By Jo Anita MileyAugust 13, 2013
Nicholas Stolte says he works in the most public field of engineering. Although engineering can be quite tedious for some, Stolte often looks for fun and resourceful ways to interact with people.
"What I love most about my job are the people," Stolte said. "There is a huge diversity of technical expertise and cultural diversity on our project delivery teams. Each person adds a unique and interesting perspective that keeps ideas fresh, "he said. "The coming together of these personalities on a project is what makes my job fun."
Since Huntsville Center's projects are not limited by traditional geographical boundaries, Stolte acts as an advocate for use of innovative technology on munitions response projects. He takes an active role on PDT's at Headquarters, USACE, tracking and prioritizing an inventory of more than 2000 munitions response sites throughout USACE.
Stolte said his team works closely with team members to ensure quality and consistency in the way USACE executes munitions response projects. This is accomplished by providing the necessary guidance and training to the projects teams that are actually doing the work. Working with so many project teams allows him to recognize opportunities for gains in program efficiency and improvement in the quality of project execution and deliverables.
"My job allows me to bring together a diverse group of people with skill-sets from across the nation: we have engineers, geologists, geophysicists, chemists, geographers, risk assessors, biologists and ecologists, to name a few," Stolte said. "I advise PDT's on policy, procedures, and technology related to the munitions response projects. Working at the EM CX gives also me a broad view of the Corps environmental programs," he said.
While the EM CX directly supports all four of the USACE Campaign Plan Goals, Stolte said he focuses on Goal 4: Prepare for tomorrow, since he works so closely with the different project delivery teams. He helps build resilient people, teams, systems and processes to sustain a diverse culture of collaboration, innovation, and participation to shape and deliver strategic solutions. Also, large part of his job involves recognizing what USACE doing well, and finding ways to continuously improve the MMRP and FUDS program. This is particularly significant because the EM CX has mandatory oversight.
Stolte said performing his job isn't always easy. The greatest challenge for him is to improve his program in spite of the barriers that often exist with even the best ideas for transformation. It takes a lot of perseverance and motivation to move forward and not become frustrated when he needs to implement a new initiative or change a course of action. It's very important that he identifies potential problems and find innovative solutions a quickly as possible. Having a strong team helps him do this.
"Our group focuses on building strong teams, and I can find some pretty resourceful ways to get this done; whether it's teaching an online class or educating kids about the 3R's in regards to unexploded ordnance safety (Recognize, Retreat Report)," Stolte said. "By fine tuning the machine today, I'm ensuring it will be running more efficiently tomorrow," he said "It's how we prepare for tomorrow, and the highlight of my career. "