TAD HQ and forward deployed task forces rate their jobs as ‘Best places to work’

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division's Task Force Mosul Dam, headquartered in Iraq, pose in front of their building. The team was presented with an award for voting their organization a one of the "Best Places To Work" in the Federal Government.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division's Task Force Mosul Dam, headquartered in Iraq, pose in front of their building. The team was presented with an award for voting their organization a one of the "Best Places To Work" in the Federal Government.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division's Task Force Essayons, headquartered at Camp Taji, Iraq, pose in front of their building. The team was presented with an award for voting their organization a one of the "Best Places To Work" in the Federal Government.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division's Task Force Essayons, headquartered at Camp Taji, Iraq, pose in front of their building. The team was presented with an award for voting their organization a one of the "Best Places To Work" in the Federal Government.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division Headquarters and TAD’s Deployed Task Forces were voted “best places to work” across USACE for 2018. The designation came from an unusual source: The employees working in Winchester, Va., and those forward deployed across the Middle East.

The BPTW score is calculated based on the percentage of positive responses to questions during the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, taken annually by Federal employees.  

Less than 40 percent of federal agencies increased their BPTW scores in 2018, with the average agency scoring around 62.2 percent out of 100. TAD’s Deployed Task Forces, composed of Task Force Essayons (TFE), Mosul Dam Task Force (MDTF), Forward Engineer Support Teams (FEST) and Expeditionary Civilian Workforce (ECW) averaged a score of 75 percent, earning them the BPTW distinction. What makes the TAD scores even more remarkable is where these organizations are located and the work they do: TAD’s Deployed Task Forces live and work in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, which spans more than 4 million square miles and stretches from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia.  

Task Force Essayons is headquartered out of Camp Taji, located in a rural district north of the city of Baghdad in Iraq, on an austere base that alternates between dust and mud. Camp Taji doesn’t even have running water in many of the living facilities. It’s a place where civilians and military alike must be helicoptered onto, and where port-a-potties are as common as indoor toilets are on stateside bases.

Col. Clete Goetz, the former TFE commander who recently departed Iraq for his new assignment at Fort Hood, Texas, said the award wasn’t a total surprise but a surprise none the less.

“I found out the day of the awards presentation that TFE was one of the recipients. [Transatlantic Division Commander Col. Mark Quander] asked me to be on the call to accept on behalf of our deployed TAD Task Forces. We’ve got just a great group of folks here, all of whom are volunteers. They are dedicated to the mission and want to do everything they can to improve the lives of U.S. Forces, our coalition forces, and our host-nation partners when called upon.”

Goetz said TAD’s deployed teams – both civilian and military – derive great job satisfaction from the support they provide.

“They generally enjoy being around a group of like-minded people who believe in what they are doing. When you spend as much time as we do around each other, you want to have that in common. We just have a great vibe within the organization that people want to be a part of.”

Lt. Col. Andrew Olson, Deputy Commander for Task Force Mosul Dam, also in Iraq, echoes Goetz opinions about both the TAD workforce, and the missions they perform.

“The great thing about the Mosul Dam Task Force is that we are all laser-focused on one project –repairing and maintaining Mosul Dam, and we recognize the incredible importance of that effort to the country of Iraq and specifically the several million people living downstream of the dam. It’s a unique and historical undertaking and I think at the end of the day, in spite of sacrifices involved with being here, we all find it very rewarding to be a part of.”

In 2019, USACE established a new award for “World Class Best Places to Work.” In order to receive a World Class BPTW award, a score of 80 percent or higher is required. TAD HQ received the “World Class Award” with a score of 81 percent on the 2018 FEVS.

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley approximately 70 miles northwest of D.C., TAD HQ is located in Winchester, Va. It’s a family-friendly small-town community known for its annual Apple Blossom festival, now in its 92nd year. TAD HQ employees enjoy the locality pay of their D.C. neighbors, without the D.C. traffic, congestion and high cost of living. The duty location is not just a World Class Best Place to Work, it is also a “best kept secret” for those seeking employment in Northern Virginia.

TAD Commander Col. Mark Quander said the rating given by employees symbolizes their feelings for the work they do and the people they serve. He said many of TAD’s forward-deployed members are not part of the ‘core’ TAD team but are instead individuals who volunteer from across the Army and the Corps of Engineers, to deploy on behalf of TAD.

“That’s what makes the awards even more remarkable – and special. We are able to take individuals from across the enterprise and form cohesive, responsive, and dedicated teams at some pretty austere locations across the Middle East, and they are all telling us they are happy with their work environments. I believe the ‘family’ atmosphere characteristic of our Winchester headquarters sets the tone for our downrange duty locations. We have a team of committed professionals with decades of experience working across the Corps of Engineers. When that commitment and experience is transported to our forward deployed locations, it permeates the news teams that we form.”

The 2018 Best Places to Work rankings include the views of employees from 488 federal agencies and subcomponents. There are 17 large agencies, 27 midsize agencies, 29 small agencies and 415 subcomponents included in the rankings. USACE and TAD fall under the Department of the Army.

The men and women of TAD proudly and consistently deliver the USACE program to stakeholders at the speed of relevance. Find out more about TAD, as well as employment and deployment opportunities online at: https://www.tad.usace.army.mil/.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division serves as USACE’s tip of the spear in one of the most dynamic construction environments in the world, STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS, BUILDING CAPACITY, and ENHANCING SECURITY for our nation, allies, and partners. 

We deliver agile, responsive, and innovative, design, construction, engineering and contingency solutions in support of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and other global partners to advance national security interests.

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