FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - (Jan. 14, 2019) The Pacific Ocean Division (POD) kicked off the 2019 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Leadership Development Program (ULDP) training seminar at POD headquarters, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, Monday. The regional level training, which includes nine GS-13 and GS-14 participants from the division and districts, focuses on providing leadership tools and exposing participants to leadership styles and opportunities.

The level three cohort, which will run for two years, includes three face-to-face training weeks, a congressional Capitol Hill week, monthly over-the-phone discussions on book reading assignments and two group projects that are reported to the organization's regional management board.

Lindsey Freitas, POD assistant division counsel, is a participant in this year's seminar and says she is looking forward to the challenges her cohort will tackle together. "I think anytime you come together as a team, you can achieve even greater results. At the same time that we are enhancing our own skillset, we are identifying any organizational challenges and coming up with solutions as a group. This is helping us live up to the USACE culture of revolutionizing the corps, which really means not being satisfied with the status quo and always striving for new innovations that generate improvements," said Freitas.

Eric Chow, POD ULDP program lead provided his projections for the seminar. "While everyone has their own expectations of the program, my hope is that the participants challenge themselves, take seriously this opportunity to learn about themselves and others, develop and strengthen their "toolbox" of leadership skills and abilities, learn to better cope with the myriad of challenges that confront us, and become better leaders of themselves, their families, and all within their circles of influence," he said.

Chow, who completed the program about five years ago, said, attending the course made a difference in his own capabilities. "I learned basic leadership skills, increased my ability to lead and work better with others by learning...not only better interpersonal skills but also by benefiting from another person's abilities and strengths, to maximize team efforts, and by challenging myself in ways that I had not previously,or was afraid to. I also enjoyed working with other members of my class that I would not normally have worked with, and still to this day enjoy great working relationships with."

In addition to the level three seminar, POD hosts a level one programs, which serves as a basic training and orientation open to all employees. A level two training is also open at the district levels to GS-12 and below, and runs 18 months.

POD Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Thomas Tickner said that committing time to sharpening leadership skills pays dividends for the organization as a whole. "POD is the Engineer of Choice because our 1,500 professionals, consisting of civilian engineers, scientists, project managers and technical experts continuously dedicate themselves to honing capabilities across all areas and levels. Leadership is a pinnacle component in this pursuit of excellence and enhances our calling to solve our nation's toughest challenges, today and tomorrow." he said.