HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville has the certified experts stakeholders count on to accomplish unique, complex, global missions.

However, today's stakeholders are bringing even more complex requests to the Center requiring its more than 1,000 employees to deliver innovative solutions.

To meet those complex requests, the Center's workforce is ticking the required academic and professional boxes to become experts in their arenas.

The Center currently has a stable of 20 employees with doctorate degrees. More than 225 of the Center's employees are certified and registered as engineers, project managers, energy managers interior designers, architects, and cybersecurity professionals. The Center's acquisition workforce has more than 650 acquisition professionals meeting and exceeding federal acquisition certification standards.

"The Center's success is dependent on educated, highly skilled workers," said Albert "Chip" Marin III, the Center's programs director.

Marin provides oversight and guidance for the Center's 43 programs, and he understands in depth how certification and professional development improves each program's capabilities to provide solutions to stakeholders looking for safe, affordable and effective project delivery.

Marin said there are benefits to any agency having certified personnel on their team.

"An organization possessing a well-certified workforce instills confidence in the Center's stakeholders and customers that our workforce is technically competent and able to execute their requirements professionally," he said.

"Allowing employees to seek training for certifications instills a willingness on management's part to ensure their workforce is trained and shows a commitment to the employee's professional development. This commitment to our employees leads to employees trusting their leadership to take care of them," Marin said.

"A well-certified organization is better able to execute its missions day in and day out . . . increasing our organizational effectiveness and productivity."

One of the Center's employees most recently accepted into a certification program is Jesus Ramirez-Rodriguez, Fuels Branch deputy program manager.

Ramirez was selected to participate in the Certificate of Construction Management Program at Auburn University's McWhorter School of Building Science.

"Jesus' application to this program shows his dedication to his professional development. His selection for the program ensures he continues to deliver vital public and military engineering solutions and services to the nation and its partners at an even higher level of competence," said Dennis Bacon, Fuels Branch chief.

Ramirez said he applied to the program for an opportunity to continue learning and growing professionally.

"This program will enhance my ability to understand construction aspects as a technical person that will help me to better understand any project while managing projects," he said.

Anoop Sattineni is an associate professor at the McWhorter School of Building Science and oversees the CCMP at Auburn.

Sattineni said upon completion of the 12 credit graduate program, Ramirez will have a deeper understanding of estimating, bidding, sequencing, scheduling and managing construction projects, especially the contractual and legal aspects that drive the decision making process in the construction industry.

"McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University and the Corps of Engineers have collaborated since 2009," Sattineni said.

"The growth of the program can be attributed to the practical nature of the education taught by dedicated faculty that brings a wealth of industry experience to the classroom."

Ramirez, a husband and father of two boys, said he's ready for the demands of the coursework.

"Organization, communication and coordination will be the driving factors to success," he said.
"Having my family support is going to be key for balance, and their support will allow me to accomplish my goal."