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Posted 12/27/2018

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By Shaina Souder
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District

Imagine you were just entrusted with a huge project and you want to deliver the best product you can; what do you do? 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District is always asking this question with every project we are entrusted with by our nation.  In order to perform at our best, Buffalo District recently held an off-site project delivery business process stand down meeting.

“We are extremely thankful for a record breaking program in FY19” said David Romano, USACE Buffalo District Deputy District Engineer.  “This is our chance to identify meaningful ways to execute our program more efficiently and assisting the enterprise in revolutionizing USACE processes.”

A stand down is a meeting held with a diverse group of people trying to tap into innovative and insightful ideas that will identify the most efficient means to complete tasks within a process. 

The Corps of Engineers employs the brightest minds capable of doing extraordinary work, and that is why Buffalo District hosted a stand down - to get the creative juices flowing to determine how to execute the mission in the most efficient way. Specifically, this stand down focused on how we execute project delivery missions in each phase: feasibility, design, and procurement/construction.

“Short time frames. Short duration.  We want anything that can help us achieve the mission and help Buffalo District excel,” said Ron Kozlowski, USACE Buffalo District Chief of Programs and Project Management.

Buffalo District has continually held off-site district command meetings, primarily consisting of the district’s top leaders.  But this stand down is a new wave of thinking having all components of a project delivery team participate in an off-site meeting where they can provide input about where there is room to improve portions of the project delivery process. 

“This demonstrates progressive and forward-thinking to ensure that all of our operations are as productive as possible,” said Michael Fay, Stand-Down Action Officer as he participated in the stand down.

A wide variety of Buffalo District employees including program managers, project managers, construction managers, financial managers, administrative support, and real estate, among others participated in the meeting.  There were even representatives from Detroit District real estate and the USACE Engineer Research Development Center (ERDC) present to provide valuable outside feedback.

“On behalf of ERDC, my presence will allow me to provide feedback based on the observations I see throughout the stand down,” said Jackie Pettway, USACE ERDC Chief of the Navigation Division.  “It may even result in ERDC leveraging some tools that Buffalo District can use.”

Some ideas from the meeting included small changes like adding hard deadlines or making certain meetings mandatory, to large changes like developing standard ranges of materials to be used for common water infrastructure projects, such as breakwaters.

“This stand down provides an opportunity for us to improve how we deliver our program, no matter how big or small of a change,” said Buffalo District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jason Toth.  “We have a phenomenal amount of talent at all levels involved, and this diverse group will result in a culture change in how we do business.”

With the recent awarding of $41.849 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 work plan, this project delivery stand down is an essential tool to prepare Buffalo District to execute the mission on each individual project.  It will result in success for Buffalo District: Building Strong and Moving Dirt!