Safety class
TC Coffman, safety program manager for Fort Hood's Directorate of Public Works, speaks to a class of third graders in Oveta Culp Elementary School at Fort Hood, Texas, April 26. Coffman spoke to the class as part of the post's Earth Day activities. This month, TX-APWA recognized Fort Hood DPW Operations and Maintenance Division as the winner of its Exceptional Performance Award in Safety. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood DPW Environmental) VIEW ORIGINAL

FRISCO, Texas - The Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association recognized the Fort Hood Directorate Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division as the award winner for the Exceptional Performance Award in Safety at a ceremony here June 14.

The recognition earned Fort Hood the honor as the first Department of Defense installation to win an APWA award from the state.

“As not only the first Army, but the first military branch to win an award from the Texas Chapter, I could not be more proud of the exemplary dedication and professionalism by our garrison staff to create, promote and sustain a robust safety culture,” Col. Chad R. Foster, commander of U.S. Army Garrison - Fort Hood, said. “This award is an example of the outstanding accomplishments of our DPW Safety Office and OMD unit safety officers.”

The APWA provides a forum in which public works professionals can exchange ideas, improve professional competency, increase the performance of their agencies and companies, and bring important public works-related topics to public attention in local, state and federal arenas. The TX-APWA awards program presented 33 awards to recognize outstanding individuals, groups and communities representing the best in public works.

“The Exceptional Performance Award recognizes individuals, teams or organizations…whose outstanding contributions raise the level of public awareness of the profession. This one is special because this is the first award given and the first nomination of an Armed Forces branch,” Matt Froehlich, awards committee co-chair for TX-APWA, said. “Congratulations to the Fort Hood Operations and Maintenance Division.”

Shawn Poe, president of TX-APWA presented the award to Brian Dosa, director of Public Works; Tony Nauta and Jeremy Sanders, OMD unit safety officers; and TC Coffman, DPW safety program manager.

Award winners
Shawn Poe, president of TX-APWA, presents the Exceptional Performance Award in Safety to Brian Dosa, director, Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works, Tony Nauta and Jeremy Sanders, OMD safety officers, and TC Coffman, Fort Hood DPW safety program manager, during ceremony in Frisco, Texas, June 14. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood DPW Environmental) VIEW ORIGINAL

“I am incredibly proud of our DPW team and our recent award that recognizes our commitment to employee safety,” Dosa said. “Much of our success comes from our ‘bottom up’ approach to safety, where we have empowered more junior employees and allowed them to drive changes and implement new strategies to facilitate mission accomplishment without unnecessary risk.”

Notable successes include implementing safety measures to prevent issues caused by flash floods; integrating risk management into routine as well as non-routine activities; and conducting a job hazard analysis for every OMD employee.

“It’s important to remember that people are our most important asset, and everyone is responsible for safety,” Foster said.

At the helm of the directorate’s safety program is a dedicated two-person team who leads the DPW Safety Office and also a team of eight unit safety officers, representing each work center and branch within OMD, who make up the safety committee.

Safe operations and maintenance is a team effort, and is especially critical since the directorate is responsible for maintenance of 5,773 buildings and structures, totaling 38 million square feet; 99 Soldier barracks with 15,553 beds; 450 miles of roadways; 200 miles of tank trails; and 17 hangars between Robert Gray Army Airfield and Hood Army Heliport.

Safety Drive-Thru
Mark Branch, unit safety officer, showcases OMD's "I360" safety message while directing traffic during a DPW employee safety drive-thru lunch event at Fort Hood, Texas, Jan. 21. (Photo Credit: Christine Luciano, Fort Hood DPW Environmental) VIEW ORIGINAL

“People are our greatest resource and we are committed to getting our job done without putting our teammates’ lives or health at risk,” Dosa added.

Outreach efforts like the DPW Roadshow, Safety Hero of the Quarter, Thomas Arnold Elementary Creekside Jamboree, Gatesville Earth Day and Fort Hood National Night Out are also examples of how the team strengthens partnerships and relationships not only within garrison but in neighboring communities too.

“OMD’s unit safety officers serve as agents of change who are making a difference throughout Central Texas,” Foster said. “OMD illustrates how an effective safety program enhances mission capabilities, reduces safety and health-related mishaps, improves the standards of safety and health within the workplace, increases personnel readiness, and boosts employee morale.”