39 min

A Conversation about Leadership and EWN with Brigadier General Kelly, Commander of the USACE South Atlantic Division EWN - Engineering With Nature

    • Nature

Leadership and vision are essential to implementing Engineering With Nature to create landscape-scale climate resilience. We’re focusing on leadership and EWN in conversations with two inspirational USACE Division leaders – Colonel (P) Antoinette Gant, Commander, and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division (SPD), and Brigadier General Jason Kelly, Commander of the South Atlantic Division (SAD). 
 
In Episode 7, Host Sarah Thorne and Todd Bridges, Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Lead of the Engineering With Nature® Program are talking with BG Kelly about the challenges facing the South Atlantic Division. From restoration in the Everglades, to deepening the Charleston Harbor, to ongoing flood control initiatives, to disaster preparedness, we’re talking about the leadership needed to address landscape-scale challenges in innovative ways and how Engineering With Nature is an important part of infrastructure solutions. 
 
With an education in mathematics and statistics from Georgia Tech, BG Kelly spent the first 20 years of his career as “time in a formation with a rifle and a pistol” leading men and women as soldiers. When he took command of the Norfolk District in 2015, he was unsure if he would be as excited about navigation, recreation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and regulatory permitting as he had been about preparing soldiers for combat, but he found that he was: “I'm curious by nature, so, this job certainly fits the bill. I come into work every day and have the opportunity to engage subject matter experts, folks that know more—have forgotten more—than I'll learn during my tenure as the Division Commander in SAD. We're all committed. We're all trying to deliver for the nation.” He is driven by curiosity, a desire to collaborate, and a personal quest to become a better communicator: “I strive to better communicate as an ambassador for the great work that's happening in my organization. I'm excited about what we're doing.”
 
The South Atlantic Division faces many challenges—and opportunities—from hurricanes and impacts from climate change, to moving populations, and a range of issues related to aging infrastructure. The USACE is leading innovation to deliver 21st century engineering and infrastructure solutions that leverage EWN to solve problems and create value. From BG Kelly’s perspective, leadership is critical: “I think it's important that the senior most members of our organization lean in. As the senior leader in the South Atlantic Division, I am afforded the opportunity to know the EWN solutions that are available, but that's not always the case for some of the practitioners in the districts. I think it's important that the senior-most leaders get active, specifically with my position as a Major Subordinate Commander, sitting at the nexus of execution in the districts and policy in Washington, DC – rules and tools – trying to make all of that come together so we can do some collateral good. I don't think it happens without that nudge from leaders. Leadership matters.”
 
Todd agrees: “Hearing leaders talk about, communicate, and message about EWN and innovative approaches, is so important for the vertical team within the Corps, but also to our sponsors and stakeholders and those that we're building things for. They need to hear us talk about what we're trying to do and how we're going to achieve it.”
 
BG Kelly notes that strengthening communication is being strongly promoted by the Honorable Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works as one of his ‘lines of effort’, along with other factors that directly relate to EWN: “His insistence that we strengthen communications and relationships to solve water resource challenges, is front and center. I try to do that from my perch in Atlanta. His insistence that we modernize our Civil Works programs to bette

Leadership and vision are essential to implementing Engineering With Nature to create landscape-scale climate resilience. We’re focusing on leadership and EWN in conversations with two inspirational USACE Division leaders – Colonel (P) Antoinette Gant, Commander, and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division (SPD), and Brigadier General Jason Kelly, Commander of the South Atlantic Division (SAD). 
 
In Episode 7, Host Sarah Thorne and Todd Bridges, Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Lead of the Engineering With Nature® Program are talking with BG Kelly about the challenges facing the South Atlantic Division. From restoration in the Everglades, to deepening the Charleston Harbor, to ongoing flood control initiatives, to disaster preparedness, we’re talking about the leadership needed to address landscape-scale challenges in innovative ways and how Engineering With Nature is an important part of infrastructure solutions. 
 
With an education in mathematics and statistics from Georgia Tech, BG Kelly spent the first 20 years of his career as “time in a formation with a rifle and a pistol” leading men and women as soldiers. When he took command of the Norfolk District in 2015, he was unsure if he would be as excited about navigation, recreation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and regulatory permitting as he had been about preparing soldiers for combat, but he found that he was: “I'm curious by nature, so, this job certainly fits the bill. I come into work every day and have the opportunity to engage subject matter experts, folks that know more—have forgotten more—than I'll learn during my tenure as the Division Commander in SAD. We're all committed. We're all trying to deliver for the nation.” He is driven by curiosity, a desire to collaborate, and a personal quest to become a better communicator: “I strive to better communicate as an ambassador for the great work that's happening in my organization. I'm excited about what we're doing.”
 
The South Atlantic Division faces many challenges—and opportunities—from hurricanes and impacts from climate change, to moving populations, and a range of issues related to aging infrastructure. The USACE is leading innovation to deliver 21st century engineering and infrastructure solutions that leverage EWN to solve problems and create value. From BG Kelly’s perspective, leadership is critical: “I think it's important that the senior most members of our organization lean in. As the senior leader in the South Atlantic Division, I am afforded the opportunity to know the EWN solutions that are available, but that's not always the case for some of the practitioners in the districts. I think it's important that the senior-most leaders get active, specifically with my position as a Major Subordinate Commander, sitting at the nexus of execution in the districts and policy in Washington, DC – rules and tools – trying to make all of that come together so we can do some collateral good. I don't think it happens without that nudge from leaders. Leadership matters.”
 
Todd agrees: “Hearing leaders talk about, communicate, and message about EWN and innovative approaches, is so important for the vertical team within the Corps, but also to our sponsors and stakeholders and those that we're building things for. They need to hear us talk about what we're trying to do and how we're going to achieve it.”
 
BG Kelly notes that strengthening communication is being strongly promoted by the Honorable Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works as one of his ‘lines of effort’, along with other factors that directly relate to EWN: “His insistence that we strengthen communications and relationships to solve water resource challenges, is front and center. I try to do that from my perch in Atlanta. His insistence that we modernize our Civil Works programs to bette

39 min