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Director of Public works has eye on soldier, future

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POSTED: April 7, 2007 5:13 a.m.
The pink blossoms sway in a slight, spring breeze. The early morning sun filters through the branches. A wind chime adds its gentle notes to the sound of the breeze moving through the branches of the 320 Eastern Redbuds planted at Warriors Walk here.
For Michael Biering, director of Stewart-Hunter’s Directorate of Public Works, Warriors Walk is the reason he comes to work in the morning.
“That’s what we’re all about,” Biering said.
The living memorial to the fallen soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division and other units associated with Fort Stewart is the first place Biering brings visitors who come to the Directorate of Public Works. Honoring the sacrifices of soldiers and meeting the needs of soldiers and their families is all part of Biering’s job.
“I provide the absolute best facilities, environment and infrastructure for soldiers and their families to live, work and train here,” he said. “That’s our mandate.”
The commitment Biering has toward his job is reflected in his latest career milestone. He was recently named a certified facility manger, the first in the Installation Management Command’s Southeast Region. The credential is an industry standard awarded by the International Facility Management Association.
Recognition as a CFM means both a success story for Biering and for Stewart-Hunter. The designation focuses and maps his professional development, Biering said. The credential is also one that requires recertification.
“It’s another way to attain excellence and keep us on par with industry,” he said.
Biering took an exam to earn the credential. The exam measures skill in nine specific areas, including real estate management, financial management, leadership and planning. The management skills are skills what Biering uses every day at work. He practices stewardship, he said, ensuring that the limited resources he does have are used to get the best results for soldiers and their families.
“This job does get frustrating because of the limited resources,” Biering said. “But I volunteered for this. I am blessed to be in a position to still interact and work with soldiers and their families.”
A retired colonel with 26 years of Army service, Biering brings martial discipline and all of his engineering knowledge to his position as director of Public Works.
Focusing on the “long haul” demands time, attention to detail, and working on the ground. Biering’s soldierly discipline is evident in his daily schedule. The day starts at 5:45 a.m. with an hour-long workout at the gym, a facility managed by his directorate. From the gym it’s off to check email and get updates on overnight events from his staff. After the updates, meetings or on-the-ground coordination take up the rest of the day. If the day allows, Biering ends work at 5:30 p.m. so he can be home for dinner.
“I’m normally out of the office every day taking care of business,” Biering said.
And the business is significant. Under Biering’s leadership, the public works directorate has had several successes. Improved traffic flow at two major intersections and a barracks revitalization program are just two initiatives that have changed Fort Stewart for the better.
“The intersections at Frank Cochran and at the Troop Medical Clinic have seen great improvements, from being simple four-way stops to being robust intersections with turn lanes and traffic lights,” Biering said. “The barracks along Gulick Road have seen marked improvement. As one soldier said, ‘They aren’t perfect yet, but they’re better than they ever have been.’”
Other successes include erecting modular building for the 4th Brigade Combat Team to live and work in when the unit was created during 3rd Infantry Division’s modular transformation.
“We were able to pull the off in record time,” Biering said.
The directorate is now in the final phases of building permanent barracks for the brigade. Some of the barracks are already finished and home to soldiers.
Adding 1,000 more homes to Fort Stewart’s housing area with the assistance of GMH is another success for DPW, Biering said. GMH is the Army’s housing partner. DPW and GMH work together to ensure quality housing for soldiers and their families. The initiative to provide housing continues, with new homes being built and old ones demolished.
Other initiatives yet to come include more military construction and continued transition out of World War II-era wooden buildings were needed, Biering said. Continued growth from Fort Stewart is expected, Biering said, because it is one of the few installations being looked at to support another brigade combat team. The global repositioning strategy is also sending many smaller tenant units to Fort Stewart, which means the cantonment area would grow to accommodate.
“I am dedicated to making this the best place to train, work and live in the Army,” Biering said. “Everything we do is for the soldier.”
 

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