Area I DPW wins top Army awards

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Photo Credit: Dave Palmer
Photo Credit: Dave Palmer

Area I DPW wins top Army awards

by: Franklin Fisher | .
U.S. Army | .
published: October 18, 2014

CAMP RED CLOUD -- Three public works officials with the garrison that manages U.S. Army installations in the sprawling region north of Seoul have received top-level Army awards for the excellence of their work.

All are members of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I's Directorate of Public Works (DPW): Yun Heo, who heads the directorate; Marshall D. Downs, chief of its Operations and Maintenance Division; and Roland E. Langford, chief of the Environment Division.

Area I's DPW is the largest in Korea and is responsible for more than 2,000 buildings and other property on 13,992 acres that stretch from Uijeongbu to Korea's Demilitarized Zone.

Heo has received the Director of Army Safety Risk Management Safety Award.

In addition, all three have received 2013 DPW awards from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. Selection for the awards came after the Army evaluated public works award nominees Army-wide.

Heo has received IMCOM's William C. Gribble Jr., 2013 DPW Executive of the Year Award; Downs the 2013 DPW Operations and Maintenance Executive of the Year Award; Langford the 2013 Garrison Support Executive of the Year Award.

Each was presented his IMCOM award in a Sept. 30 ceremony inside the USAG Red Cloud and Area I headquarters building on Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu.

Heo will be presented his Safety award at a ceremony on a date yet to be announced.

Col. Jack Haefner, Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I, welcomed news of the four awards, and noted that in the case of the DPW awards IMCOM makes to individual employees at the installation level, the garrison had earned fully half -- three out of a possible six.

"Out of all the Army garrisons, we took fifty percent of the awards," Haefner said of the IMCOM awards. "That, alone, tells you something, doesn't it? I mean, we know that these guys are the best, and now it's great to get recognition that they truly are the best -- across IMCOM."

According to a memorandum issued by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Farnsworth, Director of Army Safety, Heo earned his safety award "by demonstrating exemplary leadership and employing the tenets of Risk Management to reduce the command's overall accident rate."

Heo received the award, the accompanying citation says, for "significant contributions to Army safety by employing Risk Management to create an accident free work environment. Your efforts set standards for others to emulate and are a reflection of your dedication to duty and determination to complete the mission at hand in a manner conducive to protecting Army resources."

His contributions included appointing and holding regular meetings with more than two dozen safety officers to aid in "mitigating work hazard issues," according to the letter from the USAG Red Cloud and Area I garrison commander nominating Heo for the award.

Heo also held briefings on Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud to teach Composite Risk Management to all supervisors throughout the garrison, the letter said. And he "consistently mentored leaders" on safety practices and principles and "kept them engaged in reducing preventable accidents and preserving the Army's war fighting assets."

The separate letter nominating Heo for IMCOM's DPW Executive of the Year Award cites various actions he took that amounted to savings in the millions of dollars.

They include a preventive maintenance program set up under his direction that led to savings of $333,000 on what would otherwise have become service orders.

Heo took certain public works functions the Army had been paying contractors to do and transferred them instead to garrison work crews, saving $6 million over three years. These included, among others, grounds maintenance, fire system testing, and tests for whether fuel tanks were properly sealed.

And he suggested and oversaw the conversion of Camp Red Cloud's central heating plant from diesel to natural gas, saving the Army more than $100,000 yearly.

Heo said the awards were both "an honor" and challenge.

"Because now we have set a high standard that we're expected to continue meeting," he said.

The awards reflect the quality of DPW's staff, said Heo. "It is not really an individual achievement, it is a collective achievement," he said. "It represents the entire organization."

Among actions that led to Downs' IMCOM award were his "outstanding" efforts with the garrison's real property maintenance and upkeep programs, according to his nomination letter. These were marked by timely action and "exceptional" service for all Area I units. And Downs ensured proper infrastructure was available for units new to Area I.

Downs also "provided exceptional leadership during difficult periods of personnel and budgetary shortfalls," events that saw cuts to nearly 30 percent of his workforce, the letter said.

"He effectively worked around these shortages by creative utilization of other employees and reassignments, as well as improved scheduling and balancing priorities," according to the letter.

"Mr. Downs," it said, "has sacrificed numerous personal hours in the completion of the many assignments and requirements of the position. He is highly respected by his Branch Chiefs and workers."

"I actually was shocked to win an Army-level award," Downs said. "I'm shocked, humbled. I just figured I was doing my job. I don't think it's just my award. I don't think I would have been able to receive this award if my staff didn't perform at the level they do. So, this is not my award, it's my team's award."

Langford is responsible for all environmental projects and activities for Area I, including management of cultural and natural resources, pollution prevention, handling of hazardous substances, and environmental safety and health, according to his nomination letter.

He supervised and in some cases developed innovative recycling programs for used batteries, toner cartridges, and cooking oil. The used cooking oil is now recycled into laundry soap and biodiesel, at a savings to the Army of more than $100,000 a year.

And Langford brought about an arrangement under which the garrison collaborates with the local Shin Heung College Department of Environmental Engineering on various mutually beneficial activities.

Langford chaired committees that manage wetland, waste, and other environmental matters, with savings of more than $250,000 a year.

He also "highly encourages his subordinates and peers to achieve education, training, certification, and licensing, and leads by his example," the letter said.

"I was pleasantly surprised to personally win, but even more to find out that out of the few that were given worldwide, three were given to Camp Red Cloud DPW," Langford said of the DPW awards. "What's so significant is that we were in competition with every Army garrison, worldwide.

"A good portion of the credit for this goes to my staff, for their dedicated and hard work," Langford said.

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