By Ms. Sandra Arnold (USACE)July 2, 2014
GALVESTON, Texas (July 1 2014) -- "On time and under budget" is the statement Project Scheduler Bernice Taylor is proud to make about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District operations and maintenance projects she coordinates along the Texas coast.
"I create master plans for projects to include timelines, required resources, the order of needed tasks and the responsibilities of each project team member," said Taylor. "My job is to work closely with project managers to provide frequent updates to the daily project schedule and feedback about how completed tasks are affecting the overall project progress to ensure that project milestones are met within the prescribed budget constraints."
The Houston Ship Channel is one of the many projects Taylor schedules. In April, the district awarded an $8.2 million contract to RLB Contracting Inc., to perform maintenance dredging within the Houston Ship Channel, from Carpenters Bayou to Greens Bayou, as well as the deep-draft portion of Greens Bayou Channel to provide sufficient channel depth for the transit of deep-draft vessels.
"The Houston Ship Channel is my largest operations and maintenance project," said Taylor. "The project's criteria changed and is now operated as a watershed, which means we combine funding from Barbours Terminal, Greens Bayou and the Bayport Ship Channel. The streamlined approach enables us to have four separate projects operating under the same funding stream, but makes it more of a challenge to ensure all projects are balanced together."
Taylor explains that the she spends a significant portion of her day helping project and operations managers to identify items in their schedules that can be compressed or executed concurrently with other activities in order to save time and money.
"Everything revolves around money and schedules, with each activity being critical to somebody's schedule," Taylor said. "Finding ways to make each piece of the puzzle fit in the shortest timeframe is a great challenge but one I enjoy. A bad schedule makes for a more costly project so I strive to make all schedules as streamlined as possible to provide a great product for our customers."
Taylor began her career with the Corps 14 years ago in the Huntington District in Huntington, W.Va., as a student data entry clerk in the Water Quality Section.
"Not many people can say they started at the very bottom," said Taylor, who was hired on as a GS-1, the lowest entry level in federal service. "My supervisors and mentors have pushed me to learn more and try new jobs, which is what has allowed me to excel to where I am today."
Her drive to seek new challenges made Taylor a perfect choice to support the district's Resource Management team to ensure all staff members received their paychecks following Hurricane Ike in 2008.
"In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, several staff members temporarily relocated to our Addicks and Barker Project Office in Houston to work to get our district back on track," said Taylor. "During this time, I worked closely with our team to assist our displaced employees, provide support to our Crisis Action Team, prepare travel orders and ensure that all employees who evacuated would be paid in a timely manner."
Regardless of which shoes she fills, either as a program scheduler or as a pay processer, Taylor continues to make a positive impact in the district and works to identify areas in which to save taxpayers' money.
A native of Houston, Texas, she enjoys woodworking and building furniture in her spare time, but most importantly, spending time with the "best son in the world," Blake who is in 4th grade.
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