NATICK, Mass. – When U.S. Army Garrison–Natick’s new garrison commander, Lt. Col. Andrew White, took the reins on July 1, with him came a passion for putting people first and a positive vision for garrison leadership. Through his open door policy approach, White shared his story of 20 years in the Army, his Family, his vision, and leadership style for his tenure at USAG-Natick.
“The first thing I want people to know about me is that I am here to serve the team,” said White. “The commander, in my humble opinion, is the first servant supporter of the team. I will give this my all to make sure that everyone on the team here at Natick has what they need to be successful in their missions.”
White was born in Carson City, Nev., and entered West Point after high school, though, he aspired to be a naval officer like his grandfather who served in World War II.
“I got into West Point,” said White. “I think the Army may have made the right decision.”
Since then, he has deployed eight times and has held significant leadership roles which have lead him here to USAG-Natick.
With a clear vision for the garrison, White hopes his leadership style will inspire the team to continue the great work he has experienced and seen across the installation from day one, throughout the duration of his command time here.
“We are the team that helps enable the other teams,” said White. “What I want to see happen here is that we continue to move in the very positive and good direction that has been laid out by those who were here before me.”
Through his 20 years as an Army infantry officer, he has developed a high regard for the garrison mission and the people who make up the installation command. To him, it is the people behind the scenes that keep the garrison successfully running.
“I love the concept of the garrison,” said White. “Because they are the unsung heroes that keep the lights on, that keep the water running. They keep everything happening without getting any of the praise.”
White believes that the garrison team’s mission is to support the installation at every turn to make sure that the overall mission happens smoothly. In order to do so, he shared, it starts with the Army’s emphasis on people first. According to White this emphasis impacts everything the garrison and the installation do as a whole.
“My commitment to the garrison team is we are going to be that professional team of teams that is going to be able to provide first class, first-rate services across the installation,” said White. “We are going to take care of each other. That is really at the heart of it.”
As White commands, he looks forward to partnering with staff for improvements. He believes no leader in the Army has the corner on the market when it comes to good ideas or improvements, and it takes the entire team to come up with the innovation necessary to move forward.
“I am a conversationalist. I enjoy having conversations,” said White. “If the staff have good ideas, leaders need to make sure I hear it. I want people to over communicate. My expectation is that they over communicate the thoughts and ideas of their employees and voice them up to higher.”
One project White is particularly looking forward to seeing complete is housing. He said this is a prime example of our commitment as an organization to continually look at the ways we can serve our tenants better.
“I am excited about opening up the Family housing here,” said White. “I am excited to bring in 28 Families who will be that much closer to the installation, and to provide first-rate, top-notch housing for some of our Families that cannot afford anything near Natick.”
Another one of White’s important initiatives is partnerships within the community. As a student of history, he is looking forward to highlighting the infrastructure and team that support the unique facilities and capabilities which make Natick Soldier Systems Center special, within the birthplace of our Nation.
“I look forward to getting out and seeing the people of (USAG) Natick and enhance our relationships with not only the Town of Natick but with the rest of the communities across the New England area,” said White. “I am a huge history buff. Coming to where the country was born and to work where the history of research and development began and continues is why I raised my hand for this command.
“My Family and I are very active outdoors and have already taken a trip to see some of the historical sites. We can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the history surrounding us.”
To White, meeting the community is just as important as being out and about within the gates at USAG-Natick. He wants the team that makes up the garrison to know his intention is to be visible and approachable while in command.
“I look forward to coming down and recognizing the great people of (USAG) Natick and more importantly getting to know the people who make up the unsung heroes,” said White. “I look forward to doing personal interactions and engagements, so people know they are important, they are a part of the team and I know what you’re doing, I know how you are contributing to our effort.
“When I look at garrison, I want to make sure everyone knows that they are part of the team, that they are contributing to the team and that they are a valued member here. Because that speaks to the value of life, the value of who they are, the value of the work that we do.”
“My goal is to keep moving that forward and leave the installation a little bit better than when I found it,” said White.