USACE design chief handles heavy workload in Europe

Published March 27, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany – Colleagues and customers alike regard David Muellerleile as a stalwart ally when it comes to meeting the needs of garrisons and bases across Europe.

The Project Design Section chief for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District’s Installation Support Branch guides a team of 22 U.S. and German liaison project managers, engineers, architects and technicians that supports Installation Management Command-Europe by developing and awarding design and construction ventures unique to each garrison’s Directorate of Public Works and their tenants within the theater. In fiscal year 2012, the section executed more than 200 projects totaling in excess of $90 million. It managed another 314 contract actions covering modifications for ongoing jobs.

District officials said Muellerleile has effectively partnered with IMCOM communities to “deliver and maintain enduring installations,” which embodies a significant objective in the USACE Campaign Plan.

The program requires keen supervision and development of the mechanisms used in facility renovations, maintenance and repairs, said Tammie Stouter, the Installation Support Branch’s acting chief. It’s the kind of work that might appear insignificant alongside major, multimillion-dollar construction endeavors, but the projects are vital to carrying out everyday missions.

“Each provided improved working and living conditions for Soldiers, families and civilians throughout the European theater,” Stouter said. “Dave provided the necessary oversight and guidance in order to meet the demands of each garrison command.”

The work included installation of playgrounds, access control point equipment, energy-efficient lighting and communications systems. Muellerleile’s team also tackled hangar, general office and housing renovations; electrical system upgrades; road and training range repairs; roof replacements; heating and ventilation systems; and various demolition projects.

Muellerleile said the Project Design Section is set up to scope, design, estimate, negotiate, and manage multiple repair and construction projects for military units, organizations and agencies in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Turkey.

“Our projects are typically renovations and minor new construction for U.S. forces facilities in the range of $200,000 to $1 million per project,” he added. “Our job is to support our customer’s missions by providing construction contract services. Their requirements may be short-notice, unforeseen and time-critical. Our biggest challenge is providing what the customer needs in accordance with their demanding schedules.”

Critical projects in the past year included support of the Army’s move from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden and Mannheim to Sembach. Muellerleile also managed renovations of several buildings at McCully Barracks in Wackernheim ahead of unit shifts from Mannheim to Wiesbaden.

“It was a super job by (Europe District) in retrieving three stagnant indirect projects and getting the work done … in order to meet the closure suspense of Mannheim facilities and relocation to new facilities in Wiesbaden,” said Perry Colvin, the 5th Signal Command’s staff engineer.

In addition, the Europe District Installation Support Branch’s Project Design Section handled utility and site preparations for transfer of the U.S. Army Garrison Mannheim Confinement Facility to Sembach; design and renovation of a building for AFN’s relocation from Mannheim to Sembach; and a two-building overhaul at the latter to accommodate a move by the U.S. Army Europe Band.

Bill Holz, the DPW director at U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, praised Muellerleile’s value to the command mission, saying he’s driven by results and not afraid to be innovative. The USACE team assisted the garrison with work at the regional medical center and restoration and modernization of Sembach Kaserne, transferred from Air Force control to Army in 2010. It also helped move the Fire Alarm Control Center from USAG-Baden-Württemberg to Kaiserslautern, which was among the installation’s most vital projects.

“His attitude is ‘how to get it done,’ not to give you a book on why it cannot be done,” Holz said of Muellerleile. “He gets it; he is customer-oriented and tries to meet our needs. It is a privilege and pleasure to work with a civil servant of Dave’s caliber and ability.

“We feel lucky to have him on our team. And that is key – it’s like having a team member, not someone who just goes through the motions.”

Muellerleile has spent almost 20 years with USACE, including 11 at Europe District. He’s on his fourth Germany tour – two came with Army garrison DPWs. From November 2009 to May 2010, Muellerleile was deployed to Afghanistan, serving as area engineer at Bagram Airfield.

Personnel assigned to the Project Design Section at Europe District must be highly self-motivated to carry out the heavy workload, he said.

“I personally like working under conditions where I have general rules and parameters to adhere to but am allowed to make decisions and use my own judgment in performing my job. I do this with the employees I supervise,” he added. “I want them to know that their skills and professionalism are valued, but at the same time ensure that they know that there are always resources, colleagues and supervisors available to make sure that we all achieve individual and organizational success.”

Stouter says Muellerleile’s professional management of the section provides his team the necessary tools to excel.

“He maintains excellent communications with the garrisons to meet their priorities (and) coordinates these requirements to his staff,” she said. “He provides professional reviews of designs and assistance during project scoping, modifications and contractual efforts while creating a work environment of open communication and dedication to provide quality projects.”