Never a dull moment: day with installation coordinator
May 2, 2011
STUTTGART, Germany -- Installation coordinators in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart have to be jacks of all trades.
They are the initial "go-to" people for all activities on their respective installations -- Patch, Kelley and Robinson Barracks and Panzer Kaserne. Often the first line of communication, the installation coordinators know where to find the answers if they don't immediately have them.
Their jobs are many and varied -- on-site installation energy managers and partners in coordinating community events and construction projects, to name a few.
Most of their time is spent outside of their offices, mobile phones in hand, traversing the installations to provide oversight on everything from trash collection to playground safety, and spot-checking facilities and grounds to make sure things are running as seamlessly as possible.
While the installation coordinators fall under the purview of USAG Stuttgart's Directorate of Public Works, they help resolve issues within all of the garrison directorates, said Steve Raymond, DPW chief of the operations and maintenance division. The installation coordinators are often closely involved with numerous taskers from the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, for example.
"The ICs, in many ways, are the first responders for customers' inquiries," Raymond said. "They allow customers to have a visible face they can go to. They're the action guys, always out moving around, and act as go-betweens in some really complex processes that are public works in nature on the installations."
Dave Bowman, Patch Barracks installation coordinator, said he enjoys the myriad of challenges of his demanding job.
"There's never a dull moment, and no two days are alike," Bowman said during a recent workday, his comments punctuated by his ever-ringing mobile phone.
One of the first items on his to-do list for April 27 was for Bowman and his support team workers - Hasan Kuencuelue and Sezai Genc -- to start moving a pile of bagged donations stacked more than six feet high from the Pfennig Bazaar drop-off point on Patch to a storage area inside Bowman's offices.
It began raining as the bags were transported from one building to another, interrupting the task. "We don't want the donations getting wet and then just sitting," Bowman explained.
No matter - it was time for Bowman to dash over to the Patch Fitness Center to do his weekly reading of the water meters there as part of the garrison energy conservation efforts.
"We're our installation energy managers," Bowman said of himself and his counterparts working on USAG Stuttgart's three other installations. "When we're walking around our installations, we're looking for things like lights on during the day."
Installation coordinators also provide oversight for seasonal road and grounds issues such as icy sidewalks and streets during the winter months and grass-cutting in spring and summer.
Additionally, they help replace items such as worn and bent traffic signs and are in direct contact with building and stairwell coordinators.
The ICs also provide oversight for refuse and bulk items, Bowman said. "We get heavily involved for the sightliness [of the installation]," he said. "We notify the contractors when the containers for the bulk trash are full and sometimes we dig through them and help place things in the proper containers."
A large task that the installation coordinators have recently taken on is actively overseeing the garrison custodial cleaning contract. As of April 15, Bowman became the contracting officer representative for the custodial service contract.
"I get the cleaning complaints now," Bowman said. "My colleagues -- the other ICs -- help me with quality assurance on their respective installations. We're always walking around checking facilities anyway, to see if floors have been mopped and trash emptied."
For Bowman, having constant interaction with people and helping to resolve any number of varied and often complex issues are both satisfying parts of his job as installation coordinator.
"I like the variety and love helping and dealing with the people -- even with the complaints," he said, with a chuckle.
"I like the challenge."