LRD’s Senior Leaders Conference offers a unique experience for teammates from numerous roles throughout the region to come together and discuss important topics pertinent for the success of the division, and the region. In addition to command staff, department heads and division leaders, a variety of experts from within LRD attended the conference to represent their unique perspectives and give their own distinct knowledge and experience to the group. Participants from the division’s Leadership Development Program also attended the event, to gain a better understanding of leadership from a regional perspective.
The conference took place at the Hilton Doubletree in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga represents the near southern-most tip of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division’s 355,300 square mile area of responsibility, falling under the Nashville District’s regional jurisdiction. The city is also home to one of the division’s mega-projects – the Chickamauga Lock Replacement Project.
The first day of the conference included an overview from LRD Deputy Commander, Col. Jason Buursma, as well as introductory comments from LRD Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, who discussed the future for LRD, including current projects, challenges, and what to expect from the conference in the days ahead.
Following the introductory comments, U.S. Representative Chuck Fleishman (TN-03) spoke to attendees of the conference about his connection to Chattanooga, the community, and working with USACE to provide solutions for his community. Rep. Fleishman shared about his career, his time working within congress, including his experience serving in the House Committee on Appropriations, and as the Chairman of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of Appropriations.
Also in attendance at the conference was retired Maj. Gen. John Peabody, former Commanding General of LRD. Peabody also held the position of USACE Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, and Commanding General of the Mississippi Valley Division. Currently, Peabody is the Senior Vice President and Director of Federal Programs for Mott MacDonald, a global management, engineering, and development consultancy. Peabody gave advice to teammates and shared lessons learned throughout his career to give participants of the conference a useful perspective.
Later that afternoon, participants of the conference traveled to the Chickamauga Lock Project, where leadership from the Nashville District gave the team a guided tour of the mega-project. The tour included information about the mega-project, including the status of ongoing construction, safety and operations, challenges overcome by the team, and upcoming construction schedules. Before departing, Brig. Gen. Peeples awarded division coins for multiple members of the team for their hard work and service in delivering a critical project for the region.
The second day of the conference began with LRD Programs Director, Mr. Joseph Savage, giving a speech about the importance of culture within an organization. Participants were asked to read an article from the Harvard Business Review, “The Leaders Guide to Corporate Culture” by Boris Groysberg, Jeremiah Lee, Jesse Price, and J. Yo-Jud Cheng, and discuss what they believe the culture is at LRD, and how to elicit organizational improvements by embracing the culture of the organization.
This discussion lead into the final activity of the conference, in which participants gathered in individual breakout sessions. In small teams, teammates brainstormed solutions to current challenges facing the division, including identifying strategic issues through analysis, recruitment and Talent Management challenges, ensuring inland navigation capacity and competency, energizing quality culture throughout the division, and advancing collaboration throughout the Ohio River Basin. Members from each session briefed their findings and solutions to the conference, where further discussion helped shape an organizational solution for teammates to deliver back to their district and division teams.
The conference adjourned with Brig. Gen. Peeples recognizing members of the team for their achievements, along with all the participants and staff that made the conference possible.
To see photos from day one of the conference, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAziB9
To see photos from the second day of the conference, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAziFN
To see photos from the Chickamauga Lock Project tour, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAzjBj
To learn more about the Chickamauga Lock Project, visit https://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Media/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheet-Article-View/Article/1745916/chickamauga-lock-replacement-project/