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 is looking at ways to stop grass carp from spawning in the Sandusky River near Fremont, Ohio, and nearly 3,700 miles of rivers and tributaries connected to Lake Erie where they damage habitats, increase erosion, and threaten the economy.
The USACE Buffalo District, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources are sharing information about the project and different barriers that could be used to stop grass carp.
To minimize or eliminate the impact on native fish species in the river and not disrupt daily life for the people of Fremont, the barriers being considered are behavioral-only.
Read more about the project here.
Detailed scoping information is available for public comment through Dec. 11.
November 14, 2023 - NIKA, a global provider of facility life cycle solutions announced that it has been awarded an $840 million multi-disciplinary contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). NIKA will provide general project support services, facility operations and maintenance support, facility support services, project development support services, quantity verification and analysis services, commissioning, occupancy support services, and facilities system support for medical facilities in the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Facilities Enterprise (FE) located in the Contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories.
"We are excited to continue serving our DHA customers under the MFSS vehicle," said Kabir Chaudhary, CEO/President at NIKA. "NIKA is currently providing these critical services to DHA medical facilities across the globe and will continue to bring the same level of commitment to improving health and building readiness as we have successfully done for the last decade of this most important mission."This indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract has a duration of seven years with a three-year base and two, 24 month options.
NIKA delivers comprehensive services and solutions to support the full life cycle of facilities. For more than two decades, the Department of Defense and federal civilian agencies, as well as commercial and higher education institutions, have trusted NIKA to design, build, operate, and manage their real property. By combining facilities operations management, engineering, and logistics services, we provide value and expertise for complex and mission critical facilities and infrastructure. Headquartered in Rockville, MD with offices in San Antonio, TX, NIKA helps clients enhance operational excellence in locations around the globe.
For more information about NIKA, please visit http://www.nikasolutions.com.
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.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $52.5 million contract Oct. 16 for Hazardous Site Assessments for Household Material and Bulk Asbestos Removal in Lahaina and Kula/Olinda to Dawson Solutions, LLC, a Native Hawaiian Organization 8(a) contractor. The performance period for this Phase 2 private property debris removal contract is three months.
USACE is managing the removal of the debris on Maui as part of the federal government’s unified national response following the wildfires that ravaged the towns of Lahaina, Kula/Olinda Aug. 8. The wildfires damaged or destroyed more than 2,000 Maui properties, requiring a coordinated fire debris removal cleanup.
Debris removal missions assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency include the removal of debris from private property. The cleanup process includes two phases. Phase 1 is currently underway and involves the removal of hazardous materials by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Phase 2 involves the removal of other fire-related debris by USACE. During Phase 2, fire-damaged debris will only be removed from a property if property and business owners grant permission via a completed right-of-entry form.
The County of Maui will identify and oversee priorities during the fire cleanup while working in partnership with the state and federal agencies supporting the community with this process. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Honolulu District awarded a contract for cultural monitoring Oct. 16 to help prevent further harm to items of cultural and historical significance while also honoring the unique cultural heritage of Hawai‘i. Cultural observers will be onsite for all stages of Phase 2 operations.
“Having cultural observers in place prior to the commencement of Phase 2 debris removal is key to ensuring USACE personnel and contractors can perform their work for the people of Maui with confidence that items of cultural significance are going to be protected,” said Col. Jess Curry, Recovery Field Office commander.
For information on the Hawai‘i wildfire response or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visit https://www.poh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Emergency-Response/Hawaii-Wildfires/.
When I reported to Root Hall at Carlisle Barracks in July 2020, I was drawn to the bronze plaques listing the U.S. Army War College graduates dating back over 100 years and found the names of my former commanders and numerous engineer generals. I was excited to see them again, quietly reminiscing with my memories and their words.
In between the recent grads were those whose legacy of service and sacrifice I recognized by the year they graduated. I imagined their dynamic conversations and the powerful learning that shaped generations of officers who shaped us – the new class. But our experience was destined to be different due to COVID-19 health-safety measures, and we never settled into the coveted seminar rooms in Root Hall. Instead, we adapted by necessity to create an atmosphere for those great debates, even when the classroom was online. Was this the future of learning?
Thankfully, the answer was no.
The future was right down the street, next to Collins Hall, where the site was being prepared for construction of a world class, state of the art, innovative educational facility. The anticipation for the new building was in the air, especially when visiting the “petting zoo” of futuristic furniture, collaborative spaces, and new technological systems for students and faculty to explore. We all stopped to admire the beautiful, scaled model through its glass case, oblivious to the enormous challenges and smart solutions being developed and implemented on site.
The building is supported by a foundation of drilled piers bearing into the underlying crystalline carbonate pinnacled limestone that is susceptible to sinkhole formation. Having extensive experience designing foundations in karst geology, Baltimore District’s geotechnical team executed a robust subsurface investigation, drilling 148 rock cores and additional caissons varying from 36 to 60 inches in diameter. This enabled the structural team to adjust column locations to avoid troublesome subsurface areas, ensuring construction on sound bedrock. Chuck Frey, geotechnical branch chief, deployed a joint team from Baltimore and Savannah Districts, operating five drill rigs six days a week, nine hours a day, at the peak of the investigation to maintain the aggressive design schedule.
Mary Foutz, chief of engineering, emphasized the importance of this remarkable capability and the flexibility it provides our project delivery teams.
“I’m incredibly proud of our in-house field exploration unit and our ability to surge to provide essential and timely information that enable critical design decisions,” Foutz said. “Performing such comprehensive investigations during design, significantly reduces the likelihood of discovering differing site conditions during construction that result in costly contract modifications.”
Engineering complexities can be challenging to project execution, but human relationships and team dynamics can be just as impactful. During the project, multiple efforts by different contractors were required to maintain pace. The turbulent industry and economic conditions presented several logistical issues that affected the critical path, however, the transparency and collaborative approach to managing change and risk was critical to finding efficiencies to maximize the schedule. It was not easy and quite stressful, but the relentless focus on safety and commitment to productive and continuous communication kept the momentum going.
The nearly finished building is a spectacular site to see both inside and out, and it means a lot to the team who worked on the project from the start. Col. Bob Halvorson, the USAWC’s project lead stated, “This project has easily been the most rewarding team experience in my 28 years of military service.” The trust and teamwork that developed over time was key to the successful partnering and collaboration.
Barry Treece, Baltimore District’s resident engineer, attributes their success to the teamwork and diligence of his team. Senior Project Engineer Cory Donahue, Project Manager Chuck Stodter, and Construction Representative Dave Potter, consistent engagement and in-person presence were essential to setting the tone for exceptional project delivery.
David Morrow, Baltimore District’s deputy for programs and project management, stated he is very proud of the teamwork demonstrated on this project.
“The entire team, to include external stakeholders, was flexible and adaptable solving numerous challenges that are inevitable on complex design and construction efforts.” said Morrow. “This flexibility allowed the new academic building to support the incoming war college class this summer, as planned from the inception of the project.”
The incoming class of 2024 will begin studies in the new Root Hall boasts over 201,000 square feet, 28 larger technologically advanced seminar rooms, a variety of collaboration spaces, a modern library, a cafeteria, and common areas. It also provides four large convertible lecture halls, a 600-person auditorium with sky-boxes-style seating, and spacious office space for faculty, staff, department chairs, and USAWC leadership.
The partnership with the USAWC benefited tremendously from the assignment of a permanent project lead, Col. Bob Halvorson, who integrated with the resident office on site. From the onset, the team built mutual trust through consistent communication and collaboration to overcome project challenges. Pursing different priorities while working in the same space required careful sequencing, merging or deconflicting schedules.
“After the split in the contract requiring joint occupancy, the USACE construction team stepped up and held it all together in one cohesive and understandable plan,” said Halvorson. “I could not have asked for a better crew than Cory, Dave, Chuck and Barry. This team works hard and finds solutions to problems that would normally take months to figure out.”
The vision to modernize this historic institution began with a collaborative planning effort that included key partners in the Carlisle Barracks Garrison.
“I am so proud to see a charrette and many years of tireless planning come to life in a big way at Carlisle!” said Brig. General Kimberly Peeples, who served as the garrison commander at the time. “It was inspiring to see the close relationship between the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Garrison, and the world class facility in the making as a result.”
From the project’s inception, the USACE partnership with the USAWC developed through productive three-tiered governance, chaired at the highest level by the USAWC Commandant, Maj. Gen. David Hill.
"As an engineer, I have always appreciated structures where the form fits their intended function and serves a greater purpose. Walking through the new Root Hall since our new resident class began this year, it is clear to me that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not just create a building but also greatly contributed to an enduring legacy in developing the next generation of strategic leaders. Considering that construction began at the height of COVID in the spring of 2020, I greatly appreciate the expertise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer professionals that led a dynamic government and industry team to an on-time, in-budget completion of this important project.”
Aptim Federal Services, LLC (APTIM), a market leader in decommissioning and environmental solutions, announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore District has awarded the Company a contract to Decommission and Dismantle the SM-1A Reactor Facility located at Fort Greely, Alaska. In addition to managing the decommissioning and dismantlement of the decades-old reactor, the APTIM-led team will integrate and utilize mature, proven innovations to dispose of both hazardous and radioactive soil and debris from the remote Alaskan installation to the lower-48.
The contract was awarded to APTIM-Amentum Alaska Decommissioning, LLC (A3D), which is a joint venture led by APTIM and Amentum Technical Services, LLC. Other members of A3D’s team include Heritage – M2C1 Joint Venture, a HUBZone small business location in Delta Junction, AK; Lynden Logistics; Brice Environmental; Oak Ridge Technologies; ReNuke Services; AECOM Technical Services; and Delta Junction Medical.
The standalone C-contract has an estimated value of $95.5M, over a 6-year ordering period. The work to be performed under this contract includes planning, permitting, and engineering; site preparation; demolition and disposal of facilities, including components from the deactivated and defueled nuclear reactor, related wells and utility corridors, plus other ancillary facilities. The contract also includes remediation of contaminated soils, a final status survey, and site restoration.
David Lowe, Senior Vice President of APTIM’s Nuclear Decommissioning business unit, said, “APTIM and our heritage companies have a long history of supporting USACE and the Army Reactor Office (ARO) and have managed numerous Decontamination and Decommissioning projects across the federal complex. Our extensive experience performing reactor decommissioning projects for USACE and the ARO enables us to bring advanced innovations and solutions to complete the work safely and effectively at Fort Greely.” Mr. Lowe continued, “We will partner with USACE , regulators, and community stakeholders to eliminate the environmental liabilities of this legacy, aging nuclear facility.”
“We appreciate USACE’s confidence in APTIM and our partners to perform this critical work. We have a tremendous track record of successfully managing high hazard decommissioning work and look forward to bringing innovations and an experienced team to the last standing nuclear reactor constructed as part of the Army Nuclear Power Program (ANPP),” said Steve Moran, APTIM’s Army Reactor Program Manager and the Project Manager for the SM-1A project.
The SM-1A reactor achieved criticality in 1962 and was shut down in March of 1972, followed by the removal and disposition of the spent nuclear fuel in 1973. The primary mission of the single-loop, 20.2 megawatt-thermal pressurized water reactor was to establish a cold-weather nuclear power plant to support power to Fort Greely, with a secondary mission to study the economics of operating a nuclear electric power plant as compared to operating a conventional oil-fired system in a remote location.
An on-site kickoff meeting at Fort Greely will in late October 2023, paving the way for our preparatory work at the site. The team is targeting a full mobilization to the site by mid-2024. Project completion is currently anticipated by 2029. Project information can also be found on the USACE website www.nab.usace.army.mil/SM-1A/.
Three Soldiers saw firsthand how future service members at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys will live during a barracks tour, Oct. 10, with the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program.
Col. Heather Levy, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District, hosted the three Soldiers at an under-construction barracks complex that will eventually be home to more than 900 service members.
“We were super excited when we got this opportunity because one of our biggest things that we deal with in BOSS is quality of life,” said Spc. George Walters, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG Humphreys, who is from Cooperstown, Pennsylvania. “We get to have input and impact on the Soldier’s life and give the Soldier-perspective to those who don’t live in the barracks.”
The full tour included a chance to speak with engineers as they walked through what will be future barracks rooms – currently just bare concrete walls and exposed pipes.
“I really liked being able to see behind the scenes of our housing and being able to ask all these questions about our housing and how it affects our lives,” said Spc. Jaleesa Lopez, HHC, USAG Humphreys, who is from North Carolina.
Jamie Hagio, USACE’s construction division chief, says he appreciates input from service members on projects like this.
“Stakeholders, and especially those who will end up using the facility, can give us keen insight into how it will be used,” said Hagio. “This can improve our designs based on changes in the operational environment.”
Some of the input from previous service members at USAG Humphreys – that was incorporated into this construction project – was a kitchenette available in each living space and improved laundry facilities.
“I like how we’re improving the quality of life for our Soldiers by listening to their concerns, such as the lack of dryers in the laundry rooms in older barracks,” said Pfc. Alex Torres, 17th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, who is from Lathrop, California.
Torres also added that having better living quarters will improve Soldier morale and “help them have a happier time in Korea.”
“Providing opportunities like these for Soldiers to visit our projects is one of the fundamental things we do to showcase the future,” said Levy. “Hearing feedback in real-time also helps us know how we can change future construction to better support their needs as the Army changes.”
The barracks complex when finished will be three, eight-story buildings capable of housing up to 302 service members each. Every living unit will contain two bedrooms and a shared living space with a kitchenette and bathroom. The exterior will have four gazebos, a barbecue shelter, and landscaping will include grass and trees. Project completion is anticipated in spring 2025.
The BOSS program represents the voice of single servicemembers and is based on three pillars – quality of life, community service, and recreation and leisure. Volunteers with BOSS coordinate and participate in community services projects, organize recreation and leisure activities, and actively support the quality-of-life needs of single Soldiers.
U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys is the “Army’s Home in Korea” and is located along the western coast of South Korea within the seaport city of Pyeongtaek, approximately 40 miles south of Seoul. Camp Humphreys is the headquarters for the Eighth U.S. Army, the Second Infantry Division, the Army's most active airfield in the Pacific, and the hub of U.S. Forces Korea.