All posts by mbrown

National Engineers Week Spotlight – Mike Biggs

Bio Stats: Michael Biggs

Position: Chief, Hydraulics & Technical Services Branch

Years with SWL: 31

Hometown: Crossett, Ark.

Education: B.S. Civil Engineering, Louisiana Tech University

Certifications: Professional Engineer, Certified Flood Plain Manager, Project Management Professional

Hobbies: Hiking, astronomy, hunting/fishing, Louisiana Tech athletics

Mike Biggs (right) reviews an upcoming presentation with David Bostwick

Q:  You have been with the district 31 years, how has your job changed over the years?

A:  Originally I was a hydrology and hydraulics engineer building HEC-1 (hydrology) and HEC-2 (hydraulic) models using a Harris 3000 dumb terminal and main frame.  Now the smart people working in HTS Branch have cell phones with more computing capabilities than our old main frame computer.

Q:  What positions have you held in the district?

A: After my two years as a Department of the Army Intern I was a hydraulic engineer (in H&H Section and Reservoir Control Section) working on flood insurance and flood hazard studies; I also worked as the Arkansas River System engineer and Big 3 (Nimrod-Blue Mountain-Clearwater lakes) system engineer; study manager; project manager; chief of Reservoir Control Section; and chief of Hydraulics Technical Services Branch.

Q: What was your favorite job position and why?

A: Hydraulic engineer.  The focus of working on a flood insurance study was very satisfying, especially if I could get Glen Raible to sign off on my models.  I also enjoyed my time as a study manager, working on a multi-disciplined project deliver team kept me connected with people across division, branch, and section boundaries.  It was fun knowing the whole district.

Q:  What are your short and long term professional and personal goals?

A:  Professional – Finish strong, I am eligible to retire in 21 months but I have an 11-year-old so I will be here a while.  I am content with my current position, I believe in our mission.

A:  Personal – Lose 20 pounds, hike Hadrian’s Wall in England; but most importantly, make the mortgage so I can retire baby.

Q:  What do you do to instill your veteran knowledge in new employees?

A:  Spend time with them.  Try to give them opportunities that require some “Dick Tracy” work, something like updating water control manuals.

Q:  What do you enjoy most about your job?

A:  I like working with partnering agencies and stakeholders.  Our multi-purpose water management projects touch many aspects of people’s lives, and we have the opportunity through collaborative efforts to maximize project benefit to the region and nation.

Q:  What projects are you working on now and what are some of the challenges?

A:  As a branch chief I am working budgets, transition to Defense Performance Management Appraisal Program, and hiring actions.  The challenges include navigating ever changing budget guidance, multiple rating sessions, and working with Human Resource rules and procedures in an effort to hire the best talent possible for the Little Rock District while executing our real time water management mission and Corps water management system implementation.  We are also working with Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Geological Services, National Weather Services, and several state agencies on a variety of water related studies.

Q:  What has been your favorite project you have worked on?

A:  I don’t have a single favorite project.  The White River minimum flows, Dark Hollow, and Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance studies were challenging and interesting.  Implementing a portion of the Arkansas River 12-foot channel project was interesting because it gave me a chance to work with people in Little Rock and Tulsa districts.

Q:  What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work?

A:  I try to leave work at the office.  When I go home I try to be involved in activities that connect me to my wife and children and I volunteer at my church and in the community.  In the spring I boil crawfish!
Q:  Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?

A:  My daughter and I are working through the astronomy Messier Certification Program.

 

National Engineers Week Spotlight – Jonathan Gauzin

Bio Stats: Jonathan Gauzin

Position: Electrical Engineer (Department of Army Intern)

Years with SWL: 1 year, 4 months

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Education: B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas, El Paso

Certifications: Registered engineering intern

Hobbies: Soccer, racquetball, running

Q:  You have been with the district more than a year, how has your job evolved?  Was it what you thought it would be?

A:  I have been with the district 1 year and 4 months. I’ve had the opportunity participate in different projects with different objectives and I think this has given me the opportunity to develop new skills. Since this is my first job after college, I really did not know what to expect but now that I’m at the job, I never expected to be inside a hydropower facility and be involved with the equipment which is one of the things that enjoy the most about the job.

Q:  What positions have you held in the district?

A: Electrical engineer intern in the Mechanical Electrical Section of Design Branch

Q:  What are your short and long term professional and personal goals?

A:  Professional – get the experience necessary to obtain my Professional Engineer license and be able to handle more responsibilities to make an impact in the organization. In the future I would like to obtain Master’s Degree, I’m still thinking if I want to do it in Engineering or in Management.

A:  Personal – Travel more, enjoy my free time and buy my first house.

Q:  If you were in the intern program, how did that help you with your job?

A:  I am a Department of Army Intern, and I work with senior engineers helping them to design electrical projects and I’m sure that what I’m learning now will help me in the future to become in a better engineer.

Q:  What do you enjoy most about your job?

A:  I enjoy the diversity that we have in our section, I think is one of the sections in the entire district that has more diversity.

Q:  What projects are you working on now and what are some of the challenges?

A:  Currently I’m working as the electrical engineer in the replacement of a sump pump system at the Bull Shoals Power House where I have the opportunity to work with site personnel and learn more about the operation of power generation facilities. One of the challenges in this project is that I need to coordinate my design with other engineers who are working on different projects at the same location, since all the equipment operates in conjunction with other equipment, we need to coordinate to be able to satisfy the customer’s needs.

Q:  What has been your favorite project you have worked on?

A: My favorite project is/was improvements of range 11 for the Department of Energy, where I worked in the design of firing target system, electrical distribution, lighting, lighting protection etc. basically this was my first project and everything was new for me, so it was a challenge for me to learn a little bit about everything at the same time to be able to complete the project.

Q:  What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work?

A:  I try to get to work early in the morning to have more time in the afternoon.

Q:  Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?

A:  I am bilingual in English/Spanish.