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Planning Associates
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Planning Associates Class of 2013

More about the Planning Associates 2013 Program
The Planning Associates Program is a year-long advanced training opportunity in water resources planning designed to broaden planners' competencies in solving complex water resources problems and challenges, and to strengthen their technical and professional leadership talents. Each year, a new class is selected and immediately begins an intense year of learning about the USACE Civil Works business lines, team leadership, the planning process and the broader picture of the services USACE team members provide to the nation.

In light of Civil Works Transformation, Planning Modernization and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risk Informed, Timely) Planning initiatives, the program took on a new dimension this year. Courses for the Planning Associates program and Planners Core Curriculum classes are being revamped in order to integrate SMART Planning into each of the mission areas.

Members of the 2013 Planning Associates class ask, “Why participate in the Planning Associates program now?” The primary answer is that they want to be drivers of change. While the program involves travel across the nation and learning about the USACE Civil Works mission areas, its primary goal is to obtain and disseminate information back to home districts and divisions, and to apply that information to current and future projects.

2013: Orientation, Team Building, Team Leadership and Communications (Washington, DC)
The first stop of the Planning Associates program included a three-week course in Alexandria, VA covering orientation, team building, team leadership and effective communication. The first week of classes covered introductions and the class learning about who they were as a team.

The 2013 class took a course pre-test and the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator test to learn each team member’s level of knowledge in planning and to learn about each member’s personality. The team also learned about expectations for the coming year and how the team would work together to meet the goals and objectives of the program.

At the end of the first week, the Planning Associates class held the first Great Planning Associates Race around Washington, D.C. The race was the first teambuilding stage for the 2013 class. The race built trust within the team and gave the class the opportunity to learn about the USACE’s history in planning by visiting Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and the Washington Monument. The race concluded at the statue of the "The Awakening" in National Harbor, MD. The statue is representative of the next two weeks of the course, which covered topics such as team building, team leadership and effective communication. Building trust was just one of the 21 leadership skills reviewed. Over the two weeks, the class covered the following leadership skills:

  • Time management and professionalism
  • Myers Briggs – communication
  • Three critical norms for a performing team
  • Team – stages of development
  • The change process
  • Situational awareness and critical thinking
  • Five dysfunctions of a team
  • Building trust
  • Three keys of empowerment
  • Decision making / problem solving
  • Facilitation
  • Conflict management
  • Delegation
  • Vision setting and logo development
  • Situational leadership for teams and individuals
  • Leadership styles and development
  • Four processing skills
  • Communication – written and oral
  • Presentations and briefings
  • Coaching, counseling and mentoring
  • SMART planning

2013 Planning Associates Vision
After learning about the skills needed to be leaders, the class was given the opportunity to implement those skills by developing a vision statement and logo for the class. The following sections detail the vision and logo developed by the 2013 Planning Associates.

Growing as Leaders
Serving with Integrity
Planning Solutions

The vision statement is written in the poetic form of a haiku with each line containing 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively for a total of 17 syllables. The haiku format represents creative simplicity while following the constrained set of rules that define a haiku.

Class Logo
The class logo begins with a delta shape, the mathematical symbol for change. Within the delta, in a field of red (representing the engineer regiment) are 12 stars signifying the 12 members of the class. The center of the logo contains the sky, rising sun, earth and water features, all of which represent the environment within which we live and work.

Members of the 2013 PA Class are:

  • Sara Brodzinsky, a Planner from the Chicago District, Chicago, Illinois.
  • Janet Cote, an Ecologist from the Norfolk District, Norfolk, Virginia.
  • Travis Creel, a Plan Formulator from the New Orleans District, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Martha Jackson, a Water Resources Planner/Study Manager from the Sacramento District, Sacramento, California.
  • Thomas Maier, a Biologist from the Pittsburgh District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Rachel Mesko, a Water Resources Planner from the Seattle District, Seattle, Washington.
  • Jason Norris, a Study Planner from the Alaska District, Anchorage, Alaska.
  • Courtney Reed, an Economist from the New Orleans District, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Andrew Roach, a Biologist from the Baltimore District, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Byron Rupp, a Physical Scientist from the New England District, Concord, Massachusettes.
  • Sierra Schroeder, a Community Planner from the St. Paul District, St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Thomas Topi, an Economist from the Kansas City District, Kansas City, Missouri

    Training Resources

    Class Presentations