Galveston District employees heard directly from the Southwest Division Commander, Col. Kenneth Reed, during a townhall meeting at the Jadwin Building June 23.
District Commander Col. Tim R. Vail and DPM Byron Williams introduced Reed during an awards ceremony leading up to the townhall.
“Roll tide!” Reed said upon introducing himself, sharing a laugh with the audience over his football rivalry with Vail’s Notre Dame.
During his remarks, Reed took the opportunity to connect with SWG and share his personal philosophy on leadership, which he summarized into a memorable acronym he calls the “Three Rs.” “Three Rs” represent his view of what the Southwester Division, and by extension the Galveston District, must “be” to successfully deliver the mission for the Army and the nation.
“The first R is ready,” Reed said. “We need to be ready to answer the nation’s call each and every day.”
The second R stands for responsive, Reed said. “We have to be responsive to our partners and to each other.” This includes constant communication across all lines of effort, he added.
“The final R is relevant,” Reed said. “It’s about being relevant to the communities we serve.”
That relevancy, Reed continued, was threatened when—decades ago—leadership in Washington D.C. was on the verge of deciding to split USACE into two factions, separating the civil works mission from the rest of the enterprise.
This happened because USACE was not communicating its civil works intentions and accomplishments enough to the communities that benefitted from it the most, Reed said.
“We have to be able to communicate with folks,” he said. “That communication is what keeps us relevant.”
Reed then opened up about his thoughts on successful leadership. Reed professed several tenets for SWD and SWG:
- always start with asking why;
- invest in our people;
- exercise discipline;
- focus on the basics;
- get comfortable with change; and,
- manage seams [or gaps] during periods of transition
“If we can do those things, we’re going to be successful as an organization,” Reed said.
Reed also touched on the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and strongly recommended everyone to take it.
“The FEVS is another tool for us—as leadership—to get a pulse of our organization,” he said. “It gives us the insight we need to make changes for the better.”
The Division Commander then opened the floor for questions from SWG employees.
Reed closed the townhall by circling back to his guiding philosophy.
“Ultimately, if we’re ready and responsive, we’re going to be relevant,” he said.