News: Drinking from a fire hose
Story by Randy Cephus
FORT WORTH, Texas - A fire hose allows for large volumes of water to be released very quickly. Therefore, one comes in handy when extinguishing fire from a burning building. But, if you drink from that same fire hose, you will quickly take in more water than you possibly can handle. Some say this is what it’s like when being introduced to the Fort Worth District for the first time.
Shortly after assuming the deputy commander position, Maj. William N. Craig, III began the monumental task of learning all the intricacies of the Fort Worth District. With missions ranging from military construction and civil works to water resource management and hydropower, Craig had to become familiar with critical issues regarding a wide range of projects in a very short time.
A native of Lufkin, Texas, and a 1997 graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, Craig has engaged each issue with a cool, deliberate, no-nonsense approach.
“During my first few months I was introduced to so many different things all at once - it was like drinking from a fire hose,” said Craig. “I am learning every day, but it helps to have very competent staff to assist and provide quality support so I can keep up with district priorities.”
The Fort Worth District is not this Aggies’s first gig with the Corps of Engineers, however. From 2007 to 2009, Craig served as a project engineer with Savannah District. There, he managed projects worth approximately $50 million for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, NC.
“I was a project engineer with the Savannah District which provided me an excellent opportunity to work on the MILCON side of the house,” added Craig. “However, I did not get any exposure to civil works and I think it is very important to be exposed to the full range of Corps missions,” he said.
“I am happy to see that we now conduct Officer Professional Development sessions with our military personnel where we introduce them to civil works and the other aspects of the Corps,” stated Craig.
With more than 16 years of active duty service, Craig has also sought out personal growth which culminated in him obtaining a Masters in Construction Management from North Carolina State University. The soon-to-be lieutenant colonel is also a licensed Professional Engineer through the state of North Carolina.
Craig feels it is very important to maintain a balance between work and play so during his spare time, the Fort Worth deputy enjoys hunting, fishing, spending time on the lake and enjoying quality time with his family.
Before joining the Fort Worth District, Craig was with 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) where he deployed to Kunar province, Afghanistan and assisted with the training and mentoring of the Afghan National Army and the transition of responsibility of provincial security from the United States Forces to the Afghan security forces.
According to Craig, working with the Corps is quite different than working in a typical military battalion or brigade. Having worked with soldiers for most of his career, learning the rules and regulations that govern the civilian workforce was an area that the Afghanistan veteran had to become familiar with rather quickly. Craig said there is also a difference in how he accomplishes his tasks.
“In the military, our focus is narrower, where everything revolves around the mission essential task list, or METL,” said Craig. “With the Corps, the focus is much broader, with many more competing priorities. In the Corps, we operate more like a business; where we must satisfy our customers by delivering a quality product, on time and at a reasonable price.”
While on board for just over five months, the deputy commander has hit his stride. But you have to be quick in order to catch up to him. Now his days are filled with chairing meetings, giving direction to the staff and visiting the different MILCON and civil works project areas, which includes six area offices and 25 lake projects the district manages.
Just as he did years ago as a new lieutenant, when he mastered the use of a compass and led his troops to the objective, Craig displays that same poise and confidence as he assists the commander in providing direction to the Fort Worth District workforce.