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NORTH ATL ANTIC DIVISION The district’s real estate office works with installation foresters to prepare each sale. “We award contracts to purchasers, monitor the sale, and close it out,” he said. “All the revenue that comes in from that sale goes through our section. We ensure the Army gets the money for disposal of its real property, and the local communities also see a monetary benefit through state entitlements.” Flores said there are misconceptions about forestry, timber harvesting, and all that goes into today’s industry. He encourages people to consider just how many forest products are integrated into everyday life. “That is the simplest way to realize how important an industry and mission it is and increase awareness about the need for proper

management,” he said. “There are places where we have long been producing paper, lumber, and other products through the management of forested lands.” Beyond economics and mission support, however, land management is among the federal government’s most significant roles, he added. “We are put in a position of public trust where it’s expected of us and all other federal land managers to do what’s for the greatest good of this resource and the American people to which it belongs,” Flores said. “Preservation, growth, [and] planned disposal with regard to purpose and results – that’s what we do as foresters.” n

DISTRICT’S BRIDGE INSPECTION AND EVALUATION TEAM REACHES NEW HEIGHTS BY STE VE ROCHE T TE, Philadelphia District

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ver wonder what’s it like to be suspended hundreds of feet in the air with a rope harness? “It’s exhilarating – unlike any other feeling,” said Adrian Kollias, a structural engineer and team leader for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District. That experience is all in a day’s work for a team of engineers who conduct bridge inspections and evaluations for USACE. The Bridge Inspection and Evaluation Regional Center of Expertise (RCX), based in Philadelphia, consists of 15 engineers who provide design and evaluation services, 10 of whom are also rope-access-certified technicians. In addition to inspecting and evaluating bridges and other hydraulic steel structures for USACE districts across the country, the RCX team has also done work overseas and for other federal clients, including the Navy, Air Force, Department of Transportation, and Department of Energy. The inspection is the first step in the overall maintenance process. “With an existing bridge or structure, the most important part of maintenance is the inspection program, because that’s where you identify problems,” said Kollias. “If you don’t know where the problems are, you can’t address them.” Kollias explained that the team also provides design services and engineering support as repairs are made to structures. To serve on the team, engineers undergo intense training, including a two-week session on bridges and structures as well as a one-week course on rope access. During rope-access training, participants learn

how to use equipment, tie knots, and practice techniques for climbing. Team members also participate in periodic refresher courses. Structural engineer Joseph Gonglik recently completed rope-access training. He said serving on the rope-access inspection team provides opportunities to learn about a wide variety of structures and contribute to an important mission. “It means a lot to be able to participate in the inspections of our bridges, hydraulic steel structures, and flood control projects,” said Gonglik. “These are structures that people use every day and can be taken for granted. It’s our job to make sure these structures are in good condition and functioning as intended so we can all continue to go about our daily business without a second thought.” The RCX traces its roots to 1995, when a small team was established to inspect the Philadelphia District’s tower access bridges at its dams in Pennsylvania as well as bridges at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and in the Kansas City District. The team and its mission have evolved and expanded in the two decades since. “The growth of this team has been incredible,” said Cameron Chasten, chief of the Bridge Inspection RCX and Structures Branch in Philadelphia. “We started out with three structural engineers. Now we have 15, and the type of work we do has changed over the years as well.” Chasten pointed to several key milestones that have helped shape the team’s mission. In 2005, the team developed rope-access capability and began inspecting the Philadelphia District’s five high-level highway bridges across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. In 2008, the North Atlantic Division commander at the time, then-Brig. Gen. Todd 19

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Building Strong, Serving the Nation and the Armed Forces, 2020-2021  

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