Imagine that before every transition in your career, you were given an entire year to prepare for that next step, and imagine how successful you'd be in your new endeavor. For my entire Army career, up to this point, every change in position has followed a traditional model, usually lasting no more than two weeks, where I shadowed the outgoing officer while they performed their duties, then I took lead on the position while the outgoing officer supervised to ensure I was ready to perform on my own. Although this is an efficient model for transition and often necessary for the fast pace career progression in the Army, it's not always effective. The complexity of the job and the officer you're replacing can cause a large variance in the quality of the transfer. However, for the first time in my nine-year Army career, I've been introduced to a new and unique model of transition where I was given an entire year and unlimited opportunity to prepare for my next position: Training with Industry (TWI).

TWI: What is it?

The Army's TWI program develops soldiers who are experienced in high-level managerial techniques and understand the relationship of their industry to the functions of the Army's Engineer branch. During my year with Dewberry, I've had the opportunity to participate in and contribute to a broad range of projects. While the project life cycle is largely the same as the military construction projects I've worked on in the past, the degree of project complexity and diversity of projects that I've experienced first-hand at Dewberry will prove to be critical as I transition into managing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projects.

Lessons Learned from a Local Project

During the planning phase of the Pennington Parking Garage project, I had the opportunity to participate in a public forum where community members voiced concerns and asked questions about the impact the project would have on their community. This meeting, although fairly routine to the experienced project manager, was a completely new experience for me and one that I'll be a part of many times in the future as a USACE project manager.

Training-with-IndustryI also had the opportunity to work on a suction line rehabilitation project in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Valuable Knowledge for the U.S. Army and an Army Officer

Thanks to my TWI experience, I now have a better understanding of the inner workings of a civilian EA firm, including how projects are billed and where costs are incurred, both directly and indirectly. This experience will allow me to better relate to—and work with—the many companies I anticipate teaming with as an USACE project manager. I've also been able to see and appreciate the tremendous effort and skill that goes into project completion at a civilian EA firm.

My newly gained perspective of the industry will enable me to more accurately evaluate job performance from the other side and have a more effective partnership due to better communication and improved project efficiencies.

A specific benefit of TWI at Dewberry is the mentorship and guidance from the many retired engineer officers who are now part of Dewberry: retired Maj. Gen. Bo Temple, board of directors member; retired Maj. Gen. Mike Walsh, national programs group leader; retired Col. Grant Smith, national programs and resilience services advisor, and retired Lt. Col. Neal Wright, director of business development,DoD. All these leaders took time to meet with me regularly and help shape me into a better officer and engineer.

Training-with-Industry-SponsorsMy TWI sponsors; Jean Huang, retired Col. Grant Smith, and retired Maj. Gen. Mike Walsh.

Wrapping up a Unique Assignment

My time at Dewberry has by far been the most unique assignment of my career. I went from wearing an Army uniform and leading a company of 120 soldiers to wearing a suit and tie and working on multi-million dollar projects. As my time as a TWI fellow comes to a close and I put back on my Army uniform to lead USACE projects, the lessons learned from Dewberry and the TWI program will enable me to succeed as I transition to this new positon.