Knowledgeable. Caring. An asset. Kindhearted. Selfless. Friend. Guru. A bright light. Trustworthy. These are words chosen to describe colleague, friend, and recently retired Program Assistant, Mr. Jeff Berry.
Even with solid attempts made at convincing him to stay, Berry celebrated his retirement of 33 years of federal service in a ceremony surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues.
While bittersweet, a retirement is for celebrating and gratitude – and truly grateful is the Memphis District for all Berry did to contribute to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as all he did for those employed here, past, and present.
As for his extensive career, Berry’s 33 years of federal service would prove to be chock full of accomplishments, challenging projects, learning new skills, and even meeting his now-wife of 31 years.
It all began in 1989, where he worked in the inventory and supply area at the Memphis Defense Logistics Agency. While there, Berry learned how to drive a forklift and stock selector, and also noted he was fortunate to work with some great people there.
His next career moves involved working for both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District.
Working for the USACE Memphis District Human Resources department was one of the more special of times in Berry’s life, as that’s when he met his wife, Jan, and got married.
Additionally, he said he, “Learned how to provide excellent customer service from some amazing mentors in this job.”
While with the Tennessee U.S. Attorney’s Office, Berry said the best part of working for the Human Resources office was being able to hone his writing skills and learn how to communicate with attorneys, “which is a specialized skill in and of itself.”
“I had amazing mentors and made some great friendships in the Department of Justice,” he added.
And with the Memphis District as his final destination, Berry finished out his federal service in saying that it was during those final years that the axiom, ‘Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome’ became a reality, rather than a mere sentiment.
“I learned that nothing worthwhile is accomplished unless you start by building relationships and ‘finding your why’,” he said. “In the last nine years of working in the Operations Division, I have had the best supervisors of my career, and have formed some of the closest friendships of my career. I have enjoyed supporting the analysts and project managers who drive our projects, and I would not have wanted to end my career anywhere else but with the Operations Division.”
And his colleagues share the sentiment completely, with his supervisor, Operations Division Deputy Chief Rodger Funderburk saying, “Jeff was always willing to assist in any area needed, consistently doing so with a cheerful attitude and calm demeanor.”
It doesn’t stop with Funderburk. The following comments were submitted in celebration of Berry’s retirement. The Operations Team, in summary, will miss him. And even more, they thank him for all he did to contribute to operations, and, to their lives on a more personal level.
David Alvarez, Program Analyst, Operations Branch
Jeff is a knowledgeable, kind, and caring employee. He contributed to the overall success of the Operations team, performing various functions encompassing a wide range of skills, including official government travel, operations overhead analysis, property management, data reports, labor charge code analysis, GPC purchasing, and employee timekeeping.
I will miss his pleasant demeanor, positive attitude, and encouraging words of wisdom. My best attempts to convince him to stay have clearly failed. I will be sad to see Jeff depart, but I will take joy in knowing he will be surrounded by his wonderful family, spending precious time with his first grandson, baby Bennett, and enjoying life as a retiree. He will be missed, and his absence will be felt by all who had the privilege of working alongside him.
Congratulations to Jeff on achieving retirement after selflessly serving the Army Corps of Engineers for a period spanning over 30 years. Jeff quite literally has more time on the job than some folks in our organization have years of life. I would also like to thank Jeff for not only being a fantastic coworker, but a friend I could confide in. He will be greatly missed.
Jennifer Jo Thomas, DFMCP2, Program Analysis Officer, Operations Division
I don’t know that I have had the pleasure of meeting many men of his caliber. He has always been such a bright light to be around. I will truly miss having him around and having someone to talk to about the important things in life… like Sasquatch. I wish him all the best in his minimalist-retired bliss.
Sara Waterbury, Program Analyst, Operations Division
Jeff Berry is a kind and caring man and a very loyal and trustworthy friend and co-worker. He always makes me smile and I will miss his positive demeanor and his allegiance to his family and friends.
Clinton Blake, Program Analyst, Operations Division
Jeff is a great asset – he taught me a lot about PR&Cs, operations, and about the processes used in the office. He is a great contributor to the team, to the overall success of the Operations team, and to the Corps as a whole. He performs various functions encompassing a wide range of skills and he is an official government travel expert in my opinion. He also is a GPC purchasing guru and a great asset in employee timekeeping and PTO.
I will miss our talks – we have a lot in common and I enjoy hearing about his adventures. I am interested to see how his new role as “Grandpa Transportation” will evolve. I just want him to enjoy his family and I want him to take his grandson fishing as much as possible! Thank you for all that you have done. You were the first person I met at the FOB when I started working here and you have helped me every day I have been here, and I want to thank you for that.
The Memphis District, USACE
Thank you, Mr. Jeff Berry. You are an incredible person, employee, colleague, and friend. You contributed a great deal in effort, time, and energy to this district, the Operations team, the Mississippi Valley Division, USACE, and the Nation, and all you did was valued and impactful.
You will be so very missed by many, and we at the Memphis District wish you and your family nothing but the best in your many years ahead in retirement! Finally, always remember, you have a family here at the Memphis District and can come back to visit any time you'd like.