US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

District Digest News Stories

General lauds project manager for piloting Joint Risk Register

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Oct. 6, 2019
(Left to right) Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Adam Walker, Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project manager; Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general; and Patty Coffey, Nashville District deputy district engineer; pose during an award ceremony Oct. 2, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Whittle presented Walker with the U.S. Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal for managing the Joint Risk Register Pilot Program, an effort to reduce safety risk and identify opportunities for improvement. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

(Left to right) Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Adam Walker, Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project manager; Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general; and Patty Coffey, Nashville District deputy district engineer; pose during an award ceremony Oct. 2, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Whittle presented Walker with the U.S. Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal for managing the Joint Risk Register Pilot Program, an effort to reduce safety risk and identify opportunities for improvement.

(Left to right) Joseph M. Savage, USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Regional Business director; Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Adam Walker, Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project manager; Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general; Patty Coffey, Nashville District deputy district engineer; and Stephen G. Durrett, Programs director; pose during an award ceremony Oct. 2, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Whittle presented Walker with the U.S. Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal for managing the Joint Risk Register Pilot Program, an effort to reduce safety risk and identify opportunities for improvement. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

(Left to right) Joseph M. Savage, USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Regional Business director; Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander; Adam Walker, Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project manager; Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., USACE Great Lakes and Ohio River Division commanding general; Patty Coffey, Nashville District deputy district engineer; and Stephen G. Durrett, Programs director; pose during an award ceremony Oct. 2, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Whittle presented Walker with the U.S. Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal for managing the Joint Risk Register Pilot Program, an effort to reduce safety risk and identify opportunities for improvement.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 6, 2019) – The commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division lauded the project manager for the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project this week for piloting a program called the “Joint Risk Register.”

Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle Jr., presented the U.S. Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal Oct. 2, 2019 to Project Manager Adam Walker during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.

Whittle lauded Walker for leading the development of the Joint Risk Register, which is a living document that informs construction project decisions in a risk-informed manner and drives proactive risk mitigation.

The general noted how a project manager like Walker is managing has a lot of people who work for them, who actually don’t report to them. So you have to be an authentic leader with leadership skills, who is charismatic, and able to help people understand what is needed and to organize and manage a registry to mitigate risks involved, he said.

“It’s really a big deal,” Whittle said. “It’s really good to reward you for your work on this important program to mitigate risk.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters began testing the Joint Risk Register in 2018 as Nashville District officials and contractor prepared to place concrete for the new navigation lock at Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River. Under the oversight of Walker, they actively worked together to reduce safety risk and identify opportunities for improvement as part of headquarters’ pilot program, which has since been implemented across the entire Corps of Engineers, including all other projects within the Nashville District.

According to Walker, the Nashville District used the register to identify risk, potential impacts, and mitigation measures associated with the lock chamber contract.

Nashville District’s construction reps coordinated weekly, monthly, quarterly and as needed with the contractor to communicate and update the registry to keep the project safely moving forward and to find opportunities to improve processes. The register also provided a visible away from the job site for additional input and direction.

“It highlights risk that AECOM uses to identify as part of their workflow and we’ll identify risk that we identify from the government’s point of view, and just talk about them as a group and figure out what is the best way to mitigate those and get ahead of them before they actually occur,” Walker said.

Kenny Simmons, architect in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Branch, said Joint Risk Register made it possible for the Corps to build relationships and collaborate with private sector partners and develop processes and tools to safely deliver projects effectively.

He said Chickamauga Lock was an excellent test project for the Joint Risk Register to fine tune the strategy before rolling it out as formal policy.

In keeping with the chief of Engineers’ call to revolutionize how the Corps of Engineers conducts its business, Nashville District leadership welcomed the opportunity to make the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project a test project for the register, and is appreciative of Walker’s efforts to pilot the program. 

“The project is important because it formalizes crosstalk between the Corps of Engineers and contractors. Adam’s efforts mitigated risks and capitalized on opportunities to aggressively deliver the project, while also shaping enterprise level policy,” said Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander.

Walker said he didn’t expect the award, but accepts it as a “team” award because so many other people and work centers, not to mention the contractor, coordinated throughout the successful pilot project.

“I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as charismatic, but I guess I get the job done though. I enjoy the work, definitely,” Walker said.

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on 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.)