LOS ANGELES — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Commander and District Engineer Col. Kim Colloton gave the keynote address and met members of the Society of American Military Engineers Los Angeles Post during a luncheon at The Proud Bird Aug. 6.
Colloton, a certified Project Management Professional, became the 60th commander and first female commander of the district in July. She leads 844 military and civilian personnel operating throughout 226,000 square miles of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah and is responsible for an annual budget of nearly $1 billion for planning, engineering, construction, asset management, regulatory, emergency management, and environmental services. The district oversees construction projects for three Army and eight Air Force installations and interagency and international customers, as well as operates and maintainsmuch of the nation’s civil water resources infrastructure in the Southwest.
“I’ve been involved in SAME activities since I was a lieutenant,” Colloton said. “Nearly everywhere I’ve worked has had a SAME post to plug into, and I was the president of the Albuquerque Post for a year.”
In June, Colloton graduated from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. Her most recent operational assignment was at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where she served as the I Corps (Rear) Engineer Staff director until July 2012 and, prior to that, as the 555th Engineer Brigade deputy commander from July 2010 until October 2011. Additionally, she was the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Albuquerque District from July 2008 to July 2010.
Colloton told the group how lucky she felt to be part of the Los Angeles District again, explaining that she had been assigned to the district while she was a captain and a major. She talked about how her assignments have rotated between tactical units and engineer districts and how she has enjoyed every aspect of both, from operating construction equipment to working with project partners to getting projects completed. She also emphasized the importance of SAME’s role in supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, initiatives, since SAME members can directly relate to the value of inspiring today’s youth to pursue STEM careers.
“To me, the ‘S’ in SAME stands for synergy,” Colloton said. “We can’t do it alone! It takes interagency collaboration and partnerships to ensure projects are successful. I’m so happy to be here, and I look forward to working with you.”
The type of projects performed by the district include reducing the risk of flood damage along the Santa Ana River Mainstem, such as the modification of Prado Dam in Corona, and other waterways; environmental restoration projects such as the revitalization of the Los Angeles River; shoreline restoration and protection projects from Morro Bay to the border with Mexico; maintenance of navigation channels at more than a dozen commercial and recreational harbors along the California coast, among them the massive ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together represent 40 percent of all U.S. trade by volume; and military construction projects, like building family housing, barracks and operations facilities. The District also provides engineering design and construction support to agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the International Boundary and Water Commission, among others.