucks, two different concrete plants and numerous cement mixer trucks to keep the work moving.”

According to Smith, a cubic yard of concrete equates to about four thousand pounds. To put that into perspective, the slab being poured today will weigh approximately 6 million pounds when finished.

“Successfully placing a concrete slab of this size and scope is both an art and science,” said Patrick S. Beard, the District’s chief of military programs. “Given all the engineering and atmospheric variables, it takes a seasoned crew of contractors, project engineers and quality control professionals to ensure everything goes according to plan.”

For that reason, laboratory managers, like Smith, remained onsite throughout the day and will continue to make follow-up sampling of the concrete to ensure it meets rigid Army stress-test standards once the pouring operations here are complete.

“The slab for this project is 24-inch thick and reinforced with two mats of #8 rebar on 12-inch center,” added Smith. “We’re using a laser leveling screed machine to accurately level the concrete to ‘finish-floor’ elevation.”

Smith went on to say the concrete is machine-troweled into a smooth surface using gas-powered troweling machines. A curing compound is then sprayed on the surface to eliminate rapid evaporation loss and prevent surface cracking.

According to Maj Joe S. Cho, an Army Engineer officer with the Fort Sill USACE military construction program, the slab depth necessary for this project is determined by engineering standards necessary to support the structure’s end-use requirements and weight of the building’s overall structural steel.

“Access for persons with disabilities will also be provided,” added Cho.

Managing one of the largest military construction programs in the region, Beard takes a special interest in this project because of the District’s hands-on approach to the project’s design and the structure’s enduring value to the installation and the Soldiers serving here.

“This project was designed by our in-house engineering team and I am extremely proud of the innovative and cost-effective work they’ve done to support military construction here and around the globe,” added Beard.

LDP II Regional Conference

The Little Rock District recently hosted a regional leadership development conference. The conference brought together program attendees and leaders from across the division to share their experiences with the program. LDP is a multi-tiered program that provides a means for developing and enhancing employee leadership skills to meet the challenges of the changing needs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to improve the execution of the organization’s mission.

Regional LDP II Conference attendees at Little Rock Air Force Base.

By participating in LDP, individuals will learn how to improve areas of performance through training, self-development, and mentoring. This will not only teach you how to be a team player but will also prepare you for leadership, supervisory and management positions.

This regional conference is the first of its kind for the LDP Level II Program for the Southwestern Division. The goal of the conference is to collaborate with other districts in order to facilitate an exchanging of ideas with one another. This conference is a great way to get everyone together in order to create a standard curriculum for Level II. This in turn will create constituency for core curriculums across the different districts.  For example, every district will do these core things, but then will be provided extras such as fun team building activities in order to customize their program.

DeAnn Lehigh, deputy district counsel for the Little Rock District, has been an LDP champion for most of her career. As a graduate of the program herself, she is passionate about developing people because, “When we develop our people, they are more engaged which directly impacts our culture and mission accomplishment.  LDP II provides opportunities to learn and grow as a person and employee that I believe makes our organization better.”

When asked what participants can expect to learn from the course, Chief of Workforce Management, Elizabeth Whitmore stated, “How to collaborate with others, think strategically, improve written and oral communication, learn how to manage and resolve conflict, build teams, and improve public speaking skills.  This year we had seven sessions in a 12 month period.  For the first time ever, we hosted a regional session in Little Rock and invited program participants from the other SWD districts to attend.  It was an honor to have Mr. Pete Perez, one of our SES personnel, as a guest speaker.”

It is plain to see that this program is fruitful and extremely popular among Corps employees.

When asked why leader development is important Whitmore stated, “It is critical that we invest in developing our top performers to help shape the future of the district.  While in the Level II program, participants get to know and understand themselves better, which helps them work with others more effectively. A large number of graduates now hold supervisory positions or serve as the lead for projects and programs.  We make it clear that participation in the program does not guarantee an individual will move into supervisory positions, but we have seen that that is oftentimes the result.  For others, the program experience helped them navigate into completely different career fields where more opportunities exist.  And then some choose to continue leading from right where they sit.  I can say from my personal experience as a LDP Graduate that I would not be where I am today had it not been for this program.”

All of the districts have something unique to offer. For example, in the Little Rock District, the first day of the program involves trust building exercises. The team is taken out to a 4-H Center in which they do zip lining and a high ropes course.  The team members have to rely on each other for support to navigate the course.

Another unique quality is the way the sessions are structured. Participants attend both full and half days away from their normal work place. This is done so people aren’t tempted to go back to their desks and conduct business. The leaders of the program want them focused 100 percent on LDP when they are in session. In order to facilitate this focus, more than half of the sessions that are held in the Little Rock District are out at the project offices.

Regional LDP II Conference attendees touring a C130 plane at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

Senior leader involvement is also huge. Participants get a lot of face time with the Commander and all of the senior leaders which provides them exposure and unique networking opportunities, something they may rarely get during their daily work activities. It’s like meeting the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and getting to hang out with them and their team for three days.

There have been numerous graduating classes in the Little Rock District.

Cissy Guerra was one of the graduates of the Little Rock District’s 2017 class. When asked about her experiences with LDP Guerra had this to say, “It’s a great program for anyone at any point in their career. I realized it’s never too late to invest in yourself and that’s what I did. I gained a lot of confidence and strength, and gained a lot of professional and personal growth. It was a great experience all the way around.”

LDP also creates team camaraderie, by coaxing individuals to come out of their comfort zones.  According got Guerra, “It’s through these moments that the teams are really able to use the diversity of their personalities to accomplish their goals. We had a great journey both personally and professionally.”

Participants at the conference were treated to a special visit with the Director of Regional Business for the Southwestern Division, Mr. Pete Perez.  Perez discussed the importance of the LDP program and how it can shape participants to become more effective leaders in the future. Perez stated that “Different exposures, interactions, situations, and scenarios that participants have to work through during the LDP program will set the foundation and the basis to deal with real life situations they may encounter in their careers, such as how to deal with conflict.”