From a jump tower renovation for paratroopers in Vicenza, Italy to a fire station for humanitarian assistance in Armenia to European Deterrence Initiative projects in Romania and Bulgaria, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District’s Bryce Jones is responsible for documenting, evaluating, and monitoring contractor performance for an area that spans more than 2,800 miles and active projects spread across seven countries including Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
For his outstanding performance in his role of Administrative Contracting Officer for Europe District’s Southern Europe Area Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognized Jones as the Administrative Contracting Officer of the Year during a virtual awards ceremony Oct. 25.
“This award means a tremendous amount to me,” Jones said after receiving his award virtually from Vicenza, Italy, where his Southern Europe Area Office is based. “I love being an ACO in USACE. We get to use our expertise to deliver awesome projects for our customers.”
USACE’s Excellence in Contracting Awards Program recognizes the achievements and contributions of the top acquisition and contracting officials across the entire U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Every year deserving individuals throughout the command who demonstrate expertise and exceptional leadership are nominated for one of eight different award categories, but only a handful are selected.
“I am very excited about this incredible recognition for Bryce,” said Europe District Deputy Chief of Engineering and Construction Jack Galloway, who nominated Jones for the award. “He is an extremely innovative leader who enhances partnerships with our stakeholders. This has enabled a great deal of success for USACE and our partners across Southern Europe.”
In addition to his mission as a contracting officer, Jones performs numerous additional leadership and construction management duties, including serving as Area Engineer, to help deliver critical engineering and construction projects for the U.S. Army, Department of Defense and its partners and allies throughout Southern Europe. With this span of responsibilities comes the added challenges of working across international borders, including adapting to a variety of different construction codes, cultures and languages. During the last year, he’s also overcome staffing shortages and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Despite these challenges, Jones built a cohesive, joint, multicultural and synchronized team across a continent that delivered safe, high quality, on-budget, and on-time projects.
“He is laser focused on accomplishing our mission in delivering for our stakeholders,” said Europe District Commander Col. Pat Dagon. “Bryce is a true professional and is very deserving of this award.”
EXPERIENCE BUILT ON 4 PILLARS
In many ways, Jones was the right person for the job at the right time.
“I love USACE and construction because we work side by side with the prime contractor daily to deliver projects,” Jones said.
Prior to joining the District’s Southern European Area Office, Jones served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more than 20 years, beginning his USACE career a commissioned officer before transitioning to a civilian and ultimately being a part of four different USACE districts, including the Afghanistan, Baltimore, Europe, and Seattle districts in that time.
This experience and passion delivering mission critical projects anywhere in the world led Jones to develop an innovative construction management system named the “4 Pillars.”
The 4 Pillars refer to the four columns of the Greek temple of Athena Nike and as the structural element that supports a building. Nike was the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, and thus the 4 Pillars facilitate victory in construction management, Jones explained.
His system sequences the USACE process to facilitate joint team synchronization, identification, and focus on critical actions to ensure successful delivery. In short, the 4 Pillars consists of the following broad steps: create a standardized project folder structure with templates for each project across an office; create a Joint Construction Management Plan in the Resident Management System; use the plan to Identify Critical Actions; and ensure the plan is updated monthly.
By adopting the 4 Pillar process he developed for his offices, Jones and his team were able to efficiently integrate key requirements and facilitate focused progress meetings to deliver high-quality military construction and humanitarian assistance projects to customers throughout southern Europe.
As a result of his initiative and his team’s successes at becoming more efficient and quality driven, Jones was given the opportunity to brief the 4 Pillar approach in greater detail directly to the commanding general of the USACE North Atlantic Division and was subsequently asked to make the 4 Pillars available for all six districts in the division for use to improve their own work processes.
“Bryce has a true passion for project delivery which is surpassed only by his strength in building and taking care of his team,” said Dagon.