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Emerging Leaders Conference Provides Spark

Published Oct. 5, 2012
Lauren Leuck Attends Emerging Leaders Conference Left to Right: Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General; Lauren Leuck; Command Sergeant Major Karl J. Groninger

Lauren Leuck Attends Emerging Leaders Conference Left to Right: Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General; Lauren Leuck; Command Sergeant Major Karl J. Groninger

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - October 5, 2012. Lauren Leuck, an environmental scientist with the USACE Institute for Water Resources, recently represented IWR at the August 7 Emerging Leader and Strategic Leaders Conferences in Little Rock, Arkansas. The emerging leader training focused on mentorship, including the importance of mentoring and what qualities and skills are needed to be a good mentor. “I think corporate recognition for the importance of mentorship within IWR is key, particularly as we face retirements and other transitions in personnel,” she said.

Ms. Leuck shadowed Major General Todd Semonite, Deputy Commanding General and Deputy Chief of Engineers, at this year’s Strategic Leaders Conference. “Shadowing MG Semonite was a learning experience,” she said.  “I was lucky to have an hour with him one-on-one to discuss leadership, balancing work and personal life, and how he approaches his job and the tasks ahead. “ Ms. Leuck noted that he stressed the importance of a vision to strive for and that this vision should be understood by everyone in the organization and how each person moves its implementation forward.  MG Semonite shared with her his focus on making the updated USACE Campaign Plan implementable and those in charge of the goals accountable through frequent meetings on the status of these goals and objectives.

The Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment), and Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a joint press conference during the Strategic Leaders Conference to announce the solicitation calling for contracts to support renewable energy on bases. “This has made me think about what IWR and HECSA could do to promote sustainability and renewable energy,” stated Ms. Leuck.

Ms. Leuck noted that there was a notable shift in focus of international attention from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific and that IWR, with so many of its activities in that area, will be well poised to support United States Pacific Command (PACOM) and USACE Pacific Ocean Division (POD) with this changing trend.

Based on her experiences at the conferences, Ms. Leuck recommends  that IWR begin to more thoroughly brief new and existing personnel about the Military Programs side of USACE, especially with the Chief of Engineers’ current focus on the whole of USACE supporting the Army. She also recommends that IWR take steps to increase its efforts to educate the rest of USACE about IWR’s mission and the many activities it pursues.

Ms. Leuck was awarded the Special Act of the Year in January of last year for her work as USACE representative to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). She supported CEQ on several high-level environmental priorities for the Administration related to critical initiatives for USACE, including mountaintop mining, revision of the Principles & Guidelines, and the Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force.  Ms. Leuck serves as USACE’s representative on the Know Your Line initiative, a cross-agency high water mark project and works on the Systems Approach to Geomorphological Engineering initiative (a bi-agency coastal landscape transformation initiative). She supports the flood risk management program, the Silver Jackets program, and other coastal projects at IWR.

Ms. Leuck joined the IWR team in 2009 as a Presidential Management Fellow. She holds an MS in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Planning and Management from Louisiana State University. While working on her thesis, Ms. Leuck studied Orleans Parish to determine what social, economic and environmental factors influenced the return rate of population to the New Orleans area and the social-ecological resilience of communities within the city.

More about the Emerging Leaders Program and the Strategic Leaders Conference

The Emerging Leaders program provides a forum for participants to have a unique experience to identify their individual strengths and constraints. The USACE supports the program in order to build the bench of the next generation of leaders. Each year participants are selected from enthusiastic and dedicated USACE personnel who exhibit leadership talents and capabilities.

The USACE summer Strategic Leaders' Conference brings together USACE leaders from around the world along with key stakeholders to discuss critical issues; enhance transparency, inclusion, and collaboration; reinforce key relationships; and orient, focus, and synchronize command resources for the coming months and years. An event of this nature requires face-to-face interaction among senior and emerging leaders and key stakeholders to enhance USACE value to the Nation.

More about IWR

IWR is a field operating activity under the supervision of the Director for Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Institute is the USACE center of expertise for integrated water resources management, focusing on planning analysis and hydrologic engineering and on the collection, management and dissemination of Civil Works and navigation information, including the nation’s waterborne commerce data. It also serves as the Corps center of expertise for collaborative planning and environmental conflict resolution.