I enjoyed math and science and seeing the evolution of a design on paper turn into reality. I chose mechanical engineering because of the wide arena of prospects it offers, such as aerospace, automotive and facilities. How did you end up at the Little Rock District and what is your work experience or background?
I grew up in northwest Arkansas and have family in Little Rock, so this is home. Prior to coming here, I was with the Corps at the Kansas City District as a mechanical engineer, where I had the opportunity to design the HVAC and plumbing systems for various military facilities as well as provide mechanical support for civil works projects.
Previously I have also worked in the private sector doing maintenance engineering at an oil refinery as well as designing components of aircraft engines. How do you “engineer” things in your daily life?
I enjoy trying to find an optimum solution to a challenge or making an improvement, whether it be around the house, on my car, or even while traveling. The process of identifying possible solutions and seeing an idea to fruition is very rewarding.
What’s your favorite thing about your position in the district?
I get to support the needs of many different customers, both within our district and regionally.
What are you overseeing or working on that will impact the district or another community’s quality of life in the future?
One such example is a lighting replacement project at Millwood Dam, where the existing roadway lighting, wiring, and electrical components that were originally installed will be replaced with new energy efficient LED lighting. This new system will be designed to provide improved illumination of the dam’s roadway while conserving energy.
Position: Senior Mechanical Engineer in Design Branch of Engineering & Construction Division Years with Little Rock District: 15+ years Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Arkansas State University Certifications: Professional Engineer (PE License in Ark.). Also have Advanced Leader Bronze & Advanced Communicator Bronze with Toastmasters International Communication Program. Hobbies: Besides spending time with Family and Friends, I enjoy bowling, exercising with weights & Cardio boot camps, working puzzles, going to movies and listening to music…ok dancing too. Q: You have been with the district 15 years, how has your job changed over the years? A: After working in private industry for three years, I started working as a mechanical engineer in the Design Branch in January of 2001. The first several years involved asking loads of questions, adsorbing knowledge on both military and civil works projects, and learning federal codes and regulations. After working on various types of designs as the lead mechanical engineer and being assigned as the Design Coordinator on multi-discipline projects, I was selected as the Mechanical Engineering Technical Expert in May 2008. Since then I have worked in the Hydropower Section of Operations Division, completed a developmental assignment as a Military Project Manager in PPMD, and served 18 months as interim Chief of Mechanical Electrical Section in Design Branch. Currently I am still designing various mechanical systems and coordinating technical projects, as well as conducting internal and architectural and engineering design reviews, performing site investigations, managing project labor funding, working with construction personnel, and mentoring new engineers. Q: What are your short and long term professional and personal goals? A: Professional – Continue enhancing my engineering knowledge and Design Coordination experience to best serve the District as our Mechanical Technical Expert, achieve LEED Green Associate certification, and obtain Advanced Communicator Silver with Toastmasters. Long term is further developing project coordination and leadership skills to advance into Project Management and ultimately the Chief of Design Branch or E&C Division. A: Personal – Supporting my daughter in every aspect to see her grow into a beautiful young lady and excel in school to be whatever she desires in life. Keep bowling to achieve a 250 or 300 game and increase my average to 180. Teach Algebra and start my own cake decorating business after retirement. Q: What do you do to instill your veteran knowledge in new engineers? A: I try to share information without overwhelming anyone by ensuring I sit down face to face for mentoring sessions, provide examples for reference, and supply resources needed to learn and grow in the organization. My main objective is open communication where others feel comfortable coming to ask questions anytime, regardless the subject, so they can begin and continue to adsorb the knowledge of the Design Branch and the Corps. Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? A: After working as an Engineering Technician in Design Branch for two summers during college, I knew the Corps was where I wanted to work because of the variety of jobs and great people. I enjoy the aspects of both military and civil works projects, meeting new people, and traveling all over the state and country. Honestly, I consider the Corps my work family and being involved with the District’s Bowling League, Civilian Recreation Association, and Toastmasters help me build relationships with co-workers to become friends. Q: What projects are you working on now and what are some of the challenges? A: Currently I am working on several HVAC renovation projects at different military installations and civil works project offices along with projects for Army and Air Force medical facility renovations and new military construction. Adequate funding seems to be an ongoing challenge for many projects as well as time schedule constraints and limited personnel resources. Renovation projects sometimes have issues with unknown As-Built conditions which can take contract modifications to resolve. Our main objective as a project delivery team is to work through these challenges and provide a product that is within budget, on-time and operational for the customer. Q: What has been your favorite project you have worked on? A: My most rewarding projects have been the Child Development and Youth Centers over the last 10 years. Working on these facilities located throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia have enabled me to see the whole process from initial planning, through design development, to completed construction, and finally an occupied facility. I have built a great rapport with the Installations and user groups personnel as well as the Army Child Youth Services Team. To know the staff and kids are happy and appreciate the facilities, makes it all worth our team effort. Q: What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work? A: As a single parent it’s a struggle at times to balance family and career. I depend upon my phone calendar to coordinate personal activities and work travel, plan healthy meals in advance, and have a daily routine in order to maintain my sanity. Of course the support from my mother to care for my daughter after school and overnight when I’m traveling is a huge blessing! Q: Tell us something about yourself we don’t know? A: Besides my other hobbies, I like baking and decorating cakes for family and friends including Spiderman, TMN Turtles, Darth Vader, Scooby Do, softball glove, football field, Razorbacks, John Deere Tractor, Camaros, Grave Digger Monster Truck, and even the Gates of Graceland. Music is my escape from stress, especially Prince and New Kids on the Block. My first real vacation in 2002 was a trip to Paisley Park in Minnesota to see Prince perform for a week long music celebration. My passion for New Kids on the Block started in 1990 but since the group reunited in 2008, I have traveled to over 35 shows in a dozen cities and met with Donnie Wahlberg more than 25 times. Of course I also follow Donnie Wahlberg’s acting career and watch him Friday nights on Blue Bloods.