District Provides Mission Partners a Model Experience

Transatlantic Middle East District
Published April 3, 2024
Updated: April 3, 2024
Man presenting a lecture while standing in front of a group of people seated.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Middle East District advanced modeling manager Erick Stillman gives a presentation on the USACE TAM Advanced Modeling (AdM) Project Execution Plan (PxP) during a workshop in January, 2023. A PxP describes in formal terms how Advanced Modeling methods, techniques, and tools will be used in the development of our design products, as well as how we will use Advanced Modeling during construction. His presentation identified important influences, factors, and feedback where TAM reshaped vital segments of the USACE PxP into a more streamlined, efficient, and time-saving” document suitable for all types of Advanced Modeling design and construction projects, capable of a quick-turnaround to get projects started, while also maintaining established Advanced Modeling Standards for continued documentation of each specific project.

Man in safety gear standing next to a mock up of a design element.

Current technology allows engineers, architects and design managers to use augmented to enhance their ability to view 3D virtual design elements in the users real physical space. This helps ensure design elements will fit in the intended space.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic Middle East District’s (TAM) Erick Stillman thinks about USACE’s reputation for quality with every design he reviews. As the district’s Advanced Modeling Manager, his motto is, “USACE is a Brand.”

“It’s no different than Coke or Pepsi, and those brands have standards. A Coke from Los Angeles shouldn’t look/taste different from one in New York. So why should USACE be any different?” said Stillman. “We have standards and it’s my job to enforce them.”

According to the USACE Engineering and Construction Bulletin (ECB) that covers Advanced Modeling, it “refers to the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), Civil Information Modeling (CIM), Computer Aided Design (CAD), and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for the development of design and construction deliverables."

Every USACE District is expected to maintain an Advanced Modeling capability and those who work in that area are constantly striving to ensure Corps' efforts are aligned with industry, an ongoing challenge when technology is changing so rapidly. 

Stillman said that TAM’s high volume of projects transitioning from design into construction keeps his Advanced Modeling Team one of the busiest in the Corps, but he sees that as a benefit to the district’s Architectural-Engineering (AE) mission partners.

“We are one team,” said Stillman. “We are not successful if our A-E’s are not successful.” Because the operational tempo is so high at the district, TAM’s Engineering Division designs about 10% of the overall workload, with the other 90% developed by our A-E firms. This is why maintaining control of the “Brand” is so important, “Because we oversee, monitor, and enforce standards from others not working in-house.”

TAM initially began employing Advanced Modeling methods around 2018, with Stillman becoming a Supervisor tasked with leading a team of four subject matter experts in 2022. Stillman’s supervisor, David Rackmales, TAM’s head of Technical Services, said Stillman’s reputation for providing some of the best Advanced Modeling products in USACE, proceeds him.

“Erick was recently asked to present his work to the Corps CAD-BIM Community of Practice workshop. His expertise helped reshape parts of USACE’s Project Execution Plan into a more streamlined, efficient, and timesaving “living” document suitable for all types of Advanced Modeling Design and Construction project deliverables,” said Rackmales.

Stillman said he sees exciting times ahead in the world of Advanced Modeling with his team actively working towards implementing workflows for 3D Model Based Reviews (MBR), 4D analysis / animation simulations, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR) platforms and other applications that will fully utilize current and developing technology to improve their products.