Developing a love and respect for the open
seas came naturally to U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers Galveston District's Small Craft
Operator Joe Vernier, a Galveston, Texas, native,
who spent much of his youth recreating along
and exploring the Gulf of Mexico. So it's not any
surprise that Vernier chose a career that would
enable him to continue doing what he loves --
spending time on the water.

"As a boat operator with the Galveston District,
I work on the water daily, assisting district staff
involved with dredging work and surveying," said
Vernier. "Surveying of both deep and shallow draft
channels along the Texas coastline allows us to
obtain information about channel conditions."

In addition to his involvement with surveying
of waterways, Vernier is responsible for the safety
of both the crew and vessels, skills he perfected
during his 28-year career in the Coast Guard
working aboard boats from Honolulu to Curtis Bay,

Following his retirement from the Coast
Guard in 2006, Vernier found himself residing in
Michigan and wanting to return to the Texas coast.

"Just two days before we were leaving,
I decided to search USA Jobs (the federal
government's employment website) and there was
this opening in Galveston for a small craft operator,"
Vernier said. "I found it odd because it was the first
time in years I had searched the website. I knew
right away that this was the job for me."

Looking back on that auspicious day in Michigan
when he decided to check USA Jobs, Vernier says
he is still puzzled about how it turned out.

"I'm not sure why I searched the website that
day in Michigan, but for some reason I did," said
Vernier. "I believe someone was watching over us."

In a unique sequence of events that came full circle
-- a career choice that required Vernier to leave
Galveston to pursue a military career on the water
then, led him back to Galveston nearly 30 years
later, donning a different uniform yet working for a
military agency that requires him to be on the water --
Vernier says he wouldn't do anything differently.

Vernier is the father of four children and four
grandchildren. In his free time, he enjoys spending
time with his wife, tinkering around the house and
transforming his garage into a Texas Longhorns man