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Posted 9/28/2018

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By Lee Roberts
Nashville District Public Affairs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2018) – The commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division gave a general overview of command philosophies and the Workforce Readiness Program during a visit this week to the Nashville District.

During a town hall meeting with employees Sept. 25, Maj. Gen. Mark Toy emphasized that the division’s motto “Building Strong and Taking Care of People” is more than just a nameplate.

Toy said people are the foundation of the organization and literally make it possible to support the Corps of Engineers’ command philosophy to “Deliver the Program” (delivering desired results on time and on budget) to “Achieve Our Vision” (anticipate the conditions, challenges and opportunities) and support the USACE Vision (engineering solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges).

“It’s really this idea of how we are going to ‘Deliver the Program’ in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and LRD (Great Lakes and Ohio River Division),” Toy explained.  “What I’m trying to do within LRD is share with you how we are going to do that. And we’re going to do that by ‘Taking Care of People.’”

The general stressed that the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division takes care of people through DRIVE, which stands for Develop future talent, Refine internal management, Improve regional processes, Value open communication and Empower multidisciplinary teams.

The DRIVE initiatives were created from employee input provided through command climate surveys and the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

“All that stuff we ask for your input for – I actually read it,” Toy said.  “I actually use it.”

The feedback received drove the acronym DRIVE, and so now when leaders and supervisors work within the DRIVE elements, they are “Taking Care of People,” Toy said.

The general charged everyone in the Nashville District to “Buy In,” but also lauded the district for doing the best at nesting the commander’s philosophy into the whole bottom-up approach of workforce readiness and taking care of people to support the USACE command philosophy.

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, said it is good to have positive reinforcement from the general that the district is on track in developing processes that support “Taking Care of People” and command philosophies.

“The entire organization is working to support all aspects of the Workforce Readiness Program and DRIVE initiatives through our E4 approach of enrichment, engagement, empowerment and execution,” Jones said.

Toy noted that Gen. Todd Semonite, 54th chief of engineers, said the Corps of Engineers earns its credibility, reputation and value by delivering desired results on time and on budget, and that the most strategic thing the Corps can do is deliver on its projects.

In support of project delivery, Toy visited Center Hill Dam in Lancaster, Tenn., Sept. 26 to see where the Nashville District is rehabilitating hydropower units and modernizing equipment.  He also walked on the catwalk of the dam to look at the spillway gates and learn about efforts to improve reliability, and then visited the saddle dam where crews are constructing a roller compacted concrete berm.

Vanessa Bateman, Nashville District Civil Design Branch chief, updated the general on the history of the dam safety project at Center Hill Dam, the status and benefits of the RCC berm, and the electrical and mechanical improvements in store for the spillway gates.

On the catwalk she escorted the general and explained how the district is working to install emergency generators and pendant controls for the spillway gates where personnel can safely and reliably operate the gates, especially during a high water event.

Bateman also briefed Toy during his stopover at the RCC berm construction site.

“I explained how we are excavating and building the roller compacted berm to stabilize the saddle dam.  He seemed very, very interested,” Bateman said.  “He had a lot of detailed questions, trying to understand the entire project.”

During the general’s tour of the hydropower plant, Jerry Lee, project engineer for the Center Hill Turbine Generator Rehabilitation Project, detailed how the plant that charges power lines with hydroelectricity at Center Hill Dam is currently an energetic construction zone.

Lee said the Nashville District and contractor, Voith Hydro, are moving to rehabilitate two units at the same time, a strategy to overcome an unexpected delay with the rehabilitation of hydropower unit one.  He said the head cover in hydropower unit one cannot be refurbished and must be replaced. 

“Simply put, the head cover keeps the wet parts wet and the dry parts dry when water spins the turbine. Technically speaking, it is a major component which supports and aligns the wicket gates, guide bearings, servo motors, and contains the water pressure inside the scroll case during operation,” Lee said.

The contractor partially reassembled unit one until a new head cover is designed and fabricated, creating space for the ongoing disassembly and rehabilitation of unit three.

Lee said rehabilitating 70-year-old equipment is challenging, and crews find latent conditions that are unknown until a unit is taken part, and the head cover is one of those.

The general said visiting projects and interacting with the people who work very hard supporting them really gives him a better understanding of the statuses and challenges, and that awareness helps him to work at the division and headquarter levels to resolve issues when needed.

“I appreciated hearing from the project managers at Center Hill Dam who shared the latest details on the roller compacted concrete berm construction, the plan for making the spillway gates more reliable, and the hydropower rehabilitation,” Toy said. “Seeing the ongoing work helps me to be a more effective advocate of these very important projects.”

Taking advantage of the close proximity of Fort Campbell, Ky., to Nashville, Toy met with Brig. Gen. Todd Royar, deputy commanding general of Support, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and addressed soldiers with Bravo Company 39th Brigade Engineering Battalion Sept. 27, 2018.  He also visited with Corps employees at the Louisville District’s Resident Engineer Office where he met with Col. Antoinette Gant, Louisville District commander, received a briefing and recognized excellence.

(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.)

berm Brig. Gen. Mark Toy Caney Fork River Center Hill Dam Center Hill Hydropower Rehabilitation Project Center Hill Power Plant chief of Engineers Command Philosophies Commander commanding general construction corps Corps of Engineers DRIVE Gen. Todd Semonite Great Lakes and Ohio River Division hydroelectric power hydropower Lancaster Lt. Col. Cullen Jones Nashville District Roller Compacted Concrete Berm spillway gates Taking Care of People Tennessee USACE Workforce Readiness