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District’s Leadership Development Program thrives

Published Oct. 29, 2015
Shown here with District Commander Col. Christopher Beck, (back row left to right) Nora Hawk, Waylon Humphrey, Jason Root, Jeremy Cobb, Kierra Washington, Adam Warren, Brandon Brummett, Matt Lowe; (Front row left to right) Kevin Mieczkowski, Ed Vincent, Roxanne Keeling, Sarah Ignacio, Sarah Keller, Michelle Hellinger and Eric Sternberg comprised the 2014-2015 class.

Shown here with District Commander Col. Christopher Beck, (back row left to right) Nora Hawk, Waylon Humphrey, Jason Root, Jeremy Cobb, Kierra Washington, Adam Warren, Brandon Brummett, Matt Lowe; (Front row left to right) Kevin Mieczkowski, Ed Vincent, Roxanne Keeling, Sarah Ignacio, Sarah Keller, Michelle Hellinger and Eric Sternberg comprised the 2014-2015 class.

The next batch of Louisville District leaders of tomorrow have just begun the district’s Leadership Development 2015-2016 Program. The new class has 20 students, up from 16 last year. The class meets monthly, and it lasts for 11 months.

Dana Craig, district and division lead, LDP steering committee, said, “The exodus of retirees means we need employees to step up. The LDP prepares employees for opportunities in the future.”

There are two components of LDP. Classmates learn about themselves and communicating with others. Relationship building and becoming well-rounded are skills of the program taught by Dr. Michael Evans, Evans and Associates Consulting Corporation, Oneida, N.Y. He is a seasoned professional and long-time asset for instructing district employees on communication, interpersonal skills and leadership.

The other half of the curriculum brings a new and thorough understanding of the district’s many offices’ operations. The section chiefs give briefings, and there are meetings and lunch and dinner sessions with senior leaders. Students are paired with mentors. Every month students fill out an evaluation so they get quick feedback while topics are still fresh in their minds.

“The training sessions are focused so the knowledge base has not been lost in light of the departing retirees,” said Craig. 

Field trips to projects like military construction sites, reservoirs or locks and dams give classmates hands-on experience of how the district serves the nation. During the fall, the class will visit the Olmsted Dam construction project on the lower Ohio River and see Locks and Dam 52 that Olmsted will replace, which are far, far beyond their engineering design life. An LDP class had visited Nashville District’s Wolf Creek Dam while it was undergoing rehabilitation.

The division has a regional LDP which Craig oversees. Chris Inlow, program management, military section; and Ian Mitchell, chief, management support section, are participating this year. Amy Babey, planning, and Ryan Jefferies, dam safety were in the 2015 class. 

Every year the LDP class has a project which is implemented within the district. With the workforce shift, retirements and fewer personnel, the process experience and knowledge has significantly changed in the last few years for the Louisville District, according to Roxanne Keeling, who had oversight of the team’s project. “The LDP Team focused on establishing a standard operating procedure for management to ensure that training is provided at least quarterly so that the expertise and knowledge of the Louisville District is current and retained.” 

The 2014-2015 LDP class prepared an outline for implementation of a Louisville District training program as their class project. “The class worked together well, representing several branches throughout the district and division during the course of preparation of the training program,” said Sarah Ignacio, business oversight branch.

 The class met with senior leaders and the commander to address concerns and logistics to implement the program. This would ensure participation at the broadest levels, she said.