Help shape, change perspectives by volunteering to become a speaker

Tom Conning

Public Affairs Office

The Portland District is reinvigorating its Speakers Bureau program. The program, which is managed by the Public Affairs Office, provides district employees a unique opportunity to help shape and change the public’s perception of the Corps, its missions and actions. It’s also an area of special emphasis for Col. Jose Aguilar, the Portland District commander.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to educate the public about who we are and what we do,” Aguilar explained. “I’ve participated in many public speaking events supporting many different commands and I find it is an exhilarating, gratifying and enlightening experience.”

Larry Suppan, Portland District Hydroelectric Design Center electrical engineer, discusses renewable energy at Stephens Middle School in Salem, Oregon, November 10th. Suppan spoke to more than 30 8th grade students from Emily Cunningham's science class who are learning about electricity and magnetism, specifically electromagnets and how to make them more powerful. (Corps of Engineers photo)

Larry Suppan, Portland District Hydroelectric Design Center electrical engineer, discusses renewable energy at Stephens Middle School in Salem, Oregon, November 10th. Suppan spoke to more than 30 8th grade students from Emily Cunningham’s science class who are learning about electricity and magnetism, specifically electromagnets and how to make them more powerful. (Corps of Engineers photo)

Speakers Bureau engagements can range from middle school presentations to talking to civic groups. Larry Suppan, Hydroelectric Design Center electrical engineer, recently spoke to more than 30 8th grade students about renewable energy. He described the event as a way to pass on the love of engineering to the next generation.

“My dad, brother and sister have taught many years. We all love to see the light go on in eyes of the student,” said Suppan. “The 8th graders were engaged in the discussion and freely participated. The interactive nature of the talk helped in drawing the kids out,” he said. “Promoting the Corps and educating the next generation is how we grow and attract the best engineers.”

“I encourage all staff to consider speaking on behalf of the District. We have the best and brightest minds working here – it is our duty to share that with the community we serve in order to encourage dialogue and have a more informed public on topics that are important to our profession.”—Col Jose Aguilar, Portland District Commander

Employees who are interested in becoming a volunteer speaker can contact Tom Conning in the Public Affairs Office or visit the district’s intranet homepage and click on the ‘Become a Volunteer Speaker!’ link at the bottom of the page.