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The Power of Recruiting, Training, and Retaining: Assembling the Best Workforce for FED

Far East District
Published Oct. 19, 2020
Lt. Col. McGee is seen here holding a traditional staff meeting with his team in Pre-Covid 19 conditions.

Lt. Col. McGee is seen here holding a traditional staff meeting with his team in Pre-Covid 19 conditions.

As the Corps of Engineers Far East District works to complete the 107 projects currently in construction phase, the District’s general and administrative (G&A) staff work diligently behind the scenes to support all the public can see as they drive by any US Army Corps of Engineers construction site.

Touchpoint Leadership: A Way to Get After it ALL

This mighty administrative team of approximately 100 civilians is overseen by the Far East District’s Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Dennis J. McGee. The District Deputy is responsible for recruiting, training, and retaining the market’s most qualified candidates. His selections directly impact the overall business performance of the Corps and helps provide its organizational cohesion.

In fact, this team’s super-effective response during the peninsula’s latest bout with COVID 19 was exemplary. Its operations involved everything from providing safety in the office’s mail room to those traveling to and from the peninsula, and even facilitating installation access for just over 2,000 construction contractors during the elevated health protection condition.

Keeping abreast and current of the District’s G&A needs is a challenge. To stay well-informed and organized, the deputy holds bi-weekly 30-minute meetings with the heads of each of his nine departments. This touchpoint leadership style gives the deputy commander face to face interaction time with each department-head at least twice a month.

This consistency in process is due to his collaborative approach to organizational development. Lt. Col. McGee has created an organizational culture that motivates his subordinates while enforcing the goals of the Far East District. As such, it is quite the commonplace to see the deputy moving through the halls of the FED headquarters greeting employees and simply asking about their day.

His direct charge includes the executive office, equal employment opportunity, internal review, information management, logistics management, public affairs, safety and occupational health, security-plans and operations, and the workforce management offices.

The Far East District Deputy empowers each of his departmental managers to think outside the box to achieve the Far East District mission. He doesn’t settle for the staff providing an initial “no” and pushes them to find a way to get to “yes” so the District’s managers and supervisors can take care of their employees and meet the mission. This leadership style allowed his managers the autonomy needed to help their employees adjust to the new normal of the pandemic and now to transition back into the organization’s post-COVID environment.

Recruit, Train, And Retain for the Corps

When asked how he gets to the business of recruiting the best candidates for the District, Lt. Col. McGee provided a very detailed answer, “We have an ongoing recruiting campaign to find the markets holding the largest areas of recruitment opportunity. I think our largest challenge is that we aren’t well known in the general public. We use several initiatives to better advertise our employment opportunities and have a few recruitment programs outside the USAJOBS network. We also advertise in a number of professional engineering magazines and other publications.”

 “We take every opportunity to meet the general public during local career fairs and monthly informational sessions with the Solider for Life-Transition program,” says LTC McGee.

Additionally, the Far East District has a resume/email tracking system for those seeking to work with the Corps here in Korea. Interested parties should submit their current resume and any supporting documents to: DLL-CEPOF-WM@usace.army.mil. You may also find career opportunities listed here:  https://www.pof.usace.army.mil/Careers.aspx.

“The Corps of Engineers portfolio performs better than any large Engineering firm in the industry and there is virtually nothing in the world to compare us against. We compensate our employees very well and have a large variation in the positions and salaries we offer as a result of our many career options. Additionally, we offer the benefit of stability, job security, and retirement. These are attributes that aren’t as easy to find outside of government employment.”

Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. McGee is dedicated to the Corps mission and ensuring that its staff is prepared to handle it. As an organization that prides itself on its efficiencies and employment training, the Far East District is always prepared to not only hire the best candidate, but to also provide them with additional tools to sharpen their skills simultaneously.

You may visit with the Corps of Engineers on October 22nd from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at the upcoming Camp Humphreys Semi-Annual Job Fair at the Morning Calm Center.