National Engineers Week Spotlight – DeJuan Carter

Bio Stats: DeJuan Carter, 44 years old, married, father of two (DeJuan Jr. – 18 and Taylor -17) Position: Chief, Construction Branch/ Area Engineer

Years with SWL: 25 Hometown: Little Rock, Ark.

Education: B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Arkansas Certifications: Professional Engineer

Hobbies: Basketball, cycling, strength training, playing piano/keyboards

Q: You have been with the district 25 years, how has your job changed over the years?

A: Technology has evolved. Scheduled milestones and metrics have more and more become serious drivers to define success

Q: What positions have you held in the district?

A: Designer in Structures and Dam Safety, project engineer, resident engineer, area engineer, chief, construction, project manager, program manager

Q: What was your favorite job position and why?

A: Probably the project engineer while I was at the Little Rock Air Force Base. I was a GS-12 engineer primarily responsible for delivering my assigned projects on time. Things weren’t overly complicated in that position.

Execution was the name of the game. I felt like I knew the value of my contribution every day I went home. I really enjoyed working with contractors to see projects start from scratch and get finished to the point that our customer was happily using what we delivered.

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

A: Professional – chief of Engineering and Construction Division for Little Rock District

A: Personal – Hopefully draw people to Christianity by example; be the best Christian I can be by continuing to have faith and serving through the music ministry; be a great husband to my wife and a great father to my children; stay healthy with a balanced work/life regiment

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

A: I’m not sure I’m sharing enough. I feel like I’m still learning all the time because things change all the time. I think the thing I try to share is that one must solve problems and make the best decision(s) with the information available at the time. One cannot become paralyzed to the point of indecision. Gather the facts quickly, make a decision, and move on.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: Variety. I can’t get bored. I’ve worked with lots of different people on lots of projects in lots of places. If a person gets bored working for USACE I believe they aren’t looking hard enough at the available opportunities or they’ve constrained themselves too much. If they don’t know about opportunities they need to find somebody to help. I just can’t imagine getting bored within this organization.

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

A: This is funny. Medical projects, civil works projects, military projects abound. But I’m in the middle of a settlement agreement for the Little Rock Air Force Base Repair/Replace Runway project. This very well might be the most challenging project I’ve personally been involved with in my career – and that’s saying a lot. This was the first project in my career I truly felt like I failed to deliver to our customer. There were extreme issues that got us all there, but I’ve typically been able to overcome some very tough challenges. There were too many technical and political challenges to explain in a short response.

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

A: This is a tough one, but delivering a stretch of border fence as a project manager ranks up there. I was a new PM and I was tasked to deliver a stretch of fence in Calexico, California in a very short period of time. I didn’t know much about the pre-award process at the time so I had a very steep learning curve. In the end, we awarded a $50 million fence project that got through acquisition, award, and execution in about five months. It was very fast and everybody seemed to be pleased with the results.

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

A: I treat my home life like a job just like I treat my professional job. Schedules and priorities are the key. I find if you prioritize yourself you’ll actually do the things you set out to do. I try to take my professional very seriously but I believe if your physical health and spiritual health diminish your professional health will suffer. Therefore, I make sure I spend time with the wife and kids. I make sure I exercise and eat right (most of the time). I make sure I deliver praise through music at church every Sunday. This keeps me balanced.

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

A: Hmmm, I don’t think people know that when I say I like all types of music I’m actually telling the truth. I probably could have been a music major in college if I hadn’t gone into engineering. I have music in the genres of gospel, jazz, R&B, big-band, rock, classical, hip-hop, neo-soul. I’ve listened to some country and actually will admit that I like some of it, but I haven’t spent a penny buying any of it.

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