Please introduce yourself:
My name is Jesse Jordan. I’m originally from Trinidad but moved around a bit before finally settling in sunny Florida for high school and college. I earned a degree in civil engineering from Florida Tech in 2011 and immediately got a job working in the oil field as a technician out in the Gulf of Mexico. After a few years of that, I got orders to deploy with my reserve unit to serve in the Middle East providing engineering assistance for ARCENT (U.S. Army Central) and subordinate commands. During my time overseas I met many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees, which ultimately led me to apply with the Sacramento District.
Tell us a little about your day-to-day job functions...
I currently work in the Cost Engineering section. As a new hire, I’m still learning the software and remembering the processes and procedures of the Corps, in general. Hopefully, once I get a handle on those things and more, I will be estimating projects on my own.
What do you like most about working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers?
I think the best way to answer this question is in two parts:
The Corps provides technical and construction support for more than 100 countries around the world. In Trinidad, where I grew up, they helped design many of the roads and infrastructure which increased prosperity for the locals. Without it, I may not have had the same opportunities as I do today, so this is my way of giving back.
Coming from the private industry, I definitely appreciate the work pace. Here, I worry less about project profit and more about its impact on the community. Infrastructure and other civil works projects may not sound “sexy” but it’s important work that I find very rewarding.
What is one of the most interesting projects you’ve worked on?
Since I’ve been with the Corps I haven’t yet been assigned any projects of my own; however, while I was deployed with the FEST (Forward Engineer Support Team) I provided plans for site improvements to various Patriot Missile Sites across the Middle East. I worked closely with the Corps to gather core samples and other soil data to ensure the integrity of foundations we planned on putting in.
What do you like most about your job?
Honestly, I really enjoy the location. Despite being the third company I’ve worked for, it’s the first that has a more urban feel. Sacramento is a fun city with lots to do (sure it’s not the Bay Area) but I also don’t want to live in a shoebox either. I especially love that I can ride my bike to work, which not only saves gas but gets me a little exercise in the process.
What advice would you give to a new employee?
If they are new to the government, understand that there is a process for everything. You may not understand it, but there’s a reason. However, if they are familiar, I would recommend trying new things. One benefit of working for such a large organization is that there is so much to do. If you want to switch positions, change departments or go to another location, the choice is yours.
What three traits define you?
Kindness, Integrity and Fairness (It probably sounds way cooler in Latin).
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I attended an all-boys, military boarding school.
I spent a month backpacking though South America,
I once ate a whole chicken (it was small and I was hungry),
What do you like to do in your spare time? Favorite thing to do in Sacramento?
Anything outdoors, whether that’s running, hiking or skiing. Add in a few friends and I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening. As far as things I enjoy about the city … the colorful murals, the Concerts at Cesar Chavez Plaza, the Mahi Tacos at Tres Hermanas – it’s all good.
Top 3 personal highlights?
1) I was stuck in Switzerland for a night. Let me elaborate. I was skiing with a friend in Breuil-Cervinia, Italy, which is situated at the foot of the Matterhorn just on the other side of Zermatt. My ski pass allowed me access to both sides, however, one day I missed the last call for the gondola and ended up having to get a room in Switzerland (which was not cheap). To complicate matters further, there was a major storm approaching that shut down all lifts the next day, so I had to plead with the ski patrol for a ride up the mountain on snowmobiles in order to make it back in time for my flight.
2) I visited Cuba and saw Fidel Castro. (Relax - This was before I became an American citizen). It was for a family vacation and he just happened to be walking through the lobby of the hotel we were staying.
3) One of the many unique experiences I had while working offshore for the oil field was riding the personnel lift basket to get onto the rigs. Google it. On calm days its fine, but catch it while it’s raining with 10’ swells and then it gets exciting.