WINCHESTER, Va. – Strengthening relationships is as important within an organization as it is with external mission partners. Once a month, Col. William C. Hannan, Jr., the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commander, sits down with his workforce for a bit of conversation over a morning cup of coffee. It may seem like a small gesture, but it has a huge impact.
Kirsten Davis, the Division’s Army Corps of Engineers deployment coordinator, said the monthly Commander’s Coffee allow her to hear firsthand what is important right now for the command and for the division’s mission partners.
“It lets us understand where the commander’s head is at on important topics,” Davis said. “And it provides transparency to the staff so that we all have a shared understanding of what our partnerships and projects look like so that no matter who you are on the staff you’re able to understand the decisions being made and where the organization is headed.
“It also allows us to understand what the command is thinking and planning, so we aren’t guessing. There is open dialog, and we can ask questions,” Davis continued. “So there’s no confusion about anything. We can talk about anything from the new Army branding to SOCOM. It’s all there. And everybody hears the same message. It strengthens our relationship with the command and with one another. And this strengthens the organization as a whole.”
Hannan kicked off the informal gathering with a roll -up of important engagements since last month’s Coffee, highlighting recent engagements with U.S. Army Central and U.S. Air Forces Central, as well as his takeaways from the U.S. Central Command Commanders Conference and Global Special Operations Forces Engineer Conference.
“I spend a good bit of time traveling and engaging with our mission partners throughout the CENTCOM region and stateside as well,” Hannan said. “It’s important that I bring that perspective back and share it with the collective team to help reinforce an understanding of the top priorities in the CENTCOM AOR – people, partnerships, and innovation - and how USACE fits into achieving overall mission success.”
The Commander’s Coffee is held at the Division headquarters and is open to both in-office and teleworking staff members. Bryton Johnson, Transatlantic Division’s deputy for International and Interagency Services/Security Assistance (and owner of the office’s best espresso machine), brought his own ‘cup of joe’ and attended the event in person.
“I really appreciate the commander’s insights from the interactions and meetings with leaders and mission partners he has engaged with throughout the month leading up to this,” Johnson said. “It helps us keep tabs on what’s going on around the AOR and provides a deeper understanding of our mission partners requirements and needs and how we are meeting them. These informal opportunities for discussion do help shape the future of where we’re going, and I do hope they continue.”
Hannan closed out the gathering by wishing his team a great day and reflecting on the importance of small gestures.
“As a relatively new commander here at the Transatlantic Division, I seek out and look forward to opportunities to connect and listen to the outstanding people of TAD. I am always looking for ways I can support their individual missions and to strengthen the overall team.”