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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.

For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.


Baldi receives Fort Worth District Engineer of Year Award

By Shannon Hays
Fort Worth District
Public Affairs Office

Loree Baldi had no idea why her picture was being taken in preparation of the annual award ceremony. She did not learn that she was being given the Engineer of the Year award until she looked through the program as she found her seat for the ceremony. Luckily enough, Baldi’s mother was able to attend, since she has been working for the summer at the Corps.

Baldi has worked with the Corps since she graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering. “Beginning with her job as a summer appointment technician, and now in her current position as Chief of the Dam and Levee Safety Section, Ms. Baldi continues to perform to the highest standards, and in doing so inspires her colleagues to do the same,” said supervisor, Mark Black. After 15 years of service, being awarded as the Engineer of the Year “is definitely one of my proudest moments,” she said, “which was a surprise to me and I feel honored.”

As the Chief of the Dam and Levee Safety Section, “my current role at the Fort Worth District entails assisting the Branch Chief in management of planning, scoping, development, and direction of the Branch’s current and out-year projects for military, civil works, dam safety, levee safety, and work for others,” Baldi said.

In addition to her role in dam and levee safety, she is also responsible for “supervision of assigned geotechnical engineering and geological phases of the District’s design program,” Baldi said. She previously was the Assistant Chief of the Geotechnical Branch shortly after it became a standalone branch and was then promoted to Acting Chief of Dam and Levee Safety Section the following year.

Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Acting Commander for the Fort Worth District presents Loree Baldi with the Fort Worth District Engineer of the Year award.
Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Acting Commander for the Fort Worth District presents Loree Baldi with the Fort Worth District Engineer of the Year award.

On a daily basis, Baldi is responsible for overseeing project planning, design, and execution, supervising studies, and “coordination and control over workload planning, the design program, and the Quality Management Program,” Baldi said. According to her supervisors, she has been a vital component in the success of the dam and levee safety programs.

Baldi has many mentors that are instrumental to her career, like “Jan Berry (Memphis District-retired), Mark Black (Fort Worth District), and Brian Kamisato (Southwestern Division and Fort Worth District),” Baldi said. With the help of these mentors, she was able to reach this achievement so early in her career. Baldi hopes to continue her career at the Corps until she retires while growing in management and facing new challenges.


The official U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division publication