Case Study: San Francisco District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An interview with LTC John C. Morrow

John C. Morrow
John C. Morrow

How did you hear about the UCBE Leadership Development custom program? What was it about the program that drew you to it?

Our district's Chief for Operations and Readiness Mike Dillabough and Chief of Contracting Linda Hales were the ones from our team who led the research effort to find this type of training. Our district had been struggling with conducting a true leadership course as opposed to courses focused primarily on being a manager or a supervisor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does a really good job overall—especially when compared to a lot of other Federal agencies—with offering various types of training courses, but we wanted a leadership course that truly took the training to the "next level." We wanted a course that truly embodies the exploration and training on the "art, science and heart" of leadership. We have numerous leaders in our district, and I thought it was crucial to have them participate in a course where we could think outside of the box and learn best practices from instructors/programs with different perspectives.

How was your experience during the program?

I think that primary instructor Varun Bhatia and course facilitator/developer Robert David did an outstanding job working with us in order to tailor it to our leadership audience. As a Federal agency and part of the U.S. Army, we have numerous challenges. Although a few of us are soldiers, most of the leaders in the district are actually Department of the Army Civilians—just like many other employees in the district. It was important to have a course that was tailored to our leadership audience.

The feedback was very positive from the participants. I have been through many leadership-related courses, and I thought this course was extremely beneficial and productive. It truly gave me different perspectives on the facets of leadership: It opened my eyes to areas where I could improve as a leader, especially as it relates to communication and establishing a clear vision.


The course opened my eyes to areas where I could improve as as leader, especially as it relates to communication and establishing a clear vision.


What interesting or applicable items to your staff's work did they learn?

The communication between the leaders and their employees has definitely improved. All too often as leaders we get extremely busy and forget to slow down. The course provided us an opportunity to improve how we conduct business as leaders in our district.

Would you create another custom program with UC Berkeley Extension?

We would absolutely look at additional training as long as our budget can support it. We place a priority on leadership training, and I was very pleased by the quality and outcomes of the course.