Vol. 38 No. 4 October December 2011 US Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District Preparing for cavitation repair
Carson Freels Environmental Resource Specialist 2 3 ContentsSafety at the forefront From Where I Sit I NTERCOMWeve all heard that safety is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers highest priority. cal year 2012s new Safety Implementation Plan, this statement is even truer. As one of the two McNary Lock and Dam environmental compliance tilla, Ore., I believe the new safety plan provides us with the guidance and structure to facilitate the continual improvement of the safety culture across the District. The new safety plan includes a few changes we can expect: Online training and testing for both Corps and contractor personnel. Everyone will be for use. The new Hazardous Energy Control Program is in effect. This program is a keystone for safety of personnel, equipment and the environment. Promoting the use of the Near Miss Reporting Program. This program allows the entrant to log an incident which is then and to be shared in after-action reports to all employees. The Near Miss Reporting program was developed by a Leadership Development Program class, but had since sat idle. Behind every accident there is a near miss, and having the means to share those incidents could very well save a life. To help move this plan forward, the District is establishing six new safety specialist positions that will help us keep safety at the forefront of all our operations. Each facility will have a full-time safety specialist to assist in managing a wide variety of safety-required mandates. Two of the components the safety specialists will help manage are the mandated position and activity hazard analyses. The new PHA/AHA library will allow supervisors and employees to instantly under stand precautions of their work environment. By getting all Corps personnel involved in safety management, we can synchronize and share our individual strengths and past lessons learned. With all the new initiatives, it is impor tant to support these programs to further safety improvements within the District. For more information on the current Safety Implementation Plan initiatives, visit the Districts intranet safety website and click on FY12 SMAP under the Policy/ Information tab. Hydro Consulting and Maintenance Services, Inc. worker Mallory Davis measures cavitation on unit three at Lower Granite Lock and Dam near Pomeroy, Wash. 3 Face LiftDistrict updating website as part of Corps-wide migration 4 Programs Management See how the branch keeps the Districts wheels turning 6 Making a Scene Our District is busy making a presence by achieving goals and connecting with our community 7 Celebrating Heritage District celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 8 Preparing Cavities Lower Granite prepares hydropower turbine for cavitation repair 10 A Door to the Corps open door for the regions needs 13 Making RecordsContracting Division chosen for two USACE top awards 14 Trailblazing Hydraulic Engineer Jon Petersen blazes his own trails 16 Im With the Corps Park Ranger Chris Alford shares his mission with the Corps Regulation 360-1. It is published bimonthly by the Public Affairs Army Corps of Engineers. Commander Lt. Col. David A. Caldwell PA Chief Joe Saxon Editor PA Specialist Terri A. Rorke Stephen Doherty PA Specialist PA Specialist Gina Baltrusch Bruce HenricksonOn the coverphoto by Stephen DohertyFor more information, contact: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 201 N. Third Avenue E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.nww.usace.army.mil The Districts website is going away. But dont worry. Were going to bring it back. Sleeker. All U.S Army Corps of Engineers websites are in 2012. Its part of the Corps effort to streamline the content management process and brand its websites with a consistent look and feel designed to deliver a rich end-user experience. Our District website contains more than 53,000 past nine years. We need to clean that up, said Ste phen Doherty, the Districts website migration project manager. The migration will eliminate outdated informa tion and establish a consistent identity that reinforces predictability so a visitor will know a USACE website when he or she sees it, he said. The Districts website will migrate in March, but there are a number of crucial steps that need to occur before then. Each section will need to appoint primary and alternate content providers who can inventory content and start removing old, duplicative data. will coordinate on legacy content that will either mi grate or be discarded, Doherty said, based upon a low, medium or high priority. We think it will be better to build the system from the ground up, complete with sunset dates, rather than trying to accommodate old That way, we can focus on keeping the system streamlined and relevant and avoid having another Public Affairs will coordinate content provider training around early March. Afterwards, content pro viders and PA will work with the Defense Media Activity (DMA), the Corps headquarters contracted Web team, to migrate content on their current sites to the ments, copying and pasting text from the legacy site, building Web pages, and setting up all the necessary modules for functionality and content.Corps, District updating websites How you can help make our new website a success:1. Review the current, public website. 6. Obtain training. story by Joe SaxonNew U.S. Army Corps of Engineers standard Web design template
5story by Joe Saxon Programs Management weekends. I dont make everybody happy all the time, but I try my best, and I have a great staff, Knudtson said. They are a wonder ful group of people fully dedicated to mission accomplishment and very capable in helping me acquire everything I need to know. For Knudtson, much of that effort coalesces around the monthly Project Review Board (PRB) meetings he describes as a continuing process that reports on the Districts program. Weve developed several different types of tools and methods to display data so that different people can read and understand it, he said. We try and put it into the format that works best for cur rent leadership. Overall, I enjoy the PRB, he said. Its a meeting that requires me to do my due diligence to stay abreast of whats happening within the District. The PRBs preparation, however, is intensive he said. It requires a great amount of work to pull information from Corps of Engineers Financial Management System and Oracle software databases. But you have the ability to tell the story of how the program is performing and the challenges we ebrate our victories and accomplish ments, he related. Another key task involves prepar ing commanders for the annual Con gressional visits to Washington D.C. I work with staff to prepare the annual Congressional visits to D.C. Its about a one-and-a-half to twomonth ordeal once the presidents in February. This is where we help educate and inform Congress on challenges we face, he said. Dana KnudtsonImagine building a house and then redesigning and rebuilding the living room, kitchen, dining room and bathrooms multiple times throughout the year while designing a second house and planning a third home. Thats similar to the challenge the programs management staff faces. Dana KnudtsonEvery successful organization has its cornerstones. These people--individuals and teams serving as its foundation, its glue, the rock. They go the extra mile to rise above the day-to-day noise to keep the wheels turning to help organizations achieve excellence. They are not always recognized because they are nose-to-grindstone types who dont crave the spotlight or self-promote. They simply get the job done. Dana Knudtson is one of these people, and as chief of Programs and Project Management Branch he is not alone. The Vancouver, Wash. native has a dedicated crew with him, daily pouring in a ton of sweat equity, working to make greatness possible. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer districts depend on program manag ers to successfully integrate a myriad of business lines, money streams, system that fully executes budgets and delivers quality products and services to the nation. According to Knudtson, the budget process used to be a somewhat stable process, but not now. consistent process from year to year. It continues to be ever changing, challenging at the moment, with way too many competing requirements for federal dollars. It means there are no established standard processes you can use from one year to the next. You expend the same amount of energy year after year learning whats in the guidance, he said. Program managers also develop, defend and execute the budget, and though it sounds simple, it isnt. Budget defense is a big part of what we do, which isnt easy in this budget-cutting environment, he said. They answer weekly and sometimes daily data calls. Theyre simul taneously focused on executing the 2012 budget, while defending the There is a lot of emphasis on identifying the real work that has to be done to keep the projects working at a minimum level, and we must work hard to defend the non-routine projects that have to get done. With no earmarks for the past couple of years, it becomes more chal lenging to maintain our infrastructure, he said. That means spending a lot of time talking with a lot of people around the building to keep himself situationally aware. I rely upon a great many people to pull bits of information so we can answer the money stream questions. It takes evenings, nights and Annual budget processIts all designed to optimize program execution. We did pretty well gations that entailed getting the contracts awarded and labor expended. PROMIS, 2nd Generation (P2) software system, putting additional rigor Another key to success is keeping people motivated. Overall, the chal lenges you have with the civil works program is a nationwide challenge of he said. There is a dwindling supply of people wanting to engage. There is no and upbeat when dealing with these issues. Its a challenge, but its also rewarding, he concluded. Dana is the visionary for many of our automated systems; he relent lessly collaborates with staff to perfect P2 and other systems, Deputy District Engineer Alan Feistner said. While Dana relies heavily on data to evaluate performance, he also walks around the headquarters and calls the perspective, there is no one in the District who knows more about District execution than Dana. 1st Quarter -- Ideally we would have a signed public law but in reality, its now just a series of continuing resolutions. That means were challenged with numerous data calls asking, for example How much funding is required for one week through, say, the 18th of November? Are special contracts needed? Is there any excess a lot of what if scenarios in case we dont get a law funding us. Midyear -- Defense of the presidents budget, Congressional visits, data calls from Congress Why is funding needed? What work can you budget, defending the FY13 year budget and executing the FY12 budget and answering the years all at the same time. Its an extremely chaotic quarter. 3rd Quarter Final touches are put on the fense of the FY13 budget and are loading it into P2 system, while doing mid-year reviews and prioritizing the FY12 program needs. gram while shutting down FY12 program. Cary Rahn is responsible P2 Coordinator Project Assistants Program Managers (clockwise from Program Analysts (clockwise photos by Stephen Doherty
7 District celebrates Hispanic Heritage MonthThe rich tapestry of Hispanic cultural heritage was on full display, above, during a speech by Dr. Victor Chacon, left, senior director of diversity for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in Olympia, Wash.National Hispanic Heritage Month is officially celebrated Sept.15 to Oct.15. story by Andrew Dankel-IbezThe Nations theme for Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month 2011 is Many Backgrounds, Many Stories One American Spirit. The Presidential Proclamation for 2011 states, From those who trace their roots to Americas earliest days to those who recently came to the United States carrying nothing but hope for a better life, Hispanics have always been integral to our national story America is a richer and more vibrant country because of the contributions of Hispan ics, and during National Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the immeasurable im pact they have made on our Nation. Accounting for more than half of our na tions population growth from 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic/Latino community continues to have an even greater impact on our commu nities and our nation. Whether we trace our roots to the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas or a variety of multiethnic and multicultural tradi tions, we share one American spirit and members of the His panic/Latino community will continue to shape who we are and what we have become as a people. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 2011, a brown bag lunin October. The District was fortunate again this year to have a presenta tion by Dr. Victor Chacon, senior director of diversity for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in Olympia, Wash. The former college educator was joined by myself, a past colleague and current District EEO Specialist, for a presentation titled Hispanics/Latinos in Washington State and the U.S.. Making a presence Around the District Theres no time like the present to achieve goals, win races, improve the environment and connect with our community. Thats just what has been happening lately around the District. Check it out! Employees of the Fourth QuarterKerry Brink Maint. Systems Analyst Dworshak Dam Jean Desjarlais Contract Specialist District Headquarters (Above) Runners check out McNary Lock and Dam as they compete in the Columbia River Power Marathon in Umatilla, Ore. in October. Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell made opening remarks before the race. (Above, right) Ten Walla Walla University students volunteered at Rooks Park at Mill Creek near Walla Walla, Wash. in October as part of their yearly fall service day. They installed bases for six new garbage can holders and removed and replaced an old kiosk. (Right) Bobber the Corps water safety dog and District Natural Resource Specialist Michael Swenson hand out frisbees during the Veterans Day Parade on Main Street in Walla Walla, Wash.photo by Terri A. Rorke photo by Jeremy Nguyen photo by Brandon Frazier photo by Stephen Doherty photo by Gina Baltrusch photos by Joe Saxon
9 8 Preparing the cavity(Left page) After sandblasting the turbine and discharge ring, a Hydro Consulting & Maintenance Services Inc. worker, left, takes cavitation measurements as Mallory Davis, center, collects data in October at Lower Granite Lock and Dam near Pomeroy, Wash. District employees, including Engineering Equipment Operator Leader Bradley Clark, requiring grinding and welding on unit threes turbine blade and hub. (Above, left) Workers inspect the discharge ring on unit three. (Above, right) Unit three blade is lit up to identify cavitation damage. (Left) Lights illuminate an otherwise vacant unit three scroll case at Lower Granite.story and photos by Stephen DohertyFixing cavities, whether in teeth or in rutted steel, requires the same elementsfind, drill, grind and fill. Workers and contractors at Lower Granite Lock and Dam near Pomeroy, Wash. are grinding away at turbines while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works hard to keep hydropower facilities in good condition. They find its a challenge with aging infrastructure. Under certain operating conditions with turbines churning through water, the pressure of the water moving over a turbine blade can drop far enough to cause the water to turn into vapor, causing micro explosions referred to as cavitations that can rut and damage turbine steel. As the cavitations get deeper, maintainance workers may fill them with belzona, a type of epoxy, but that is only a short term solution. To permanently fix the problem, the whole surface of the discharge ring, parts of the blades, runner, cone and hub are replaced with a new metal overlay. The Corps brought in Hydro Consulting & Maintenance Services Inc., a woman-owned small business, to complete the repairs. This specialty contractor is one of only a handful that is able to redo the top layer of metal on the discharge ring. This is the first time this work has been done to this unit at Lower Granite, said Rob Lustig, chief of maintenance at Lower Granite. The process begins by identifying the areas of the turbine blades and discharge ring requiring repair or replacement. Afterward, the contractor grinds all the metal to the lowest point in the cavitation, so everything is smooth. Then they re-weld the discharge ring with stainless steel to build the wall back up to its original depth. According to Project Engineer Dan Forge, units three through six will be completed during a two-year time period.
Public outreach requires not only effective communication but understanding peoples needs and backgrounds. One of the best ways to do this is to have an open door, where members of the public, stakeholders and project partners can easily communicate with an organization at the local level. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla purpose. With the Districts headquarters building sitting more than 250 miles away in Walla Walla, Wash., region effective and tailored service for its needs. In order to do a good job working in Idaho, its important to understand the politics and culture here, said Ellen Berggren, the Districts outreach not only lived in the area for part of if not their whole lives. They also have a thorough understanding of the regions role players and geography. The teams background allows each employee to connect on a deep level with people who live in Idahoa state that makes up the majority of the Districts 107,000-square mile jurisdiction within the Snake River watershed. manages a variety of District-wide programs in six states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and small parts of Nevada and Utah. employees meeting with congressional staffers, and more. Army Corps of Engineers. For the team, this identity hones a responsibility for each employee to be effective, multi-tasking communicators and educators. Oftentimes, people will ask us a question about the Corps that we may not know the answer to, but we do know where to direct the question, Berggren said. reaches the public through education, but also by listening to local residents concerns, issues and needs. In addition to partnering with multiple agencies on a variety of projects, it also provides planning and technical assistance to Idaho cities, counties, state agencies and Tribal governments to support their efforts in developing community-based strategies in areas that match the Corps congressionally authorized programs. number of services to include environmental impact studies, hydraulic structure design, watershed modeling and analysis and more. As a civil works-focused District operating on a cost-share basis, I think it is important for us to provide the technical capabilities here in Idaho to be responsive to sponsor needs within our tight budgets, Berggren added. is an open door where the public can meet the Corps and know someone is ready to help.photo by Amber Larsen When District Civil Engineer Nathan Pierson joined the Boise Outreach he soon became very familiar with the Corps mission four months later Madison and Jefferson counties in Idaho. The Idaho native learned very quickly what it means to establish a rapport with Corps partners. situation, getting to know local agency personnel and continuously communicating with them is essential to our mission, he said. (See left page for scenes of Pierson during spring 2011 in Idaho) District Hydraulic Engineer Brandon Hobbs activity to the District headquarters during the Southeastern Idaho. His position allows him to work in the Boise region while still a part of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch at the District headquarters in Walla Walla, Wash. I serve as a voice on the local level while having eyes on the ground, he said. Working in the state that I grew up in while seeing these comCorps projects is a great reward. Hobbs said his position offers him a chance to help the Corps build more effective relationships in the region. Leading by example, El len Berggren is an achiever. Combined with her project management background, multi-tasking and leadership skills, Berggren is able to lead the direction of many Corps programs, efforts and initiatives in Idaho and beyond. Its no wonder that she was named the Silver Jack ets Coordinator of the Year for 2011. Berggren received the award for her support in developing a successfully integrated Silver Jackets team of eight agencies throughout Idaho. Berggrens technical un risk issues and the strengths (Right) White caps on the Boise River. (Left) District Civil Engineer Nathan Pierson confers with District Civil En gineer Herb Bessey on operations in Idaho.See BERGGREN on 12photo by Terri A. Rorke 10 11 Boise Outreach OfficeA Door to the Corps District Civil Engineer Mark Mendenhall manages a variety of government programs to include the Planning Assistance to States Program, the Continuing Authority Program and the Rural Idaho Environmental Infrastructure Program (Section 595) program. Through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 dollars, he was able to assist seven rural Idaho communities in funding necessary wastewater projects through the Section 595 program. The projects range from wastewater treatment, water supply, environmental restoration and surface water resource protection. One success found in part from Mendenhalls efforts occurred in Bliss, Idahoa city of about 300 people. Mendenhall worked with wastewater system development project therefor more than 20 years. Bliss residents are now Back when we were working on the but was very willing to learn about our communities and to work with Bliss and our other agency partners, said Carleen Herring, an economic development division manager for Region IV Development in Twin Falls, Idaho. Mendenhalls efforts also extend to his desire to broaden his knowledge. He was recently chosen as one of ten employees Corps-wide to be a part of the Planning Associates Programa year-long program. The program offers selected Corps employees an advanced training opportunity in water resources planning to broaden competency in solving complex water resources issues. Mark Mendenhall Civil Engineer Ellen Berggren Project Manager Brandon Hobbs Hydraulic Engineer Nathan Pierson Civil Engineer story by Terri A. RorkeKim Grezeszak Office Automation Clerkphoto by Amber Larsen
12 13 After the Gulf Coast was hit in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the country, many government agencies focused on reorgaOne major answer to this reorganization was the Silver Jackets program, which is a state-level implemen tation of the National Flood Risk Management Program. It was one of many programs initiated after Hurricane Katrina to improve the nations ability to respond to and The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla Dis trict was one of the leading organizations in the Silver Jackets program as the third team in the country to sign I think after Katrina, the Corps realized that risk is a shared responsibility, District Project Manager Ellen Berggren said. We needed a forum or mechanism to continuously communicate with affected communities. Berggren was recently named Silver Jackets Coordi nator of the Year. Our goal is to have a Silver Jackets team in every gren said. Much of the program is built around the patchwork quilt theory. Many problems are so complex that not one entity can deal with issues alone. Silver Jackets can help states develop a patchwork quilt where every agency contributes its resources, pro grams, authorities in order to come up with a solution. With its motto, many agencies, one solution, the program is a one stop place where communities can come with a problem and have multiple agencies im mediately available to help. I always tell people that the Silver Jackets goal is to help people help themselves. But to help them do it Idaho Silver Jackets: One Solution Silver Jackets Fast Factsof each agency, combined with her communi cation skills and personal dedication, make her a leader for other silver jackets coordinators. Part of Berggrens interagency accomplish ments include partner ing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a joint statewide Risk Map (Risk Mapping, Assess ment and Planning) and establishing the Boise River inundation map ping study. The study is an ap plication that provides maps to local emergency managers, the National Weather Service and FEMA. But, if you ask Berggren, being recognized as Silver Jackets coordina tor of the year is a result of being a part of a great team here in Boise. Her other responsibilities include working as a project manager on District-wide projects, while leading as the Districts outreach coor dinator. Outreach is a District-wide responsibil ity, she said. And we all should help the community un derstand what the Corps can do, to include its capabilities, services and resources. District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell prepares to sign an updated and revised Idaho Silver Jackets charter in June 2011 along with regional partners (left to right) FEMA Regional Administrator Kenneth D. Murphy, Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security Director Brig. Gen. Bill Shawver, National Weather Service Meteorologist Robert Diaz, U.S. Geological Survey Idaho Water Science Center Director Stephen W. Lipscomb, and Idaho Department of Environmen tal Quality Deputy Director Curt Fransen.BERGGREN, continued from 11A record year for Contracting collaborative way with plans and programs. Dana would say, I need this money deobligated so someone else can use it. The Business Operations Branch would make these de-obligations a priority. Not only did we do our own work, Tracy Wickhams A/E team executed 15 task orders million because they needed help due to their contracting folks being devoted to the Joplin tornado recovery. As chief, I couldnt be prouder of my staff, she beamed. District selects four companies for $240 million worldwide cost engineering services contract selected to provide nationwide cost engineering services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District as part of a Project Time & Cost, Inc., Atlanta, Ga. $150 million Management of Construction Activities MOCA Systems Inc., Newton, Mass. $50 million RC Engineering and Construction Mgt, Inc., Richland, Wash. $20 million Legis Consultancy, Inc., Atlanta, Ga. $20 million We are very proud that USACE has selected RCECM to sup port them in their nationwide mission to provide cost engineering services, said Colette Steinwert, president of RCECM. We look forward to building a long-term relationship with USACE Walla Walla and its customers. Services to be provided by RCECM include cost engineering, cost estimating, program and project management, planning and scheduling, risk analysis, cost and schedule performance measure ment, and value engineering for projects located nationwide and The Walla Walla District is the Corps Center of Expertise for cost engineering services used by all federal government agencies throughout the program lifecycle. Preconstruction and onsite construction management services include planning, program management, cost estimating, schedul ing, risk management, change order management, claims analysis, forensics and stakeholder coordination. Tracy WickhamNational Contracting Organization Contracting Mission Execution Award Wendy Spegal Northwestern Division Contracting Leadership Award District Contracting Division Head of Contracting Authority Award for Excellence in Contracting, Best Small Ryan Bliss Northwestern Division the Year Award 2011 was an exceptional year for the Walla Walla District, particularly for its Con tracting Division, which achieved records for its 1,372 overall actions and for executing from the Northwestern Divisions previous records of 1,000 actions (contracts, purchase So how did they achieve it? What we do in contracting cant happen without cooperation and teamwork, said District Contracting Division Chief Ruthann Haider. We are an enabler, so as such, I need a customer to enable. This District and the people we support are the reason we are successful. They do a good job of identify ing their requirements, which enables us to procure what they need, she added. We established a business and compli ance branch that set up standards that every one is following and those processes allowed in the pudding, Haider said. cessesallowing us to take on more projects and obligate more money. Lest one get the wrong impression, it wasnt all peaches and cream, Haider said. We had serious challenges, especially in the fourth quarter, but we had a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. There were some heroic efforts by some key people on my staffMary Van Sickle, Elaine Vandiver, Jean Desjarlais. Everyone worked hard and went above and beyond to make sure customers got what they needed. What else worked well was our relation ship with Dana Knudtson and his folks in Programs Management, she said.story by Joe Saxon Contracting award winners Silver Jackets is a nationwide program currently level. The Corps participates in the Silver Jackets program as part of its established National Flood Risk Management Program. Eight agencies participate on Idahos team photo courtesy of Ellen BerggrenTracy Wickhamphoto by Terri A. Rorke
15 14 "In the end it's not about the goal It's the path that you take to get there (Above) District Hydraulic Engineer Jonathan nium Triathlon in Richland, Wash. marathon with a thumbs up in September. (Right) District Civil Engineer Logan Negherbon and Petersen pose for a photo after completing the Titanium Triathlon. (Far, right) Petersen triathlon. One of the things I appreciate most about Jon is that hes a person of action, said St. Paul District Hydraulic Engineer Kari Hauck who previously worked with Petersen. I didnt just hear him talk about running mara thons, riding his bike to work, or going to gradu ate school, I saw him do it. Once he commits to a goal, you know hell see it through. Hauck and Petersen both deployed to Missis sippi in support of Hurri cane Katrina recovery on a temporary public structures mission there. Amid all the chaos, he managed to run ev ery morning. It kept him grounded and sharp throughout his deploy ment, she said. Trailblazer Jonathan petersen He doesnt prefer to run the biggest races, nor does he aim to win all the medals. But if you look closer at Jonathan Petersena U.S. Army Corps under his belt, three years of division-level leadership program experience on his resume and a smile on his faceyou see a man who doesnt opt for the easy path. Instead, he blazes his own trails. Petersen trains as an ever-ready competitor. Whether hes preparing for 19. Titanium Triathlon in Richland, Wash., and won Walla Wallas Peach Basket Classic Tournament with a District team in August and the Walla Walla Crush 5k in October. How does he do it? I always train with a more intense workout regimen than the actual event so that Im well-prepared for competition day, he said. The engineer trained two months with his co-worker, District Civil Engineer Logan Negherbon, for the Titanium Triathlon. For Petersen, competitions are just like life, he said. A He keeps his competitive edge by having fun with every goal he commits to achieve and enjoys the camaraderie found along the way. Its awesome to build on each others commitment to the race, he said. Naturally, his drive to be his best carries over to his work and leadership skills. While previously working at St. Paul Dis trict, Petersen was not only the acting executive assistant in a four-month developmental posi tion in 2007, but he also led an annual senior leaders conference as part of the Mississippi Valley Divisions Emerging Leaders Program. For three years, Petersen was in the program that allows selectees to work with leaders division-wide, shadow senior executive service government employees and nourish natural leadership skills. And as others join the Corps team, Petersen leads his peers by example. Fellow Emerging Leaders Program partici pant Mike Renacker, a senior project manager at Vicksburg District, said Petersen continually inspired him to move out of his comfort zone. I watched him challenge himself to step out of his normal area of expertise and try new jobs at St. Paul District, Renacker said. I took his lead and did the same thing. In fact, many people in the leadership class did that. He takes on new challenges and seems to have no fear. He sets his personal goals and reaches them, Renacker added. His next goal? Start up a District Toastmasters International club like the one he found at St.Paul District. He said he wants to help others have an opportunity to develop public speaking skills like he did. It seems that Petersen achieves whatever he puts his mind to, but always remembers others along the way and enjoys doing it. Have fun with your goals, he said. Because in the end, it isnt about the goal. Its the path that you take to get you there.story by Terri A. Rorkephotos courtesy of Jonathan Petersen
16 Im with the CORPS Chris AlfordName: Chris AlfordPosition: Park Ranger, Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, Walla Walla, Wash.Describe your job. My job varies from day to day and even hour to hourfrom managing contracts, to monitoring flood levels, organizing volunteer projects, and educating the public about the Corps missions. What is the biggest challenge youve faced in your current position? Finding the balance between meeting the Corpss obligations/goals and the needs of com munity stakeholders. Mill Creek has two Biological Opinions that have changed the way we manage Mill Creek flows for maintenance, floods, and even recreation. Working with our part ners to find the best ways to meet both of our needs can be very challenging.Describe a few accomplishments youve experienced with your job. As a team, Mill Creek and District headquarters staff were able to award a contract for a new office, a new playground, new equipment and electrical systems, and continue to upgrade facilities and equipment to increase safety and reliability. One of the best experiences that I have at Mill Creek, on a regular basis, is the great con versations I have with the public. I think sometimes we get so caught up in work that we forget that the facilities and lands we help manage are used by so many people and these people really do appreciate the good job we do. Many of the visitors are very interested in the work we do and want to help. Many of our volunteers sign up after these brief conversations.What is the most rewarding part about your job? Knowing that I am helping people enjoy their public lands every day by making sure the land is managed to the best of our ability and potentially saving lives and reducing property damage.Please highlight a notable milestone or memory in your position. Building great relationships with community partners after Mill Creek Dam received its Dam Safety Action Classification I rating in 2007. Back then, I was serving as the acting Mill Creek operations project manager. Responding to the rating involved our team working closely with the Walla Walla County Emergency Management Department. Together, we updated Mill Creeks Emergency Action Plan, held table-top exercises and coordinated a communication plan. As a result of building that relationship, weve been able to better communicate current and upcoming needs. This rapport will allow Mill Creek staff to continue to serve the District well in ordinary and extraordinary situations.