US Army Corps of Engineers
Engineer Research and Development Center

Fort Worth District’s Lujan selected for ERDC University

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published Aug. 16, 2019

VICKSBURG, Miss.-Already a subject matter expert and trainer for the BUILDER Sustainment Management System facility condition assessment software developed by the U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois, Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District Computer Scientist Rebekah Lujan sought to increase those technical skills by applying for ERDC University.

Lujan joins five fellow participants selected for the fiscal year 19 program which began with springtime briefings and tours through four of the seven laboratories located on the 700-acre Vicksburg campus.

She then traveled to CERL near the campus of the University of Illinois to work with her mentor, Research Engineer Louis “Buddy” Bartels with the Engineering Process Branch. Commenting on her selection, Bartels said, “Rebekah brings a great wealth of knowledge to ERDC in regards to programs and projects going on in the District, which can help shape ERDC's future research areas.”

Now in its fourth year, ERDC-U partners Corps division and district participants with ERDC subject matter experts to apply and implement technical solutions during this six-month program. 

Sponsored by the ERDC Office of Research and Technology Transfer and the Directorate of Human Capital, the program covers either travel or labor costs, additionally providing mentors and laboratory access for each participant’s area of interest. Applications for the 2020 program are now open and available through the “Opportunities” icon at: https://wiki.erdc.dren.mil/index.php?title=ERDC_University

As the Fort Worth District’s project coordinator for the Sustainment Support Section in the Standardization and Sustainability Branch of Engineering and Construction Department, Lujan provides quality assurance and data analysis support for facility condition assessments, also known as FCAs.  She also provides training for the district and its customers in the utilization of BUILDER SMS software application for those FCAs and on how it can assist agencies at all levels for maintaining building infrastructure decisions. 

“I heard about ERDC-U through our district’s relationship with CERL. I decided to apply to gain technical knowledge to support the district’s role as the Sustainment Management System National Production Center in accordance with the USACE Enterprise Program Management Plan, “said Lujan, a graduate of East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

“Along with gaining additional knowledge and skills in utilizing the ERDC-developed SMS suite of tools, I will gain knowledge in the SMS Functionality Assessment module and research the underlying data model and algorithms which calculate a functionality index. I will assist in carrying out research to develop a new set of functionality assessments which align with the Whole Building Design Guide of main objectives for building functionality.” Lujan said.

Lujan is also learning more from CERL’s subject matter experts on the VTIME, defined by her mentor, Research Engineer Bartels.

“VTIME stands for Virtual Testbed for Installation Mission Effectiveness and is a project developed by the Engineer Research and Development Center as part of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose of VTIME is to provide a common operating picture to be used at all levels of a service down to an installation level.  The intent with VTIME is to allow installation personnel to improve mission effectiveness, resiliency and readiness while optimizing resources. Installation personnel access dozens of isolated data sources such as SMS BUILDER condition assessment, energy, master planning, spatial and real property data, just to name a few. VTIME brings these isolated datasets to enable strategic and tactical planning from one location,” Bartels said.

Lujan added that “VTIME falls under the Installations of the Future business area. Researching the underlying data model and machine-learning technologies, which the VTIME model uses for forecasting and optimization, will allow me to understand the capabilities of this business area to take back to the district culture.”

With the end goal of becoming a SME for functionality module capabilities for her Fort Worth District, Lujan said, “The knowledge and experience gained will be relayed back to the district team, so they will be better prepared to advise potential customers and assist other districts functioning as project/program managers.”

Bartels said, “The USACE Districts have been key at incorporating ERDC's products into their business areas, helping both the districts and ERDC's growth. Through the ERDC-U program, Rebekah has been able to gain deeper technical knowledge of ERDC's growing products, such as VTIME, which will allow her to be the SME back at Fort Worth District in this emerging business area.”

Following their six-month sessions, ERDC-U participants will attend graduation ceremonies at the Vicksburg, Mississippi, headquarters and present their projects to ERDC leadership.


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