(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photos by Denise Emsley
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii held a change of command ceremony July 16, fronting its headquarters building at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Capt. Michael D. Williamson, a Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer, turned over responsibility for NAVFAC Hawaii and more than 1,200 highly-skilled civilians and 200 Navy and Air Force military personnel at the time-honored event to Capt. Dean A. Tufts.
“Leading extraordinary people at NAVFAC Hawaii has been a highlight of my career,” said Williamson.
“We successfully dealt with many challenges these past two years together, including sequestration, funding reductions, hiring restrictions, executing many large complex construction projects on Oahu and Kauai, and moving forward with renewable energy initiatives and successes. All of this has ultimately positioned us for success in the future.”
Over the past two years, Williamson’s innovative leadership motivated the NAVFAC Hawaii workforce to deliver over a billion dollars in facilities engineering and environmental services to Navy Region Hawaii, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and numerous federal agencies. He was instrumental in the completion of the first advanced electronic guidance and instrumental system (AEGIS) ashore facility on Kauai for the Missile Defense Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Inouye Region Center on Ford Island, Oahu.
In addition to his duties as commanding officer of NAVFAC Hawaii, Williamson also provided his expertise as Navy Region Hawaii’s regional engineer, helping to improve Navy facilities capabilities, enhancing quality of life for military and civilians, energy conservation, environmental stewardship, community relations and historic preservation.
An example of this was his engagement with the state of Hawaii, local and business leadership on the $5.3 billion HART Rail Project, ensuring that the transfer of land, environmental assessments and section 106 historic consultation process proceeded effectively.
His efforts resulted in two high-capacity rail stops servicing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in the future, to reduce traffic condition at base entrances and enhance overall quality of life for military and civilian personnel.
Williamson’s dedication to partnering and innovation moved Navy Region Hawaii’s energy program forward toward extensive alternative energy initiatives while instilling region-wide energy behavioral changes affecting in excess of 60,000 personnel.
He expanded the region’s energy program from a traditional, energy conservation-focused program to one that also addresses energy security concerns, renewable energy initiatives and water conservation efforts to meet the Secretary of the Navy’s (SECNAV) aggressive energy goals.
His efforts charted a course for the region to meet all renewable energy goals and directly resulted in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-
Hickam, Pacific Missile Range Facility Kauai, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard receiving 2013 Gold Level of Achievement in the SECNAV Energy and Water Management Awards.
Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He welcomed Capt. Tufts and offered thanks to Williamson and his team.
“NAVFAC Hawaii continues to set the standard for professionalism, and that is especially true under the strong leadership of Capt. Mike Williamson. Every time I turn around, we’re dealing with a project, program or issue that involves NAVFAC Hawaii, and Mike and his team are right there,” Williams said.
“Think about it for a moment — the impact of NAVFAC Hawaii in all our lives. Nearly every facility we work in, every road we travel on base, the electricity we use for our ships, offices and other buildings, the green areas, the plumbing, the clean water we drink — most of the things we touch and see every day on base are thanks in some way to NAVFAC. You keep us cool, safe, working, training, and moving forward— able to support fleet, force and family,” Williams said.
Williamson is remaining in Hawaii and will become NAVFAC Pacific’s vice commander. He will be responsible for facilities engineering and construction activities in the Pacific area of responsibility, including Hawaii, Guam and Far East.
“While we’ve accomplished much over the past two years, we still have a long way to go to achieve our energy goals, upgrade our infrastructure and create a world class integrated training capability here in Hawaii,” said Williamson. “I can think of no one more qualified than Capt. Tufts to lead NAVFAC Hawaii through the challenges that lie ahead.”
Tufts is a native of Springfield, Mass. Prior to reporting to NAVFAC Hawaii, he was the commander of the 31st Seabee Readiness Group and in February 2013 took command of Naval Construction Group 1, Port Hueneme, Calif.
He had two previous tours of duty in Hawaii as aide to the commander, 3rd Naval Construction Brigade, and facilities operations officer, Navy Region Hawaii.