FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – The Pacific Ocean Division (POD) continues to recognize employee and team excellence, in the age of COVID-19-related telework.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner, POD commanding general, named Thomas Wellman, POD regional security officer, as exceptional employee of the fourth quarter, as well as fiscal year 2019 civilian of the year in a virtual ceremony. Additionally, POD professional development team members were named “dream team of the year” during the division headquarters WEBEX, for assistance to a Japan Engineer District project.
“While operations have shifted to a predominately telework model, our recognition of the team is as solid as ever,” Tickner said. “Today’s ceremony is proof that we haven’t skipped a beat in terms of what matters most…our people. We depend on employees like Tom, and outstanding teammates, like our dream team winners, to deliver vital engineering solutions to our nation’s toughest challenges. Right now, that problem is coronavirus (COVID-19),” Tickner added.
Wellman was recognized for his actions prior to the pandemic, in mitigating against cyber-related areas of risk for two districts within POD’s area of operation. Additionally he integrated key staff into vital processes, including emergency management, improving regional security coordination and implementation for a variety of scenarios. As a result, POD’s security program is better postured to provide increased service delivery throughout the Pacific area of operation.
Drew Benziger, chief of readiness and contingency operations for the division commented on Wellman’s selection. “Not only was Tom was extremely busy during the fourth quarter, providing outstanding support to POD’s districts, as well as the regional headquarters, but he is a perpetual top performer. He consistently and conscientiously executes his duties to the fullest on behalf of the entire organization, our stakeholders and respective missions,” he said.
Dream team members include Albert Fobel, Keith Terada, Ed Yago, Aaron Tashiro, Kristal Lizama, Allen Taira, Reid Oshiro (ret), Brad Scully, Craig Ueda, David Chun, Sean Sackett, and Stuart Christianson. The team helped to solve a problem that was impeding construction and costing additional money for projects constructed by USACE in Japan. While most projects require U.S. standards, materials and practices, attaining Japanese acceptable alternatives were proving to be challenge. The team took on the task of identifying and then receiving approval to use Japanese alternatives that were deemed acceptable by the U.S. These actions have a positive impact on Japan Engineer District projects and are shared as a design tool with other service components and stakeholders.
George Chan, a supervisory program manager in POD’s Regional Business Management, also provided remarks on the team’s collective achievement. “Their accomplishments have truly made a positive impact to the multitude of vital host nation construction programs in Japan. Their professionalism and selflessness reflected highly upon themselves and the highest standards of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army,” Chan said.
During the recognition, Tickner instituted CDC-recommended health protection measures, standing more than six feet away from honorees and using gloves to place the award on a stand-alone platform. Award winners then picked up the award once Tickner stepped away. Such actions are becoming more common place as organizations world-wide adapt to the current health crisis.
“As COVID-19 continues to take a devastating toll on communities around the globe, our outstanding employees have an opportunity to continue rising to the occasion, showing our nation and allies that they can rely on us in times of triumph as well as times of trial to deliver life-saving engineering efforts. There’s no doubt in my mind that more employee recognition is on the way as our team members deliver those solutions,” Tickner said.