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Posted 6/21/2016

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By Diane Perkins


What is your position?
Chief, Planning and Environmental Branch

Describe your job.
The Planning and Environmental Branch leads the study and environmental compliance efforts to support federal participation in civil works projects that solve the nation’s most complex water resource related problems. This dynamic branch is focused on the efficient and effective coordination and accomplishment of the investigation, engineering and design, and construction phases for Charleston District projects. As Chief, I have full responsibility for the development and administration of the civil works planning program, including all environmental compliance for existing and proposed new federal projects in South Carolina and other areas within the region. This involves frequent outreach to and collaboration with state and federal resource agencies as well as project sponsors, stakeholders and the public.

What is the most unique thing that you bring to the District?
I became so passionate about planning and design as a young adult that I achieved two master’s degrees in urban and regional planning, as well as landscape architecture. My focus area was, and is, resilient urban and regional planning and design in concert with natural systems for the benefit of nature - not only human, but also non-human.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I am fortunate to have joined an organization filled with dedicated professionals. I find working with them very rewarding, especially when engaging in communication, inspiration, collaboration, and leadership pertinent to the civil works mission areas of ecosystem restoration, flood risk management, coastal storm damage reduction, and navigation.

Highlight a notable milestone or memory in your career.
Though I’ve been with the Corps since 2009, my first position in planning was in 1994. I’ve worked at multiple levels of government and in the private sector, including internationally. The benefit of this is that pretty much anything we might run into with sponsors or contractors, chances are I’ve encountered something similar. As a result, many of my memorable career moments with the Corps are tied to the well-rounded insights I bring to work every day. I wouldn’t have been able to bring this perspective to the organization if the Louisville District Planning Chief hadn’t hired me in 2009. I often reflect on that and consider it a notable milestone, just as joining the Charleston District team now is another.

What goals do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
There are many goals I’d like to accomplish, and some of the external ones are tied to three themes: coastal resiliency, integrated water resources management at the watershed scale, and regional sediment management. Internally, some of my goals are tied to continual professional development and growth of my staff.

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