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Posted 5/16/2013

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By Brandon Sellers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District


What began on January 15, 2013 was the beginning of a year-long learning experience for the 12 selected applicants in the 2013 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Leadership Development Program.

The program kicked off with a two day retreat to the University of Nebraska Omaha’s campus. Here, the Omaha District’s selected applicants were introduced to each other and their course instructors from Nebraska’s Business Development Center.

This year’s LDP class comprises a diverse group originating from a variety of professions and different divisions within the District. The class includes a program manager, a public affairs specialist, a real estate specialist, a biologist, a program analyst, a geographer, an environmental resources specialist, and of course, a few engineers.

Each year, the LDP class is required to select and take on a project that will benefit the Omaha District, and the class members from a leadership aspect. The project selected by the class requires a significant amount of time and effort outside of normal work hours for the duration of the year. Upon completion of the project, the final product is presented to the District’s Corporate Board.  The 2013 class decided to complete the project acquisition process associated with the development of a virtual, web-based Missouri River simulator game.

The Missouri River Mainstem System is very complex, with numerous competing priorities among stakeholders, and is bound to legal and congressional authorizations and appropriations. The complexity and challenges inherent in the management of the Missouri River System are not well understood by the general public, media and stakeholders. Additionally, within the Omaha District, employees whose roles fall outside Missouri River water management can often be expected to answer questions on a topic outside their area of expertise. The purpose of the game is to give individuals, within and outside the District, a general knowledge of the seemingly simple, but rather complex and frustrating nature of managing such a tremendous system that, in the end, is governed by Mother Nature.

The Omaha District’s Leadership Development Program represents an opportunity for the selected candidates to focus on, develop, and have the confidence and courage to utilize their leadership strengths in a manner that will contribute to the execution of the Organization’s and the District’s mission.

A former General of the Army, Sir Douglas McArthur once said, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

Ultimately, through the Leadership Development Program, the Omaha District is enabling the next generation’s willing and competent leaders to invest themselves in a program that will assist in providing the tools necessary to lead a future successful organization at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.