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The Magazine of Military Housing, Lodging & Lifestyles

communities MAY/JUNE 2014

Making the most of your community’s recreational spaces

PLAY TIME Special section: Leadership skills page 14

The value of putting residents first page 39

How to prepare for natural disasters page 41

CONTENTS NEW! Don’t miss these new

Defense Communities columns:

n Housing Spotlights, page n Services Corner, page 12



FEATURES 28 P lay Time

Engineered wood fiber is still a commonly used playground and trail surface because of its low initial cost, its good impact-attenuating characteristics, and its ability to be knit together for accessibility purposes. By Jeff Mrakovich

14 Be an Irresistible Leader

30 C  ombating Wild Weather

16  Leading in Times of Crisis

33 A Warm Welcome

20  What Sort of Executive Are You?

35 L ighting the Way

24  Leave Your Mark

37 R  edefining Privatization

Create the conditions by which people want to engage with you, adopt your vision, and partner with you. By Alesia Latson

When employees have experienced tragedy, the best thing you can do is offer a listening ear and a thoughtful response. By Ruth W. Crocker

Successful executives look at their own leadership styles and examine how those styles impact the ability to get the right things done. By Tron Jordheim

Here are five keys to building and maintaining a powerful online presence. By Nick Nanton

26  Mastering Decision Making

The pivotal point in any crisis is when you decide how you will deal with and lead through the situation. By Lucien Canton

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With the right training and collaboration, landscape firms can help ensure safe living environments for all residents in any weather. By Blane Pshigoda

Privatized military housing companies must be able to effectively communicate the benefits of base housing before potential residents arrive on base. By Celeste McLane

As light sources become more efficient, control technologies work to drive even greater energy savings while delivering comfortable lighting for homes and offices. By Andy Wakefield

With the tough budget climate, local, state, and county governments must examine whether public-private partnerships can help fund, manage, and overcome large-scale infrastructure challenges. By Greg Cannito

39 P utting Residents First

Dyess Air Force Base partnered with Hunt Communities to create a dynamic, modern housing community near the base. By Sandy Nichols


The Magazine of Military Housing, Lodging & Lifestyles


May/June 2014 u Volume 25, Number 3 u

A Publication of the Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Man­age­ment Association Publisher Editor Managing Editor VP, Custom Media Production Assoc. Art Director Ad Sales Manager

40 4 th Annual Father-

Daughter Winter Ball The Villages at Belvoir hosted an annual evening of dancing and fun for residents. By Jennifer Watkins

Publishing Offices Stratton Publishing & Mar­ket­ing Inc. 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510 Alexandria, VA 22312-2334 703/914-9200; fax 703/914-6777

41 D  isaster Preparedness

These steps can help facilities and businesses prepare for hurricanes or other major disasters. Adapted from a Press Release

Advertising Sales Manager Alison Bashian Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc. 800/335-7500; fax 440/232-0398

42 C  all of Duty

A strong partnership helps place veterans in high-quality careers. Adapted from a Press Release

Villages at Belvoir, by Beth Moskal

44 H  elping Heroes’ Families

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has pledged educational support for the children of Camp Pendleton EOD victims. Adapted from a Press Release

DEPARTMENTS 4 President’s Message

PHMA President Del Eulberg discusses generational differences in the workplace


Military Marketplace

47 P HMA Corporate Sustaining Members


Advertising Index

Please send your articles for Defense Communities to Birgitt Seymour at NEXT EDITORIAL DEADLINE:

September/October – July 2 November/December – September 5

ABOUT THE COVER Courtesy of Zeager Bros, Inc.

Debra J. Stratton Birgitt Seymour Lia Dangelico Josephine Rossi Christine Umbrell Janelle Welch Alison Bashian

Editorial Office 544 Windspirit Circle, Prescott, AZ 86303 928/771-9826 phmadefensecommunities@ PHMA Office 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 703/771-1888; fax 703/771-0299 Executive Director Jon R. Moore Defense Communities (ISSN #1088-9000 USPS #004-502) is pub­lished bi­month­ly by Stratton Pub­lish­ing & Mar­ket­ing Inc., 5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22312-2334, for the Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176. PHMA mem­bers re­ceive this pub­li­ca­tion at the an­nu­al sub­scrip­tion rate of $30. Nonmembers’ annual sub­scrip­tion rate is $100. Send sub­ scription re­quests to Defense Communities at PHMA. Periodi­ cals post­age paid at Leesburg, VA, and ad­di­tion­al mail­ing offices. Defense Communities, ©2014, Pro­fes­sion­al Hous­ing Management As­so­ci­a­tion. All rights re­served. All con­tents of this pub­li­ca­tion are pro­tect­ed by copy­right; how­ev­er, they may be re­pro­duced in whole or in part with prior ap­prov­al of the publisher. Prior to photocopying items for educational classroom, internal, or personal use, or to request rights to republish an article, please request re­print permission from Editor, Defense Communities, phmadefensecommunities@ Unless otherwise stated, ar­ti­cles and ed­i­to­ri­als express the views of their au­thors and not nec­es­sar­i­ly those of PHMA, the editors, or the pub­lish­er. An­nounce­ments and ad­ver­ tise­ments in this pub­li­ca­tion for prod­ucts and ser­vic­es do not im­ply the en­dorse­ment of PHMA or any of its members or staff. Postmaster: Send subscription/address changes to: Defense Communities, 154 Fort Evans Road, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 or e-mail: Defense Communities magazine is designed to keep those who operate and manage the whole spectrum of military housing and facilities maintenance informed on the industry’s latest technology, products, and services. It provides a forum for members to share lessons learned, news and events, and training opportunities and updates.

MAY | JUNE 2014  3

P res i d e nt ’s Mes s ag e

Understanding Generational Differences By Del Eulberg, Major General (Ret.), USAF


ith all the budget cuts, reorganizations, and draw downs, it is easy to forget that we have a very diverse workforce that may react or process information differently. We have many cultural differences in the workplace, but the generational differences that exist are equally as challenging. When we were born, how we were raised, and what occurred during our early years all impact how we approach work, communication, and reward systems, and how we view ourselves and others. Leaders are increasingly grappling with generational differences in their workforces. Problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. Currently, there are four generations in the workplace: • Traditionalists, born before 1945, experienced the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean War. • Baby Boomers, born between 1945 and 1964, experienced suburban sprawl, the explosion of television, the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal. • Generation X, born between 1964 and 1980, shared “Sesame Street,” MTV, PCs, and soaring divorce rates, and were the first latch-key kids. • Generation Y or Millennials, born after 1980, experienced the development of the digital camera and social media, 9/11, widespread natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and growing diversity. A lot of research has been conducted around generational differences, so I thought I would share the table on the following page, which can help all of us better understand these differences. We all must recognize that these differences exist and be able to effectively address and take advantage of the unique values and expectations of each generation. The key to any engagement strategy is to give all employees a venue in which to present ideas and concerns with regard to workplace changes. This is basic to managing change. I caution you to avoid stereotyping when leading a diverse workforce. Every individual is different,

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but understanding generational differences will help you lead your diverse workforce through the inevitable changes that are coming to each of the military services. It also may be of value to you, as housing and lodging professionals, to better understand these differences when meeting customers’ needs. Thanks again for all you do! n God Bless,

Del Eulberg is vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. General Eulberg retired from the Air Force in 2009 as The Civil Engineer, HQ USAF, where he was responsible for installation support for 166 installations worldwide.

Generations in the Workplace: Behaviors, Strengths, and Struggles Generation

Organizational Behaviors

Workplace Strengths

Workplace Struggles


Typically disciplined, loyal team players who work within the system. They are respectful of authority, patient, and follow the rules. Obviously, they have a vast knowledge legacy to share and embody a traditional work ethic.

• Hard-working • Stable • Loyal • Thorough • Detail-oriented • Focused • Emotionally mature

• Reticent when they disagree • Respect for diversity • Reluctant to buck the system • Uncomfortable with conflict • Presenteeism related to medical issues • Not as comfortable with technology

Baby Boomers

Boomers tend to be optimistic, ambitious, competitive, and focused on their personal accomplishments. They believe in working long hours and expect the younger generations to adopt this approach. They have ruled the workplace for years and are comfortable in the culture they created.

• Team perspective • Dedicated • Experienced • Knowledgeable • Service-oriented

• Technology replacing human interaction • Sharing praise and rewards • Balancing work and family • Uncomfortable with conflict, reluctant to go against peers

Generation X

Having seen their parents laid off or face job insecurity, they’ve redefined loyalty. Instead of remaining loyal to their company, they’re committed to their work and people they work with. They are skeptical, risk-takers, and want fun in the workplace. They also seek more work-life balance.

• Independent • Adaptable • Creative • Techno-literate • Willing to challenge status quo

• Career development •C  onflict resolution and office politics • Multigenerational team projects • Balancing work and family • Skeptical and distrustful of authority

Generation Y

They are typically team-oriented, and work well in groups, as opposed to individual endeavors. Also, they’re used to tackling multiple tasks with equal energy, so they expect to work hard. They’re good multitaskers, having juggled sports, school, and social interests growing up.

• Optimistic • Able to multitask • Tenacious • Technologically savvy • Driven to learn and grow • Team-oriented

• Respectful communication • Functional literacy •N  eed supervision and structure, especially with people issues •R  eject the concept of “paying dues,” expect input immediately

Sources: Engaging the Multi-Generational Workforce, HR Management (,Benefits-AND-Compensation/Engaging-the-Multi-generational-Workforce/); “Engaging Multiple Generations Among Your Workforce” by Devon Scheef and Diane Thielfoldt.


Camp Pendleton Employees Receive PHMA Awards Camp Pendleton, California


n March 4, 2014, two employees from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Government Housing Office were recognized with Professional Housing Managers Association National Awards at Building 1160. Each year, all housing, billeting, and public-private venture partner offices submit nominees to their service level housing chain of command to compete and be selected for one of the awards. “It is a special day because we get to recognize two individuals for their professional dedication,” said Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, commanding general, Marine Corps InstallationsWest, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “The best part is that out of four awards we are presenting two to our employees, which really speaks to their level of effort and what they do.” Henrietta Pearman, the housing application manager for the Family Housing Branch, was selected as the “Outstanding Middle Housing Manager of the Year.” According to her award, she won for making the Camp Pendleton Housing Office the first to enable electronic digital signatures on all required housing application forms. Service members are now able to use their common access cards to electronically sign and submit forms, allowing them to complete their applications in minutes. “I have been at this job for a little over a year and I am still pinching myself to believe I’m really here,” said Pearman. “Coming up with the common access card solution feels really good; I feel like I’m dreaming.” Steven Carlen, the budget analyst for the Family Housing Branch,

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Henrietta Pearman was the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Middle Housing Manager of the Year Award. Photo by Cpl. Derrick K. Irions.

Steven Carlen was the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Housing/Billeting Employee of the Year Award. Photo by Cpl. Derrick K. Irions.

was selected as the “Outstanding Housing & Billeting Employee of the Year.” With his supervisor temporarily assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Carlen acted as the fiscal director from October 2013 to January 2014. During this time, he ensured efficient utilization of programmed

award. It was a lot of work, but I am glad my boss had the confidence in me to give me a chance to do a job that is above me.” The ceremony ended with Bullard thanking the winners for all of their hard work. “Everybody thanks you for what you do for not only the

Each year, all housing, billeting, and public-private venture partner offices submit nominees to their service level housing chain of command to compete and be selected for one of the awards. funds, while drafting and submitting all budget reporting information on time with 100 percent accuracy, according to his award. “It’s an honor to be working for housing; it is the best place I have worked in all my years,” said Carlen. “I am truly honored to receive this

Marines, sailors, and families, but also for ensuring we keep up our obligation to use our resources wisely and stay within budget,” he said. —By Cpl. Brianna Christensen n Originally published on the MCB Camp Pendleton Installation website.

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


aval Station Guantanamo Bay (NAVSTA GTMO) is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval base and the only base located in a communist country. But that’s just the beginning of the unique environment its housing staff lives and works in, according to Installation Housing Program Manager Rudy Sammons. The base has been totally self-sufficient with its own power and water sources for more than 50 years, in addition to being home to the oldest continuously operating overseas Department of Defense Dependents School (DoDDS) in the world, which opened in 1931. NAVSTA GTMO is a restricted base with no off-base access. “Except for maybe Diego Garcia, another difference from other bases is that everyone who lives, works, and visits the base relies on us to provide berthing,” Sammons said in a phone interview. All housing is government-owned. Housing assignments are made before arrival to Guantanamo Bay. Dependent Entry Approval (DEA) issued by NAVSTA GTMO is required for travel of dependents and is contingent upon availability of housing. Family Housing consists of 726 units in 17 neighborhoods—the number of units is growing as new construction is accepted. Unaccompanied Housing consists of almost 3,000 bed-spaces, which include the Joint Task Force. Navy Gateway Inns & Suites (NGIS) has an additional 1,400 bed spaces—1,000 of which are used to house third-country national employees on a reimbursable basis. There are 15 Family Housing (FH) and Unaccompanied Housing (UH) staff positions to care for this large community. UH daily operations, such as check-in and check-out, are performed by 125 NGIS staff and are

At a ribbon cutting at Granadillo Circle 95D, Housing Installation Program Manager Rudy Sammons makes remarks and Public Works, Housing, and BRDC staff look on—at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo: Housing Department Guantanamo Bay Facebook page)

reimbursed under a Memorandum of Agreement. With an average turnover of three years, the housing program is in continuous training mode. Fortunately, there is an active-duty military and DoD civilian spousal employment program. Sammons’ staff serves a very diverse group of residents: military, DoD civilians, foreign national employees who work for DoD, third-country national employees who work for contractors, JTF, and family members of some. Another group, designated as Special Category Residents, is mainly comprised of Cubans, who sought refuge on the base in January 1961 when diplomatic relations were severed with Cuba. Many still live and work there today. Providing customer service for an aging population is just another distinctive feature of the Guantanamo Bay Housing Department.

Housing office initiative: There are currently two MILCON contracts funded to improve the quality of life: 1.) FY09 funded contract to demolish and rebuild 146 enlisted, company, and field-grade officers’ quarters—30 completed and 116 still to come on line. 2.) FY11 contract to demolish 71 units; no units have been completed to date. NAVSTA GTMO presents several interesting, one-of-a-kind challenges to the upbeat, resourceful Navy Housing staff. (Who else has to advise their residents about steps to take to keep their car hoses safe from “banana rats,” or hutias?) But the recipients of Professional Housing Management Association’s 2012 “Outstanding Housing Installation Team” are qualified and competent to meet them. n

MAY | JUNE 2014  7


F. E. Warren Air Force Base


E. Warren AFB is the oldest, continuously active base in the Air Force’s inventory. Established in 1867 as a U.S. Army fort along with the city of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the base was originally called Fort D. A. Russell. In 1930, the name of the base was changed to Fort F. E. Warren in honor of the first territorial governor and first state senator. In 1949, Fort F. E. Warren was transferred to the Air Force and the name became F. E. Warren Air Force Base, and designated the 90th Missile Wing, operating 150 Minuteman III missiles. F. E. Warren and Cheyenne have a strong bond with the base, assisting Cheyenne with volunteers and hosting events during the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, Cheyenne Frontier Days, held annually during the last full week of July. F. E. Warren’s Housing Office is partnered with Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) as part of the Western Group privatization effort for the Air Force. Family housing will offer 749 houses when the project is completed, with 152 of these homes being historic homes, which offer their own challenges. The office also houses 554 Unaccompanied Airmen in 10 historic dormitories. The partnership has just passed its second anniversary, and the project is moving along superbly.

Staff members highlighted: Beckah McClure is the LifeWorks coordinator for BBC. She has been with BBC since the beginning of the project, and has been instrumental in hosting and participating in fall festivals, Trick-or-Treat Off the Street, Movies in the Park, Base Christmas Tree Lighting, Horses for Heroes, historic housing tours, budgeting classes, and craft days for the kids’ events. When asked, “What is the best thing

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Clockwise from top: Beckah McClure at Trick-or-Treat Off the Street event; Staff Sergeant Matt Barbett; and historic housing.

about working with service members and their families?” she responded, “Being able to enrich their lives through the programs being offered, and getting to know them personally.” She has done an outstanding job, with her extraordinary efforts providing events for 5,239 military and family members in 2013 alone. F.E. Warren AFB is lucky to have her on its team. Staff Sergeant Matt Barbett serves as an Airmen dorm leader, non-

commissioned officer in-charge of the Unaccompanied Airmen and dormitory staff. He is fast approaching his two-year point with the housing section, and leads three other Airmen dorm leaders and 10 bay orderlies daily, ensuring maintenance and cleanliness standards are upheld within the dormitories. Last year, the base had a 500-person surge of in-bound Airmen within a six-month period, and through Barbett’s outstanding efforts, dormitory Airmen were relo-


cated off-base to make room for the in-bound Airmen arriving from technical training. When asked, “What do you like about serving the Airmen in the dorm?” he stated, “Being a mentor to them because some Airmen do not get that from their supervisors.” Staff Sergeant Barbett also serves as a physical training leader for the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron and has helped several people pass their annual physical training evaluations by pacing them during their 1.5-mile run. He is a true example of the Air Force’s core values of “Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.”

Recent housing initiatives: F. E. Warren’s housing team has been instrumental in taking care of both family and unaccompanied residents. The team has implemented the Rental Partnership Program (RPP) to bring affordable, off-base rentals to service members at a reduced monthly rent and move-in costs. The housing team introduced RPP to property managers several times at its property management meetings, and turnouts were large and always a huge success. Several property managers are very interested in this program and eager to get onboard. The Housing Management Office (HMO) representatives have ventured out and introduced the RPP to the local community within a 50-mile radius of the base. The RPP will reduce move-in costs by up to 75 percent in some cases and will especially help dorm residents transitioning to units off base. The HMO also has developed a home buyer’s seminar that started in April 2014 and will be offered twice a year. Realtors, loan agencies, title companies, and home inspectors will be speaking at the seminars to provide and share their expertise with service members and their families.

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This will empower service members with the knowledge of purchasing a home for the first time or enhancing their knowledge as an existing homeowner. The Unaccompanied Housing Section has started a loaner bike program for dormitory residents. This program was initiated through crosstalk with Ellsworth AFB personnel. The loaner bike program has taken abandoned bicycles, painted them to make them easily identifiable, and placed them at the dormitories for dorm residents’ use. The 15 bikes were gathered over the winter months, sanded, and painted. The program kicked off in April 2014. —By Richard Singhas, Chief, Unaccompanied Housing n

Judith M. Hudson

Staff Highlight from Army Housing


udith M. Hudson joined the Office of the Chief of Staff for Installation Management team as the Army Housing deputy and functional community manager for Career Program 27 (Housing), with dual assignment as the deputy chief, Army Housing Division, in December 2013. She has more than 30 years of installation

management experience in garrison management, housing, and engineering, from a variety of assignments on garrisons within the Department of the Army and as a recent member of the Energy Initiatives Task Force with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability. Prior to her assignment as the deputy division chief of Army Housing, Hudson was on a special assignment to the Energy Initiatives Task Force assignment. Prior to being the director of public works at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, she served as the deputy director, DPW, and acting deputy to the garrison commander at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Hudson began her career as an engineering intern with the Directorate of Public Works at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1981. She has served in positions of increasing responsibility, including project manager, operations and maintenance division chief, and business operations chief at the Directorate of Public Works for both Fort Bragg and Fort Campbell. She also has served with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Hudson graduated in 1980 from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and earned a master’s of strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in July 2011. Her Department of the Army awards include the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Superior Civilian Service Award, Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, and Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. She received the William C. Gribble Jr. DPW Executive of the Year Award in 2011. She has been awarded the Bronze Order of the Engineer DeFleury Medal, and is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers. n

serv iceS corner

Coast Guard Housing Working to Boost Quality of Life for Members, Families By Melissa Fredrickson, Chief, Coast Guard Housing


uring the past four years, under the leadership of the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s on-going “Family Campaign,” there has been unprecedented support for improving the quality of life for our service members and their families. That support includes family housing and, in February 2011, the Commandant announced his intention to conduct a comprehensive national assessment of Coast Guard housing. By May 2011, the Coast Guard centralized maintenance management of approximately 4,000 owned houses under a single asset manager and awarded a contract for the comprehensive review of the housing enterprise to assess whether the inventory was appropriately sized and in adequate condition for Coast Guard members and their families. Completed in 2012, the assessment found that the average age of the Coast Guard family housing inventory was 40 years old and many houses required significant refurbishment or replacement. Based on local market surveys and historic occupancy rates, the assessment also confirmed that we had more inventory than necessary. After reviewing market surveys, customer surveys, condition and functional assessments (size and layouts), utilization rate, environmental conditions, and operations and maintenance costs, the Coast Guard revalidated over 600 houses previously approved for divestiture, and identified an additional 600+ houses

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Coast Guard-owned family housing in Kodiak, Alaska.

that could be divested without significant risk to operations or impact on members and their families. The Coast Guard is now actively working to divest these homes and will deposit proceeds from the sale of surplus housing in the Coast Guard Housing Fund. The Coast Guard Housing Fund, established by the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act, allows the Coast Guard to retain funds generated from the sale of surplus property and to invest those funds in the maintenance and construction of family and unaccompanied housing. To date, the fund has supported the purchase or construction of housing in Montauk, New York; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Astoria, Oregon; and Kodiak, Alaska. The assessment included a review of housing maintenance delivery processes, energy efficiency opportunities, the environmental risk

monitoring program, and information systems. A number of gaps, deficiencies, and recommendations were provided. The Coast Guard continues to review the findings and develop strategies to improve the housing program. Our goal is to right size Coast Guard housing with the required type, number, and size of housing units for each region, and to invest and improve these houses as needed to ensure Coast Guard members and their families have access to the housing they deserve. n Look for Services Corner articles from OSD and service housing leadership in future issues of Defense Communities. If you have an idea for a Services Corner article, contact Melissa Cooper at to help you get in touch with your service's point of contact.

Army Housing Academy Continues to Flourish By Shenise Foster, New Media Program Manager, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Army Housing Headquarters


he Army Housing Academy (AHA) has flourished into the premier training source for Army housing careerists and soldiers to enhance their skills and increase their knowledge in the unaccompanied, family, privatized, general flag officer quarters, and community housing arenas. To date, the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (OACSIM), Housing Division, has hosted 60 AHA courses and trained 240 housing personnel across all disciplines of the housing program. AHA has centralized the training focus to match the responses of the job series 1173 Competency Management survey conducted by housing careerists and their supervisors in FY13. The results of this survey indicate the need to get back to the core principals of housing management, and AHA is responding by providing entry-level courses that focus on core competencies, customer service, and the housing careerist’s

responsibilities in the Army Housing scheme. Level-two courses also are available in housing services, unaccompanied, and family housing. In February 2014, AHA introduced its first online course for housing services employees. The Army Virtual Housing Experience (VHE) course educates and informs the Army Housing community on the online housing tools available to assist soldiers and families throughout their tour. The topics covered in the course focus on the Army Housing online user services website, social media channels and the Army VHE strategic communications plan, and the role of the Housing Services Office in promoting these tools. Upon completion, each student receives a certificate showcasing that he or she is a steward capable of spreading the principles of the Army VHE. To date, AHA has conducted four classes, with additional classes to take place throughout the remainder of the year. It is the goal of the Army

Housing Academy to provide competency-based training that will help housing careerists with their day-today functions and prepare them for future opportunities in the career program. Army Housing Academy’s Fiscal Year 14 Course Schedule: • Housing Services Office Level 1: Pentagon—June 2-6, 2014 • Unaccompanied Housing Level 1: IMCOM Academy—July 15-18, 2014 • General Flag Officer Quarters: Pentagon—Aug. 19-22, 2014 • Unaccompanied Housing Level 2: IMCOM Academy—Sept. 16-19, 2014 Those interested in attending the classes mentioned above must obtain written approval from their supervisors and have established GoArmyEd (https://www.goarmyed. com/) and Army Career Tracker ( accounts. Priority for attendance is given to Army employees, both civilian and military, before other services. For more information or any questions on AHA, contact the OACSIM Housing Office at army. n

MAY | JUNE 2014  13


Be an Irresistible Leader Three keys to attract and connect with others in order to build trust and loyalty By Alesia Latson


eadership is a tough job. Not only does the leader have to be adept at managing multiple priorities, but that individual also has to possess expert people skills. Regardless of industry, a leader is only as good as his or her team. Without the buy-in and respect of your employees, it will be difficult and challenging to accomplish the organization’s goals. The challenge, then, is figuring out how to be irresistible to your team—how to create the conditions by which people cannot resist your message and vision and therefore want to align and partner with you. Becoming irresistible requires that you attract and connect with people, which naturally results in trust and loyalty. That’s why the key for any leader is to create the conditions and experiences by which people want to engage with you. Following are the top three ways to build engagement with your staff. 1. Build a rapport. The best way to build rapport with people is to simply

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listen to them. When people feel listened to, they are more likely to trust you and are more eager to engage with you. To make listening a priority in your role, start doing monthly listening tours. These do not have to be long sessions—15 minutes is enough. The point is to actually schedule time where you meet with people informally and just let them talk. At the beginning of the meeting, tell them you will just be listening for the first 15 minutes and they can share whatever they’d like. Then, let them talk. Don’t interrupt or dominate the conversation. Only speak when the other person asks you a question. The rest of the time just listen and take notes. After the person is done talking, paraphrase what you heard. Taking 15 minutes out of your day to listen will help you forge a greater connection with your staff and can make a huge difference in employee engagement. 2. Disagree with grace. Disagreements at work are inevitable. The key is how you handle them. Too often, leaders

come across as harsh when they disagree, inadvertently making employees feel inferior or that their ideas are without merit. So rather than abruptly telling people things like, “No, that will never work,” when you disagree with them, start by acknowledging and validating the other person’s perspective. To do this, you must listen attentively and then legitimize the other person’s point of view. It is most effective when you can provide at least three points of validation because that’s when the person is more likely to feel that you actually heard what he or she said. So, for example, if someone offers an idea for increasing profits that you think is too risky and won’t work, you could say something like, “I see that your proposal is a reflection of your commitment to finding viable options that will increase our profitability (validation 1). It’s evident that you’ve put a lot of effort into taking a look at the numbers (validation 2). And you’ve offered a compelling business case for us to consider (validation 3). We’re

aligned in that we’re both looking for a committed solution. Where we differ is in how aggressive the plan should be and how much risk we should take on. Maybe that’s something we can talk about.” Remember, the magic number is three points of validation. At this point, you can ask some openended questions to get a better idea of the employee’s thinking, or you can agree to disagree. But it is that validation that enables you to disagree with grace. Now rather than shutting the conversation down, you’re engaging the employee. This is what creates irresistibility, because when the employees walk away from that meeting, they may not have gotten what they wanted, but they weren’t defeated.

Attracting the Best If you want to be one of those leaders that people can’t seem to resist— the kind of leader who has loyal employees and a strong environment of trust—then you need to focus on these three employee engagement practices. Not only will your current employees find you irresistible, but you’ll also have a steady stream of eager potential employees (the best

of the best) who want to work with you. The more engagement and partnership you have with your team, the more rewarding the work experience will be for everyone. n Alesia Latson is a speaker, trainer, coach, and founder of Latson Leadership Group, a consulting firm specializing in management and leadership development. Reach her at

3. Offer acknowledgment. Too often, leaders are so busy, stressed, and overwhelmed that they forget to acknowledge people. But human beings crave recognition and want to feel that they are making a meaningful difference in some way. Offering acceptance and praise goes a long way to building engagement. Acknowledging someone doesn’t mean gushing over them and touting superlatives that aren’t warranted. It also is not about empty phrases like, “good job.” Offering acknowledgment and praise works best when you’re factual and pointing out specifics that made an impact. For example, instead of telling someone, “You did a good job on that report,” which lacks any facts or specifics, you could say, “I wanted to compliment you on your report. It detailed the topic in a clear way, gave a strong call to action at the end, and was visually very appealing in the layout.” The more specific you can be with your praise, the more meaningful it is for the employee. In addition to making the person feel important, your words are giving them clear feedback on what success looks like so they can duplicate it in the future. Remember, too, that acknowledgment and praise do not only happen during a formal meeting or year-end review. You can offer a word of acknowledgment in passing at the water cooler. Often, it’s those little interactions that leave a lasting impression. MAY | JUNE 2014  15


Leading in Times of Crisis How to listen and respond when employees have experienced tragedy By Ruth W. Crocker, Ph.D


ow best can we meet the challenge of being helpful and supportive to friends, co-workers, and employees who may have experienced deep and lasting wounds from traumatic experiences? In fact, old emotional wounds can cause numbness, rage, and anxiety and may be invisible to the rest of the world. For example, when 1st Sergeant Louis McShane received his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1947 after World War II, he remembers throwing his duffel bag over his shoulder, walking out into the sunshine, receiving a handshake, and hearing the words: “Go home and get a job.” Fifty years later, after his wife’s death, Louis broke down. He began to speak about the horrors he had heard and seen on the beaches of Normandy, where he witnessed comrades impaled by bayonets and others drowning as they tried to swim to shore wearing 90 pounds of gear during the Allied Landing. “I don’t know how I made it back alive,” he repeated. “I always carried a kind of guilt.” For years, Louis kept the burden of what he had seen to himself. His employers, family, and even his close friends knew only that he had been

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in the Army and that he was a workaholic when he returned. No one, except Louis, knew that he woke most nights in a cold sweat. Working long hours was his way of coping with obsessive thoughts and nightmares.

Warning Signs Direct experience with traumatizing events has the potential to evoke a lasting stress reaction. Besides war, motor vehicle accidents, plane crashes, nuclear meltdowns, abuse, and more can shatter a sense of security and make the world feel like a hostile environment. Witnessing a death through murder, combat, or disaster seems to permeate personal stability and have the most lingering emotional and physical effects that may be accompanied by a prolonged silence, even guilt, about the event. Unrecognized and untreated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is known to disturb physical health, emotional status, and relationships

with friends, family members, and coworkers. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, or constant fear. Some sufferers say they feel “crazy” and worry that they will end up homeless. They describe being awakened night after night by dreams about exploding mortars and barking dogs. If a friend or co-worker appears fearful, fatigued, depressed, easily provoked, and/or prone to negative or reactive behavior over a prolonged period of time, he or she may be suffering from an unrecognized and untreated reaction to a traumatic event. That individual may choose to remain silent about his or her experience, or may suddenly decide to speak. If you happen to be the person he or she opens up to, here are some appropriate ways to respond: • Recognize that people react differently to disasters and traumatic events. It may be challenging for you to hear about the events that terrified another person, but remember that this is the other person’s story and you cannot

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gage another’s reaction by how you might have behaved. Avoid telling someone what they should be thinking, feeling, or doing by responding with statements such as: “You shouldn’t feel like that.” If you are lost for words, it’s better to say something like: “It sounds like you did the best that you possibly could.” If you can’t think of something to say, just offer eye contact and a squeeze of the hand if it’s appropriate. • Listen with unconditional regard if someone begins to share a past experience. Many people are fearful of how they might be judged by others. You can’t harm someone with kindness, but criticism at a vulnerable moment can be devastating and unproductive. • Remind them that talking may be difficult, but it’s O.K.—especially if you are sure that you’re ready to listen. • Reassure them that you respect their privacy and will not share their personal information with others. (The exception to this is when the indi-


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vidual shares suicidal thoughts or ideas about committing violent acts. In these cases, you may be obligated to report what you’ve learned to a higher authority.) • Avoid patronizing and distracting

mendation or referral, especially if thoughts of suicide are mentioned or alluded to. If possible, have names and contact information available. Treatment today of war-related PTSD includes group sessions, art thera-

Unrecognized and untreated posttraumatic stress disorder is known to disturb physical health, emotional status, and relationships with friends, family members, and coworkers. behavior such as recounting your own experience of traumatic events as if you understand exactly what they are feeling. If you have gone through a similar experience, it is appropriate to share but don’t claim to “know” what the person is experiencing. • Acquaint yourself with grief counselors and professionals who deal with PTSD. Be prepared to make a recom-

py, and combat-stress counseling. Participants say that being with people who have been through the same experience makes them feel more “normal.” • Believe in the power of listening and the importance of simple connection between people. Offer comfort and reassurance without minimizing the experience.

Lend an Ear We are not so far away from a time when people were reluctant to seek help because of the stigma attached to psychological treatment and the fear that it could have a damaging impact on a career. When Louis McShane finally began to speak about what he had seen and experienced 50 years earlier, he discovered an echo. Others had been there, too, and he began to sleep at night. In spite of the many ways we have to communicate in today’s world, it is still possible for people to feel that they must hold on to difficult emotions in isolation. When people exhibit the signs of invisible emotional scars, there may be a story that needs to be told to a compassionate and concerned listener. n Ruth W. Crocker, Ph.D, is an author, writing consultant, and expert on recovery from trauma and personal tragedy. For more information, go to


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| FEAT U R E |

Play Time What you need to know about using engineered wood fiber on your playground By Jeff Mrakovich


ngineered wood fiber (EWF) is still a commonly used playground and trail surface because of its low initial cost, its good impact-attenuating characteristics, and its ability to be knit together for accessibility purposes. Those terms are commonly used along with this popular surface, but another term that comes to mind is maintenance. Ask most playground owners and operators and it’s commonly thought that more maintenance is just a trade-off for the low initial cost of EWF. But for Zeager Bros., a national manufacturer of EWF located in Middletown, Pennsylvania, it’s more so a matter of educating playground owners and operators about products that can lower the care and maintenance time commonly tied to loose-fill surfaces, including EWF, and how to best use these products to get the most for their dollars spent. Take, for instance, wear mats, which are often used in high-traffic areas, such as swing and slide exits, to help reduce holes and limit maintenance. But does installing some wear mats in a few areas on the playground satisfy a playground owner’s responsibility of keeping the playground safe and accessible? Not exactly. Here are a few questions to ask the manufacturer before you purchase wear mats.

How do I install wear mats so they will meet accessibility guidelines? A common mistake is that most manufacturers say to place their mats on the surface or, even worse, instruct users to bury them beneath the wood fiber. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines call for entrance and exits of accessible equipment to be virtually level (less than 2 percent). Zeager offers wear mats that have flaps that are anchored into the surrounding surface and help to keep an even transition between the surrounding surface and the 28  Defense Communities

mat. The flaps also help to keep the surfacing below the mat in place, which gives optimum impact safety. The anchor system holds the mat in place, keeping the area accessible and vandal proof.

Do I affect the impact value of my surface by placing a mat over top the surface? Ask your vendor if it has impact testing showing its wear mat passes the ASTM F1292 test standard for impact-attenuating surfaces in and around playground equipment. This standard tests for impact values of the mat over certain thicknesses of EWF at three temperatures: 25 degrees Fahrenheit, 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This assures that no

Photos: Zeager Bros.

matter what time of year, children are less likely to suffer a life-threatening head injury should they fall. The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association provides a thirdparty certification program that shows your wear mat meets safety standards performed by an independent lab. Go to for information.

Various Zeager Bros playground surface coverings.

Wear mats seem to be available for common pieces of equipment like swing bays and slide exits, but what about other types of equipment like large spinners, overhead ladders, track rides, and others? The best thing to do is just ask your vendor. Common sizes available are 3’x3’ for slide exits, 3’x6’ for individual swings, 6’x8’ for a typical swing bay, and, in some cases, a 6’ square or round mat for tire swings or spinner toys. But if you have an area, such as under a track ride or overhead rings, a long narrow mat, for example, would work best. Placing a few 3’x6’ swing mats head to head may help, but they probably will get moved and not protect the area very well. Zeager has created a customized wear mat that can cover these odd-shaped, highly used areas and keep them safe, seamless, and accessible. The system uses a unique anchoring system that is safe and won’t allow the mat to be moved, but also allows for maintenance down the road to be performed without a lot of hassle. So if you’re worried about stretching your budget, you don’t have to trade low cost for functionality. There are accessory products out there that allow you to keep your EWF playground surfacing while maintaining safety and accessibility. n Jeff Mrakovich is the director of surfacing products at Zeager Bros., Inc. Reach him at MAY | JUNE 2014  29

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Yardi Systems, Inc.

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52  Defense Communities


Defense Communities May/June 2014  

The Magazine of Military Housing, Lodging, and Lifestyles