Become Director of Public Works for a Day

Editor’s note: Below are all of the articles to date, in chronological order, that outline the “Director of Public Works for a Day” campaign. All articles were written by Walter Christian Mattil, USAG Ansbach Director of Public Works.


Initial article: Do you want to be the Director of Public Works for one day?

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 14, 2015) ― Do you have what it takes?

Are you brilliant, handsome/good looking, able to make tough decisions, caring, empathetic, own a tie, able to type, multi-task, attend meeting after meeting, answer a phone, and direct a 161-person workforce with a payroll and construction budget in excess of $40 million dollars? (Well, you don’t have to meet ALL of these qualifications.)

Can you help the garrison commander meet the housing, engineering, environmental, master planning, real property, work order reception, plumbing, electrical, structural, and snow and ice removal needs of USAG Ansbach?

Can you balance the needs of all of the garrison’s occupants, Families, directorates, private organizations and employees with a finite amount of resources weighed against Army regulations and mission goals?

We’ll select one lucky person! First-grader … last-grader … Soldier … spouse … Retiree …

I’ll sign your appointment orders and be your personal aide de camp for the whole day.

Interested? Think you’ve got the skills?

Stay tuned …


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Step 1

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 16, 2015) ― So, if you’re reading this I’ll assume you have an interest in competing (yes, this is a competition) to become the Director of Public Works for a day.

Honestly, the competition is “quid pro quo” (this for that)! I need to tap into the creative energy, passion and innovation of our community. If “two heads are better than one,” then 7,000 heads could yield an enormous volume of new ideas, programs, initiatives and the like.

I’ll provide more on the competition as we execute this campaign over the next few weeks … so keep checking for updates!

But first, Step 1:

I used to work at U.S. Army Europe with a colonel who’s now retired. He had a saying: “If you’re going to put something on a slide, you’d better know what your briefing.”

Likewise, if you want to complete, and perhaps become, the DPW for a day, it might be wise to understand a little about the position and what the directorate is supposed to do by regulation.

I encourage you to read the PDF version of Army Regulation 420-1 by clicking HERE. There are multiple Army Regulations, Army in Europe Regulations, Army directives and Department of Defense Goals that govern the work of each garrison’s DPW and their staff’s support to each garrison. But AR 420-1, “Facilities Engineering, Army Facilities Management” is the foundational document that all other regulations, directives and goals support.

It’s way too lengthy to read it all, and I’d not ask you to do that. But I would ask you to spend 10 to 15 minutes reviewing the regulation. It should give you great insight as to what the DPW can do and cannot do to support the residents and occupants of U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach.

Step 2: Coming Thursday, Dec. 17.


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Step 2

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 17, 2015) ― Agreed: Step 1 was a little laborious, but hopefully you have a feel for the enormity of the responsibilities of the Directorate of Public Works.

Now that you’ve got your foundation, let’s proceed to the other steps. I hope you find this fun and interesting.

Step 2: Meet Frau Waltraut Steinbauer

Steinbauer is a native Ansbacher, and she has worked for the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach and the Directorate of Public Works for 33 years! She worked on Hindenburg Kaserne until it closed and the DPW moved to Bismarck Kaserne. (By the way, Hindenburg Kaserne was demolished in the mid-1990s. The Brücken-Center shopping mall was built on the land where the Kaserne once stood ― and DPW’s offices were where Saturn (the electronics store) now resides.

Waltraut remembers coming to Barton Kaserne when she was 12 years old. The kaserne was having a fest that day. She remembers that is the first time she ever had a sno-cone!

So, you may ask: Why in Step 2 is it important that you meet Frau Steinbauer?

Two very salient reasons:

Number 1: If the Directorate of Public works could be compared to a machine, it would be an incredibly complex apparatus consisting of a cacophony of moving parts. As the support services supervisor for the Directorate of Public Works, Waltraut is the “lubricant” that oils the machine. As the DPW, you’ll work closely with her as she works administrative actions, suspenses, meetings and requirements.

Number 2: When you are ready to turn in your submission for the competition, you’ll need to visit Steinbauer. When you give her your submission, she’ll take receipt, annotate your submission was received, and give every applicant a gift for their time and efforts. You’ll receive two items at this time: A gift from our self-help store and a coupon for use at the Ansbach Spouses & Civilians Club Thrift Store. Her office adjoins mine at Bismarck Kaserne, Bldg. 5843-A, at the end of the hall.

The formal deadline for submission of your proposal application packets will be addressed in additional steps … to be published in the very near future.

Are you still interested? Step 3 is coming … in the heart of the matter.


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Step 3: Getting down to business

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 18, 2015) ― So, if you’re competing (or at least contemplating competing), you’ve reviewed Army Regulation 420-1 and you understand the role of Frau Steinbauer ― both as her role within the Directorate of Public Works and with respect to her role in this contest.

Onto Step 3.

If the 2014 Word of the Year was “selfie,” then “sustainability” is the buzzword for 2015 and beyond.

Familiarize yourself with some of these famous quotes:

“The components of the natural world are myriad but they constitute a single living system. There is no escape from our interdependence with nature; we are woven into the closest relationship with the Earth, the sea, the air, the seasons, the animals and all the fruits of the Earth. What affects one affects all ― we are part of a greater whole ― the body of the planet. We must respect, preserve, and love its manifold expression if we hope to survive.” ― Bernard Campbell

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” ― Aldo Leopold

We inhabit a world that is not getting any larger. Many of our Earth’s natural resources are finite and non-regenerative: coal, oil and natural gas to name just a few. When our society expends these natural resources, they are gone forever.

So, as good citizens and stewards of our planet, we need to incorporate sustainability in all that we do … all we design … all that we build … and in our daily lives and habits. How will generations after us judge our selfishness and short-sightedness if we leave them a world without trees; that is polluted; that is dangerous; that is ruined?

“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” ― Aldo Leopold

This contest has everything to do with sustainability! It has to do with bright, new, fresh ideas. It has to do with our responsibilities ― to our children, and to the numerous generations that follow. Pause and give this some thought. Take audit of your life, behaviors, and habits. Sustainability is the “schwerpunkt” of this contest. But it’s more than about being the Director of Public Works for a day; it’s about providing for an Earth that endures and provides sustainment for those who will follow us.

Please ponder on this over the weekend.

Step 4 is coming Monday … and keep your ears open on AFN as I outline USAG Ansbach’s plan to the entirety of Bavaria!

Ein Schones Wochenende!


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Step 4

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 21, 2015) — You’ve all had the weekend to think, ponder, reflect and review. Hopefully you’ve gleaned an understanding of why sustainability is important.

But “understanding” is only the first step of the journey. I understand that air pollution kills an average of 4,000 Chinese citizens per day! That’s 1.6 million people per year, and it accounts for 17 percent of all deaths in China. That is according to a study published in 2015 by the University of California, Berkeley.

So, understanding something really doesn’t change anything unless action ensues. Only then can individuals who understand turn their concerns into a passion and a purpose. And maybe if enough people are passionate and purpose-driven, change can be realized.

The Directorate of Public Works’s Environmental Division has a program called the Sustainable Environmental Management System, or SEMS. As a part of this system, a Cross-Functional Team, or CFT, is established and meets every six to eight weeks.

The CFT consists of invitees from every organization in the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach footprint: 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, the Defense Commissary Agency, Bavaria Health Command, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and others. This is a collective think-tank that seeks to incorporate sustainability and conservation into everything we do.

Some amazing ideas and programs have been born and developed and executed as a result of the CFT’s efforts. Green procurement of items in the self-help store is just one example — replacing light bulbs and detergents and solvents and paints with items that are more ecologically friendly, expend less energy, and reduce life-cycle costs. On-demand hot-water generation systems for the dining facilities’ dishwashers is another — dramatically reducing electrical consumption. There are numerous other highly successful examples.

After all of the submissions are accepted and evaluated, we’ll determine the Top 5. These individuals will be recognized at a date to be determined in 2016. Of these Top 5, we’ll also announce the winner — who will get to become the Director of Public Works for a day.

All five of these individuals will also be invited to join the USAG Ansbach Cross-Functional Team. It only stands to reason that if these people have the passion to work on and submit a packet that falls into the Top 5, we need their intellect, passion, drive and vision infused into our team.

Step 5 is coming next, and it’s the BIG ONE. It will outline the requirements for your submission, the time-lines and suspense, and walk you through the entire process.

I will outline this Tuesday, Dec. 22, on AFN Bavaria from 8 to 9 a.m. If you miss that, I’ll post all of Step 5 requirements Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Good luck to all and stand by for Step 5!


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Step 5

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 23, 2015) — You’ve read and reflected on Steps one through four. Now, it’s time to get down to business and start working on your submission.

Instructions follow:

Between Monday, Jan. 11, and Friday, Jan. 15, the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Directorate of Public Works will accept applications. We will stop taking applications at 3 p.m., Jan. 15. You may turn in your application in person to Waltraut Steinbauer, Bldg. 5843, A Wing, Bismarck Kaserne, Office Number 1002. (Her office is right above the IACS offices near the MP Station)

Your application must be in a sealed envelope with your name and email address clearly printed on the outside of the envelope. Please make sure you write legibly, so that we can read your writing.

Inside the envelope, I’ll give you a great deal of creative license, but here is what I need:

  • I need a business model, a plan or a detailed idea that the USAG Ansbach Cross Functional Team can employ or develop for execution.
  • I need you to develop a plan that can reduce our consumption of electricity … or water … or natural gas … or a plan to reduce the amount of rubbish and increase recycling. Sustainability carries a broad brush of possibilities. Perhaps it’s something I cannot even fathom: a completely new idea or concept.

THAT’S what we need. The more detailed and thorough, the better.

Here are some examples of suggestions that are too broad or Utopian:

  • “Get consumers to use less water.” Of course, but I need the “how.”
  • “Convince residents to turn down their thermostats.” Sure. How are we going to do that?
  • “Build a nuclear reactor or dam a river to create an endless supply of clean energy.” Even if we had the billions of dollars to do this, it would take 100 years to pay off our investment.

So, hopefully you get the picture. I wish you luck, and I am very, very excited to see the submissions and the intellect, passion and innovation of those who elect to compete.


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day: Update

ANSBACH, Germany (Dec. 28, 2015) — I sincerely hope that everyone had an amazing holiday over the long weekend.

As we work toward our “slide into 2016,” I hope each of you are excited about our competition. This is truly an amazing opportunity for everyone! We are very excited to review the submissions that are due between Jan. 11 and 15, 2016.

In an effort to assist, I will make myself available to answer any of your questions. I will remain at work for the entire holiday break. If you would like to meet with me in person to discuss your planned submission, I will work to make the time to meet with you individually.

Thanks, and happy new year!


Become the Director of Public Works for a Day – Mark your calendars

Mark your calendars: Between 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11, and 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, Waltraut Steinbauer will accept your applications for our “Become the DPW for a Day” contest.

When you hand your sealed envelope (with your name and email clearly written on the outside) to Waltraut (containing your ingenious business plan and action plan to incorporate sustainability or reduce consumption), she has a present for you: In addition to receiving a “goody bag” from our Self-Help Store, she’ll also give you a discount coupon for use at the Ansbach Spouses and Civilians Club Thrift Store at Katterbach!

We cannot wait to see the great ideas and plans and business models our community has conceived.

Thanks, and happy new year!


DPW for a Day begins accepting applications Jan. 11

ANSBACH, Germany (Jan. 5, 2016) – The Directorate of Public Works starts accepting your “DPW for a Day” applications starting Jan. 11.

You may turn them in (in a sealed envelope with your name and e-mail written on the outside) at the DPW administrative office (Room 1002 in the A Wing of the DPW building at Bismarck Kaserne) starting at 8 a.m., and we’ll stop taking applications Jan. 15 at 3 p.m.

All applicants that turn in a submission will receive a goody bag from our Self-Help Store and a coupon for use at the Ansbach Spouses’ and Civilians’ Club.

Hopefully, you’ve given you plan a great deal of thought and attention. We’ll review each and every submission; we are looking for great ideas that are out there to …

  • reduce consumption,
  • reduce emissions,
  • increase recycling,
  • or decrease costs.

Or perhaps there’s an idea out there that simply blows us away.

We look forward to seeing what our Garrison brings to the competition.


DPW for a Day: Good news and final instructions

ANSBACH, Germany (Jan. 7, 2016) – Not only has the pot been sweetened for both applicants and the winner of the DPW for a Day contest, but there is also one last piece of instruction.

When you turn in your application next week, in addition to receiving a “Self-Help” goody bag, and a $5-off coupon from the Ansbach Spouses’ and Civilians’ Club Thrift Store at Katterbach Kaserne, the first 15 applicants will receive an additional goody bag courtesy of the Service Credit Union!

The Service Credit Union goody bag includes a shopping bag, mouse pad, parking decal, notebook, and several other items.

In addition to this, the Service Credit Union has offered to provide a $50 gift card to the winner of the contest.

Many, many thanks to SCU for their support to our garrison as well as the DPW for a day competition!!!

Now, here is where I really need your help …

If you are planning on turning in an application next week, like this post on the USAG Ansbach Facebook page. You can also comment there or comment on this page.

I need to ensure that we have enough coupons and goody bags on hand to give to each applicant.

Good luck to all of you, and I await the great ideas the great folks of our garrison have to offer.

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