GALVESTON, Texas (July 1, 2015) – Sifting through artifacts dating back to the Roman era, discovered while excavating a roadway for a $200 million Army housing project in Wiesbaden, Germany, is the most interesting job assignment Rhonda Brown has overseen during her 21 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“We came across Roman coins, tile roof and pottery pieces,” said Brown. “I thought for sure this would require the project to be relocated, however, Roman sites are found all over Europe so the German government simply collected some items, documented the location and the project continued with construction over the Roman site.”
With a diverse career that has taken her around the globe, to visiting ground zero of the World Trade Center during a disaster clean up mission, the landscape architect explains that she now serves as a project manager for the USACE Galveston District to direct each stage in the life of a project to include programming, planning, design and construction.
“I am currently managing the design of eight U.S. Customs and Border Protection Command and Control facilities in Texas and am the project manager for the Corpus Christi Border Patrol Station, Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station vehicle maintenance facility and the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project,” said Brown.
The USACE Galveston District provides planning, design and construction services to local, state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that either do not have in-house capabilities or are interested in combining their resources with the Corps’ to create a partnership to support construction projects that serve our nation and our Armed Forces explains Brown.
“Keeping customers informed of project progress is imperative to maintaining good working relations,” said Brown. “Most of the border patrol project development team members are located all over the United States. Each team is comprised of a diverse set of individuals who bring to the table key skill sets that make a project successful.”
In the case of the $1.5 million Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station Vehicle Maintenance Facility, completed in September 2014, Brown says that this project required a collaborative team effort to identify and integrate critical functions that would adequately support border patrol operations and maintain more than 60 vehicles per week for the 400-plus agents who work at the station.
Most Corps projects are designed and built to LEED certification standards, which seek to improve energy savings, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality as well as to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; all features that Brown says she’s pleased to incorporate into her designs.
“I chose this field and career with the Corps because I like to make things happen, I’m passionate about natural resources and I enjoy getting to create both functional and aesthetic spaces in our environment,” said Brown. “Whether it’s improving the life of a border patrol agent through new and improved facilities or working to better manage our coastal resources, I feel rewarded by being able to contribute to state and federal assets.”
A native of Dallas, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Texas A&M University in 1990 and is a registered landscape architect. Throughout her career she earned the Commanders Award for Civilian Service (3), the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, the Galveston District Employee of the Year in 2002 and the coveted USACE Landscape Architect of the Year Award in 2002. When not at work, she and her spouse of 17 years, Georgia, volunteer at their church and with their dog, Lola, at local nursing homes to provide residents with pet therapy.