Col. James J. Handura assumed command of the US Army Corps of Engineers South Pacific Division in a ceremony held today at the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito, Calif.
The ceremony was hosted by Lt. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Handura assumed command from Col. Chad Caldwell, who currently serves as the Commander of the Sacramento District and has been serving as Acting Division Commander since August 30, 2023.
“Command of a division goes beyond accountability for projects, people, and money,” said Spellmon during the ceremony. “It’s about driving change, developing future leaders, and serving as guardians of the Corps’ reputation. COL Handura will serve as that guardian -- a leader who will develop solutions for the nation’s toughest challenges while taking care of people.”
A native of Clearwater, Florida, Handura graduated in 1996 from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, and a commission in the Engineer Regiment. He holds a Master of Science in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Missouri-Rolla, a Master’s degree in Military Art and Science – Theater Operations from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. He is also certified Project Management Professional.
Prior to South Pacific Division, Handura served as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, DC. Handura began his military service with the United States Navy Seabee Reserves, serving as a Utilitiesman from 1987 to 1989, at Bayboro Harbor, St. Petersburg, Florida. From 1989 to 1993, he served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted Combat Engineer, with the 82nd Engineer Battalion (Federal Republic of Germany) and the 20th Engineer Battalion (Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and later Ft. Hood, Texas).
Handura’s command assignments include Commander Sacramento District, USACE; Commander 19th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Deputy District Commander New Orleans District, USACE.
The South Pacific Division provides vital engineering solutions in collaboration with partners to secure the nation, energize the economy and reduce risk from disaster. South Pacific Division operates in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and in parts of Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Texas that includes 1,100 miles of coastline, 3.9 million acres of estuarine wetlands, 2,290 miles of federal levees and 46 dams and reservoirs.
As Commander of South Pacific Division, Handura oversees water resources, military construction, environmental stewardship and restoration and emergency management with a workforce of 2,500 civilians and military personnel in four districts across the 10 states.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program (MsCIP), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had a problem.
NOAA deploys two Real-Time Currents and Meteorological Buoys (CURBY) at least once a year to ensure everything works while maintaining their skills in case of an emergency.
In Mobile, the MsCIP team needed field data for coastal modeling for its Coast-wide Beach and Dune Restoration Project in Jackson County, Mississippi.
Enter Richard Allen, USACE Mobile District Hydrologic Data Collection Unit team lead, to marry the two sides together as the Mobile District and NOAA launched a buoy in Biloxi Bay near Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on Oct. 25, 2023.
The buoy deployment helped both sides get what they needed.
“The NOAA buoy is being deployed to collect field data that will be utilized in coastal modeling,” said Valerie Morrow, USACE Mobile District Coastal Resiliency technical lead. “Mobile District will benefit from this approach because it is cheaper than other data collection alternatives, the data collected is higher quality than other alternatives, and the ability to mobilize the buoy is quicker than other alternatives.”
For NOAA, deploying the buoy gave them the training and testing needed for optimal operation.
The Mobile District supported the buoy by launching it from its boats, allowing NOAA to practice using a “vessel of opportunity.”
Grace Gray, NOAA Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, said it was the perfect opportunity for her team to get real-world training and help a partner agency.
“In addition to using this opportunity to hone our deployment skills and test the equipment, we wanted to exercise the scenario in which a partner agency requests the use of a CURBY, to work out some of the administrative aspects with environmental compliance and reimbursement for buoy components before we’re in a time-sensitive situation. This was also an opportunity to deploy the buoy from someone else’s vessel. So the more opportunities to practice on other vessels, the better.”
The project element that the buoy deployment will benefit is beach and dune improvements to approximately four miles of the existing mainland coast within Jackson County, Mississippi. These improvements include constructing a 60-foot-wide vegetated dune field approximately 50 feet from any existing seawalls.
These beach and dune areas are critical to nesting and resting shorebirds such as the State listed least tern and the threatened piping plover. In addition to the ecological benefits, the dunes would provide incidental coastal storm risk management benefits, particularly during more frequent lower-intensity coastal storm events. In accordance with the provisions of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1986, as amended, cost-sharing would be 65 percent Federal and 35 percent non-Federal funding.
Allen said the buoy deployment was a success.
“Joint operations between NOAA and USACE resulted in a successful deployment of the CURBY,” Allen said. “The buoy began collecting data immediately. This data is being transmitted in real-time to NOAA servers and made available for USACE project team members to support the hydrodynamic modeling and design. The buoy is expected to remain onsite for 90 days, at which time NOAA and USACE will recover the buoy.”
The South Pacific Division wrapped up Fiscal Year 2023 with a record $2.3 billion in contracts awarded across its four districts.
“I am always amazed at the level of effort our division and district teams put forth on a daily basis, and these accomplishments are a natural consequence of their hard work and dedication,” said Col. Chad Caldwell, SPD' commander. “$2.3 billion in contract execution represents 2,346 contract actions, executed by hundreds of our team members throughout the fiscal year, and I could not be prouder of their achievements both individually and as a team.”
“Hitting $2.3 billion of total obligation is significant,” James Bartha, SPD’s region contracting chief. “SPD has averaged over the last 17 years $1.4 billion a year, when special mission dollars like FEMA Fire Debris Mission, and Border Wall Construction are removed from the total.”
Another contributing factor underlying the record year are SPD’s exceeding most of their small business goals, adds Bartha.
SPD was recognized recently by Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office of Small Business Programs as “Overall Highest in the Small Disadvantaged Business Award by Percentage” category for the third consecutive year.
The Small Business Program was not only a top contributor to the contracting dollars, but also reached their highest numbers on record going back at least 20 years, says Jack May, assistant director of SPD’s Office of Small Business Programs, with $1.3 billion being awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses.
“The record year for us in FY23 follows five years of unusual events,” he said. “In FY18, we had the Northern California Fires. In FY19 and FY20 we had the Border Barrier Years. In FY21 and FY22 we had the Covid Years. FY23 is probably the first year since FY17 that we didn’t experience events that changed our obligations and contracting practices significantly. So, all those factors played a role in our larger than normal obligations to Small Businesses and possibly an indication that we are closer to our normal business practices.”
The districts that comprise SPD also excelled this fiscal year across an array of categories with Albuquerque District, Los Angeles District, and San Francisco District being recognized in the “Executing Fifty or More Percent to Small Businesses” category; Albuquerque District winning both the “Overall Highest Percentage for Small Disadvantaged Businesses” and the “District with Highest Percentage of Small Business Set Asides” categories; and Sacramento District taking the “Overall Highest Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business by Dollars” by district category.
USACE as a whole has a long history of partnering with small business to execute their contracting dollars and works to maintain ties with existing businesses while looking for newly-minted businesses to partner with.
“USACE needs businesses, especially construction businesses to perform work in all our districts,” explains May.
“The more capable they are the better; the Corps vets them out carefully through its acquisition team to ensure that the small businesses can perform the work and have a proven history of doing good work. The Corps of Engineers won’t be successful without businesses both small and large capable to doing work for us all year round.
On an overcast October morning, the 249th Engineer Battalion, Prime Power, came together with linemen from across the globe at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas, to showcase their unique skill set in the 39th Annual International Lineman's Rodeo.
The event brought the U.S. Army’s power generation specialists to the forefront, emphasizing how their expertise goes far beyond the battlefield, proving essential to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A gathering of elite linemen from the United States, Brazil and Canada, this rodeo provided an excellent opportunity for the U.S. Army’s 249th Engineer Battalion to demonstrate its capabilities in full-spectrum operations.
“It’s important for the public to see us out here,” said Maj. James “JD” Hala of Delta Company. “Whether it is supporting our partners like the FEMA during a crisis or the warfighter overseas, it gives them a better understanding of how we serve local, state, and national communities.”
The annual event brought the Battalion’s five companies and higher headquarters to the Kansas City District. It linked up active duty and reserve component Soldiers from Fort Belvoir, Fort Liberty, Schofield Barracks and Cranston, Rhode Island. Maj. Gen. James Kokaska Jr., deputy commanding general, Reserve Affairs and Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Galick, USACE, were also in attendance supporting the 249th Engineer Battalion.
“It is a great honor to be here representing Alpha Company,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Ecker, a 30-year career Soldier. “This will be my last rodeo,” he reflected.
Ecker hails from Mana Koa, the moniker for the 249th’s Alpha Company. Bravo Company are Hurricanes, Charlie Company are Spartans, Delta Company are Roughnecks and Higher Headquarters Company are Renegades. Regardless of immediate company affiliation, they all wear the traditional white hard hat with the iconic red castle of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The linemen, divided into journeymen and apprentice categories, showcased their skills in hurt-man rescue and various pole climb challenges, demanding not only expertise and finesse but also unequivocal adherence to safety. The event facilitates Prime Power Soldiers' hands-on experience in uncommon daily operations tasks. It allowed them to expand their critical skills, sharpen their expertise and become more proficient in various roles.
“This is an outstanding opportunity, and we appreciate the electrical community putting this together,” said Lt. Col. Langston Turner, commander, 249th Engineer Battalion. “The [Soldiers ] interact with fellow professionals within the industry — learn and take advantage of the tools and skill sets presented here that we do not normally get our hands on.”
During emergencies, the 249th Engineer Battalion works in lockstep with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prime Power assists in power generation and distribution to help communities in times of crisis. These capabilities complement routine operations, including power requirement assessments, production, inspection, testing, maintenance, repair and overall upkeep of essential power infrastructures.
As Soldiers honed their craft and highlighted their capabilities at the rodeo, the 249th Engineer Battalion reinforced the notion that their skills extend well beyond linework and are indispensable to the broader mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Volcon Inc. (NASDAQ: VLCN) (“Volcon” or the “Company”), the first all-electric, off-road powersports company, announced today the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC). Volcon believes this collaboration marks a significant step forward in the development of EV technology for both civilian and military applications.
Under the terms of this CRADA, Volcon and ERDC will collaborate on research and development efforts aimed at enhancing the capabilities of electric vehicles, with a focus on creating dual-use products that benefit both warfighters and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in their support of emergency services disaster response.
Key objectives of this collaboration include:
This agreement represents a significant step toward addressing known challenges in the EV sector, such as remote tactical recharging, vehicle-to-grid, and microgrid charging, and looks to maximize power efficiency while reducing reliance on traditional fuel-based energy generation.
By working together with ERDC, Volcon aims to create scalable EV solutions that benefit federal, state, and local governments, as well as the Department of Defense (DoD). This collaboration embodies the spirit of the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 and Army Regulation 70-57, which encourage the private sector to leverage federally funded technology developments for the betterment of the United States.
“We are very excited to be working with the Army Corps. We believe that their decades of experience in engineering solutions for the battlefield will bear real fruit for Volcon in the commercial markets. This agreement is crafted in a way that mutually benefits the parties by creating real-world solutions and product features that can be monetized in the future,” said Jordan Davis, Volcon CEO. “On the one hand, we get to play a real role in benefiting the warfighter and humanitarian efforts where our electric vehicles can play a role, all while harvesting technology that may be deployed to commercial segments as well.”
Volcon ePowersports is excited about the potential this collaboration holds for the future of the Company, electric vehicle technology in general, and its broader applications. Together with ERDC, the Company looks forward to advancing the state of the art in EV technology and contributing to a more sustainable and efficient future.
About Volcon, Inc
Based in the Austin, Texas area, Volcon was founded as the first all-electric power sports company producing high-quality and sustainable electric vehicles for the outdoor community. Volcon electric vehicles are the future of off-roading, not only because of their environmental benefits but also because of their near-silent operation, which allows for a more immersive outdoor experience.
Volcon's vehicle roadmap includes both motorcycles and UTVs. Its first product, the innovative Grunt, began shipping to customers in late 2021 and combines a fat-tired physique with high-torque electric power and a near-silent drive train. The Volcon Grunt EVO, an evolution of the original Grunt with a belt drive, an improved suspension and seat, began shipping to customers in September 2023. Volcon will also offer the Runt LT, a fun-sized version of the groundbreaking Grunt, better suited for small-statured riders, more compact properties and trails, or as a pit bike at race events, while still delivering robust off-road capabilities. The Brat is Volcon’s first foray into the wildly popular eBike market for both on road and off-road riding and is currently being delivered to dealers across North America. Volcon is also currently delivering the Volcon Youth Line of dirt bikes for younger riders between the ages of 4 to 11. Volcon debuted the Stag in July 2023 and entered the rapidly expanding UTV market and previously announced that it will begin shipping the Stag to customers in October 2023. The Stag empowers the driver to explore the outdoors in a new and unique way that gas-powered UTVs cannot. The Stag offers the same thrilling performance of a standard UTV without the noise (or pollution), allowing the driver to explore the outdoors with all their senses.
About United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center
The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) is one of the most diverse engineering and scientific research organizations in the world and serves as the research and development arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With seven laboratories in four states and a workforce of more than 2,330 employees, ERDC conducts research and development in support of the warfighter, military installations and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works mission, as well as for other federal agencies, state and municipal authorities and with U.S. industries through innovative work agreements.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Michael Connor, visited Tulsa District October 17-18 as part of regional governance week where he met with Southwestern Division commanders as well as other key division personnel and district stakeholders. The visit was a chance for Connor to gain firsthand perspective on the projects and budget needs of the division.
The visit began with a question-and-answer style town hall with Tulsa District employees where Connor spoke about his priorities and how he combines environmental challenges with cutting costs while maximizing efforts with civil works funds.
“USACE is important to the communities we serve,” said Connor. “Your projects have a major impact on public safety as well as the economies of those communities.”
During the afternoon, Connor visit Keystone Lake powerhouse where Beau Biffle, Tulsa District hydropower chief and other powerhouse personnel gave an overview of various district powerhouse projects.
Connor was treated to a tour of the powerhouse and ended the day with Keystone Lake project office personnel showcasing projects at Brush Creek recreation area.
Following morning meetings with Choctaw and Chickasaw tribal leadership on Wednesday, Connor’s visit ended at the Tulsa/West Tulsa Levee area where he met with Todd Kilpatrick, commissioner, Tulsa County Drainage Levee District No. 12, and other key levee stakeholders. The visit underscored the importance of the levee for the surrounding communities it protects.
“Tulsa District was truly honored to host the Honorable Mr. Connor,” said Col. Tim Hudson, commander, Tulsa District. “His visit provided the opportunity to underscore the vital importance of our work and our great people.”
“We were proud to highlight our Civil Works projects which cover over 160,000 square miles and include water resources spanning across Oklahoma, the southern half of Kansas, and the Texas panhandle. His visit reminded us of the importance of our projects to the communities that we serve,” said Hudson.
On October 19, 2023, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to inaugurate the expansion of the Warehouses Service Agency (WSA) complex in Sanem, which is already the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s (USAFE) largest depot on the continent. The Deployable Air Base System support and storage facilities project represents $100 million (€95 million) U.S. investment via the European Deterrence Initiative and will add more than 18,500 square meters or 200,000 square feet of additional facility space to the WSA. The project supports the readiness and responsiveness of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, reinforcing NATO’s collective defense and deterrence.
The U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, Tom Barrett, underscored the importance of the expansion project: “This 100 million dollars in investment made here in Luxembourg is another demonstration of the U.S. commitment to European defense and to the NATO Alliance. This expansion project is part of our response to the rapidly evolving security context, which necessitates that all Allies continue to invest in modernizing our common defense and deterrence.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, François Bausch, emphasized: “Luxembourg and the U.S. share a long history of bilateral cooperation. With this new project, we keep the momentum alive. Authorities from the U.S., Luxembourg and the management of WSA have been working together over the last couple of years to make this extension project happen. This significant investment by the U.S. is proof and recognition that WSA is providing excellent services to USAFE. It echoes the continued commitment of the United States in Europe and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.”
"This project will expand the already robust capabilities here at Sanem and bring increased capability and deterrence to protect our shared interests in Europe. As United States Air Forces in Europe evolves to meet current and future threats, this site represents the strong collaboration between the United States and the Government of Luxembourg, and I want to thank all the stakeholders from both governments that made today's groundbreaking event possible," commented Colonel Vinson, Logistics Readiness Division Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Headquarters.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District is managing the construction in coordination with the WSA and the Luxembourg Directorate of Defense. “This is the first project of this scale for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here in Luxembourg and we’re excited to be working with our U.S. Air Force, U.S. Embassy and Luxembourg host nation partners on this impressive project,” said Europe District Deputy Chief of Engineering and Construction, Cheryl Fromme, while in Luxembourg for the ceremony. “Though it’s a newer location for us here, the mission is the same one that we’re proud to contribute to with our projects across Europe – supporting regional security by delivering facilities that enable U.S. forces and our allies and partners.”
The Warehouses Service Agency (WSA) was established and designated by the government of Luxembourg to perform the services set forth in a memorandum of understanding between Luxembourg and the United States dating back to December 1978. The WSA is mandated, by decision of the Government in Council of June 13, 1980 and November 6, 1981, to act in the name and on behalf of the State vis-à-vis NATO, the U.S. Army or any other military or civil authority. Since 1994, the Sanem site has been used for storing U.S. Air Force equipment.
Located in the city of Sanem, Luxembourg, the facility provides warehousing, logistical support and maintenance services for military equipment, goods and merchandise and works in close partnership with the 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). The facility houses USAFE's War Reserve Materiel (WRM), which includes vehicles, aerospace ground equipment, aircraft support equipment and various airfield support equipment. However, no weapons nor munitions are stored at Sanem.
WSA maintains, reconstitutes, and stores WRM in a posture to rapidly deploy worldwide within 24 hours for any contingency. In 2020, responding to a request by the Government of Luxembourg, the U.S. Air Force provided power generators and refrigeration units from the WSA facility to the Luxembourg Army to support Luxembourg’s temporary field hospitals in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.
The WSA facility provides over 200 jobs to the Sanem and Luxembourg community and contributes to local hospitality economy with large numbers of regular U.S. and NATO military visitors to the site.
The support and storage facilities project enhances the U.S. Air Force’s Deployable Air Base System, a concept which allows a collection of shelters, vehicles, construction equipment and other gear to be pre-positioned and moved to any place the Air Force needs to stand up air operations.
The Deployable Air Base System Support and Storage Facilities project will add more than 200,000 square feet of additional storage and maintenance facilities to the WSA. This includes:
This expansion project is funded through the European Deterrence Initiative. The United States established the European Deterrence Initiative in June 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized Crimea. The initiative was established to enhance the capability and readiness of U.S. Forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in Europe to deter Russian aggression.
(Courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg)
Thalle Construction Company celebrated reaching 500,000 labor hours without a lost time accident in constructing a larger navigation lock on the Tennessee River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District recognized the remarkable milestone last week and thanked construction workers for their role in delivering a project of national significance.
Lt. Col. Robert W. Green, Nashville District commander, spoke during a special lunch Oct. 17 provided by the contractor for the workforce, and addressed the contractor and resident office team about safety and what it means moving forward without delays.
“To have a milestone like this on this project where we are meeting and exceeding production goals, but also keeping each other safe, is an exceptional milestone,” Green said. “I really appreciate that this can’t happen without a team effort.”
Green stressed that safety is also an individual responsibility requiring workers to look out for each other, and that ultimately makes it possible to keep the $380 million downstream lock monoliths contract on track. More importantly, leaders, safety officials and the folks on the ground make safety part of a culture and make it possible for people to go home safely each day, he added.
The Nashville District and its contractor, Thalle Construction Company, are building a larger 1,200-foot by 110-foot navigation lock chamber about 22 miles upstream of where the Tennessee River flows into the lower Ohio River. It’s a massive project with a lot of moving pieces and involves a lot of heavy equipment and conveyer systems placing concrete overhead.
Peter Tully, Tully Group president, recognized the complexity of the project and praised the construction leaders, the coaches and the captains, that care about the team.
“Just keep doing what you are doing. I appreciate it,” Tully said.
Steve Kohler, Thalle Construction president and chief executive officer, said that half a million hours are considerable and very meaningful because injuries can have huge impacts on the construction team and the project.
“The fact that we are tracking so positively here is truly impressive. I appreciate the safety group here. I appreciate the way they take care of the business and take care of people,” Kohler said. “My hope is that when everyone comes to work that each person intends to do their best that day.”
As workers ate their lunches, Kohler also drew attention to a sign inside the bay that noted how the team is bound together for the singular purpose of safely constructing, on time and on budget, a high-quality navigation project in support of the USACE civil works mission. He said it takes hard, dirty, sweaty work, and he appreciates the focus on safety in these conditions to meet these objectives.
Bill Ryan, Tully Group vice president of Risk Management, said leaders make it a point to engage the workforce from a perspective of education and encouragement, so everyone understands the importance of safety, to avoid injuries, and recognize that fatalities have negative impacts on people foremost.
“This is a very worthwhile project, one that you should be proud to be part of,” Ryan said. “My message to you is thank you and congratulations.”
Brian Sharpe, Thalle Project executive, said he is on site regularly and sees what is going on, and realizes that this is a very positive achievement.
“The one thing I want to talk about safety is that everybody here can help the safety program by looking out for the people working with you,” Sharpe said. “So be your brother’s keeper. Look out for one another so we can all go home safely.”
Jeremiah Manning, Nashville District’s resident engineer for the Kentucky Lock Addition Project, said the work is currently estimated for completion in May 2027, which will continue to require close coordination between the Corps of Engineers and contractor to ensure operations continue safely.
The project involves constructing 51 monoliths, which will require an estimated 375,000 cubic yards of concrete to complete the lock chamber. This is enough concrete to fill up more than 114 Olympic swimming pools. Thalle Construction Company has placed about 10 percent of the concrete as of September 2023.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Kentucky Lock on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kentuckylock.)
Maj. Gen. Kimberly Colloton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations – and a former LA District commander – was one of several distinguished visitors, who received an update on Corps’ projects at the VA Longbeach Healthcare System.
Colloton was joined by Col. Andrew Baker, Los Angeles District commander; Tambour Eller, Senior Executive Service chief for Interagency and International Services Division; David Hibner, SES, director, U.S. Army Geospatial Center; Col. Chad Caldwell, acting commander for the Corps’ South Pacific Division; and other senior Corps and Veterans Affairs’ leaders to review progress of the new 181,000-square-foot Community Living Center and two separate 80,000-plus-square-feet mental health in-patient and out-patient facilities. The VA Long Beach Healthcare System serves more than 50,000 veterans.
“Since the last time I was out here, so much has been done,” Colloton said. “It’s great to see it so far along and so close to the end. We are getting there. They’re in the final stages of closing things up and making the final finishes to be suitable to move patients and providers in, so it’s exciting to see.”
Colloton, who was at the project site for the groundbreaking ceremony on Veterans Day 2018, said it’s taken a while to reach completion, but once it’s done, it will serve veterans in the area for years to come.
Focusing on taking care of the nation’s veterans by constructing these facilities at the VA is a top priority, and SES Eller said the construction progress has been phenomenal.
“What we’re observing is the partnership continuing to mature – the lessons learned and best practices,” Eller said, noting there are three other VA Community Living Centers and parking structures under construction, using the latest technologies. “At the end of the day, we’re supporting winning by implementing those best practices and delivering for our veterans.”
Baker also noted the amount of progress since his first visit in April 2023, before assuming command of the LA District in July.
“There’s really been a lot of progress,” Baker said. “It’s starting to look like a finished facility. I’m looking forward to getting this great facility into operation, which is a huge improvement to what the veterans on site have now. It’s going to be fabulous.”
The single building that currently houses the VA Long Beach mental health services and the Community Living Center Healthcare System patients is scheduled for demolition after the replacement facilities are fully operational. The $350-million projects are expected to be completed in fiscal year 2024.
New Orleans District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) team members working on the Morganza to the Gulf project hosted their first Industry Day for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) East and West Floodgates at USACE New Orleans District headquarter Oct. 13, 2023.
Project Management, Engineering and Contracting representatives presented overviews of the Morganza to the Gulf Flood Risk Reduction system, GIWW East and West Floodgates and associated challenges, and the Integrated Design and Construction (IDaC) contracting method.
Feedback on the subjects was received from industry representatives during one-on-one meetings following the presentation.
The authorized Morganza to the Gulf (MTG) project is a hurricane and storm damage risk reduction (HSDRR) project involving a 98-mile alignment of earthen levees, floodgates, environmental water control structures, road/railroad gates, and fronting protection for existing pump stations. This system is being designed to reduce the risk of damage related to flooding for the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, where a deterioration of coastal marsh has led to an increased risk of inundation.
More information about the GIWW East and West floodgates and IDaC can be found at the following websites: https://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/About/Projects/Morganza-to-the-Gulf/ and https://sam.gov/content/home.