Deputy Commander Stresses Value of Onsite Visits to Better Support Employees

Los Angeles District deputy commander Lt. Col. Stephen Brooks met Jan. 9 with the district’s project-delivery team managing dredging operations at Marina del Rey Harbor and partners from LA County to see the work in action.

Since Brooks and LA District commander Col. Andrew Baker assumed their respective roles about six months ago, they have stressed the value of meeting with district employees in person at project sites throughout the 226,000 square miles in which the district carries out its civil works, military-engineering support, operations and maintenance, ecosystem-restoration and emergency-response missions.

“Col. Baker and I understand how large our area of operations is, so we’ve made it a point to visit as many project sites as we can,” Brooks said. “Active project sites are important to visit, but more important are the people. Visiting our employees on site is probably one of the best things that we can do to understand how we can support them.”

Lt. Col. Stephen Brooks, second from right, Los Angeles District deputy commander, joins project-delivery team members and LA County project partners on a Jan. 9 boat tour of dredging operations at Marina del Rey Harbor in LA County, California. USACE PHOTO BY STEPHEN BAACK

Discussions about successes, ideas, friction points and challenges are all on the table during these visits with PDTs, Brooks said, and doing so in person provides a marked enhancement over the alternative.

“It’s one thing to talk over email or on Microsoft Teams, or to see dredging on a slide, but it’s more personal when I can come out and talk with the actual project team to really understand what their issues are,” Brooks said. “It’s not even close to being the same. And it’s just been fun getting out of the office.”

During his Jan. 9 visit, Brooks and project-delivery team members joined partners with the LA County Harbor Patrol and the Department of Beaches and Harbors on a boat tour of the dredging sites, with no shortage of discussions along the way.

“This gives us a chance to exchange ideas and get a better understanding of what their priorities are,” Brooks said about meeting with the LA County partners. “I can relay that back to Col. Baker and we can just continue that teamwork.”

“The project is going well,” said Victor Andreas, project manager with the LA District. “There have been some weather delays, but now it’s moving along. The folks at LA County Beaches and Harbors have been great and very supportive to help us get this project going and keep moving forward.”

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