Portland District People: Robin Norris, Natural Resource Specialist, Bonneville Lock and Dam


Great Electrifying Event at Bonneville Lock and Dam (Corps of Engineers photo)

Great Electrifying Event at Bonneville Lock and Dam (Corps of Engineers photo)


Describe your job.
On any given day I am the “Face of the Corps” to visitors at the dam. I share the Corps story; I provide guidance and leadership to other staff and volunteers to promote excellent customer service to over 600,000 visitors a year; I oversee service contracts that support visitor experiences and also, occasionally, I serve as an emergency responder when someone needs help. I am committed to expanding the public’s understanding and knowledge of our missions both here in the Pacific Northwest and around the nation.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Seeing “light bulbs” go off with visitors when they relate to or understand something I’m sharing with them. I take great satisfaction in seeing happy customers leave the visitor center.

What challenges do you encounter in your job?
I need to balance serving visitors and getting my other job responsibilities done. There never seems to be enough time in the day!

How does your job fit into our District mission? Tell me an example of this.
As a natural resource specialist (or park ranger in every day terms), I explain our missions to the public, helping them gain a clearer picture of the Corps, our role in the region and the benefits they see from our missions.

(Corps of Engineers photo)

(Corps of Engineers photo)

What are your career aspirations and how are you preparing to accomplish them?
At this point in my career I’m looking at how I can mentor and support younger generations entering the natural resources/interpretation field. It’s time for me to give back.

First job:
My first job was as a motel maid at 14 years old! I lived in a small town in southeast Idaho, so there weren’t many options for employment! And, yes, I still fold sheets and tuck corners on beds the way I was taught.

Favorite book:
The Bible. This is the only book I repeatedly go to for wisdom, comfort and grace.

What are your hobbies?
Fitness. I love the endorphins from exercise, plus as I age, it keeps me stable mentally, emotionally and physically. Proud and active Boy Scout Mom; my youngest is close to reaching his Eagle rank!