In any business, it’s the people that make it work. Without them, organizations ultimately fail. That’s why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District values each and every one of its employees so much.
To show how much we do, we highlight one employee every month by asking a few questions about the position they’re in and how they got to where they are today.
This month, we are highlighting Carla Wells. She is a government purchase card business manager for the Contracting/Oversight Branch.
“I was hired in 2010 as an Administrative Specialist,” Wells said. “Then I was promoted to Acquisition Business Specialist in 2014. Finally, I was promoted to my current position, Government Purchase Card Business Manager, in 2017.”
Wells is a self-proclaimed “Army Brat” but calls El Paso, Texas, her home. She said she ended up in Memphis, Tennessee because her parents wanted to move back after her dad retired from the Army. Memphis is where her parents are originally from.
So, what exactly does a government purchase card business manager do?
“I serve as the Agency/Organization Program Coordinator for the District’s Government Purchase Card Program (GPC),” Wells explained. “My primary responsibilities are program implementation and the overall administration of approximately (this number changes daily) 80 purchase card and managing accounts for the Memphis District and USACE Logistics Activity. I provide guidance, training, coordination, and oversight per Army and USACE Regulations.”
Wells’ job is important for obvious reasons. Still, we wanted to hear her version of why it’s important to those of us working for USACE.
“The Government Purchase Card (GPC) Business Manager is important to the people we serve because the GPC has become the preferred way to purchase supplies and services for the government,” Wells said. “The Purchase Card is also the most profitable way to purchase with the successful rebate system now offered from the banks to our GPC Programs.”
Wells said that the more we spend and reconcile our accounts on time, the more rebates we get for our districts. This equals more money for the districts, which means more money for important things like training and professional development.
Wells said she gets a lot of satisfaction from being part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and being of service to her country.
“By doing my part, I am helping the district’s mission of “Moving Dirt,” which is a major responsibility and is critical in the nation’s distribution mecca called the Mississippi River,” she added.
More satisfaction likely comes from her being a member of the Memphis District’s Power Team and Flood Fight team for the last 10 years.
“There is nothing like seeing the expressions of appreciation on the faces of people who are going through a natural disaster,” Wells explained. “There’s nothing like hearing a person say thank you or even giving you a hug because you are there to help them get their lives back to normal.”
She also just loves people, she said.
“As a child, my mother would call me a “joiner” because I loved joining and being involved in many organizations because I got a chance to meet and interact with different people,” Wells said. “My love of people has led me to a greater love of volunteerism. I love working with a group of individuals dedicated to helping to better the lives of others.”
Wells enjoys being on the National Civil Rights Museum’s Volunteer Board and considers it an honor to serve and give back to such a great place that continues to keep the legacy and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive -- a person to whom without his efforts she said she would not be enjoying the job/career she has with the Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Finally, we asked what guidance she would offer someone looking to get into her career field. She was happy to offer up as much advice as she had time to give.
“Be a sponge,” Wells began. “Learn all you can about the position. I would advise them to get a mentor in the field and ask plenty of questions. I was so blessed to have an awesome mentor in Priscilla Sweeney, who taught me the good, the bad, and the ugly concerning the field of Contracting. She was tough, but I am glad that she was because it made me want to be the best that I could be as a Contracting Professional for my customers.”
As mentioned earlier, Wells loves people, and it holds true the other way around – people love her just the same.
“Once you meet Carla, you soon realize she’s outgoing with a positive spirit,” Wells’ Supervisor Chris Pease said. “Her team player attitude helps not only in the Contracting Division but throughout the district assisting others with their GPC duties. I’m grateful for Carla’s dedication and glad she’s on the team!”
He continued to say that her dedication to the mission is evident in her motivation to ensure the district’s GPC program is a success.
“On several occasions, the Mississippi Valley Division has recognized the Memphis District for having no bank payment delinquencies, a metric tracked monthly by USACE Headquarters,” Pease added. “Carla knows the importance of the GPC program and takes pride in assuring the district stays in good standing.”
Wells is an outstanding employee and one the Memphis District is truly grateful to have on the team. Thank you for letting us highlight you, and thank you for all you do!