NEWS | April 16, 2021

Area environmental protection specialists at heart of 88th RD compliance mission

By Zachary Mott 88th Readiness Division

With a mission that spans more than 250 facilities and 12 training areas across 19 states, the 88th Readiness Division’s Environmental Division’s environmental responsibility is large and robust.

The Army Reserve Environmental Program provides Soldiers and stakeholders with environmentally compliant and sustainable resources through proactive program management in support of mission execution. At the tip of that spear are the area environmental protection specialists spread across the region.

One such AEPS is Andrea Pawlik, whose duties cover a portion of the region including parts of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Illinois. She is responsible for working with units in that area and ensuring regulatory compliance with environmental policies and guidelines.

During a visit to the Maple Lane Army Reserve Center in South Bend, Ind., Pawlik met with 428th Military Police Company Operations Noncommissioned Officer, Sgt. Jacob Pulliam, where they toured the facility and discussed specific environmental policies for Indiana.

Pawlik said part of her job is to pick through all the various regulations that govern environmental actions and assist units to remain in compliance with regulations for their specific area.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s something I love to do,” said Pawlik, who has been working as an AEPS for more than 20 years.

That compliance watchdog role is appreciated by the Soldiers Pawlik assists, as well.

“She makes everything so much easier,” Pulliam said. “It makes that part of my duties easier.”

Those environmental compliance duties provide the region with technical expertise, surveys, plans and permits, environmental training, waste disposals, environmental assessments, staff assistant visits and regulatory inspections.

The 88th RD Environmental Division’s goal is to identify and correct regulatory or compliance non-conformities and deficiencies thereby reducing commanders’ risk of fines and notice of violations. Environmental Division Chief for the 88th RD, Edward Tebo, said that having competent and capable AEPSs like Pawlik and others across the 19-state region is invaluable to ensuring the command, and ultimately the commanding general, remain within compliance of all regulatory statutes and guidelines.

“They’re the ones in the field who are working directly with the customers to ensure compliance,” Tebo said.

As one of about 10 AEPS scattered across 19 states, Pawlik said they work together to ensure all of the more than 250 facilities and 12 training areas receive hands-on assistance and they are available for any questions, regardless of the emergent or non-emergent nature of the inquiry.

“I’ve always got my phone with me in case someone needs help,” Pawlik said, recounting a recent issue for a unit traveling through the region that experienced an environmental-related issue.

Without the work Pawlik and her fellow AEPSs do for the 88th Readiness Division much of the day-to-day check-ups and assistance would be nearly impossible to accomplish, thus leaving the command with a large compliance vulnerability.