In UOG News, WERI receives funding from USEDA, through the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, to construct a new WERI Research Facility. WERI Director Dr. John Jenson says, “The high-quality work of WERI’s faculty and staff has driven the need for the new, bigger, and better facility. Their work brought WERI the national recognition that made it competitive for this award.”
“This is a classic success story for the value of long-term, strategic planning and the value of having an organizational culture that fosters and rewards teamwork. Our success in landing this grant actually has its immediate origins in the current president’s Para Hulo initiative, and in the previous president’s Good-to-Great initiative along with his having spearheaded the creation of the Research Corporation University of Guam (RCUOG): I recall the afternoon a couple of years ago when I was meeting as a member of the Para Hulo Infrastructure Committee, led by Dave Okada and Jim Hollyer.”
“The subject of discussion was activities at the university that might be constrained by lack of space or facilities, and which might otherwise be more productive, even revenue-generating. I pointed out that our water lab at WERI was a prime candidate and that WERI itself was spilling out of its building by the Marine Lab and into House 5 and containers proliferating around it in Dean’s Circle. WERI had acquired an additional faculty position in 2015 from the Good-to-Great initiative but had no office space in its main building, so had to put its new faculty member in House 5—where my faculty office had been located since 2012. All on the Committee agreed that WERI was a good candidate, and then the Executive Director of RCUOG, Cathleen Moore-Linn volunteered, “I think I know how we can fund it!” The faculty and staff at WERI, especially our lab staff and lab faculty coordinator, Dr Barry Kim, drew up specific needs and helped to identify what the lab and WERI contribute to economic development and recovery for the USEDA application. The faculty member whose position WERI had gained from G2G and who had been initially placed in House 5, Dr. Nate Habana, drew up the floor plans for new building, and we all worked with Cathleen and RCUOG to prepare and submit the proposal, which Cathleen shepherded through the process from beginning to end. It is hard to imagine how this would have come about without the existence of RCUOG, the advent of G2G and Para Hulo, and the leadership of the specific people (whose names I mentioned) who led and staffed the initiatives, and, of course, the faculty and staff at WERI who do the high-quality work that has brought WERI the national recognition that made it eligible and competitive in the eyes of the granting agency, and which has driven the need for the new, bigger, and better facility in the first place.”
In 2019, to support UOG’s Para Hulo’ strategy, WERI Director, Dr. Jenson, organized a WERI Building Team of WERI Faculty and Staff to work with RCUOG Executive Director Cathleen Moore-Linn to prepare the USEDA application. WERI also retained UOG Economist Dr. Rosanne Jones to advise on a business model for the Water Quality Laboratory. WERI team members for the Water Quality Laboratory former Laboratory Manager, Ms. Jennifer Cruz, and Laboratory Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Barry Kim. Ms. Cruz and Dr. Kim worked with Dr. Jones in evaluating the market and economic position and potential of the laboratory. WERI’s Operations Manager for its Guam Hydrologic Survey Program, which utilizes its other laboratories, Dr. Nathan Habana, worked with Ms. Cruz, UOG Facility Maintenance, and Ms. Moore-Linn to design the functional requirements, floor plan, and estimate the cost of the building. Interim WERI Water Quality Laboratory Manager, Ms. Mallary Duenas, now joins the team to continue with Dr. Kim to incorporate the finer details to the laboratory as plans move forward. WERI administrative staff, Ms. Gema Payumo and Mr. Anthony Augustin have also been appointed to the team to focus on configuring and equipping the building for administrative and business support requirements.
Dr. Jenson says, “The successful funding of the new WERI building reflects the vision and initiatives of the current and previous administrations, and across-the-board teamwork of dedicated and visionary administrators, faculty, and staff at all levels to identify the opportunity and work closely and persistently together to achieve a common goal. It is also a reflection of the quality of individual work and teamwork by WERI faculty, staff, and students that have made WERI competitive for such investment by the University and national granting agencies.”