Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Branch relocation improves office efficiency

by Stephen Satkowski
Far East District

The Far East District geotechnical and environmental engineering branch has some new equipment and space due to the district’s recent headquarters relocation to Camp Humphreys. One of only eight in all of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performing quality assurance in design and construction, geotech moved out of the old district headquarters in Seoul to their new home in the fall of 2018.

Jay Pak, geotechnical branch chief, said the new setting provides a better and more open space for district employees.

“It looks more professional,” said Pak. We also have new furniture in the lab which makes a big difference.

Along with the new office and furniture, geotech was also able to acquire new state of the art equipment in the last year. They now have a new industrial oven used for measuring and removing moisture from soil specimens. They also have a remote automatic consolidation machine, which will help replace the older manual ones. Construction materials are then tested and identified in the field and at the district’s materials testing laboratory –validated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers materials testing center in Vicksburg, MS – where it allows them to expertly characterize a construction site. Most districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have to contract out this testing.

“We have in-house capability,” said Pak. It is very unique compared to the rest of Corps.”

The Geotechnical branch also provides training, inspects equipment and validates the capabilities of Republic of Korea contracting firms, as well as supporting U.S. military engineers in training and knowledge sharing.

From professional engineers, to geologists, to drill rig operators, the geotech office has a wide variety of positions and is one of the more distinguishing aspects of working for the Far East District in the Republic of Korea.

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