By Kalene Lozick, Fort Riley Public AffairsDecember 1, 2017
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- With the efforts from the Work Management Branch -- Business Operations/Integration Division, Directorate of Public Works, Fort Riley becomes a well-oiled machine.
Julie Poyser, chief of Business Operations and Integration Division -- DPW, and John McGee, chief of Work Management Branch -- DPW, oversee the Work Management Branch within DPW.
"The Work Management Branch has three components and that's Estimating, Work Control and the Supply Section," Poyser said. "Work Control has the Service Order Desk, where they receive the minor repair calls in from the customers. Supply orders all the in-house supplies for the entire DPW work forces -- supplies for our trucks you see driving around performing repairs."
The Work Management Branch basically programs the maintenance and repair of the installation, like a small city, she said. These responsibilities sit on the shoulders of only a few people, known as the estimators.
"I have five estimators that work for me," McGee said. "They are the primary point of contact for the customers out there."
The customers range from each brigade to installation activities to tenant activities. It covers all the roads, utilities, grounds and facilities with the exception of Army Family Housing and Medical. With the wide range of customers comes a wide range of job requests.
"Each estimator has specific customers assigned to them," he said. "But they work together on projects, if one fits one's craft a little better than the other."
In order to submit a request, each customer needs to fill out a form, known as a Department of the Army Form 4283.
"A 4283 is a more detailed work request," McGee said. "Estimators will go out and meet with customers and help define the scope of the work they are requesting. We vet it to see what we are allowed to do and what we are not allowed to do, due to regulations or environmental or historical constraints."
Each request is ranked in order of importance due to budget restraints. Life, Health and Safety issues are taken care of first, critical building deficiencies and facility mission support requests are next.
"Basically during the June through September timeframe we are developing the Annual Work Plan for the following year. It is really the time when we built the framework of the work we want to execute during the year," Poyser said.
During the Annual Work Plan, the Work Management Branch may review anywhere from 175 to 200 projects at the beginning of the fiscal year, McGee said.
"During the year, we have monthly review boards where we tend to review 10 to 15 emergencies that come in out of cycle and see if they are critical enough to be inserted into the Annual Work Plan mid-year," McGee said. "We can pull money out of the Emergency Fund for those that need it."
However, the process to get to the review board needs a variety of steps completed before the project gets submitted.
After the customer submits a DA 4283, work request form, the estimator will come out to the site and inquire what the customer is trying to get accomplished, McGee said.
"When we redefine the scope and may bring in outside core agencies -- they are usually environmental, historical, physical security or fire issues with the project and we try to get those approvals resolved upfront so we can move on with the work," McGee said. "Once we get all that accomplished, we go into the estimating software and come up with a government estimate. After we get all those documents we create the project in our tracking system, GFEBS (General Fund Enterprise Business System), and create a number for it. The number allows us to track the project on the Annual Work Plan and in GFEBS."
According to an article published by the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems, GFEBS is the Army's web-enabled financial, asset and accounting management system that standardizes, streamlines and shares critical data across the Active Army, National Guard and Air Force.
After the project receives a number and is added to the GFEBS, McGee, estimators, chiefs and the director of DPW move forward with the monthly control review board to determine which project will be added to the plan, McGee said.
"We determine who is going to execute the project and send it out to that group," he said. "Generally the projects go to our Engineering Division or our Operations and Maintenance Division."
If McGee and his team run into regulation restrictions, they try to find an alternative method to accomplish what the customer wants without breaking regulation.
The projects they see range from small projects to a multi-million dollar building restorations. What you may not know about the Work Management Branch is that they are in charge of Cemetery Management.
"Cemetery Management is an extra duty for one of our estimators, Matt Murray," Poyser said. "It's a big portion of his job. We inherited the task and it pretty much consumes 75 percent of his time."
It has been five years since last August when DPW picked up the task, McGee said. He's been managing the Fort Riley Post Cemetery since August 2012.
McGee said Murray is the Fort Riley Post Cemetery responsibility officer. He orders headstones, arranges the family escorts with Military Police, maintains the burial records marks and tags the caskets or urns and creates projects to improve the Post Cemetery like realigning the headstones.
"We have a contractor there realigning the headstones beginning at the north end," McGee said. "They're really making it look good."
With the daily tasks the Work Management team has had some fishy encounters.
"When I worked in the exterior utility shop, I was in the housing area and we were always getting water leaks outside of the house," McGee said. "Never could figure it out. We would go out there and it was in a crawl space. I go into the unit and where the water service line would come in and would wade through the water to see if there where the leak was. Never could find it. One day we went back and decided we would replace the service line because we knew something was wrong."
He paused and chuckled to himself before continuing his story.
"I was wading through that crawl space and noticed these fish," he said as he made a swimming motion with his hand. "The residents were catching fish and releasing them in to the crawl space to have them later to eat."
Both Poyser and McGee laughed. Poyser said they had their own live well in their crawl space.
On a more educational note, DPW offers Soldiers a way to learn hands-on repair jobs through a class known as Repair and Upkeep and Self Help certification classes.
"We offer a self-help program at the Self-Help School once a month," McGee said.
"They offer class sizes of 20 or less. They teach them how to do minor maintenance like replace windows and doors, locks, hinges and much more. R and U guys teach Soldiers basic maintenance to work on their own buildings so they can keep up on the minor repairs and maintenance. When the units complete the R and U course they will get a supply card so they can draw limited quantity supplies."
McGee and Poyser said they encourage units to sign up for this course because it is critical.
"We like to have as many units participate in the school as possible because there is a lot of minor maintenance that Soldiers can do, like in their house that will help stretch our limited work force," McGee said. "The self-help school teaches good skills. Something they can use on their own house someday."
For Soldiers who want to learn more about the R and U and Self Help certification class, sign up in building 307 or by calling 785-239-3757.