American Engineering Corporation continues support of the USO through COVID19 Crisis

American Engineering Corporation continues support of the USO through COVID19 Crisis

by Cindy Kirkman
USO Okinawa Area Programs Manager

Camp Foster, OKINAWA, Japan - For 49 years American Engineering Corporation (AEC) has supported USO Okinawa and this year is no exception. Scot Garner, General Manager of Construction for AEC, recently presented a Silver Sponsorship-level donation of $18,000 to Phil VanEtten, USO Okinawa Area Director.

In years past, the USO used this unrestricted donation to underwrite special events.  However, the AEC donation this year arrived in time to help meet the immediate needs of service members and their families during this worldwide COVID-19 crisis and to help them to stay connected to home, family, and country. 

“AEC’s unwavering support during these uncertain times is commendable and very appreciated,” VanEtten said. “AEC’s support to USO Okinawa goes back many years and over time AEC has become a longtime friend and partner of our organization. Without their support, it would be a challenge for us to complete our day to day mission. The generosity of AEC has a direct, immediate, and positive affect on the lives and morale of U.S. service members and their families. We are truly grateful to AEC for their continued sponsorship. USO Okinawa and AEC are strong partners in helping do great things for our U.S. military community here on the island of Okinawa.”

While many events like the USO Service Salute are on hold, major USO sponsors continue to provide funding for needed programs despite delays of some events. The 49th Annual Service Salute is tentatively re-scheduled for September 12, 2020 at the Butler Officers’ Club.

“We are grateful for all our donors, whether corporate or individual, during this pandemic,” VanEtten said. “We look forward to times where we can gather again whether for a celebration like the annual USO Service Salute or just in one of our six centers island wide.”

The talent of AEC’s designers and construction crew can readily be seen in the recent renovation of USO MCAS Futenma.  The Center reopened in December 2019 with a Grand Re-Opening in January of 2020. The goal of the USO leadership was to upgrade the 12,000 square foot space to modernize it, making it more usable and applicable to our service members. For example, several casual and professional workspaces were created for marines and sailors to accommodate play as well as career development to mirror their lifestyles.

AEC, who won the bid in a competitive bidding process, completed the Futenma project just in time for the holidays. It is critical for the USO to be open during major holiday, especially over Christmas and New Year’s.

“To work with such a great group of professionals from AEC was truly a wonderful experience,” William Stanley, USO MCAS Futenma Center Director, said.  “The team’s professionalism, work ethic, and attention to detail during USO Futenma’s renovation project was outstanding.  Their hard work is portrayed each day here at USO Futenma and the center is receiving such great comments from our service members and their families!  I look forward to the day I get another opportunity to work with such a high caliber team again.”

“The team at AEC are not only professionals in what they do, but they are incredibly personable and accommodating throughout the working process that you truly become a family,” Kayla Stamey, USO MCAS Futenma Center Specialist, said. “Having been through a renovation at USO Camp Hansen and USO MCAS Futenma, they are the best quality engineers and contractors that I've had the pleasure of working with. I felt our grand re-opening was not only a celebration of completion, but the relationships that we created with AEC and the rises and falls we faced together, ultimately leading to our beautiful center. I felt so much joy to share that experience with those we grew so close with. We really do miss seeing their team a daily basis!”

“The renovation of USO MCAS Futenma provided our service members and their families a better venue for them to feel connected to family, home, and country,” VanEtten said.  “USO Okinawa staff, our Pacific Regional Staff, and other organizations, like AEC, put a lot of planning and effort into this project with construction phases starting in September 2019 and ending in December of the same year without closing the center.  Our USO leadership, MCAS and MCIPAC leadership, our official sponsors, and the good people of the U.S. who donate to the USO and our mission made this renovation possible. We cannot thank them enough!”

AEC is an Okinawan based company with 650 employees providing services not only in Okinawa but also in Tokyo, Sagamihara Kanagawa, Misawa, Iwakuni, and Sasebo.

“American Engineering Corporation’s mission is to deliver unrivaled, high quality service tailored to customers’ specific requirements to meet their desired goals,” Kenneth Exsterstein, CEO, states on the official AEC website. “We further our mission by leveraging innovation in process and technology in all aspects of our work for our customers. We are committed to the highest standards of service, reliability, safety, and cost containment in our industry.”

AEC provides many services including architectural, mechanical and civil engineering. It also provides information technology services, air conditioning/refrigeration equipment systems, fire protection systems, electrical, telephone, and intrusion monitoring systems.

According to the AEC website, in 1964, Robert M. Exsterstein purchased the Okinawa branch of Hong Kong-based American Engineering Federated to create the American Engineering Corporation (AEC). Along with partner Richard G. Boudreault and contributions from Kenkichi Nakamoto and 20 employees, Mr. Exsterstein began a path of successful “firsts” for its U. S. Government clients: AEC was the first to install a central air conditioning system with centrifugal compressors (at the US Army Hospital in Camp Kuwae formerly located near Camp Lester); first to install a central air conditioning system in a military barracks in Okinawa; first to install a heat-pump system in Okinawa; and first to install central residential air conditioning units in military family housing units in Okinawa.  Mrs. Robert M. Exsterstein and Mr. Richard G. Boudreault are pictured in the following photos.

AEC’s strong performance over the years earned the recognition of the industry, the US Government, and its business partner. AEC is listed consistently in top ten of Okinawa Prefecture Construction companies and top 100 companies in Okinawa, as well as listed as number one in Okinawa for Special Construction with U.S. Government projects in Okinawa. In addition, manufacturers such as Carrier Corporation and Automatic Logic have named AEC a top performer in sales and project management for multiple years.

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