GUEST COLUMN: A Fond Farewell from Col. Schlosser
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022
By Col. Teresa Schlosser
Last week, I relinquished command of the Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC) after three adventurous and unprecedented years.
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It’s amazing to me that so much time has already passed since Tim and I arrived here to join the Vicksburg and ERDC communities. I can still vividly recall driving in on I-20, seeing the WES-ERDC sign and knowing we were home, at least for a little while. I remember meeting so many people throughout the community who were all so engaging.
Vicksburgers are so polite, welcoming and generous. Over the past three years, we have been invited into so many homes, activities and lives, that we often feel like we’ve been here forever. We’ve made wonderful friends and have met so many great neighbors. We know how fortunate we are to be in this community.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the Vicksburg and ERDC communities over the past two years, we’ve made it through and things are mostly back to normal. Surprisingly & happily, Vicksburg and ERDC have also seen tremendous growth during this time. ERDC has received Congressional funding to build two state-of-the-art buildings, expanding and supporting the Information & Technology Lab. We were also able to purchase the world’s largest Heavy Vehicle Load Simulator, the TITAN, to enable airfields and pavement research and many more improvements. I am so proud of ERDC’s continuing growth and support to Vicksburg.
The advances supporting innovation and future research within the Vicksburg community are equally impressive. The Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology opened and is now home to ERDCWERX, as they strive to empower small businesses, entrepreneurs and academia to partner with ERDC. The Vicksburg Warren School District’s Academy of Innovation opened in July 2021, supporting and encouraging future researchers, scientists and engineers. While the efforts supporting innovation are impressive, they don’t stand alone. I must also mention some of the non-STEM advances around Vicksburg because they support the overall health and well-being of residents. The Sports Force Park, the YMCA expansion, the new Frontage Road and the Pickle Ball Courts all enhance our city and draw others to Vicksburg.
I could go on about the astounding growth here in the Vicksburg area, but I’ll stop here because I know there is so much more to come. Vicksburg’s future is as bright as it’s ever been, thanks to the inspired, energetic and caring people who live here and work every day to make things better. I’m looking forward to seeing Downtown continue to grow and prosper, to being excited as our schools only get better & better.
I’ll close by thanking a few groups I may have missed during my remarks last week when I was doing my best to keep my tears to a minimum. First, I want to thank my incredible staff and all the employees of ERDC for being so professional and accepting — you made my work life so much richer and easier. Thank you to the schools of Vicksburg for inviting me to share my knowledge and our Nation’s Military with your amazing students. Thank you to all the civic clubs and organizations who invited me to share my professional experiences. Thank you to the city and county leaders and employees, you’ve done a fantastic job balancing Vicksburg’s safety, freedoms and progress over three tough years. Above all, I want to thank the entire Vicksburg community for welcoming Tim and me into your lives. We couldn’t have asked for a better city to share our last assignment with.