National Engineers Week takes place annually the third full week of February and provides the engineering community an opportunity to highlight the field’s contributions to society. Huntsville Center employees are using this year’s National Engineers Week to share the triumphs and challenges of their careers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
For Sue McKnight, project development team leader with Huntsville Center’s Installation Support and Project Management division, her more than 18 years with USACE have afforded her the ability to make a difference via her chosen profession.
“The most rewarding experience is the professional development into particular kinds of engineering from design to construction and management,” McKnight said. “The Corps offers professional training to get more and more involved in my practice of engineering as well as allowing me to diversify.”
Her first career job with the Corps was as a junior engineer-in-training for the New York District as a civil engineer on Long Island.
There she learned about dredging inlets for safe harbors and the commercial industry of fishing and shell fishing as well as the dynamics of the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. McKnight discovered early the importance of the USACE engineering mission and embraced her role in it.
“The Army Corps of Engineers was and may still be the largest engineering outfit in the world and it was dredging harbors before 1776 for international commerce,” She said. “It largely built the world we live in and has gone around the world to build things to make human lives better.”
Energy Savings Performance Contract Project Manager Dale Adkins says it’s the experienced and supportive people at USACE and Huntsville Center who make all the difference. Adkins works with his team to find and use energy savings to finance energy security and resilience.
“I receive support on a day-to-day basis,” Adkins said. “There is always somebody who has been there or done something like that to glean information from.”
Control System Cyber Security engineer Bob Zendler has found a home with the Army Corps and a career that is constantly rewarding his efforts with challenges that span the globe.
“For the first time in my career I actually love coming to work,” Zendler said. “I look forward to each day seeing what challenges and projects I am allowed to be involved in. I have supported projects from Germany to Okinawa. Every day is actually like the first day.”
Department of the Army Intern Gabrielle “Gabbie” Savoir is grateful to be working with teams within and out of Huntsville Center and says every team has helped pave her way toward being the best engineer she can be.
“What I like most about Huntsville Center is the endless opportunities for professional growth,” Savoir said. “I have only been here for seven months, but I can tell that Huntsville Center really wants to help its professionals meet their ultimate potential. I am motivated by my love of knowledge and teamwork. I enjoy working with others to come up with solutions and expanding my information base.”
Facilities Division, Fuels Branch Chief Dennis Bacon says developing subordinates through mentoring, counseling, training and work assignments is a key part of his position at Huntsville Center. He believes people are the primary factor in Huntsville Center’s success.
“Caring for people is at the heart of what I do every day and how I approach my job and lead my team,” Bacon said. “They are professional and caring. They have the right attitude, and make the right decisions for the right reasons. We cannot become who we are meant to be if we don’t care for one another. Everyone is important and everyone is uniquely designed for a purpose that only they can fulfill.”
Sandi Zebrowski, director of the USACE Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise, works to see her organization has the best technical experts available to solve the nation’s toughest environmental challenges. She says making a difference motivates her to continue her 32 years with the Army Corps.
“We have been working the Formerly Used Defense Sites program, the Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Program, the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, and the Army and Air Force Cleanup programs,” Zebrowski said. “Since the enactment of cleanup legislation in 1986, we have been part of so many cleanups improving the health and welfare of communities and the environment nationwide.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remains an innovative, transformative organization providing engineering solutions to customers worldwide. To find out more about careers with USACE please visit: https://www.usace.army.mil/Careers/.
Huntsville Center is a unique U.S. Army Corps of Engineers organization. The Center is not defined by geographic boundaries; its missions provide specialized technical expertise, global engineering solutions, and cutting edge innovations through centrally managed programs in support of national interests.
Huntsville Center’s more than 1,000 employees manage nearly 3,000 ongoing projects at any given time. These projects fall into one of five portfolios: Medical, Facilities and Base Operations, Energy, Operational Technology, and Environmental. The portfolios comprise 42 different program areas, as well as six mandatory and six technical centers of expertise, and 17 centers of standardization. Projects are generally broad in scope, require technical expertise, centralized management or are functions not normally accomplished by a Headquarters, USACE organizational element.