Training with Industry: Building Upon a Solid Foundation

Coming from the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment to Dewberry has been a unique experience. The Training with Industry (TWI) program affords me the opportunity to work in a company environment for a year and gain new skills and experiences. It's valuable not only for my own personal growth but also to bring the lessons learned back to the U.S. Army. While I most recently served as the Brigade Executive Officer with the amazing soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (STRIKE), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, I look forward to the many new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow here at Dewberry.

Maj. Cullen Jones pictured front. Marches the unit colors forward for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (STRIKE) Change of Command Ceremony, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, June 26, 2015.
Maj. Cullen Jones, pictured front, marches the unit colors forward for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (STRIKE) Change of Command Ceremony, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, June 26, 2015.

As a U.S. Army Engineer, one of my greatest rewards has been helping communities in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. With projects ranging from bridge removal/reconstruction, to improved fortification of local security force facilities, to the design and construction of roads and trail systems, each of these tasks have opened economic connections, improved conditions, and increased security of the surrounding communities. It's great to be joining an organization whose focus is also the continual improvement and protection of communities in the United States and abroad.

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Maj. Cullen Jones second from left. With USACE Middle East District Survey team in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 2014.

As Theodore von Karman once said, "Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was." As a civil engineer, I get excited to see solutions become reality—the simple nature of which I find invigorating. I also find it greatly rewarding to know that these projects will have an impact that improves surrounding communities, like the massive undertaking of the Dulles Rail project, which will increase economic development in the Northern Virginia region.

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Through a trick of photography, Maj. Cullen Jones teaches reinforced concrete column interaction diagram development at the United States Military Academy, West Point, 2011.

And in both of these capacities, I have had the distinct honor to teach engineering courses at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a teaching assistant and the United States Military Academy as an assistant professor. I have a strong passion for teaching because of the impact my professors had on me when I was a Cadet at West Point, as well as my desire to give back to the larger community. My desire to learn is just as strong as teaching, which is why I am so excited to be here at Dewberry. I look forward to learning as much as I can from the TWI program. I am also looking forward to giving back to the community through assisting Dewberry's STEM outreach program with area schools.

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Maj. Cullen Jones, center, teaching Afghan Uniform Police about Improvised Explosive Device (IED) neutralization in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 2014.

Similar yet Different

There are many parallels between the strategic and operational planning methods here at Dewberry and in the U.S. Army. Both organizations require thoughtful leadership of both personnel and large projects with an eye on objectives over the horizon. During my first few months here at Dewberry, I've been able to learn about interesting projects and visit their construction on sites. I've also been able to sit in on high and mid-level meetings, which help me learn about different programs and how they tie into the strategic initiatives of the firm. All of these operational and strategic plans provide a roadmap for the future prosperity and success of Dewberry as a whole.

I've also noticed a few differences in the way that Dewberry does business versus the U.S. Army, most notably in some of the organizational configurations here at Dewberry. Whereas typical U.S. Army units adopt a functional organizational structure, some elements within Dewberry operate under a matrix configuration. I've found this difference important to keep in mind as I continue to work on a variety of different types of engineering projects and programs as well as learn about new ways to do business.

Although it is quite a switch finding myself immersed in the corporate culture of Dewberry, the professional and ethical ethos as described in Dewberry at Work and The Dewberry Way are very much in keeping with U.S. Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. It is always a great day when you can work with and learn from good people, doing good things, for good reasons.

With these new experiences, I leave Dewberry smarter each day than when I walked in the door. I look forward to continuing to build upon my knowledge and most importantly, impart it to others throughout the firm and my fellow servicemembers after TWI.

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