Category Archives: Galveston Employee Spotlight

Galveston Employee Spotlight

Spotlight on USACE Galveston District’s Suhail Idriss

Nearly three decades have passed since Suhail Idriss began working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District as a structural engineer. Co-workers have come and gone and technology continues to rapidly change but in the midst of all of these transformations, one thing remains the same - his devotion to civil service.
Nearly three decades have passed since Suhail Idriss began working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District as a structural engineer. Co-workers have come and gone and technology continues to rapidly change but in the midst of all of these transformations, one thing remains the same – his devotion to civil service.

Story by Sandra Arnold
Galveston District
Public Affairs Office

Nearly three decades have passed since Suhail Idriss began working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District as a structural engineer. Co-workers have come and gone and technology continues to rapidly change but in the midst of all of these transformations, one thing remains the same – his devotion to civil service.

“As a taxpayer I am privileged to be entrusted to perform the duties of the U.S. government office,” said Idriss. “It is a great pleasure to fulfill the duties of the office.”

Idriss is entrusted with managing a diverse group of projects ranging from contributing to feasibility studies to overseeing environmental ecosystem restoration projects as the Boulevard Resaca at Brownsville.

According to Idriss, the Boulevard Resacas at Brownsville project, located along the Rio Grande River in the southern half of Cameron County, Texas, consists of approximately 25 acres of former channels of the Rio Grande River that have been cut off from the river, having no inlet or outlet as a result of siltation of the oxbow channels and loss of critical native aquatic and riparian habitat.

“The riparian vegetation, found exclusively in resaca and riparian corridors of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, have been designated by Texas Parks and Wildlife as habitats critically imperiled with extinction or elimination,” said Idriss. “Over the years, portions of the Resacas have become bottomland with the remaining stretches of channel having formed into a series of unconnected horseshoe bends with impacted habitat.”

Idriss explains that the district and its partner, the City of Brownsville, are working together to find solutions to preserve the Resacas, enhance habitats for birds and wildlife as well as increase storm water and raw water storage capacity that can be used in times of need. Once completed, the project with leave behind multiple benefits, including a water recreation component, for residents and visitors to enjoy in the decades that follow.

“I enjoy the teamwork component to my job,” said Idriss. “The success in accomplishing every task is a direct result of a combined team effort.”
A native of Beirut, Lebanon, he earned his diploma in structural engineering from the University of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1978, a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983 and became a licensed professional engineer in both structural and civil engineering disciplines.

Idriss earned several awards throughout his career with the USACE and in 1990 he volunteered to deploy to Saudi Arabia in support Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Now in his 35 year of marriage to wife, Vivian, the two enjoy spending their free time catching up with their son, a senior project engineer in San Antonio, Texas, and daughter, a product manager in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Idriss retired at the end of May 2015.


Galveston District Spotlight on Ron Wooten

If you were to ask Fort Worth native Ron Wooten what his favorite job has been throughout his career, you’d be surprised  to learn he’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as an advanced placement high school teacher, research fisheries biologist, mentor, landscape and irrigation company owner and photojournalist.
If you were to ask Fort Worth native Ron Wooten what his favorite job has been throughout his career, you’d be surprised to learn he’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as an advanced placement high school teacher, research fisheries biologist, mentor, landscape and irrigation company owner and photojournalist.

 

By USACE Galveston District Public Affairs Office

GALVESTON, Texas – If you were to ask Fort Worth native Ron Wooten what his favorite job has been throughout his career, you’d be surprised to learn he’s sort of a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as an advanced placement high school teacher, research fisheries biologist, mentor, landscape and irrigation company owner and photojournalist.

With a variety of skill sets under his belt, Wooten is learning to master an important role as a Department of the Army Intern and regulatory specialist in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District’s Regulatory Branch, helping to protect the nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development through fair, flexible and balanced permit decisions – a position he’s held since September 2013.

“I’ve grown to love coastal living and have really come to appreciate how important our coastal and wetland natural resources are to our planet,” said Wooten. “This is one of the few fields in which man’s activities that lead to wetland or watery habitat destruction or degradation can be evaluated for impacts and prevented or mitigated.”

The Department of the Army Intern Program is a vital source of new talent for the Army.

Participants enjoy a wide variety of education and training opportunities that introduce them to the Army mission, culture and business enterprises and develop their early career competencies, allowing rapid advancement to the journeyman level while building a foundation for future professional growth and promotion.

“Everything I am asked to do – I try to do to the best of my abilities,” said Wooten. “I’ve had the opportunity to partake in rotational assignments throughout various divisions here at the Corps, and I am currently working in the Regulatory Branch’s Compliance Division, conducting jurisdictional determinations, wetland delineations and evaluating unauthorized activities.”

The intern program provides a broad variety of projects, each offering their own unique challenges and opportunities for learning.

“I assisted the district’s Office of Counsel in processing Freedom of Information Act requests, in addition to evaluating several jurisdictional determination requests,” said Wooten. “If you work in waters of the United States or discharge fill material into a wetland area over which the Corps has jurisdiction, without first obtaining authorization from the Corps, you may be in violation of federal regulations. Violations can be very expensive to rectify and my result in civil penalties.”

Wooten notes it’s important to contact the Corps if you believe a permit is required to perform work in your area. Staff can assist the community in navigating through the application process.

Wooten’s earned multiple accolades for his work throughout his career, including having been named one of Galveston’s Top 50 Teachers, a commendation for service during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, multiple photojournalism honors and awards of Excellence in Craft from the Texas Outdoor Writers Association.

While he’s only been with the Galveston District for nearly a year and a half, he says he’s grateful for the opportunity to work at the Corps and looks forward to learning and growing professionally. Wooten earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries in 1990 from Texas A&M and a master’s degree in Marine Resource Management in 2013 from Texas A&M University at Galveston.

He is a member of the Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association and plans to earn his Professional Wetland Scientist certification. In his spare time, Wooten enjoys photography, camping with his family, enjoying the outdoors and writing.

He is married to his wife, Trisha Wooten, and has two daughters, Allison and Emily.

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