Stormwater Manager, Hamilton County
The Summit of Mt. Mansfield, VT
“This photo best describes me because I’m generally happy and high on life, even after a tough challenge. I love being outside and studying nature, ecology and biology.”
Q: Is there a person that you look up to that inspires the career moves you’ve made so far? This can be a person you know, or a public figure (dead or alive).
A: Like Leslie Knope, I’m often inspired by myself. There’s a self-driven, self-motivated fire that burns within in me that consistently inspires me to blaze my own trail. However, I’ve met folks along the way that influenced my path. I am blessed with some really great stormwater colleagues that have mentored me, and continued to support me, over the past 15 years – Tim McDonald, Don Green, Mary Halley, Jennifer Watson, Paul Davis, Mary Beth Sutton and Beth McLaughlin all deserve a shout-out. My former boss, David Parker, former City Engineer for Franklin, TN, has been the biggest influencer on how to make smart decisions as a public servant, navigate through challenges that have strong political interests, and manage high profile public projects.
Q: Is there something you learned as a child that taught you something profound that you carry with you as a young professional?
A: My papaw once said “education is something no one can take from you”. This has always stuck with me and reminds me that it’s important to never stop learning.
Q: What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your career so far?
A: The hardest lesson I’ve learned is that people won’t always believe you or value your opinion, even when you know you are right. I tend to be stubborn and strong-willed, so I’ve had to learn when the best solution is to compromise or walk away from a difference of opinion, especially if the disagreement is between me and my boss or me and someone I supervise.
Q: If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be titled?
A: “Let’s be Friends”
Q: If you knew you would be forced to leave Chattanooga in 1 year from today, what would you like to accomplish here before you go?
A: I am the President for the Tennessee Student Environmental Alliance (TenneSEA) Young Professionals Board. We are working with homeowners to clean-up Mountain Creek and implement a greenway plan in the watershed. I would want to educate as many homeowners as possible about reducing pollution in the creek by taking steps to reduce stormwater pollution at home. (Shameless plug: find a home assessment at MyTN.org to see how creek friendly your home is.)