Standing in front of employees at the annual U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Town Hall, Col. Robert Ruch, Huntsville Center commander used the opportunity to provide the crowd with holiday wishes, express his thanks for all the hard work and provide information regarding Center priorities and goals for 2016.
“I just want to thank everybody for the super hard work that you do to support the Department of Defense and all the troops. Sometimes we just have to sit back and think about all we do and all the people we support and the products we’re delivering,” Ruch said in his opening remarks.
Ruch thanked the deployed Huntsville Center employees and touched on some of the missions the Center is supporting both overseas and stateside to include range clean-up projects in Afghanistan and the recently completed work at stateside military hospital.
In Afghanistan, Huntsville Center’s Ordnance and Explosives Directorate’s International Operations Division has people deployed to support Environmental Footprint Reduction (EFR), Afghanistan project to remediate forward operating bases and combat outposts—especially training ranges-- as units draw down.
“We proposed a solution and through working with our contractor, there are about 5,000 local Afghan employees out there cleaning up these ranges,” Ruch said.
“The work done by the OE group over there is really incredible—it’s hard work, and it’s making a difference and these are measurable impacts we are having there and it’s saving lives.”
Ruch moved his address from overseas projects to work the Center is doing on American soil, explaining that he was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Dec. 17 for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the end of the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital construction and renovation project.
Huntsville Center’s Initial Outfitting and Transition program provided support for more than $14 million in services for the $68 million project.
Ruch said he toured the facility and spent time with the head nurse there who was “glowing” about the upgrades.
It’s (improved) how they deliver care to their patients now,” Ruch said. “The equipment we brought in and how we set it up makes a difference for the Soldiers and the families being treated there.”
Ruch provided results to the Huntsville Center Climate and 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey which saw the Center jump 38 places from 149 to 111 in the survey that is a tool measuring employees' perceptions of whether, and to what extent, conditions characterizing successful organizations are present in their agencies.
Ruch spotlighted the successes he believes resulted in a 90 percent employee satisfaction rating that includes volunteer work from the activities association and a well-received employee of the month and commander’s bucks-on-the-spot reward programs.
For 2016, Ruch said his focus is providing more leased office space to accommodate program growth, improving supervisory-subordinate counseling and more focus placed on individual development programs to ensure employees receive the training and education they require to grow professionally.
Building renovations are a priority for Ruch who spoke about security upgrades and a new 8-year lease for the Government Services Administration-owned facility that includes owner upgrades and Huntsville Center-backed improvements valued and at more than $1 million.
After presenting personnel recognition and awards, Ruch ended the event with a question and answer period.