By Sandra ArnoldMarch 8, 2013
BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas - Ensuring operational readiness and compliance of the Brazos River Floodgates for nearly 2,500 commercial and recreational vessels each month is no easy task, but it's one that a handful of talented U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a dedicated lockmaster make look easy.
Robert Page, an employee of the Corps for more than 28 years, has held the position of the Brazos River Floodgates lockmaster since 2009, successfully juggling a variety of responsibilities ranging from supervisory and administrative tasks to maintenance and project rehabilitation.
"In August 2012, the west gates were reinstalled and outfitted with a protection system as part of a major milestone in the Brazos River Floodgates Rehabilitation Project," said Page. "Each of the 90-ton sector gates along with an additional 30 tons of organic material were removed for repair and cleaning which will restore and enhance their structural integrity and operation."
Part of a routine 9-10 year maintenance cycle gate rehabilitation conducted by the Corps, this project will help decrease the number of future closures for corrective repairs to sector gates and provide increased service for commercial customers.
The rehabilitation project is one of the many initiatives Page and his team have taken to reduce dredging costs and improve customer service.
"I instituted an 'Industry Day' with our customers to facilitate an open dialog with our users and learn how we can implement measures to better serve both our pleasure boaters and commercial industry," Page said.
Though managing the locks is a demanding job, Page says that his 20 years as a lock and dam equipment mechanic and five years as a lock and dam operator have prepared him well for the challenges and problem solving needed to maintain operational readiness, but acknowledges that he could not complete the mission without the support and dedication of his close-knit team.
A U.S. Navy veteran and Terre Haute, Indiana native, Page graduated with an associate's degree from Brazosport Community College in 1987 and calls Lake Jackson, Texas, home.