Brian Struntz, the chief of special programs, planning and requirements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM), takes great pride in his many years working for the Army in various capacities. After college graduation, he started as a contractor with the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command to design and test military trailers. He spent six years at Ft. Detrick as a civilian in the Medical Research and Materiel Command. Later he spent eight years a contractor with the Army Reserve HQ at Fort Belvoir. Brian’s former supervisor at Ft. Belvoir had transitioned TAM and thought Brian would be a great fit on his new team. TAM is the USACE district responsible for construction and related support services across the Middle East for U.S. military and allied nation partners. After applying and interviewing for the position, Brian came to TAM in 2019 as a community planner and is now the chief, special programs in the planning and requirements branch. He feels his many years working as a civilian and contractor for the Army has been a great way to be of service to his country. He jokes, “I’ve only missed working for the National Guard.”
Initially, he received his Master’s in Speech Therapy from the University of Maryland. Realizing that was not what he wanted to do professionally, he went back and earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the same school. He spent some time working in the private sector between Army jobs, at one point working as director of facilities management and planning at a college. As life takes many twists and turns, Brian laughs at how he never directly used his mechanical engineering degree. Yet, he acknowledges the skillsets developed becoming a mechanical engineer correlate well in his current position.
Working at TAM has provided Brian with opportunities he had never had before. One example is his work with Architectural Engineering (AE) contracts. Brian oversees a number of contracts with AE firms. He develops statements of work, independent government estimates, analysis, and negotiations of the contract.
Brian appreciates that TAM is not-for-profit unlike the private sector. He explains, “What we do enhances and aids our own military and builds partnerships and strengthens relationships with U.S. foreign allies.” Brian has worked on numerous foreign military sales projects since 2019 and welcomes the chance to be part of teams that positively move our foreign mission partner relationships forward.
He also enjoys being connected to the whole USACE organization. TAM often taps into subject matter experts in other districts like Omaha, Huntsville, New York, and Jacksonville. Meanwhile, keeping TAM staffing well balanced with the right people in the right positions provides a quality workplace. Overall, this is a small community, and one often runs into the same planners and contractors through the years. Those rooted relationships move projects along since people already know how to work together.
Brian also values working for an organization that has earned a high level of trust of working with and for USACE. He describes that our international allies and contractors respects TAM for getting quality work done on time and on budget. He also recognizes that “TAM is the place for professionals to come to grow their skills.” Brian acknowledges that TAM provides great training, and that leadership encourages employees to seek professional growth and development. Another way the organization maintains a positive workplace is how hiring officials look at a resume for transferable skills and that there are often opportunities for in house advancement.
As he looks forward, he sees retirement in the not-too-distant, but not that close, future. For now, Brian enjoys the continued challenging work and wants to pass on his expertise to incoming talent. At this point in his career, his motto is, “What can I do to help others succeed?”