Building Leaders: The Technical Engineer Competency Development Program

Transatlantic Middle East District
Published June 25, 2024
Updated: June 25, 2024
A group of people eating a meal around a table.

Capt. Pitsenberger (first on left) with Jordan area office staff enjoying a meal together.

A man works at his desk.

Capt. Andrew Pitsenberger diligently reviews project plans at his desk, ensuring quality and precision in his engineering work.

Capt. Andrew S. Pitsenberger, a standout Army engineer, is a testament to the transformative power of Engineer Regiment’s Technical Engineer Competency Development Program (TEC-DP). This program, designed to immerse junior captains in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), equips them with the skills and experiences necessary to excel in both military and civilian engineering roles.

Norberto ‘Tito’ Santana, Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) Operations Officer, highlights the program's broader goals.

"I would say the main goal is the retention and recruitment opportunity. The TEC-DP positions are a great opportunity for select engineering (EN) officers, early in their career, to gain exposure to the total capabilities of the Army Engineer Regiment. Traditional career progression focuses on tactical engineer competencies within Brigade Combat Teams or Engineer Brigades for young Soldiers (Lieutenant through Captain)."

Confirming Santana’s statement, Pitsenberger adds, "TEC-DP is a way to introduce junior captains to the Corps of Engineers. It's an opportunity you might not know about because as you progress in the Army, you see more of traditional Army opportunities. This program introduces what the Corps can offer compared to regular Army positions."

Born and raised in Franklin, Tennessee, Pitsenberger graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in December 2019. Pitsenberger's journey prior to TEC-DP has been marked by a variety of assignments and responsibilities. After serving in different engineering capacities in Germany, he now ensures construction quality on projects for TAM in Jordan. His role as a Quality Assurance (QA) representative involves working directly with contractors and workers on projects like the airfield infrastructure and munitions storage. His journey exemplifies the transformative power of the TEC-DP.

"The TEC-DP allows you to see what the Corps can provide and understand their systems," Pitsenberger said. "It’s a great opportunity because if you want to stay in the Army or even transition out, having experience with the Corps opens up many possibilities."

TEC-DP is structured to provide participants with hands-on experience in diverse engineering projects, both domestically and internationally. It emphasizes the development of technical skills, project management, and leadership abilities within the unique context of USACE operations. Participants learn about USACE’s dual role in supporting military operations and providing civil works projects, gaining insight into its civilian-military partnership.

"The Corps has a unique civilian-military partnership, and understanding that dynamic is crucial," Pitsenberger said. "You have to learn a lot quickly to be a beneficial member of the team."

Pitsenberger highlighted the importance of curiosity and the willingness to learn. Success in the TEC-DP hinges on asking questions and leveraging the expertise of experienced team members.

"There’s so much knowledge in the Corps, and everyone is willing to share it," he noted.

Maj. Christopher “Barty” Bartenhagen, Pitsenberger’s direct supervisor, emphasized how TEC-DP has bolstered Pitsenberger’s growth and performance.

"TEC-DP is designed to provide junior officers an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His has been a unique opportunity, too, because of the mission set in Jordan that he has been a part of and the MILCON projects he has been able to work on.  Pitsenberger has really leaned into his time in USACE and has contributed to success at the project level and at the country program level."

Bartenhagen noted the real-world impact of Pitsenberger's training, "The Jordan Resident Office and the work we do really does deliver projects that enable our mission partners to accomplish the strategic objectives of the United States of America. CPT Pitsenberger got the chance to learn from some World-Class Department of the Army Civilians while working on the Jordan Team. He has worked alongside PEs and QA/ConReps learning how to interact with Contractors, interpret drawings and specs, ensure quality construction placement, review submittals, produce correspondence, and a myriad of other things they do to ensure the safe delivery of quality projects for our mission partners."

Pitsenberger’s hands-on experience includes direct involvement in multiple projects, executing duties and responsibilities as part of the project delivery team.

"The project management experience he has gained, and will continue to develop, in USACE is invaluable to his professional development," Bartenhagen added.

From the perspective of the Corps, the TEC-DP offers significant benefits.

"I think it gives Army Engineers the intimate experience of what delivering a project looks like at the project level," said Bartenhagen. "This insight and perspective are a tremendous advantage for officers that come back to command in USACE, because they can better relate to specifics of a project while they keep an eye on the organizational level of a district."

Looking ahead, Pitsenberger envisions a long-term career with the Corps, whether in uniform or as a civilian. "One of the organizations I would want to work for if I leave the Army is the Corps," he said. "The Corps' work is fascinating and valuable to the communities it serves."

TEC-DP is not just a career development program, it is a pathway to leadership within the Corps of Engineers. Pitsenberger’s experience underscores the program's role in shaping capable leaders who understand the full spectrum of USACE's capabilities and contributions. By providing junior captains with unparalleled training and experiences, the program ensures that the Corps of Engineers remains a vital and effective force, ready to meet the engineering needs of the military and the nation. His journey serves as a compelling recruitment narrative for the next generation of Army engineers.

For more information on TEC-DP -