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    Seattle District Internship Program with 555th Engineer Brigade Develops Technically Competent Leaders

    Seattle District Internship Program with 555th Engineer Brigade Develops Technically Competent Leaders

    Photo By 94th Airlift Wing | (Left to Right): Lt. Col. Andy Olson, Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District

    Commentary by Capt. Danielle Peterson

    SEATTLE -- Often referred to as the “jack of all trades,” this equivocal nickname does not do the Engineer Branch justice. The Engineer Branch boasts an extensive history of expertise and is frequently sought after for solutions to the challenges no one else can solve. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an engineer is “a person who carries through an enterprise by skillful or artful contrivance.” This definition suits engineer leaders perfectly.

    Another Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of an engineer is, “a person who has scientific training and who designs and builds complicated products, machines, systems, or structures.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has people who do just that.

    USACE was founded in 1802, a mere seven years after the Engineer Branch was established. The initial purpose of USACE was to augment the Army through the foundation and operation of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. USACE’s mission has grown and evolved with the nation’s continuously changing needs. Today, USACE provides many services to the nation, including: outdoor recreation, environmental engineering, operation and maintenance of dams and waterways, preservation of wetlands, hydropower, technical and construction support nationally and internationally, emergency response support, and research and development of natural resource preservation technologies.

    USACE was established to augment the Engineer Branch by providing focused, technical expertise for all things related to the nation’s infrastructure and waterways. While this is true, Army leaders are still expected to execute technical operations. They are also expected to design and build complicated systems, and for an Army leader, these requirements will likely be carried out in a more stressful environment, and in a more expeditious manner than is required of the experienced USACE professionals who do this every single day.

    The missions, training requirements and every day demands on the typical engineer unit vary greatly depending on current Army needs. Depending on one’s career path, exposure to the execution of complex technical construction could be very limited. However, as engineers, it is likely that a maneuver unit will ask us to provide these services at some point in our career.

    The 555th Engineer Brigade’s partnership with USACE’s Seattle District has opened up a window of opportunity for engineer leaders to gain confidence in their skills in the technical engineering field from those who are experts in the analysis and execution of large-scale, complex projects. Interns can fill and supplement the roles of project managers, project engineers, quality assurance representatives, technical construction engineers, and design engineers. While these are the roles that most interns fill, this list is not all inclusive.

    I’ve been serving as an intern for six months and have had the opportunity to work as a technical engineer in Seattle District’s Construction Division, as an assistant project engineer on a four building project site at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and in the Design Branch’s Civil Engineering Section. Although I acquired some understanding of how construction activities are executed while I was a horizontal platoon leader, the amount of technical expertise I’ve gained while working with USACE is incomparable. I have learned about federal-, state-, military- and USACE-specific safety regulations and construction codes. I have learned how to properly provide quality assurance and conduct technical inspections on a construction site. I have picked up various bits of knowledge on which products and designs really work and result in a quality end product. I have witnessed the result of great attention to detail in both design analysis and the construction phases. I have learned from the best what a good partnership with a contractor looks like.

    This experience has not only developed my technical skills, but has opened my eyes to the vast capabilities of USACE and how it operates. This is valuable for all Army leaders to understand on some level. For example, knowing how to utilize USACE as a resource, understanding how projects get authorized and appropriated, or even just being aware of future career opportunities for Soldiers getting out of the military. These are all useful things to be aware of.

    In a time when our nation is trying to build a tactically and technically competent engineer force, all engineer units should take advantage of the USACE internship program because it is an invaluable resource.



    Date Taken: 07.27.2017
    Date Posted: 07.27.2017 13:52
    Story ID: 242809
    Location: SEATTLE, WA, US 

    Web Views: 175
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