Newly appointed commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, Maj. Gen. Robert F. Whittle, Jr., met one-on-one with employees of the Corps’ Chicago District followed by a tour of current projects during his Sept. 24-27 visit.
“There’s a professional workforce here and what amazes me is everything they are doing for Chicago and the nation. They makes the district an even better place,” said the general.
Whittle recently assumed command of the division July 12, 2019 and one of his first of many priorities to focus on in the division is helping the USACE Chief of Engineers achieve his goal of revolutionizing the Corp of Engineers.
“Were looking for everyone’s ideas in terms of how we can do something better”, said Whittle, also adding that “it’s a family effort.”
“The general is taking the time to visit the districts and meet employees and learn from them to see how he can improve and be a great leader,” said Capt. Joshua Moore, the general’s aide de camp.
Whittle walked the halls of the Chicago District stopping at open cubicles to interact with employees and inquire about their work. He also stopped to recognize employees who were prior service members and thank them and for being a part of USACE.
The visit was to meet all employees, but to also see and ask how we can do things more efficiently, less costly and deliver products on time.
Whittle said that being a leader and taking command is not just about assuming responsibility and making immediate changes. It is about stepping back and analyzing the current process and evaluating and reevaluating to achieve the desired outcome.
“When listening, the message is easily understood and received by everyone,” he also added. “We need to collaborate and look at all the different policies out their and determine whether they are efficient and or require change.”
The general’s tour of Chicago District projects, potential projects and sites included Indiana Harbor and Canal confined disposal facility, Bubbly Creek in Chicago, the Asian-Carp electric dispersal barrier, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s mainstream pumping station, the McCook Reservoir phase one and two, Northerly Island in Chicago, the Chicago Harbor and Lock, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Hines, Illinois.
The USACE Chicago District is responsible for water resources development in the Chicago metropolitan area, an area of about 5,000 square miles with a population of about nine million, through a variety of projects including flood risk management and storm damage reduction, navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, emergency management, and interagency and international services.