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Future leaders during COVID-19

Published May 28, 2020
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IN THE PHOTO, led by Memphis District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Nathan Molica, Leadership Development Program Participants toured the Alternate Care Facility May 11. During the tour, they had the opportunity to observe the installation of the third floor intensive care units. (USACE photo by Jessica Haas)

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IN THE PHOTO, Leadership Development Program Participants had the opportunity to tour the Alternate Care Facility earlier this month. Here is a group photo of one of a few tour groups that saw the facility. (USACE photo by Jessica Haas)

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IN THE PHOTO, led by Memphis District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Nathan Molica, Leadership Development Program Participants toured the Alternate Care Facility earlier this month. During the tour, they had the opportunity to observe the installation of the third floor intensive care units. (USACE photo by Jessica Haas)

The Memphis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is known for executing many different tasks, projects and missions all at the same time. Even when COVID-19 presented itself, this district didn’t stop doing everything it’s normally charged to do.

Like many other organizations around the world, the Coronavirus altered how some projects were carried out within the district; this included how the Leadership Development Program (LDP) continued on as well.

The Leadership Development Program provides the foundation to develop future leaders for the district and region and is scheduled to last one year. Of course, no one knew the Coronavirus was going to change the course curriculum.

“Being in this program has been very interesting and informational,” LDP Participant and Workforce Management Specialist Lauren Beasley said. “But with the current telework situation, we have not been able to follow our initial schedule as well as meet in person on a more regular basis. But leadership worked and continues to work hard to help us continue the program without extending it.”

Asking her what she thought the most important skill would be to have when leading a project like this, Beasley replied with communication and maintaining a connection with the team.

“If you cannot communicate/connect with the team, the project will not be successful,” Beasley explained. “Communication is very important. I have seen communication fail over the years just because someone did not provide the smallest detail. Nothing is successful without communication.”

Beasley also recognized how being able to adapt and overcome can be an important asset to any group, leader, and organization. She said it is something she’s seen the district do before, whether it be a planned project needing last minute changes or a sudden deployment due to a hurricane.

But, Beasley said, having the crisis and project so close to home makes it even more special.

“The biggest thing I took away from the visit was regardless of what life throws our way, we as a team, come together to do whatever it takes to make the situation better,” Beasley said. “We have never experienced anything like COVID-19 so it is almost impossible to predict a solution to fix such a world-wide crisis. We have taken a newspaper building and completely turned it into a medical facility to treat patients with COVID-19.”

Developing our leaders is and always will be a priority in the Memphis District. It’s an investment in our future and adapting to ensure the Leadership Development Program continued uninterrupted is just another example of how this district constantly adapts and overcomes anything out of the ordinary that comes its way.