SEMBACH, Germany - As a military spouse starting as a housing referral clerk in Giesen, Germany, in 1982 under V Corps, Jutta Williams never imagined she’d be where she is today – getting ready to retire from Installation Management Command – Europe after more than 40 years serving military families.
Originally from Ramstein, Williams has worked in every section within housing and moved up through a trainee program for local nationals, taking advantage of other professional development opportunities along the way. She started with the Installation Management Agency, predecessor to IMCOM-Europe, in Heidelberg and then Sembach beginning in 2007 as a housing management specialist. At the region level, Williams supports the housing offices at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach and USAG Bavaria and is also the policy go-to-person on the region housing team.
“It’s one of the most interesting jobs,” Williams said of her career in housing. “It’s very challenging and demanding at times. To me, housing is one of the basic needs that everybody needs.”
She noted the importance of housing to military families, especially those moving overseas for the first time.
“Housing plays a significant role in the first impression that is made when a Soldier, or even a Soldier with his family, enter the Housing Office and start looking on where they're going to make their home for the next three years while they are assigned here … I’ve had wonderful experiences with wonderful customers.”
Early in her career, Williams noted the competition in the rental housing market was more intense due to the large numbers of troops stationed in Germany. Over the years, the population and the markets have changed, and the government quarters have seen continuous improvement, especially within recent years, she said.
“We have made tremendous successes on the government side with our government facilities with all the renovation and upgrade projects, programs that we've had, the funding we've received. Yes, initially, it’s always slow and appears bureaucratic, but we follow the processes,” she said. “Once you’re actually in the cycle, it continuously moves right along. We now have new construction that’s more comparable to what our Soldiers and families live in in the United States.”
Over the years, Williams said her favorite part of her job has always been the interaction with so many diverse customers – first the Soldiers and their families and the garrison level, and then the internal customers, her colleagues at the garrisons. Williams plans to retire at the end of August, just in time to enjoy the birth of her first grandchild. Besides grandmother duties, she said she also plans to volunteer at a charity in her town and to continue her travels of capitals across Europe.