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Educating Federal Engineers To Be Entrepreneurial Thinkers And Leaders – Who Would Of Thought?

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Assessing the Efficacy of Nontraditional Programs

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.509.1 - 14.509.20



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Paper Authors


Sharon deMonsabert George Mason University

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Dr. deMonsabert is an Associate Professor of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering. She is the program director for the Certificate in Technical Entrepreneurship for the Federal Government. She teaches courses related to Sustainable Development, Environmental Systems and Engineering, and Technical Entrepreneurship. Dr. deMonsabert was recently appointed to the position of Fellow for Academic Curricula at George Mason University.

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John Lanzarone U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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Mico Miller George Mason University

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Barry Liner George Mason University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Educating Federal Engineers to be Entrepreneurial Thinkers and Leaders Who Would Have Thought?


The Headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contracted with the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE) of George Mason University (GMU) to assist in the development of a Learning Plan for USACE. In order to determine the learning needs of the USACE Headquarters staff with respect to Leadership, Communication, and Professionalism, CEIE developed and facilitated three workshops. The workshops resulted in GMU offering a Graduate Certificate Program in Technical Entrepreneurship tailored to meet the needs of USACE. Technological change and the increase in privatization and enterprise development trends within the public sector require a wide variety of multidisciplinary skills for the successful management of government technical programs and projects. The graduate level technical entrepreneurship certificate responds to the need for broad training in entrepreneurial skills, performance measurement, engineering information management, systems analysis and leadership.

This paper assesses the impact of the GMU certificate program on USACE Headquarters and its employees. It attempts to answer the question: Are USACE engineers better leaders, better communicators, and more professional as a result of the completion of the certificate program? Do the students feel that they have improved in these areas? Does the USACE leadership see an improvement? The paper compares the assessment methodology and goals of a traditional academic setting with those of an engineering and construction focused Federal organization. The results of student surveys are mapped to the intended goals of the certificate program. Interviews with selected leaders within the USACE Headquarters provide their perspective on the certificate program and help to clarify tangible and intangible organizational benefits.


In the fall of the year 2000 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began a series of reorganizations that changed the Headquarters (Hqs) and eventually the entire Corps from a hierarchal and technically disciplined stove piped organization to one that is matrixed and more systems focused. Reorganizations are always disruptive, but the leadership of the engineering and construction (E&C) division at Hqs recognized a need for various types of training to help the staff cope with the transition and to better prepare them for their roles within the new matrix organization. They drafted an E&C Learning Plan focused on two goals; first, provide some general training avenues for E&C personal to promote the development of skills that would

deMonsabert, S., & Lanzarone, J., & Miller, M., & Liner, B. (2009, June), Educating Federal Engineers To Be Entrepreneurial Thinkers And Leaders – Who Would Of Thought? Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5350

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