GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Manfred Rieck, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr’s DPW Environmental Division Chief, is the epitome of environmental stewardship, and he has the experience to match the heart.

For the past 32 years, Rieck has worked with the U.S. Army’s environmental division to maintain balance between the environment and the military mission while making environmental protection easy for Soldiers and reducing loss of training time.

“It’s about finding creative solutions to support each mission while still being in compliance with environmental laws,” said Rieck. “It’s a compromise.”

Rieck’s ability to reduce costs, improve business processes and the overall efficiency of the environmental programs in support of USAG Grafenwoehr, garnered him the DPW Garrison Support Executive of the Year award, an award he feels will benefit the garrison as a whole.
“In a time when we are asked to do more with less and have constant discussions about saving and efficiencies, this award shows that garrison Grafenwoehr is far ahead in this area,” said Rieck. “This recognition is important.”

His achievements were recognized previously with the U.S. Army Environmental Award for Environmental Quality (overseas installations), in the years 2000, 2006 and 2010.

Rieck has built a professional environmental team to ensure optimum environmental support to the DPW and the garrison. He constantly strives to further develop his workforce by enabling high-quality professional training, exchanging experience with other organizations, and through cross-training and providing incentive awards programs.

Additionally, Rieck actively partners with local communities, county offices and universities, along with the German Forest Services and the Bavarian Nature Protection Associations for environmental outreach.

While the environmental laws continue to evolve, Rieck has kept up with the changing times; he consistently alters his duties to maintain a keen focus on balancing military initiatives.

Starting his career as a mechanical engineer in noise control, Rieck migrated into environmental engineering in the 1980s, focusing on hazard waste removal and material storage.

During the 1990s, the training area was used for live fire and land maneuvering, which brought land erosion, according to Rieck.

“Our focus was to regrow the fauna and flora,” said Rieck.

As time moved on, so did the focus. In the new millennium, contaminated site clean-up and handling hazardous substances were researched and new policies were enacted.

“Our goal was to change the habits of the Army to make working and living environments safer,” said Rieck. “And to work with host nation authority to ensure recent developments did not impact the missions.”

So what does the future hold?

“The big goal of the Army is now sustainability,” said Rieck. “The future of the Army is green.”