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Division commander makes initial visit to Louisville District

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published Aug. 13, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District welcomed Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Commander, Col. Kimberly Peeples, August 9th and 11th, 2021, as she visited the district office and toured key project sites near Louisville, Kentucky and at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

This was the first time Peeples was able to visit the district since taking command of the division in June 2021.

Her visit started with a Louisville District programmatic overview. She was also briefed on some of the district’s diverse programs to include the nation-wide reserve program and the Veterans Affairs Program.

Following the presentations, Peeples put on a virtual reality headset, which allowed her to step inside of the New Soo Lock Chamber in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. 
“This is incredible,” Peeples said as she toured the mega-project from more than 600 miles away.

The Louisville District is playing a key role in the regional design effort and the virtual reality simulation has proved a useful tool for designers and users to collaborate.

“The model allows us to elicit customer feedback,” said Gary Grunwald, USACE Louisville District civil engineer. “It allows us to see potential clashes so we can make necessary modifications now, saving both time and money.”

On several occasions the VR system was brought to the Soo Locks to receive feedback from site leadership, maintenance workers and lock operators.

“You’re the leading edge of what we’re doing in the Corps,” Peeples said. “This is a great tool and it’s a great process to have industry and users trying the model. Truly incredible.” 

During her visit, Peeples also recognized several district employees by presenting them with commander coins. Among those recognized for their outstanding service were David Chrisman, safety office; Emily Moore, contracting division; and Jim Walters and David Yankey, engineering division.

The division commander also toured sites in Clarksville, Indiana, across the river from McAlpine Locks and Dam, and the site of the new Louisville VA Medical Center in Louisville. The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District, who serves as the non-federal sponsor for the Louisville Metro Flood Protection System Reconstruction Study, provided Peeples and district leadership with a tour of the Beargrass Creek Pump Station in Louisville. The pump station is one of 15 federally constructed pump stations within the 26.5-mile levee system around Louisville.

“Today has been awesome. You all do such a great job,” Peeples said as the day was coming to an end. “You have a lot of hard work here and hard missions and I realize today was just a small glimpse of that.”

Completing her trip Aug. 11, Peeples visited Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. There she received an overview on the district’s military program and a tour of ongoing projects.

“This district has a great reputation,” Peeples said. “I want to help take the district to the next level.”