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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 14, 2023

Best Practice: Fifth District hosts EPO College

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG Team

Answering the call for additional professional development opportunities, the Coast Guard Fifth District (D5) hosted an Engineer Petty Officer (EPO) College for over 50 students. D5’s new EPO College compliments their established robust Officer-in-Charge (OIC) College and offers a similar platform for engineers to learn and refine their knowledge base. 

Many regions maintain an OIC College program to offer mentorship and training for junior boatswain’s mates to build the requisite knowledge base to succeed as future OICs. D5 expanded this concept to similarly invest in their junior engineers as the EPO position is incredibly critical to the success of operational units. EPOs must be fully versed in civil and naval engineering, establish strong working relationships with several offices and be strong leaders as part of the command cadre.  

D5 incorporated a virtual option through Microsoft Teams for those who were unable to travel to Base Portsmouth to maximize participation while minimizing costs. 

Coast Guard Cutter Rollin Fritch, a fast response cutter homeported in Cape May, New Jersey, had multiple members attend.  

“During the week-long course, attendees enhanced their organizational knowledge through discussions with guest speakers on Coast Guard enterprise programs and product line initiatives as well as valuable insight into command-level decisions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Petry, commanding officer of CGC Rollin Fritch.  

“The D5 EPO college broadened my perspective on the responsibilities of being an EPO, better equipping me to make the best decisions in my career path,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kellen Guinn. 

Participants and subject matter experts discussed the importance of strong working relationships between the EPO and Sector Logistics Officer, product lines and the OIC. Attendees built on their foundation knowledge of general building maintenance, civil engineering processes, environmental standards, bi-level maintenance and damage control principles. Several current EPOs held a panel to address questions and relay lessons learned. D5 also hosted representatives from Enlisted Personnel Management, rating knowledge managers and an expert on sexual assault prevention, response and recovery, and anti-harassment and hate incident (AHHI). 

Altogether, the EPO College provided future EPOs a better foundation to build upon and encouraged them to strive for such positions.  

Do you want to replicate this best practice? Reach out to Chief Warrant Officer Eric Boulware, Chief Warrant Officer Dakota Goff, and Lt. j.g. Carmel McAndrews to steal their checklists, agendas and ideas.