By Kari Hawkins, Redstone Rocket StaffJanuary 29, 2009
Managing the day-to-day operations of the Garrison can be a juggling act with plenty of challenges and opportunities all vying for priority attention.
In one hand, there are all the new Arsenal programs involving BRAC and non-BRAC-related construction, the privatization of Army housing and the impending enhanced use leasing program. In the other hand, there are longstanding quality-of-life programs on post and the long-established partnerships within the community working for better roads, schools and other infrastructure affecting the Soldiers and civilian employees of Redstone Arsenal.
And, in the midst of all that, there are the Garrison employees who are focused on meeting the needs of a varied list of tenant customers and partners.
Redstone Arsenal's unique community of Soldiers and civilian employees is very much appreciated by Garrison Commander Col. Bob Pastorelli.
"Because of what I had heard and seen of Redstone Arsenal, I knew it was -- and still is -- a high performing organization consisting of a lot of dedicated professionals taking care of Soldiers, their families and the civilian work force each and every day. The Garrison here is very successful and has a great reputation throughout the Army," Pastorelli said.
"When I first got here, my job was to meet, listen and learn from both the staff and our partners. Never having worked in a Garrison environment was a new experience for someone who had always been a customer. This was a unique and different business opportunity within the Army for me."
Pastorelli assumed his position as Garrison commander in late July 2008, following his graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University at Fort McNair, D.C.
His nearly 24 years in the Army have centered on a career that's included service in an array of command, staff and logistics assignments both within the Army and on the Joint Staff.
He knew before arriving at the Arsenal that his new job with the Garrison would be about working with experienced and accomplished professionals who consistently make a difference in the lives of Arsenal Soldiers and civilian employees.
"Everything about Redstone Arsenal has exceeded my expectations," Pastorelli said. "The bottom line is that the Garrison has the best employees who take pride in their work and they don't stop until the customer is completely satisfied. The level of support to our customers is absolutely phenomenal. Nowhere else is the level of employee involvement greater than what is in place here at Redstone."
The highlight of his first six months as the Garrison's commanding officer has been meeting its employees and customers, and getting familiar with the Garrison's working relationships -- all the while making sure the Garrison maintained its high level of service.
"It's all about understanding what the dynamics and the culture is here," he said. "I know (former Garrison commander, now retired) Col. John Olshefski was truly dedicated to making sure this was a top-notch Garrison and we want to continue that."
Since his arrival at Redstone Arsenal, Pastorelli and the Garrison have been involved in several high-profile projects, including the opening of the 2nd Recruiting Brigade's new facility, the ground breaking for the AMC/USASAC headquarters, the visit of the Alabama legislature, the first quarterly Garrison prayer breakfast and the start-up of an enlisted welcome basket program begun by Pastorelli's wife, Anna, and Mary Cooper, the wife of Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rickey Cooper. He has also seen Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation receive several awards and accolades for its programs, and has enjoyed participating in events such as the Christmas tree lighting and first Garrison sponsored holiday ball.
Now, Pastorelli and his deputy, Curtis Clark, are planning a strategy session with Garrison leadership in February to update the vision and goals for the Garrison.
"We want to continue to improve the quality of life for everyone on the Arsenal," Pastorelli said. "We want to have a clear vision, mission and strategy for both the near term and long term. We likewise want to solidify and expand relationships in addition to providing a better place to live and work for all our customers."
The Garrison touches the lives of Arsenal Soldiers and civilians in many ways, from facilities, maintenance, grounds beautification and construction to morale and welfare, information technology infrastructure, police and fire protection, child care and social services.
During 2009, Pastorelli has a few goals for the Garrison. They include completing the updating of force protection enhancements for the Arsenal, improving traffic flow into the Arsenal, keeping BRAC and non-BRAC construction on schedule, and expanding the Arsenal's family programs, which consists of the opening of the Arsenal's new school age services building and a new child development center. Finally, the Garrison looks to build upon and expand relationships with Team Redstone and Tennessee Valley leaders.
"Our challenges involve attracting, recruiting and sustaining a qualified work force; obtaining sufficient resources to continue to improve the quality of life and infrastructure for the Arsenal; maintaining a positive momentum so that BRAC and non-BRAC properties are completed on time, within budget and with the highest quality construction; as well as executing the senior commander's priorities in regards to area roads, schools, and medical care," Pastorelli said.
He also wants to increase administrative facilities for tenants through the enhanced use leasing program, which will allow a private developer to lease underutilized Arsenal land on which to build facilities and pay that lease in the form of in-kind services. The developer will then be able to lease facilities to organizations vested in supporting the Soldier. Approval for this program is expected within the month.
In addition, Pastorelli wants to continue working closely with local officials to identify challenges and develop strategies that will make a positive difference in the lives of Arsenal Soldiers and employees.
The Garrison has an annual budget of more than $200 million to support the Arsenal tenants, including AMCOM, PEO-Aviation, PEO-Missiles and Space, AMRDEC, SMDC, LOGSA, OMEMS, 2nd Recruiting Brigade, IMMC, Fox Army Health Center and the Missile Defense Agency.
"No Garrison ever has enough funding," Pastorelli said. "Our goal is to continue to work to secure funds to enhance operations, improve the quality of life and upgrade infrastructure."
By providing the best in facilities and services, the Garrison contributes to work force efforts to support the Soldier on the battlefield. Without well equipped offices, good communication systems, safe environments and adequate support services, the Arsenal work force would have difficulty sustaining Soldier readiness.
"Everything we do is about taking care of our various tenants so they are postured to support the Soldier," Pastorelli said. "We want to enhance all the services we provide by listening to our customer needs and requirements. All our programs are centered and focused on providing the best support to Soldiers, and their family members and their units."
Personally, for Pastorelli, his job as Garrison commander is more than checking off a list of objectives and reaching goals.
"If we had a wish list, at the top of that list would be that Team Redstone remains healthy, strong, and focused in its support of the Soldier," he said.
"We would also wish for good weather for our many ongoing construction projects, that all our Soldiers and employees remain safe, and that everyone takes time out of their busy schedules to spend with families and friends throughout the year. From experience, a person who is happy at home is normally a content and productive employee when they come to work."