Position: Supervisory Civil Engineer
November 1, 2016
What do you do in your position, and why is it important to the people we serve?
As supervisor of both the Bank Grading Unit and Clearing and Snagging Unit, I am responsible for two of the units that prepare riverbank locations along the Mississippi River for the Mat Sinking Unit to lay articulated concrete mattresses. What we do is important to the people we serve because we help to maintain the integrity of our levee system and provide a safe, navigable Mississippi River.
How did you become part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and why?
I became a part of the Corps while I was an undergraduate at Tennessee State University. During my sophomore year, the Nashville District gave us a tour of the Kentucky Dam and the Barkley Lock and Dam. On that tour, I decided that I wanted to work for the Corps. I immediately understood that what they do impacts the whole country and I wanted to be a part of an organization that was about more than just making money. I knew that if I found something that I truly enjoyed doing, then the money would take care of itself. And 15 years later, that still holds true.
What’s the greatest satisfaction you have in being a part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?
The greatest job satisfaction I’ve enjoyed came at one of the worst times in U.S. history. I was honored to deploy in 2006 to Plaquemines Parish, LA to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. I served as a Debris Quality Assurance representative. The experience had a life changing impact on me because it was 10 months after the storm struck when I arrived and the area still looked like total devastation.
How does your job affect your general lifestyle?
My job fits right into my lifestyle. I like to go camping, hiking, kayaking, so I’m a little outdoorsy and I love to travel.
Can you name a particular mentor or mentors who helped you in your career? How did they help you?
One of my mentors is Andrea Williams and she is very straightforward about everything. I’ve grown to appreciate her for that because part of growing means being uncomfortable and hearing where you need to improve. We have completely different personalities, but she has given me a lot of good advice over the years. One of them was that “Life is a game of chess, not checkers.”
Have you been a mentor?
Each summer that I’ve volunteered to work the SAME (Society of American Military Engineers) Army Engineering & Construction Camp in Vicksburg, I have been a mentor to about 40 high school students from all over the U.S. I’ve kept in touch with quite a few of them over the years and have watched most of them graduate with an engineering degree. I’m proud to say that I played a small part in their educational and professional development.