LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District celebrated a successful completion to another year of Leadership Development Program classes during a ceremony held at the District headquarters Sept. 12.
The ceremony was the culmination of LDP Level I and LDP Level II, both of which are meant to develop future leaders for the District.
“I think this went extremely well,” said David M. Boals, a District management analyst and the District’s Leadership Development Program Coordinator. “I was very pleased with the entire process.”
During the graduation event, LDP participants gave presentations for Col. Mark Toy, Los Angeles District Commander, and other senior leaders. Presentations ranged from proposed sponsorship packages so new employees would feel more welcomed into the District to a totally new way of distributing employees across the District to maximize productivity and increase quality of life.
“This is the most important thing I have to do all day today,” Toy said as he welcomed the graduates and assembled senior leaders. “I’m glad to see so many branch chiefs and division chiefs here. I know they realize the importance of this program and of your accomplishments.”
Students worked for the past nine months to reach the graduation. Each level of LDP covered leadership principles. The goal of LDP is to develop leaders at all levels, across all functional areas and career programs. Students begin at Tier I and can progress through each of higher levels. The program is also designed to meet the needs of prospective and current leaders at various stages of development. Leaders within the District and from around the Corps of Engineers come in to speak with students about various topics. Students also have the opportunity to learn about their strengths and how to apply those strengths in their regular work environment.
The Leadership Development Program is open to employees across the District. In Tier I, the ideal number of students is 10-12 and in Tier II, eight is the magic number. Each level does require some travel and a commitment of time outside regular work hours to ensure assignments are met. Tier III involves students in Division-level leadership and requires more of a time commitment from students and from their leadership. Boals said his only concern about the program is continued funding from across work groups.
Boals said the program has been in the District for six years. He credits former District commander, Col. Thomas Magness with revitalizing it. Boals said there were trends senior leaders in the District could see that warranted a return of the program. Trends included an increase in retirements and a loss of “corporate knowledge” and pass down from one generation of workers to another. With six years invested in future leaders, Boals said the program is paying off.
“When I see the people come out of the program, I don’t worry about our future,” he said. “I can see how strong our leaders will be in the future when I see the graduates we have in this program.”
Allison Lind, an LDP Tier I graduate, said she enjoyed her time in the program. As a relatively new member of the District, with less than five years with the Corps of Engineers, Lind said the program will help her focus her efforts to become a future leader in the Corps.
“I felt I needed to find my stride in becoming a leader here,” she said. “I feel the program helped me become more self aware of my strengths and leadership potential. I’m also more aware of the management and work styles of people around me. In the long run, that’s going to help me and I’m going to be able to help the Corps.”
The future leaders already have their near futures planned for them. Toy said the graduates’ first assignment is to attend the upcoming Senior Leadership Conference in November. There, Toy said the LDP graduates will help shape the policy for the District and work on ways to ensure they match up with the overall USACE and South Pacific Division goals.
“This year will be a celebration of senior leadership” Toy said as he discussed the speakers lined up for the three-day event. “You’re not just going to be attendees. You will all be developing the future of the District. Based on what I’ve seen today, I’m really excited about what you will be showing us at the conference.”
District employees interested in the program can look up requirements on the District Intranet site.