Position: Realty Specialist
Years with SWL: 19
Hometown: Cape Fair, Missouri. Cape Fair, Missouri is a very small community located on Table Rock Lake. The Corps operates a Campground with a marina concession at Cape Fair. I was fortunate enough to grow up on the lake, learning to fish, swim and appreciate the resource. My mother’s family were farmers who settled in the area in the early 1800’s. She maintains the Bill of Sale from when the family sold a portion of their property to the Government for the creation of the lake. She remembers standing in the pasture, watching the water rise onto her feet during the flood event that filled the lake a little too early. She remembers having to swim her horse across the cove to catch the school bus because their road had not been completed yet, and the boat they had ordered from Sears had not yet arrived. My father’s family moved to Cape Fair in the 1960’s for the lake. Both my father and grandfather were avid fishermen. My husband and I now live with our daughter in Galena, Missouri, approximately 10 miles from Cape Fair, on his family’s farm established in the late 1800’s.
Education: Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management, and a Master’s of Science in Administrative Studies, with an emphasis in Communication, from Missouri State University.
Awards: Received the Southwest Division Recreation Employee of the Year Award in 2005, Little Rock District Real Estate Employee of the Year Award in 2014, and Little Rock District Civilian of the Year Award in 2016. Competed LDP II in 2011.
Hobbies: Horseback riding, kayaking, and reading
Q: You have been with the district 19 years, how has your job changed over the years?
A: Minor things have changed, but thankfully, the mission remains the same. Obviously, the use of technology to communicate has been an important change. I have gone from using mylar maps and colored pencils to using ArcMap technology. I have gone from utilizing a two-way radio in my work vehicle for communication in the field to now having a Blackberry. I have seen increased use of databases, such as CEFMS, RecBest, OMBIL and REMIS, to collate data across the Corps. I have seen the switch between the use of email, rather than the old yellow slip in the mail. I shudder to think how many different email addresses I’ve had over the years. I am anxiously anticipating the day when I will have an effective way to conduct a video chat with other Corps employees, at remote locations.
Q: What positions have you held in the district?
A: I began working for the district at Table Rock Lake as a Student Trainee Park Ranger, between my sophomore and junior years of college in 1997. I accepted a career position as a Park Ranger at Table Rock Lake in 2002. In 2009, I accepted a Realty Specialist position, assigned to Table Rock Lake. Currently I am also filling in as the Study Manager for the Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan Update PDT.
Q: What are your short and long term professional and personal goals?
Every day, my first goal is at the end of the day be able to say that I did the right thing, professionally and personally. If I succeed in that, then I can be proud of what I accomplished that day. Other than that, I find that it is my long term goals that sets the stage for my short term goals.
A: Professional – My professional long term goals include being in a position where I can lead a team. Therefore, my short term professional goals are to successfully finish the Table Rock Shoreline Management Plan Update, to gain Level 1 Real Estate Signature Authority, to participate in/complete LDP III and to continue to develop my technical, communication and leadership skills.
A: Personal – In my personal life, my long term goals are to raise an intelligent, kind and caring daughter who is able to see herself as successful, to maintain my relationship with the my spouse, and to maintain myself to someday enjoy a “busy” retirement. My short term goals include being “present” for my daughter and teaching her appropriate life skills, provide support to my husband as he plans to expand his business, and complete the MS 150 bike ride with my husband next year.
Q: What do you do to instill your veteran knowledge in new employees?
A: Document, document, document! It is so important to document the whys behind each decision, so that those coming in behind you can learn from either your success or mistake.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: What I enjoy most about my job is having the knowledge that what I do matters. Knowing that what I do combines with the efforts of so many others to preserve the natural and recreation resources provided by Table Rock Lake for the benefit of generations to come.
Q: What projects are you working on now and what are some of the challenges?
A: Currently I am knee deep in the Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) Update project. The economy of the Table Rock Lake area is largely dependent upon tourism, including Branson, Missouri as well as the lake. Therefore, changes that could impact the use of the lake are very high profile within the community and local congressional offices. I find the challenge of effectively communicating the mission of the agency in the SMP with sometimes competing interests, in ways that can be digested, to be a fascinating task to explore and hope to someday fulfill to maximum extent possible. This has been my favorite project so far, because it is so vital to the continued success of the lake.
Q: What has been your favorite project you have worked on?
A: The Table Rock Lake SMP update PDT I am working on now is really exciting. The team is made up of an exceptionally talented group of people that are so dedicated to the lake and so much fun to work with. The task is daunting, but the people make the goal attainable.
Q: What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work?
A: You just have to do the best can, and that’s all you can do, and you have to be satisfied with that. A very wise woman once told me, “You’ll never look back at your life and think I wish I would have spent more time cleaning house, or I wish I would have spent more time at the office. What you will think is I wish I would have spent more time listening to my child, or relaxing with my husband, or talking with my parents.” I have tried to keep that in mind. I also know that to be the best mom/wife/daughter I can be, I have to be happy with myself. To be happy with myself I need to work, and work to the best of my ability.
Except for very special occasions, I stick to a strict work schedule because I can’t be the best me at work when I am over extended. Sometimes I have to say no to potentially great career opportunities because either the timing isn’t right for my family, or because my work schedule is already full. It can be really, really hard to say to no, but bottom line is only so much you to go around. Be wise, think long-term.
Q: Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
A: I make the best squirrel and dumplings, hands down.