FORT KNOX, Ky. – The chief of the Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division has been recognized as the Installation Management Command DPW Environmental Support Executive of the Year.
Dan Musel, who has served as the environmental chief at Fort Knox for nearly a decade and worked in civil service for more than 30 years, said he feels the honor doesn’t only belong to him.
“It’s always good to be recognized, but I can’t take [all the] credit for it,” said Musel. “My staff is just phenomenal. They do a great job and they’re so passionate about what they do. They’ll do anything and everything for the mission to get it done.”
Director of Fort Knox DPW Jason Root said Musel’s humility was only one of the many reasons he didn’t hesitate to nominate him for the award.
“This award recognizes excellence on every level,” said Root. “I appreciate what he said about his team, but Dan provides exceptional leadership.”
As he filled out the nomination with all the ways Musel and his team positively affect the daily lives of everyone on the installation, Root said there were too many to count.
“When you talk about Fort Knox being a great place to live and work, a safe place to live and work – that’s on them,” said Root. “They’re the stewards of all of that. The fact that Dan does all of that and more is pretty exceptional.”
Some of Musel’s accomplishments Root listed in his nomination included leading Fort Knox to receiving national recognition as a leader in conservation, cutting annual division costs by over $700,000, and serving as the key drafter of the installation’s Post Cemetery Grounds Management Plan that maintains the Post Cemetery up to National Shrine standards.
Root said having someone like Musel in such an important role provides him a great sense of relief.
“There’s this entire broad spectrum of functions that DPW does that I don’t have to worry about because it has great leadership with Dan,” said Root. “I joke ‘I’ve got 99 problems, Environmental ain’t one.’”
The Environmental Division’s broad spectrum of functions also means Musel oversees a large number of people. Root said it’s the many layers to Musel’s position and his extensive knowledge of each team member’s duties that also were factors in his nomination.
“There are so many different things that they do. It is a massive division,” said Root. “When you think about all the civilians that DPW has – we have six divisions and more than a third are his – it is a lot of responsibility.”
Musel explained a wide range of his division’s responsibilities directly impact the Soldiers, Families, employees and visitors who come to the installation.
“We touch on so many different aspects within Fort Knox,” said Musel. “[We work on] everything from household hazardous waste, the family residences on post, coordination with the units and how to handle their materials, storm water and drinking water.”
In addition to the environmental factors Musel works on within the post cantonment area, his division is also in charge of preserving the more than 100,000 acres of the Fort Knox training area.
“We do a lot on the landscape with endangered species, hunting and fishing, and just keeping the habitat going,” said Musel. “That’s probably the biggest thing that’s out there in the public view.”
Musel said one thing that makes being chosen for this award so special is the admiration he has for his colleagues and counterparts he was selected from across the Army.
“I know a lot of them since I’ve been doing it for so long,” said Musel. “There’s a lot of great installations and great people, so it’s good to get this in that respect.”
Root said he wasn’t surprised when he found out Musel was selected.
“This is well-deserved,” said Root. “I’m glad he got it. I’m pumped that he’s recognized for the great work he does. He’s got a great staff and he’s done a great job.”
In his almost 10 years at Fort Knox, Musel said he’s been very fortunate because he was set up for success on day one.
“They had a great foundation when I got here. I just built on it,” said Musel. “When I leave, I hope they build on that too.”