By Susan C. Galentine | Directorate of Public Works sustainability specialist
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Hal Alguire, Director of Public Works, has a unique vantage point to survey changes Fort Carson has undergone, as he approaches retirement the end of November 2020, after 40 years of service.
Alguire, a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was first stationed at Fort Carson as operations, S3, for the 52nd Engineering Battalion in 1991, when it was still a tenant unit on the installation. The post looked vastly different at the time with many World War II-era facilities still standing and occupied. The post eventually experienced expedited growth, marked by construction projects he oversaw.
His second assignment here was in 2002 as the military director of the DPW. During that tenure, he was also tapped as chief of staff for the 7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson from 2003-2004.
After retiring from active duty in 2005, Alguire worked as a private sector consultant, where he was involved in Fort Carson’s push to become more sustainable by conserving resources for future generations of Soldiers. He carried this new way of doing business with him when hired as the civilian director of the DPW in 2007.
Transitioning into a civilian director position brought a change in perspective. Serving in uniform as a colonel, his leadership was readily accepted by everyone.
“As a civilian you need to earn your reputation,” he said.
Alguire describes being the DPW as “the best job at Fort Carson.” It afforded him the satisfaction of seeing how his staff changed the look and quality of facilities for Fort Carson Soldiers and civilians. Being a part of the DPW, “we get to involve ourselves in changes that will impact the future for a long time,” Alguire said.
The Mountain Post underwent a period of rapid expansion from 2005-2015 with the construction of brigade footprints for what are now home to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and 4th Combat Aviation Brigade. Congressional military funds were allocated to construct facilities, which incorporated sustainable, energy-efficient design elements laid out by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Program.
During this time, Alguire supported the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) by adopting LEED criteria as the standard in new construction. There are close to 90 LEED facilities on Fort Carson, once considered the largest concentration on a DOD installation.
Alguire said he is proud the DPW kept pace with military construction increases, while also innovatively using annual installation maintenance dollars for smaller projects to tie into the larger efforts. Some of those complementary projects included expansion of running trails and Iron Horse Park improvements.
He realized while funds were allocated at the higher headquarters level for facility construction, the installation and the DPW “were in charge” of creating cohesive master plans for footprints of the newly developed areas, including the 4th CAB.
Alguire’s buy-in of Army sustainability, Net Zero and now energy resiliency initiatives was pragmatic in terms of saving resources and utility dollars. But he also recognized early on it was the right thing to do to make sure Fort Carson stays around for the next 50 years and has the community support to do so.
Empowered by Alguire, DPW staff and USACE partners pursued first-of-their kind initiatives. Embracing innovative projects initially encountered higher headquarters push back for doing things in a new way, but were eventually praised for what was accomplished.
The list of notable projects includes a two-megawatt solar array at Titus Boulevard and Butts Road, the largest in the Army upon completion in 2007; expansion of a reclaimed water system to irrigate large turf areas on post saving roughly 200 million gallons of fresh water annually; and an 8.5 megawatt per hour battery energy storage system in 2018, the largest in DOD.
Alguire said the high-profile projects are “representative of a high-performing organization where people take the initiative to make things happen for the betterment of the installation.”
“Hal was an exceptional, well-rounded leader who led many visionary efforts in the areas of facility utilization and community sustainability,” said Mark Hunsicker, Alguire’s Engineering Division chief. “Not only was he an impactful leader, but he also cared about his staff.
“What many might not have seen, is that Hal was an even more impressive follower. He was extremely responsive to both the garrison command team and the Installation Management Command Public Works team by communicating from the bottom-up and quickly appreciating and undertaking all assigned missions,” explained Hunsicker. “A key to that success was his ability to adeptly shape, steer and motivate our large diverse organization to address changing missions and priorities.”
While Alguire oversaw the positive boom of new construction projects on post, he and his staff also dealt with the flipside of the facility management coin during Mother Nature’s destructive natural disasters, including a catastrophic wind storm in 2017 and two major hail storms in 2018. The events caused more than $45 million in real property damages.
“Weather always has a vote,” he said, of the impact and challenges presented by major weather events. He credits the DPW’s operations and maintenance contract as being set up to respond quickly to address damages, along with government and contractor personnel who efficiently respond to all crises.
Alguire’s knowledge and support will be missed within the garrison.
“Hal is the consummate professional,” said Dee McNutt, Fort Carson Public Affairs Officer. “I have worked with him since he was a colonel in the Army and the 7th Infantry Division chief of staff. In all those years, he has been a responsive, caring leader and mentor to many of us within the garrison. He can always be counted on to provide sound advice and counsel, no matter the given problem. The garrison is losing a valuable leader. I wish him well in his retirement and would like him to know he has made a lasting impact on those of us in the garrison who have had the pleasure of working with him, and for him.”
If there was a public works problem such as barracks, operational facilities, roads and other property issues, they were always addressed quickly, said Col. Nate Springer, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson.
“Hal’s professionalism and dedication to supporting Fort Carson Soldiers, Families and civilians, made my job easier,” Springer said. “Hal’s 40 years of service in the Army, and as the director of public works, has been phenomenal. I consider Hal a mentor, and I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him over the last five months. Hal leaves a legacy that is greatly admired by everyone and he will be missed for his wise counsel and steady leadership.”
As far as what he will miss the most when he retires, Alguire said it will be the people. “Seeing people develop and be part of a strong team is the best.”
Heading into his second retirement, Alguire now looks forward to spending more time with his family — which includes four young grandchildren, traveling, golfing, hiking and home improvement projects. Retirement will provide “an opportunity to do things that have been on the back burner for a while,” he said.