By Brandon Tolliver
USACE-Far East District Korea Program Relocation Office
U.S. ARMY GARRISON-HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- Earlier this fall, at the 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Convention in Portland, OR, I presented a technical abstract titled, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) $10.7 billion Korea Relocation Program’. My submission was selected from 235 abstract submissions to fill 40 available session slots during the convention.
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s vision is to position engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life.
My presentation was categorized in the ‘significant projects’ topic field, which is intended to cover mega projects and multidisciplinary views on the feasibility, planning, design, construction, costs, public process, value, innovation, sustainability, and resiliency of the project discussed.
My session, which afforded all attendees 1.5 professional development hours (PDHs), gave a brief overview of the entire Yongsan Relocation Program. I spent a significant portion at the start addressing the initial earthwork required to prepare the newly acquired land for construction. The volume and magnitude of the earthwork was a major point of interest to many of the professionals there. We also had a discussion on some of the lessons learned thus far, including stakeholder management, cultural differences, and construction quality. I was especially encouraged by the positive feedback I received when we discussed how the Far East District’s dedication to quality required some time extensions to the schedule. It was reassuring that my peers found it to be honorable that USACE does not sacrifice the overall quality and sustainability of our construction to meet a specific deadline. I ended the presentation with an update of many of the marquee projects, which I referred to as generic titles such as ‘headquarters’ or ‘office building two’.
I made my business cards available at the area where attendees had to register. I was very surprised to get so much feedback and inquiries about the project. My most treasured correspondence was from a professor at West Point, who commended the presentation, and requested to collaborate on some training problems based on the earthwork executed here at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys.
Overall, this was a great experience. I was proud to be able to showcase the type of work we are doing here in the Republic of Korea with such a respected group of peers and colleagues. Presentations like this help dispel the myth that government agencies only work on cookie cutter standardized small scale projects. I believe this can be a useful recruiting tool in the future.