LDP Class of 2016-2017

Each year, a call goes out inviting Portland District employees to join the Leadership Development Program. Participants are selected by the District Corporate Board, whose goal is to have a small group of enthusiastic participants (usually around 15). In deciding on the candidates, the selection board considers many aspects of group diversity including: years of service, grade level and representation from a variety of organizations and positions throughout the District.

This year’s LDP team is comprised of 16 individuals from around the District. Led by facilitators Steve Miles, director, Hydroelectric Design Center, and Jim Buck, operations project manager, Rogue River Basin Project, the students will explore leadership and Corps policies during classroom instruction, public speaking (thanks to a partnership with ACE Toastmasters), a teambuilding offsite meeting and a one-week trip to Washington, D.C., to visit with Corps and Congressional leaders. The program culminates with a capstone project selected to offer the students an opportunity to put their new-found skills to work.


DSC_3920Jim Buck
Operations Project Manager, Rogue River Basin Project
Although Jim Buck has served as the Portland District’s OPM at the Rogue River Basin Project for 18 years, he finds the wide variety of challenges as rewarding as they were when he first began. His first job was as a park attendant for Maryland State Parks, where he hauled garbage, maintained campgrounds and picnic areas, cleaned restrooms and, in his words, “mowed endless grass.” From that first job through today, Buck believes integrity is a vital leadership characteristic, because “as a follower, I would not fully commit to a leader I do not trust.” With less than two years before he retires, Buck wanted to contribute in a different way, and being an LDP facilitator allows him to give back to the District and its employees.

DSC_4009Steve Miles
Director, Hydroelectric Design Center
As the leader of one of the Corps’ national centers of expertise, Steve Miles feels he gets to work with some very smart and amazing technical experts. “I really enjoy sharing what I’ve learned over my career and passing it forward,” Miles said. Now one of the Portland District’s senior leaders, he credits his Boy Scout leaders with helping to him develop his character. “I lost my dad to a sudden heart attack when I was 10 years old and the other dads embraced me and taught me the basics in leadership and followership,” Miles said. When asked about what characteristic leaders should possess, he pointed to a strong sense of integrity and honesty. “As professional engineers, the public has to trust that we will do things right for the right reasons.”

LDP Class of 2016-2017

DSC_3884Violet Albright
Resident Engineer, Vancouver Resident Office
Violet Albright began her career with the Corps as a DA intern with San Francisco District in July 2005. She has been the Vancouver Resident Engineer in the Construction Branch at Portland District since May 2015, managing the personnel and projects administered by the Vancouver Resident Office. A favorite aspect of her job is the fast-paced nature of the work, combined with the critical problem solving required to administer construction projects for the government. As an avid reader, Albright finds it hard to pick one favorite book. “I read an average of four books per week (excluding books for school or work); asking me to pick a favorite is like asking me to pick a favorite drop of water in the ocean. But I do love Sherlock Holmes – it’s all in the logic, Dr. Watson!” She doesn’t yet have a leadership philosophy, but hopes through LDP “to develop a vision for my leadership style and goals.”

DSC_3765Jeff Ament
Project Manager, Planning, Programs and Project Management Division
Jeff Ament has been a project manager in the Planning, Programs and Project Management Division since 2012. He finds leading project delivery teams to successfully complete highly technical and regionally/nationally important projects very satisfying. “I want to complete things – watching a plan turn into something built, whether it’s a project at work, or something in my workshop.” Ament’s interest in engineering began early in life. “When we took the 8th grade aptitude tests, it showed I had strengths in math and science. My guidance counselor indicated those skill sets were well suited for engineering. At that time I didn’t know what an engineer was or did. It wasn’t until I started taking engineering courses in college that I realized wow – this is cool!”

DSC_3960Kristine Anliker
Chief, Contract Coordination Section, Engineering and Construction Division
Kristine Anliker joined the Corps in 2009. After working in cost engineering and the District’s small business team, Anliker began her current job in July 2014 and serves on Northwestern Division’s Architect-Engineer Regional Community of Practice. She grew up in Iowa farm country and credits her parents with instilling her with values she uses in her personal and professional lives. “My parents inspire me; they worked incredibly hard all of their lives to provide my sister and me with the best opportunities possible.” Anliker loves to travel and can often be found with an atlas in hand, where she says she can get lost for hours, looking at areas she’s never been and locations she’d like to visit. She believes the most important traits of a leader are accountability and honesty. “I value these characteristics most in the individuals I follow and in myself as a leader; honesty brings trust.”

DSC_3983Cameron Bishop
Natural Resource Specialist, Willamette Valley Project
Cameron Bishop has 10 years of experience in the Willamette Valley Project, working with team members and stakeholders to help solve problems. When not at work Bishop enjoys carpentry, welding, electrical theory and metallurgy. An avid science fiction and fantasy reader, Bishop cites Frank Herbert’s Dune series as a favorite. “I love listening to a good fantasy novel on tape and role-playing board games – and yes, even Dungeons and Dragons – with friends.” He once ate lentils, rice and salt for two full weeks while backpacking in the Sierras. “That sucked, but the negative benchmark made me appreciate all meals I’ve had since then just a little more.” Bishop credits Willamette Valley Project OPM Erik Petersen with helping shape his own leadership style. “Erik values people and relationships. He trusts and empowers his team to make decisions and always focuses on the positive parts of any situation.”

DSC_3972Terry Geroux
Technical Lead, Channels and Harbors Project
Terry Geroux began his Corps career in 2008 as a deckhand aboard the Dredge Yaquina. He worked aboard the Dredge Essayons as a third mate for five years before moving to the Waterways Maintenance Section in 2014. As someone as comfortable on water as he is, it’s probably no surprise that Geroux identified a meal that has influenced his life like this: “Without a doubt, the first time I had sushi. It was my introduction to what would become my favorite food.” He recalls a former captain of his being an excellent leadership role model. “He had the ability to react to any situation with focus, clarity, and professionalism, regardless of how grave it was or who was possibly at fault. He also had the ability to motivate his crew to push through tough situations and work at their absolute highest level of performance, while encouraging them to improve themselves as mariners and shipmates.”

DSC_3979Leanne Holm
Attorney, Office of Counsel
Leanne Holm began working with Portland District in 2008 as a law clerk. After graduating from law school she was hired as an attorney through the Chief Counsel’s Civilian Honors Attorney Program, a Corps-wide program that recruits highly successful graduates. Holm practices environmental law, which she discovered after first working for an environmental consulting firm as a biologist. “I was always interested in the law, but decided to get an undergraduate degree in science instead of a traditional law-related undergraduate degree. While I enjoyed doing field work, I felt that it was not the exact right fit for me. I knew I wanted to stay in the environmental field. I realized that working in environmental law would be a great mix of science and law and it would be a better fit for me.” Holm believes integrity is vital to a leader’s success. “It means that you are doing the right thing. It is important that followers know that you mean what you say and that you will follow through with your commitments.”

DSC_3753Eric Holzapfel
Engineering Technician, Hydroelectric Design Center
Eric Holzapfel has worked with HDC since 1996, when he started in the Student Career Experience Program. Holzapfel now builds 3D models and creates detailed drawings that show removal of old equipment and installation of new equipment as part of an engineering and design team. “Working as a team and building the 3D models of all parts of a powerhouse is interesting, then seeing the equipment once it is built in full-scale and working as designed is a rewarding experience.” Holzapfel’s current position is a far cry from his first job, selling ice cream cookie sandwiches from a cart in downtown Portland. Leaving the ice cream cookie sandwiches behind, he enrolled at Portland Community College to learn drafting and 3D modeling skills. “I wanted to create my own designs for woodworking and other projects and found an engineering technician job opening in HDC. I applied, thinking it would be a good job to have while in school. Luckily it turned into a career.”

DSC_3937Nicklas Knudson
Computer Engineer, Hydroelectric Design Center
Nicklas Knudson began his career with the Corps in October 2013 as an Engineer-In-Training with the Hydroelectric Design Center. After rotating through various locations and departments in Portland District, Knudson now works as a Computer Engineer in the Automated Controls and Cyber Security branch of the Hydroelectric Design Center. “While solving complex technical issues and creating new systems both give me a sense of accomplishment in my position, the most rewarding part of my job would be the relationships that I have built with both my colleagues in our home office and out in the field.” Knudson applied for LDP to “sharpen my focus and drive, become a better speaker, and to be a better leader in everything that I do.”

DSC_3944Barbara Morrow
Budget Analyst, Resource Management Office
Barbara Morrow began her federal career in March 2000 when she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. After leaving active duty she worked for the U.S. Army Reserve and later joined the Portland District as a budget analyst in the Engineering and Construction Division, moving to Resource Management in 2011. She develops and manages the Information Management/Information Technology budget and processes funding actions to bring appropriated funds into the District. Morrow remembers her first meal in a small London pub while traveling through Europe as an influential moment in her life. “It made me appreciate and embrace the differences between our cultures.”

DSC_3996Luke Raynor
Electrical Engineer, Hydroelectric Design Center
Luke Raynor joined the Corps in 2007 as an Engineer-in-Training with HDC. After the training program, Raynor accepted a position with HDC as an electrical engineer. He serves as a protection and controls engineer, designing systems to improve system reliability and protect hydropower equipment from catastrophic failures. “The most rewarding thing for me is seeing the work that I design with drawings and words be installed and put into service.” Raynor started working at an early age, with apparent success. “I was a self-employed landscape specialist – I mowed lawns. At the peak of this career I maintained up to 20 yards in any given week.” Raynor looks to his grandfather for inspiration and leadership qualities. “My grandfather who passed away when I was younger has helped me to define the person and leader that I am today. As a young child my grandfather was always very respectful and caring towards others. Above all things he stressed the importance of maintaining your personal integrity, something I strive to do every day.”

DSC_3893Jon Rerecich
Fish Biologist, Environmental Resource Branch, Planning, Programs and Project Management Division
Jon Rerecich started working with the Corps as a fish biologist at Bonneville Lock and Dam in 2003, moving to the Environmental Resource Branch in 2012. While his current job includes implementing the National Marine Fisheries Service Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion, Rerecich began his fisheries career by commercial salmon fishing in Kodiak, Alaska during summers in college. He recalls a meal with a former classmate following their 10-year reunion after not seeing each other for many years. That meal influenced his life because he married her two years later. Now Rerecich and his wife Brittney focus on raising their 8-year-old twin girls, trying to find adventure around every corner.

DSC_3956Roger Schlough
Dual Rate Crane Operator, Bonneville Lock and Dam
Roger has worked as a crane operator at the Bonneville Lock and Dam since 2007. His job includes operating a variety of cranes that support the operation and maintenance of two powerhouses, an 18-bay spillway, fish passage, wastewater treatment plant and a navigation lock. He applied for LDP so he could improve himself professionally and gain an understanding of the national policies and how they pertain to the Corps. He enjoys books and films that show the importance of being open to new ideas. His favorite movie? “Dances with Wolves. The movie shows how great opportunities can develop by opening your mind to new ideas, adventures and understanding that different cultures exist. The cinematography is phenomenal too.” Favorite book? “The Hunt for the Red October. Tom Clancy was a great story teller who could meld fact with fiction. It also shows how having an open-minded attitude can benefit not only yourself, but the people around you. Things are not always as they appear.”

DSC_3913Paul Sclafani
Hydraulic Engineer, River and Hydrologic Engineering Section, Engineering and Construction Division
Paul Sclafani joined the Corps in 2009, when he worked on the long-term sediment management plan for Mount St. Helens. In 2015 he became the Floodplain Management Services Program Coordinator, Silver Jackets Coordinator, and the District’s Flood Risk Manager. Sclafani joined LDP to learn more about leadership challenges and Corps structure “so I can speak more authoritatively as a Corps representative to agencies and communities outside the Corps.” William Tecumseh Sherman helped define his leadership philosophy. “Sherman, known to his men as “Uncle Billy,” was a very effective leader for a very specific purpose. His ability to recognize the individual strengths of his troops led him to continuously make key changes, which made his Army of the West particularly successful. He was able to recognize a bigger picture of how to win the Civil War. While his methods might have seemed harsh to those in the Confederacy, his judgement toward a concise end of the Civil War, at least in the West, was remarkable.”

DSC_4000Darrell Shoemaker
Electronics System Control Craftsworker, Willamette Valley Project
Darrell Shoemaker is an Electronics System Control Craftsworker at Look Out Point Dam for the Willamette Valley Project. Shoemaker started his employment career at age 14, as a fry cook at Hartz Crispy Chicken in Humble, Texas. After working in electronics for the U.S. Navy, he returned to civilian life in Oregon where he studied as a journeyman electrician. He began working with the Corps in 2004, where he maintains the remote capabilities of nine dams and four powerhouses in the Willamette Valley Project. Before joining the Corps, Shoemaker decided a change of jobs was in order. “While working in the electrical construction field, I felt that my desire to serve the public was going to waste. Dreading going to work one day, I thought there has to be something an electrician can do in the public sector. So I started looking!”

DSC_3932Daniela Todesco
Civil Engineer, Columbia Basin Water Management, Northwestern Division
Daniela Todesco leads Columbia River Treaty studies and activities and participates in flood risk management operations of the Columbia River Basin reservoir system. Joining the Corps in 2014, Todesco finds the teamwork shared by her colleagues to be very rewarding. “I love interacting with people from different districts and agencies.” When asked why she applied for the LDP program, Todesco replied, “Besides being one of the best leadership development programs in the country within the Corps, I see it as a great opportunity to understand how I can best contribute to the Corps and its role within the political realm of the Federal Government.” She believes LDP is helping her and her colleagues to test different leadership philosophies, trying find one that fits best. Trust is high on her list of leadership characteristics, though. “If you are not able to trust your followers to make good decisions, execute their objectives and further their potential, you will never be able to have the right kind of followers and help create a new generation of amazing leaders.”

DSC_3906Albert Wright
Chief, Contract Administration and Technical Section, Construction Branch, Engineering and Construction Division
Albert Wright began his career with the Corps in 2006 as a member of the Engineer-in-Training program with the Construction Branch, Engineering and Construction Division. Since October 2015, Wright oversees many of E&C’s teams, including Small Projects, Contract Administration Support and Technical. Once an EIT himself, he now acts as the EIT and student coordinator. Wright doesn’t recall a specific meal that influenced his life, but feels meals offer important family times. “Our family sits down together for dinner every night and we discuss how our day has gone. This is important to my wife and me, so we can show our daughters that even if your schedule is busy you need to spend time together every day as a family.”