News: 2nd CES engineers and architect keeps Barksdale on top
Story by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — With more than 140 base renovation, construction and demolition projects this fiscal year alone, the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron Programming Flight is hard at work taking airmen ideas for base improvement and making them a reality.
With the recent addition of the Air Force Global Strike Command, certain changes in infrastructure have become necessary. The 2nd CES Programming flight processes and fulfills these needs to help improve Barksdale.
One member of the 2nd CES Programming Flight, retired Master Sgt. Nathan E. Tracer, an architect, is responsible for planning, designing and reviewing architectural plans from off-base agencies.
"I mostly deal with architectural issues," Tracer said. "Depending on the type of job it is, I coordinate with the other engineers to get projects done."
Before a project even reaches the programming and engineering section, someone has to think of an idea and justify why it's needed. That idea works its way through an approval process and eventually reaches the 2nd CES.
"I receive projects from my boss, Tony Cyr, 2nd CES Engineering Design section chief, and he gets it from his boss," Tracer said. "It starts out as someone's great idea and flows down the chain until it gets to me. Not too often will I pick up the phone and get something directly."
After work requests are submitted to the 2nd CES Control Center, they are put before the Work Request Review Board. If the job can be performed by operations personnel, it will be dispersed to the respective shop. If the 2nd CES shops can't do it, then it's sent up to the programming section where it's turned into a project to execute when funds are available, Cyr said.
Cyr and his team are given a list and priorities are assigned based on Risk Assessment Codes, mission requirements and cost. The team looks for the most cost efficient way to spend tax dollars.
"Sometimes we have projects that have money associated to them, and they need to be accomplished quickly," Cyr added. "Once we get the approval to do a project and the funds to go along with it, we execute."
Some projects have been on a waiting list for a long time, like the new base Auto Hobby Shop, which was recently completed after being on the list for several years. The size and cost of the project determine whether it's handled on base or given to an off-base agency, Cyr said.
"We do small projects in house," Tracer said. "A project is considered relatively small until it reaches up to $10 million."
Small projects such as new carpets and minor renovations are handled by the respective project manager. Larger projects, like building construction and major renovations, are typically drafted off base and reviewed by the office, Tracer said.
"We don't have a structural engineer on staff, so a lot of whole-building construction we can't do," Tracer said. "We also don't have the time to design buildings, so we send the requests to an off-base agency, and act as the review authority to make sure it meets all of the standards of an Air Force installation."
The architect and engineers determine how to go about doing a project by evaluating what skill sets are needed to get it done.
"The complexity of the projects determines how they are designed, who designs them and how far they go," Tracer said.
Once the design package is complete, the 2ndnd Contracting Squadron receives a package from the 2nd CES to obtain a contractor.
The architect and engineers communicate with multiple organizations in order to get the job started. Tracer noted the importance of communication in a job that is highly technical.
"Most of my day is spent communicating, whether it is writing or reading," Tracer said. "It's just like any other job, the strongest skill set is English. Drawings are just a way to communicate. It's a way of communicating data and information."
From construction, demolition, renovations, repairs and much more, the 2nd CES Programming Flight is responsible for making change happen here.
"The perseverance and project execution rate of the 2nd CES Programming Flight has made it one of the most successful CE squadrons in the Air Force." Cyr said. "From the top down, coordination and communication are tremendous assets exemplified by the 2nd CES and its project execution team. 2nd CES engineers definitely lead the way."