Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Engineering Division makes recruiting top talent a priority

Louisville District
Published Oct. 6, 2022
Updated: Oct. 6, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is always looking to add talented individuals to their world-class team. When comparing USACE to large federal agencies, USACE ranks number two on the Best Places to Work list, behind only NASA. 

Louisville District’s Engineering Division has specifically played a crucial role in the district’s recruiting efforts. Just in the month of September, Engineering Division attended 10 recruiting-type events to include career fairs, informational sessions, seminars and local school events. 

“Over the last couple years, we have been trying to set up a program,” said Ray Frye, Louisville District Engineering Division deputy chief. “One of the things that makes our organization so attractive for civil engineering students is that we offer every civil engineering discipline that is taught in the universities. In fact, we do and offer more than that, with civil engineering positions in dam safety and levee safety sections, which aren’t really taught in schools – students have to come here to learn that.” 

Kathy Dorsch, Louisville District civil engineer, and Gary Grunwald, Inland Navigation Design Center structural engineer, recently gave a presentation to a sophomore engineering class at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, Sept. 28. 

The class, a career development course, blends coursework with professional career pathways in civil engineering. 

“In this course, industry representatives show a bit about what they do to prospective students to help steer them in coursework, minors, etc., and set them in right direction professionally,” Dorsch said.  “Obviously, we get to plug USACE as a great place to work.”

Dorsch and Grunwald’s presentation focused on USACE, the Louisville District, and the New Lock at the Soo in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Grunwald specifically talked about how USACE used virtual reality to help design the New Lock at the Soo and provided students the chance to use the VR headset to see a portion of the new lock’s design.

Following the presentation, students had the opportunity to talk with Marcus Doddridge, Louisville District risk manager who also helped organize the event, about careers within USACE.

That same week, three Louisville District Engineering Division employees, Andrew Foley, Tim Wessel and Weston Young, also met with local elementary students to talk about engineering and the different opportunities available to them within the career field.

Approximately 120 gifted 3rd-5th grade students in advanced placement programs participated in the educational event at Blackacre Nature Preserve in Louisville, Kentucky, which included an interactive model where students were able to see how water can change landscapes and other engineering activities. 

“I talked with the kids about, not only what engineering is, but also what got me interested in engineering,” Foley said. “During the tours around Blackacre, I explained some basic engineering feats that the kids see every day, but probably didn’t realize it took an engineer to design like culvert pipes, retaining walls and drainage systems.”

As Foley stood on a small bridge above a creek, he explained how powerful water can be and the effects it can have on bridges and other structures. 

“They had not gotten a chance to see firsthand how water can erode a bank or a creek and seemed to be very interested.”

Foley, a Louisville District student co-op, also discussed his experience and daily life of an engineering student.

“Hearing that I inspired the kids to be excited about college and engineering at such a young age was absolutely amazing,” Foley said. “It was a great event that I was very proud to be a part of.”

Engineering Division has made recruiting a priority and focuses on attending as many events as possible to help spread the word about USACE. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is an innovative, transformative organization providing engineering solutions to customers worldwide. Working at USACE means making a direct contribution to war fighters and their families, supporting overseas contingency operations, developing technology and systems that save the lives of soldiers and civilians, providing disaster relief, and protecting and enhancing the environment and the national economy. USACE offers challenging professional, technical and administrative opportunities in the U.S. and abroad—each building on a strong tradition of public service extending back more than 200 years.

To learn more about a career with USACE visit

Chick Lock

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