Corps Chief Change at North Atlantic Division

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Milhorn assumed command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division from outgoing commander Maj. Gen. William H. Graham during a ceremony this summer at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

Army Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who officiated, also promoted Graham, who was at his post for more than three years, to major general.

“This is one of the largest, most complicated divisions in the Corps of Engineers,” Semonite said. It is responsible for projects in the Northeastern U.S as well as Europe and Africa. In recent years, the division’s 3,500 military and civilian employees led Hurricane Sandy recovery and resilience work, including Seagate in Brooklyn and the Absecon Inlet seawall in Atlantic City, N.J. 

Milhorn was formerly deputy commanding general of the Army’s I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and also had commanded the Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division. Graham now takes the I-Corps role.

Empower Tools for Women

Advocate for yourself and help each other: That was the message of the Empower thought leadership summit in July in New York City, put on by construction software maker Procore. The event, part of a series spurred by its Women in Construction initiative, engaged women and men attendees to develop employee retention initiatives, including education and commuting stipends. Panelists included Commodore Builders’ director of internal operations Amanda Finnerty, XSite Modular Consulting CEO Amy Marks, Gardner Builders CEO Bob Gardner and DeWalt director of field engineering Sioban Sawyer. They discussed how to empower women employees and bosses at all levels.

It all comes down to culture change. “You have to be a model of the culture [that’s desired] at all times,” Marks, whose firm is based in Branchburg, N.J., told a young female manager who sought advice in dealing with subcontractors who are disrespectful to her and other women. Gardner added that “constant, gentle pressure” works in such situations. These efforts will pay off for firms, said Finnerty, noting: “You’ll establish a reputation. Word gets around.” Attendees hailed from Mortenson, Suffolk, Hilti, Shawmut, Cocozza Group, Pizzarotti, Walsh Brothers, McKissack & McKissack, Bravo Builders, Sordoni and Habitat for Humanity.

N.J. Union Sector Awards $1 Million in Scholarships

Construction unions and union construction firms in New Jersey have awarded more than $1 million to 199 students this year, the groups said in August. “It is always great to see the union construction industry celebrating student achievements,” said Jack Kocsis, CEO of Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey. Among recipients of that group’s scholarships were (pictured from left): Deanna McGee, who attends the University of Alabama; Austin Soares, who goes to the University of Miami; Aaron Rhee, who studies at Johns Hopkins University; and Elizabeth Perry, a student at Rutgers University.

Schooling Kids on Sustainability

The nonprofit EcoRise and New York City-based contractor Structure Tone have paired up to help teachers of grades K-12 teach sustainability. EcoRise provides teachers with training and material on sustainable design, innovation and social entrepreneurship. In turn, it says educators can encourage students to tackle challenges in their communities. Structure Tone is sending employees to visit classrooms, become project mentors and explain how the firm implements green practices and sustainable design in construction projects. It also is sponsoring 20 new curriculum licenses and helping EcoRise expand to new areas around the country. “You are providing straightforward lessons that are easy to implement and engaging as well as accessible by all students at every level,” said Rebecca O'Brien, a teacher at PS 51 in Manhattan.