By Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Approximately 10,000 Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) public works professionals are celebrating National Public Works Week, May 18 - May 24.
National Public Works Week started in 1960 as part of a public education campaign by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The week-long event seeks to raise the public's awareness about public works issues and public works employees who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for present and future generations. This year's theme is "Building for Today, Planning for Tomorrow."
"We are fortunate to have a great team of Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officers and NAVFAC civilians, along with our contractor partners, providing full-service public works and energy support to Navy and Marine Corps commanders around the world," said NAVFAC Commander Rear Adm. Kate Gregory.
NAVFAC has provided management and leadership of Navy public works for more than 170 years. As the Navy's public works officers, CEC officers lead Navy and Marine Corps public works departments (PWD) around the globe in providing comprehensive shore installation facility engineering, acquisition, environmental, and transportation services.
A lot of this essential work goes unnoticed, but the behind-the-scenes effort performed in providing vital public works services such as electricity, water, and wastewater management is a central enabler for a lot of what happens on Navy and Marine Corps bases worldwide.
NAVFAC's public works professionals are at the forefront of executing cutting-edge energy projects for Commander, Navy Installations Command to help meet the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals. Advanced metering, renewable energy, and residential energy conservation projects are helping to reduce the demand for energy on and off base.
The Navy's PWD personnel are always some of the first at the pier when a ship returns to base, providing utilities and hotel services that include electrical hookups to shore. They also enable Navy warfighters to conduct their missions by ensuring runways are in good working order and are clear of any foreign object debris, which can cause damage to planes and injury to personnel.
Last year NAVFAC PWDs helped keep naval facilities and infrastructure around the world well maintained and managed, as more than 480,000 service calls and 51,000 emergency calls were recorded and completed in 2013.
"The men and women who work at our PWDs often don't get the recognition they deserve," Gregory said. "But they are essential for those they serve and for any base to run smoothly."