Fort Riley's Directorate of Human Resources has a new director, but he is not a new face.
John Lawrence was the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley commander before Col. Stephen Shrader took the job in July 2018. He started his military career at Fort Riley and after 34 years - 14 of them at the installation - retired in early 2019.
"I feel like I'm back with the team because I have really enjoyed working with professionals in this garrison and to come back to that same atmosphere is just wonderful," he said.
He said he is most looking forward to serving the Soldiers here.
"When you look at it overall, with the aspect of human resources, that's what we do, we take care of people," he said. "And to know that our Soldiers will be taken care of is just the icing on the cake because it's about taking care of those individuals that matter."
After he retired, Lawrence worked for Michelin/Camso Manufacturing as the Human Resources and Health and Safety manager in Junction City where he helped other transitioning Soldiers find work.
"My passion has always been the Soldiers," he said. "I served 34 years. So, to come back from my civilian job, and be able to focus back totally on the Soldiers (is great). Even in my civilian job, I set up several programs within Michelin/Camso.
Then at Camso in Junction City, over 50 percent of that workforce is veterans who transitioned out of Fort Riley that I hired. So, it comes back full circle to take care of the individuals that make this country great."
He said his goal in DHR is moving forward with building up programs that create efficiencies and effectiveness.
"We already have great programs in place, but those programs can be added to," he said. "There is always room for improvement. And that's what I intend to do with each one of my sections is come in as a second set of eyes and
say, 'What if we did this?' and to have the discussion to build it to the next level."
Lawrence said he is ready to continue the move forward because of the team he works with.
"I knew coming back to Fort Riley that the leadership in all the directorates was the best that [Installation Management Command] had," he said. "Fort Riley has always held a near and dear place in my heart. But having the team that cares and has the knowledge to do what we need to do to take care of Soldiers across the garrison is just icing on the cake."