Europe District picks up top DPW award

Published July 28, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District has claimed a top honor for its contributions to the public works mission at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Installation Management Command announced recently.

The agency was named Installation Support Program of the Year on the list of 2013 Directorate of Public Works annual award winners. The district consistently “made the impossible possible” during the overhaul, consolidation and repackaging of Kaiserslautern military community facilities, which led to savings of over $150 million in annual base operating costs, according to the local command’s nomination memo.

Army garrisons worldwide submitted nomination packages, with seven individuals and two organizations ultimately selected among nine categories. All the winners were to be recognized at the IMCOM commander’s update brief Wednesday.

Col. Matthew Tyler, the Europe District commander, said the accolade is shared and encompasses efforts by every office within his team, from the Installation Support Branch and Contracting to the Engineering and Construction Division and Employee Support Office.

“It represents the success of a tremendous amount of various work throughout the district and could not have been possible without the strong relationships and communications that enabled performance at a level worthy of such recognition,” he said.

The DPW Annual Awards Program gives leaders an opportunity to recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate excellence in support of readiness, Soldiers, and families through the management and execution of installation public works and real-property missions, the IMCOM announcement states.

Europe District, along with its area and resident offices, has developed into a “seamless extension” of USAG Rheinland-Pfalz’s DPW staff, the nomination reads. Infrastructure consolidation and transformation, underway since 2005, have been a major district focus as the Army reduces its footprint on the Continent. That includes more than $120 million in facility-recapitalization projects over the past five years to allow cost-effective unit moves in support of U.S. Army Europe.

“Being nominated and selected for the award is an honor,” said Jeff Jackson, the Rheinland-Pfalz regional program manager for USACE Europe District. “More importantly, it solidifies in my mind that the district is on the right path to recognizing the requirements, unique challenges and perspective of our partners in a manner which ultimately achieves their expectations. The district has an incredible team of dedicated professionals that are passionate about what they do and work diligently to meet our partner needs every day.

“Decisions are based solely upon how best a project can be realized, and everyone is willing to assist one another when challenges arise in order to stay on target.”

The district has been paramount in the revamping of Sembach Kaserne, shifted from Air Force to Army control in 2010. It was key in IMCOM-Europe’s plan for the closure of Mannheim, Heidelberg and several other installations.

At Sembach, the renovation of various headquarters, an American Forces Network-Europe studio conversion, construction of a $10 million Army regional corrections facility and $3.4 million demolition contract are among numerous endeavors cited in the district award. The engineers remain engaged in construction of barracks, a Child Development Center on Sembach and new $6 million Teen Center at Wilson Barracks, home to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

In 2013, Europe District and its contractor, Parsons, received a major award from the American Planning Association after conducting the Sembach Net Zero Energy Installation Plan – the first for an Army installation in theater. “Net zero” refers to the goal of reducing power and water consumption from local suppliers to make installations more self-sustaining. The district’s master planning project is aimed at achieving net-zero energy status on the garrison by 2025.

Leaders also praised USACE’s management of seven military construction and almost 80 sustainment, restoration and modernization projects for USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. Military Construction Army programs in the design, building or closeout phases now total about $365 million, including the first two funding increments of the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement in Weilerbach, near Ramstein Air Base.

The district’s “exceptional leadership” and handling of personnel and resources in the renovation and repurposing of Rheinland-Pfalz facilities fueled the continued transformation of USAREUR and IMCOM-Europe, according to Col. Bryan DeCoster, then-garrison commander. The effort allowed the closure and consolidation of base infrastructure, while the operations savings led to improvements in mission readiness and the living and working conditions of Soldiers, civilians and families.

“No other activity or agency could have managed the complex and intricate requirements to make all this possible in the established timelines,” DeCoster wrote in the nomination packet. “The variety of projects and programs to achieve this is beyond any scope the garrison has endured previously. … EUD’s performance has been exemplary. They have routinely made the impossible possible.”

Jackson said Europe District distinguished itself in three areas: communication, trust and results. The team supporting USAG Rheinland-Pfalz demands project manager accountability while maintaining an open, honest line of communication with stakeholders at the garrison and IMCOM-Europe, he added.

“This approach minimizes surprises and keeps all parties aware of project risks, challenges and successes, and this open channel of communication leads to a relationship built on trust,” he said. “Not all of our projects go well; however, we believe that our partners trust us to identify the problems, develop solutions and communicate with them so that they are aware and involved in the process. Lastly, results count. All the good intentions do not add much value if, in the end, we do not produce results meeting our partners’ requirements. Our team delivers on this aspect quite consistently.”

USAG Rheinland-Pfalz also garnered two individual awards – Brian Jost of IMCOM-Europe was named DPW Headquarters Support Executive of the Year, while DPW Engineering and Planning Executive of the Year went to Paul Lindemer, chief of the garrison’s Facilities Engineering Division.

“It’s a great feeling, but this award is not for me alone,” Lindemer said. “It reflects also on the great people who I am working with. I am embedded in a dedicated, professional team of peers, DPW and garrison leadership, and partners like the Corps of Engineers.

“Our partnership with the Corps is excellent, and I strongly believe it is the best it’s ever been. The Corps people try hard as ever to provide the best service possible.”