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Posted 8/18/2018

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By Lee Roberts
Nashville District Public Affairs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 18, 2018) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District celebrated its storied history and significant milestones of service to the region today at the 130th Anniversary Ball. Officials also committed to future workforce readiness, praising the past and present commitment of its employees, the organization’s greatest resource.

Col. Paul J. Kremer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division deputy commander, said the Corps of Engineers has always been the nation’s builder, and the Nashville District has been involved in some of the most notable projects in the history of the United States, such as Wilson Dam on the Tennessee River in the 1920s, the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge in the 1940s, and Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway in the 1980s.

Today, the Nashville District continues its legacy of excellence with the Kentucky Lock Addition Project, Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project, Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project, and Hydropower Rehabilitation Project, he said.

The colonel stressed that the greatest resource the Nashville District manages is none other than its people, which is why Maj. Gen. Mark Toy, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general, puts such a great emphasis into the motto “Taking Care of People” and is committed to workforce readiness.

Workforce readiness, which focuses squarely on the professional and personal essentials of every employee, is the very mechanism the division and Nashville District is employing to inform and educate and execute the various programs benefitting people.

“All of the accomplishments that I’ve mentioned over the last 130 years would not be possible without the people, such as you here today, actually doing a great job and ultimately being a part of the history of the Nashville District,” Kremer said. “Hopefully those of you in the room will be a part of the next chapter of that history.”

Looking to the future, Kremer said the chief of engineers has challenged everyone in the entire organization to revolutionize the Corps of Engineers, and that is best done when people speak up, share ideas, and come up with solutions to problems.  Establishing new and innovative ways of doing business is something the Nashville has been recognized for, earning Army process improvement awards in 2016 and 2018, he noted.

In emphasizing the importance of “taking care of people,” Kremer recognized Tim Dunn, deputy chief of the Operations Division, Mickie Porter, Real Estate specialist; Jose Garcia, civil engineer in the Civil Engineering Services Branch; Don Getty, Kentucky Lock Addition Project manager; and Judy Smith, management analyst;  for their outstanding work and demonstrated excellence.  He then presented the Bronze Order of the De Fleury Medal from the Army Engineer Association on behalf of the Engineer Regiment to Patty Coffey, Nashville District deputy district engineer, for exceptional performance in positions of increasing importance and responsibility since 1982.

Coffey said afterward that she is humbled and very appreciative of the managers, leaders and coworkers who mentored and helped her during her career that led to being recognized with the distinguished De Fleury award.

“Colonel Kremer is right. We are the nation’s builders and we need to take care of people and build tomorrow’s leaders who will revolutionize the Corps,” Coffey said. 

Mark Herd, Cordell Hull Lake resource manager, said he had never attended a military ball before, but really enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with coworkers and their spouses and to see the displays that outlined the great work and accomplishments of the district over the last 130 years.

Herd said he really appreciates that the division and district place so much importance on recognizing and taking care of people, and it means a lot to see teammates recognized for their hard work and dedication. He said he was happy to see Coffey receive her De Fleury award.

The anniversary ball also included a “POW/MIA Remembrance Table Ceremony” to never forget America’s prisoners of war and missing in action.

“I appreciated this table and the emphasis placed on their sacrifices, especially when the master of ceremonies explained what each item on the table symbolized,” Herd added.  

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, said with more than 730 employees that deliver the program on a daily basis, there is no better time to focus on the future and workforce readiness of the Nashville District than when the organization celebrates such a great milestone.

“We have enriched and empowered and engaged people that execute at a world class level,” Jones said.  “It’s just been my honor and privilege to serve amongst you… thank you for everything you do.”

Jones also paid tribute to the Nashville District’s many contributions to the region and rich history that began when the district stood up Aug. 18, 1888, during a time when engineering solutions were more difficult and construction techniques more menial.

“Tonight is a night of elegance, so we are celebrating 130 years of excellence,” Jones said.  “It’s amazing to think on this day (130 years ago) Special Order 191 was given to Lt. Col. John W. Barlow with a mission to improve the lower Cumberland River. And from that humble beginning look at what we have now.”

The first district office opened Oct. 1, 1888 at 609 Broad Street in Nashville in the Trousdale Building, now demolished. The office was moved to the northwest corner of 8th Avenue in 1891, where it remained until 1906. It then moved to the Federal Office Building on the southwest corner of 8th and Broadway. The formation of the Nashville District in 1888 led to the construction of the old locks above and below Nashville. 

Today the Nashville District is responsible for directing all water resources activities of the Corps throughout the Cumberland River Basin, and navigation and regulatory matters in the Tennessee River Basin. The district’s construction and operations program is spread throughout a 59,000 square mile area that touches seven states.

In the Cumberland River Basin, the district operates and maintains 10 multi-purpose dam projects for navigation, flood damage reduction, hydropower, water quality, environmental stewardship, and recreation. Nine of the dams generate hydroelectric power.

The district operates and maintains four navigation locks on the Cumberland River, and 14 lock chambers on the Tennessee River system at 10 Tennessee Valley Authority dams. The district is responsible for 1,175 commercially navigable river miles. 

More than 21 million visitors recreate each year at the Nashville District’s 10 lakes, 273 recreation areas, 108 playgrounds, 72 swim areas, 104 hiking trails, 108 picnic sites, 25 campgrounds and 3,203 campsites.  Park rangers manage 336,106 acres of public lands, 3,800 miles of shoreline and 201,385 water acres with 22 fishing docks and 281 boat ramps.

Information about the 130th anniversary, a historic milestone, is available on the district's public web page at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/130. The web page includes resources, historical information, vignettes, and timeline where photos will be posted throughout the year. 

(For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)

130 Anniversary celebration Col. Paul J. Kremer Corps of Engineers Cullen Jones Cumberland River Basin Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Jones Kremer Lt. Col. Cullen Jones Military Ball Nashville Nashville District Paul Kremer Special Order 191 Tennessee USACE WkRP Workforce Readiness