Employee Spotlight - James McKinnie

Little Rock District
Published March 18, 2013
James McKinnie - Chief, Navigation & Maintenance Section

James McKinnie - Chief, Navigation & Maintenance Section

Bio Stats:

Official Position:  Chief, Navigation & Maintenance Section

Years with SWL:  3

Years of federal service:  25

Hometown:  Portland, Texas

Education:  BS Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University


Q & A with Little Rock District’s Chief of Navigation and Maintenance



How did you get to the Little Rock District?

I transferred from Little Rock AFB’s Civil Engineer Squadron to Design Branch in May 2009, and I was permanently assigned to my current position in February 2013.



What are the duties of this position?

The section serves as the maintenance engineering team for the District’s civil works assets.  We provide technical support to the project office staff, assist them with evolving management tools and business processes, conduct or support various inspections, and serve as a focal point for developing the navigation and flood risk management budgets.



What challenges have you had to face in your new position?

There are a lot of changes underway in how the Corps funds, manages and operates its facilities.  Some of these changes are internal, such as new work order and asset management systems and operational condition assessments.  Others are more visible to the public and the navigation industry, such as the 4-hour daily maintenance closures at Ozark and Trimble and our draft recreation vessel lockage policy that is out for public comment.  I am still working through the learning curve on a lot of these topics, but the section’s staff and other supervisors have been great at getting me up to speed.



You also serve as the district STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Coordinator. How important is that program and what do you hope to accomplish?

The long-term security and economic health of our country will require a greater number of people in technical fields.  The Defense Department is making a strong effort to help teachers encourage students to develop STEM-related skills and to consider a STEM trade or degree when looking at career options.  As a District Coordinator I help get the word out on local opportunities such as science fairs, career days, and competitions like the Army’s eCYBERMISSION, and I report to Southwestern Division on our efforts.  My intent is to ensure that opportunities are available to those who are interested.