Fort Facilities Director Retires

August 16, 2017
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Fort Monmouth Site Manager for the U.S. Army Col. John Occhipinti, left, Maureen Harrison, Shannon Harrison, Rick Harrison, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Lillian Burry, FMERA Chairman James V. Gorman, and FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman pose with a county proclamation declaring Aug. 2 “Rick Harrison Day” upon the announcement of his retirement as FMERA Director of Facilities Planning.

By Laura D.C. Kolnoski |

FORT MONMOUTH – Richard “Rick” Harrison, an Oceanport man who has played an important role in the revitalization of Fort Monmouth following its closure in 2005 has announced his retirement from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA).

Director of Facilities Planning Harrison, admired as a history buff and expert on the 100-year legacy of the fort, has represented FMERA over the years with a variety of agencies, bidders, governmental officials, law enforcement authorities, and contractors who had business on the 1,127-acre property spanning Eatontown, Oceanport, and Tinton Falls.

He reported on the status of fort parcels at each monthly FMERA meeting and undertook the massive effort involved with inventorying and preparing items left behind by the U.S. Army for auction.

“The residents of Tinton Falls owe you a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” said Tinton Falls Mayor Gerald Turning

Harrison was also lauded for his work with military veterans and families involved with the fort. Stated Col. John Occhipinti, the Army’s Site Manager, “On behalf of the Pentagon and myself, you have been an extreme professional in what has been a difficult mission, with grace and in a superb manner, always treating the Army side with respect.”

Fort’s Suneagles Golf Club Sold

“Rick has been outstanding in developing relationships and as our historian,” said FMERA Chairman James V. Gorman. “He is devoted and tireless. He forged strong and long-lasting working relationships through his integrity and strength of character. We wouldn’t be where we are today without his persistence and determination.”

“I’ve been humbled by this whole experience and the people I’ve been able to work with, especially the folks at Monmouth County Public Works and the municipalities; they are the unsung heroes,” Harrison said in accepting a proclamation from the county recognizing his accomplishments. “I am humbled by the awesomeness of Fort Monmouth. We are making great progress toward redevelopment.” Harrison was also presented with a rare Garrison coin.

Bruce Steadman, FMERA executive director, said the position of Facilities Director has been advertised both internally and externally. “We received resumes from many people with very good qualifications and have completed several interviews,” Steadman said. “We hope to make an announcement soon.”


This article was first published in the August 10-17, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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