Security Assistance Command members and guests gathered to witness the command's return to its roots during a ribbon cutting ceremony last week at New Cumberland Army Depot, Pennsylvania.
In 1965 USASAC opened operations in building 81 on the depot. It later moved a few blocks away to what was a cavernous warehouse, building 54, with few dividing walls or windows. More than half a century later, building 81 underwent state-of-the-art renovations to once again house USASAC's New Cumberland operations.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rodger Mansker of the Army Materiel Command helped kick off the ceremony.
A former USASAC command sergeant major, Mansker said that not only did the New Cumberland workers deserve a new state-of-the-art facility, but "the employees will have more synergy and the ability to have more teamwork. This facility is so exciting, … just to see their faces."
USASAC New Cumberland director of logistics and acquisition, Mike Casciaro, spearheaded the renovation project to create a cleaner, more efficient work environment for the employees. Unlike before, regions and COCOM functions are grouped together; the work flow is logical and the new aesthetics make it an inviting space to spend 40 hours a week, Casciaro said.
He said while Army commands have important missions, it is the people who execute the mission. He further noted that having a safe and healthy work environment can improves employee productivity and morale, thus helping to meet the mission objectives.
New Cumberland employees moved into the building a few weeks ago and Casciaro said esprit de corps has already improved.
"Employees moved in with record timing, set up their work stations, threw away their boxes and got right back to work without missing a beat," he said. "I've noticed they are really taking pride in their new space."
Some employees have even taken to landscaping the facility. Cindy Decker and Marcia Greise and others have planted numerous plants and shrubs donated by employees to enhance the outdoor area. "Who wants to walk by dirt," Greise, a logistics management specialist, said. She plans to keep up the garden but is encouraging her colleagues to get involved.
Other employees have been with the organization long enough to remember its first stint in building 81.
Ramona Rabuck, chief of Special Programs Accounting Branch, started her federal career as a GS-3 payroll clerk in the original building 81. She even remembers employees being sent home in the hot summers because the building didn't have air conditioning.
"It's funny how things come full circle," Rabuck said. "I will celebrate my 34th year of federal employment in June. I started in this building, and my intention is to complete my career in this building."
Chuck Stoops, command records manager, remembers the evolution of their old office space -- the old building 54 warehouse.
During his 31 years with USASAC, Stoops saw management add carpeting, partitions and other additions to the warehouse. "Bit by bit it became more of an office setting," he said.
When asked about the newly renovated building 81, he said "at first when they announced the renovations I was apprehensive. I remember (building 54) and it was kind of dingy. But when I saw (the renovated building) I was happy."
"The 2018 version of building 81 is a great improvement over the 1982 version," Carol Bigger, an accountant working on the Singapore program, said. "Moving to building 81 brings back a lot of good memories from when I started my career here, especially since I met my husband, Tandy Bigger, here 36 years ago." Tandy is a systems accountant for USASAC.
The move from the building 54 warehouse to a state-of-the-art building 81 has been a significant change and triggered a lot of reflection. But one thing hasn't changed. The 200 employees at USASAC's New Cumberland location will continue to oversee USASAC's logistics and acquisition mission and help the Army foster global partnerships and support combatant command objectives.