CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Afghanistan District Commander U.S. Army Col. Kimberly Colloton along with Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Blansett, USACE TAA senior enlisted advisor, and Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management John Drake met with the Soldiers, Civilians and staff at the USACE TAA Marmal Resident Office to get a firsthand briefing on the current and future projects underway in northern Afghanistan.
Drake, who has been the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management for almost a year has spent a more than 3 and a half years total working for USACE TAA in Afghanistan.
Drake explained, “It is really important to meet with the project managers and engineers face to face and have the opportunity to discuss their insights on the projects they are working to complete.”
The Marmal staff briefed the command team on each active project, laying out the progress, challenges and ways ahead.
Colloton stressed the importance of effectively using force multipliers, equally balancing budget constraints with the importance of completing the projects to the highest standards and being open to finding the best solution for the long term viability and maintenance upkeep of the projects.
“It’s important to understand the full impact of each project and how it fits into the larger picture of establishing a foundation of stable services and facilities for Afghanistan,” Colloton said. “Ensuring there are no gaps in the communications between ourselves and especially between the project managers, engineers and the people actually on site at the construction sites every day.”
Colloton also stressed how important it is for everyone involved to have a seat at the table and be able to share their experience and bring their expertise to the benefit of the overall mission.
Colloton’s ability to deep dive on multiple projects and piece together the overall picture of TAA construction efforts and challenges as well as budget management lends her team a strategic edge. Colloton also make a point to know her people and learn not only their skill sets but why what motivates their work here in Afghanistan. The personal connection of the USACE TAA to their mission shows in their deep commitment to each and every project.
Marmal Resident Office OIC U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Strasser, who received his combat shoulder sleeve insignia during a patching ceremony just before the meeting, explained why Colloton’s visit was important.
“It’s good for her to understand what we see so we see a common picture when we are talking over the phone during normal meetings,” Strasser stated. “Plus it’s a good chance just to have face to face time with the command team.”
The Marmal Resident Office is currently managing ten active contracts with a value of 12.6 million dollars.