The Army’s fifth Resource Efficiency Manager Workshop has connected its more than 25 attendees with skills necessary to ensure the Army’s resource specialists can achieve federal energy reduction mandates.
The Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, which manages the Army REM program, hosted the event March 10-12 in Huntsville.
“I recharged my batteries, so to speak,” said attendee Eric Segura, the resource manager for Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Virginia, Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Tennessee, and Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky.
Segura said he feels the workshop assists him in maintaining and improving sustainable, renewable, secure, resilient energy management plans at his three Army Materiel Command installations.
However, Segura said one of the greatest aspects of the annual workshop is the communication he’s had with other REMs in attendance.
“This was a great opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned,” he said. “It’s a great networking opportunity.”
An REM is an energy management subject-matter expert providing expertise so military installations can best identify infrastructure energy improvements, significantly reduce energy and water utilization and meet energy and water security, resilience and reduction goals.
One of the best aspects of an REM’s work at military installations is that it doesn’t require dipping into the installation’s operations and maintenance budgets.
As the REM program manager for the Army, Huntsville Center has a Blanket Purchase Agreement – a simplified acquisition method agencies use to fill anticipated repetitive needs for supplies or services – with small business contractors. Each contract is structured with pre-defined tasks and deliverables and tailored to meet installation or site-specific energy goals and objectives.
Melissa Johnson, Huntsville Center REM project manager, said a lot of the work an installation REM does supports energy awareness and other energy-related activities. Professional development through the annual workshop enhances the REM program’s capabilities, she said.
She said networking among the REMs may be the best aspect of the workshop and workshop agenda is designed to promote interaction among the attendees.
“The REM Workshop is a wonderful opportunity to allow our current REMs and contractors to hear about the projects that have been accomplished by other REMs within the program,” she said. “There was the benefit of having individuals with specific knowledge and expertise brief other REMs and contractors, as well as giving them the chance to ask all the questions that arise directly to the experts.”
The first day of the three-day workshop, located at Huntsville Center, included briefings that included command overviews and deep dives into third party financing, contracting, safety and the many energy programs Huntsville Center offers, such as the Center’s Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment and Commercial Utilities programs as well.
Johnson said mixing in briefings from energy academia and industry within the workshop broadens the scope of topics and discussion, too.
The last two days of the event were located at University of Alabama in Huntsville and included briefings and question-and-answer periods with UAH professors and other experienced energy industry leaders from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.
Vendors also set up booths showing off the latest available energy trade and technology tools.
John Trudell, Resource Efficiency Manager program manager, said he believes the workshop is vital to the “boots on the ground” of the resource efficiency campaign.
Trudell said attending REMs are asked to provide feedback at the end of the workshop and they all say the annual event is extremely valuable.
“The REMs stated the workshop was valuable to them by bringing together the various aspects of their job and the resources available to do their jobs,” Trudell said. “They learned about the work the other REMs are doing and the activities the Corps’ REM program does to support them to be successful.”