Interior Designer of Year works at Huntsville Center

U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville
Published Sept. 3, 2014
Carol Elder

Carol Elder

During the Strategic Leaders Conference in August, the Corps of Engineers recognized a member of Huntsville Center as one of its top performers. Carol Elder, from the Engineering Directorate’s Interior Design Section, was named USACE Interior Designer of the Year for her work on several Huntsville Center programs.

This award is given annually to the Corps employee who has distinguished himself or herself through professional excellence, achievements and superior performance in interior design. Elder was nominated for her superior accomplishments in managing several complex interior design projects including Furniture, Integrated Medical Furniture, Initial Outfitting and Transition, Centers of Standardization and other projects across the nation and around the globe. Her effective leadership and management expertise resulted in the successful completion of projects that have benefited many communities worldwide.

“It’s an honor for me to receive this award. I have a passion for what I do, and it means a lot to be recognized for these contributions,’ Elder said.

Growing up in Read’s Mill, Alabama, Elder said she has had an interest in architecture, construction and history since she was 7. She attended Auburn University and earned a degree in building science with strong emphasis in architectural design, which she used to work for companies in the private sector before joining Huntsville Center in 2008. Since that time, she has made significant contributions to the work of the Corps on complex projects by working together with team members and customers to execute design projects across the country and overseas.

As the section chief for the Interior Design Section, Elder leads a team of 27 interior designers at Huntsville Center through skillful participation and coordination with project delivery teams and customers. She coordinates work with her teams and customers to execute unique design projects. She leads the team in the development of furniture item descriptions in the acquisition of more than $150 million of furniture each year. She leads the team that procures another $50 million to $100 million in medical furniture and equipment and has worked with HQUSACE and Community of Practice members to firm up career requirements for interior designers.

Elder holds certifications from the National Council for Interior Design qualification and Construction Specifications Institute as a construction documentation specialist. She is also a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design accredited professional.

Elder was nominated for her exceptional work by her supervisor, Todd DuVernay, chief, Architectural Branch. According to DuVernay, Elder’s work on the Furniture and Furnishings Program led to the acquisition of almost $1 billion worth of furnishings for a wide variety of facilities.

“She works diligently to provide designs, processes and the quality of the Huntsville Center’s work environment and our projects,” DuVernay said. “Her efforts in their Interior Design Section have yielded a highly qualified, credentialed and dedicated team.”

Outside of her work as an interior designer, Elder stays pretty busy getting involved in several other leadership roles. She is a local CSI officer and member for the last 20 years – currently she is chapter president. She conducts meetings and leads community training and informational events for the local chapter. Her work with CSI also affords opportunities to collaborate with other professional organizations on training events and community service projects.

Elder said she devotes a lot of her time to mentoring, whether it be mentoring the interior designers that she supervises or others within her community. She was a charter member of the local chapter of the Project Management Institute in Huntsville.

“I love mentoring others and helping with their professional development,” she said. “Training others, investing in others to help them realize their professional goals, and providing guidance for reaching milestones in their careers as interior design professionals is very meaningful to me. This is what I love most about my job. People and what we can accomplish together is what matters most!”