When I first came to the Corps, one question my new director asked was “What is the ‘why?’” Initially, as I struggled with new terminology, procedures, and people, I asked myself that question daily.
Over time, I began to look at tasks with a new eye as I entertained the question. Most people find it easy to list processes and the procedures they entail. I knew the point of the question was for each employee to examine whether our policies, procedures, and other facets of our positions made sense. However, the exercise led me to ask myself the bigger why question. Why the Army? Why the Corps? Why this team?
As a young Soldier, I knew my why: my country and my brethren. My why didn’t change when I joined Civil Service. In fact, I had a deeper dedication to my why as I worked with and for young special operators. I laughed, prayed, and ate with them. Sadly, I buried some too.
I must admit that when I came to Washington, DC, it was harder to connect my mission directly to the Soldier, particularly in an organization that has such a huge civil mission.
In the end, I realized that I had a tremendous opportunity to work in an even broader capacity for my country and for all Americans—Soldiers and civilians. I have the pleasure of working with dedicated, selfless professionals who lead by example. I am humbled and honored to serve with them. One goal I hope to accomplish with the Public Works Digest is to stress not only the how but also the why. I’d love to hear what motivates you.
Dana A. McClellan
Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
441 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000