March | 2020
Skookum Site Manager Retires
Written By RVP Marty Ranalli
The retirement countdown clock is getting close to “0” for one of Skookum’s longstanding and faithful site managers. Tom Duchateau has been with the Skookum team since the start of our contract at the Central Issuing Facility (CIF) at the Fort Hood Army Post in Killeen, Texas. Tom was with the incumbent contractor when we had taken over the contract and eventually was promoted to Site/Project Manager. Like many of Skookum’s Fort Hood employees, Tom is one of our many valued Veterans. He retired from the Army after 26 years and nine days after faithfully serving as an Accounting Specialist. He has decided to hang up his hat starting in July of this year. But before he leaves, I wanted to sit down with him and ask him a few questions. The following are his responses.

Q: After you leave, what will you miss most about Skookum?
[Tom]: Probably the thing that I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie. There have been so many great folks that I’ve met over the past nine years. Can’t praise our Home Office support team enough. From the contract startup in 2011, the support we’ve received from all the folks in Bremerton has been just outstanding. From Accounts Payable to the Payroll Branch, and from our Human Resources to Recruiting…what a magnificent group of folks!!!

Q: I know you have worked for other Contractors before, is there anything that makes Skookum different?
[Tom]: Truly I believe that some of the key differences that make Skookum stand above the other contractors is its transparency. In the 25 years with the CIF never have I seen the openness, sincerity or better lines of communication than with Skookum Contract Services. Whenever in doubt or having questions, a simple phone call to the Home Office opened so many helpful doors.

Q: If you had one piece of advice for other Site/Project Managers, what would it be?
[Tom]: Instinctively, we as managers understand that when an employee is happy, energized and satisfied they’ll produce stronger and put forth that extra effort. Far too often we feel that happiness is achieved by those material things like a pay raise or title. Teamwork and camaraderie are important along with laughter, friendship and beyond a doubt, less stress. It’s so easy to build a working atmosphere of camaraderie and fun. I’ve always fallen back on just four words that had helped me in building teamwork and esprit de corps: Enthusiasm, Compassion, Empathy and Caring. It’s up to Managers and Supervisors to set the tone.

In July Tom will have been with Skookum for 9 years and with the Fort Hood team, even longer. Skookum thanks Tom for his service to country and to the Skookum mission.

Continuous Improvement: Team-Oriented Focus on Safety

The Skookum Teams at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay and NIH Animal Center in Poolesville, Maryland have taken a “Team Approach” to Safety. After realizing that the hard hat is not always the most desired head gear and often it took some encouraging for the employees to wear their hardhats, the Site Manager of these two sites purchased NFL team hardhats. Each employee was able to select their team of preference. This not only encouraged camaraderie and some friendly banter during the football season, but the employees were regularly sporting their team hardhats. The number of times a supervisor had to address the need to wear a hardhat significantly dropped. 

Despite the Football Season being over the Skookum teams continue to be safe and display their Team spirit!
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Shania Gravely , Maintenance Trades Helper, NIH, Poolesville, MD
Nominated By: Joseph Miller

Shania has demonstrated her commitment to Skookum by going above and beyond to help spread her knowledge and experience in her field of grounds maintenance. Recently Shania came to the Curtis Bay Coast Guard site to help with implementing her techniques and ideas to help the grounds maintenance shop. Shania always has a positive attitude and is truly dedicated to Skookum, helping in any way possible.
Patrick Donohue , Lead Groundskeeper, Boeing PA
Nominated By: Christopher J. Harley

Pat has done a tremendous job leading his crew and keeping the Boeing Ridley Park PA facility looking as good as it possibly could. His attention to detail and pride in his work shines through in all aspects. We appreciate this efforts and would like for Pat to be recognized for his commitment. On behalf of the Ridley Park and Boeing as a whole, we'd like to say thank you!
Monroe Jones, Janitor, Keyport, WA

"The Navy Region Northwest Housing Office would like to nominate Mr. Monroe Jones for the Skookum President’s Excellence Award.

Monroe does a fantastic job for Building 35 at Keyport. This building is a combination of barracks rooms for junior Sailors and Marines on the second deck and office spaces for civilian staff on the first deck. Our military residents can create a challenging environment for the janitorial staff, but Monroe cheerfully takes on any of those challenges. 

We look forward to Monroe visiting the office each day to get the access key for the barracks spaces. He knows everyone’s name in the office and personally greets them. He is extremely conscientious and goes above and beyond to ensure our building is well cared for. Examples of his extra efforts are him bringing maintenance and safety issues he notices to our attention before they develop into more serious problems. We appreciate his honesty and integrity as he has brought items of value down to the housing office that residents have dropped or inadvertently left in the common areas. Skookum is lucky to have Monroe on their staff!"
-Lee Thomas, Shelly Anderson, Kathy Griswold, Christian Kyser, Chauntee Manley and Courtney Norwil

I would like to nominate Monroe Jones, I think he is a bright star in this company. He always has a smile and helps people out even when they don’t know it, like grabbing all the bags of trash I left outside a building and tossing it in the dumpster, leaving me to wonder what happened to it. Giving is something that has not been lost on this man and teamwork is something I associate with him.
-Diana Lewis

Rich Pierce, Programmer Analyst, Home Office
Nominated By: Jack Harrison

What Rich has done for Quality and Service to the Navy and Kris Kidd's team is immeasurable. On top of building out several custom applications for Quality and Janitorial routes which took several hours of very precise work, he has also spent many hours building dozens of very particular reports which he is still constantly changing from the original product which looked exactly what they had and transforming them into a tool for efficiency that works for everyone involved. He is patient and meets with every level of employee he is helping within Kris' team and thinks of each one when designing each field and placement of icon to make sure everything works correctly. 

In doing so, he has delivered on a new way to deliver Maximo in a mobile solution, saving the company tens of thousands. He has also started created training videos for technicians that may be struggling with the new technology. And has delivered a new standard of quality that is unmatched at any of our current sites. 

All of that is great but the real reason he deserves the award was when I asked him about replicating some of these items for our other sites you could see him light up and explain that you have to do it this way because it’s easier for the technicians even though on our side it requires double or triple the effort. 

None of this is including his ability to mentor myself and Ryan and at times John in all lessons of life all while driving an hour and a half from his home in Lacey to Bremerton every day.
We love recognizing our employees! So much so that every week an employee wins the Skookum President’s Excellence Award! Each Excellence Award recipient is selected by our President/CEO and awarded a Skookum Excellence pin along with $100 check prize.

*Available to WA employees only
Skookum proudly operates in twelve states across the nation plus Washington D.C.