US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

District Digest News Stories

District hosts ‘Bring Your Family to Work Day’

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published April 19, 2019
Kids participate in a practical exercise to learn about how development affects waterways and wetlands during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn.  (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Kids participate in a practical exercise to learn about how development affects waterways and wetlands during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn.

Kurt Ashley, engineer at the Nashville District, shows his son Thomas Ashley how the hydropower plant operates April 19, 2019 at the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant in Hendersonville, Tenn. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

Kurt Ashley, engineer at the Nashville District, shows his son Thomas Ashley how the hydropower plant operates April 19, 2019 at the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Joon Lee, geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, takes a selfie picture of his daughter Olivia during a tour of the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant April 19, 2019. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

Joon Lee, geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, takes a selfie picture of his daughter Olivia during a tour of the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant April 19, 2019.

Joe Conatser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District superintendent at the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant, talks with kids April 19, 2019 and gives them an overview of plant operations during a tour of the facility in Hendersonville, Tenn. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

Joe Conatser, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District superintendent at the Old Hickory Dam Power Plant, talks with kids April 19, 2019 and gives them an overview of plant operations during a tour of the facility in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Participants of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day get onboard a Deployable Tactical Operations System at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019. They learned about how the Corps of Engineers supports natural disasters and other important national emergency management missions. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Participants of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day get onboard a Deployable Tactical Operations System at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019. They learned about how the Corps of Engineers supports natural disasters and other important national emergency management missions.

Bobber the Water Safety Dog set a good example wearing a life jacket during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019.  (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Bobber the Water Safety Dog set a good example wearing a life jacket during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019.

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, welcomes employees and their family members to the Nashville District Headquarters at the Estes Kefauver Federal Building in Nashville, Tenn., during Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, welcomes employees and their family members to the Nashville District Headquarters at the Estes Kefauver Federal Building in Nashville, Tenn., during Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019.

Family members put together a pipe with a water pump that generates electricity, much like a hydropower plant, during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.  (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Family members put together a pipe with a water pump that generates electricity, much like a hydropower plant, during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.

Kids layered pieces of screens inside a cup of sand and demonstrated how they stabilized the sand once removed from the cup during a practical geology exercise. They were participating in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.  (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)

Kids layered pieces of screens inside a cup of sand and demonstrated how they stabilized the sand once removed from the cup during a practical geology exercise. They were participating in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.

Old Hickory Lake Park Ranger John Baird helps kids practice throwing flotation devices, which are used to help rescue a person in the water.  Participants learned about water safety during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn.  (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)
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Old Hickory Lake Park Ranger John Baird helps kids practice throwing flotation devices, which are used to help rescue a person in the water. Participants learned about water safety during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day April 19, 2019 at Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn.

Barney Schulte, technical engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, helps Melody Jackson and Lilly Mendoza build a bridge April 19, 2019 at the 'Bring your family to Work Day' at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)
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Barney Schulte, technical engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, helps Melody Jackson and Lilly Mendoza build a bridge April 19, 2019 at the 'Bring your family to Work Day' at the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.

Participants of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day visit Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019. They learned about water management, water safety, emergency management, and toured the lock, dam and hydropower plant. (USACE photo by Lee Roberts)
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Participants of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Bring Your Family to Work Day visit Old Hickory Dam on the Cumberland River in Old Hickory, Tenn., April 19, 2019. They learned about water management, water safety, emergency management, and toured the lock, dam and hydropower plant.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 19, 2019) – Bringing kids to work is not just for kids anymore. Employees with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District just included spouses and parents in what is now being dubbed “Bring Your Family to Work Day.”

Nearly 100 family members, including 55 children, toured Old Hickory Dam today at Cumberland River mile 216.2 in Old Hickory, Tenn., and then visited the Nashville District Headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., for hands-on activities meant to make learning about Corps careers fun.

In the morning, participants visited the navigation lock, dam and hydropower plant, went onboard Emergency Command and Control Vehicles that provide response teams with network connectivity and communications, practiced “reach, throw, row, but don’t go” water safety drills with Old Hickory Lake park rangers, and engaged in demonstrations of how rainwater is managed with detention basins, wetlands, levies and responsible use of floodplains.

Mario Beddingfield, hydraulic engineer, brought his wife Dagian and daughter Mariah to let them see where he works and better understand how he supports projects like Old Hickory Dam.

“My family knows the parts I tell them about.  Now they get to see kind of a bigger picture, so letting them see Old Hickory Dam is pretty cool,” said Beddingfield.

His daughter Mariah said she liked seeing the spillway gates in operation, and loved watching the many Blue Herons flying around the dam during the tour.

When the group arrived at the Nashville District Headquarters in the early afternoon, Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, highlighted how employees support water management, flood risk reduction, navigation, hydropower and recreation in the district, which covers 59,000 square miles in seven states.

“We protect people from water, water from people, and make water useful. You got to see a lot of that out at Old Hickory Lock and Dam,” Jones said. “Your family members help support projects like that across our entire area of operations.” 

Jones lauded the professionals that make up what he described as a team of teams that support missions at Nashville District projects, made up of employees representing multiple career fields such as engineers, scientists, biologists, accountants, lawyers, to name just a few.

At the Nashville District Headquarters, family members spent the afternoon working on a lot of practical exercises. They fitted pipes that could pump water and generate electricity, built and tested a retaining wall and monolith, made a custom motor and generator with gearing, and learned about soils and geology.

Baron Worsham, geotechnical engineer, led an activity where participants put sand into cups with layers of mesh to stabilize the sand, all to demonstrate the forces inside of soils. It’s also an activity where parents could partner up with kids to do it together, he said.

“Kids have a wonderful natural enthusiasm for this, and it’s a very intuitive art that’s a lot of fun,” Worsham said.

Civil Engineer David Bogema and his daughter Amelia, 11, were building strong sand structures during the geotechnical exercise, but gave high marks for all the activities.

Amelia said she really liked seeing the Global Command and Control Vehicles parked at Old Hickory Dam earlier in the day, but the exercise with the sand she liked best.

“After we built our first one (sand structure) it collapsed,” Amelia explained. “It took a few times to get it but we used eight (meshes) on the last one, the strongest one.”

Her dad David said it’s real nice to expose his daughter to things Corps employees do every day.  “It’s good being able to take her out to a project, get her hands dirty playing in the sand and to learn about the science behind all the engineering and everything that we do.”

The different stations provided family members fun activities that attracted interest in what the Corps of Engineers’ employees do for the nation on a much larger scale, not to mention the different career opportunities that exist.

Cierra Mendoza, contract specialist, said she is glad she brought her daughter Lilly with her to take part in the tour of Old Hickory Dam and all the various learning exhibits.

“I enjoyed the tour, displays and hands-on activities that allowed the kids to simply understand how important real-life structures are built and how engineering works,” Mendoza said.  “I loved bringing my daughter Lilly to work with me. It was an educational day for me also.”

Bill Whitley, appraiser in the Real Estate Division, served as project manager and organizer for the event.  He said despite a cold and cloudy day with light rain, everyone still toured the dam and took part in the various exhibits.

“I really felt like we had a successful event,” Whitley said. “The children were very engaged in the projects.  They were able to see that the science they learned in the text book has a practical application they can put to use in a career one day.”

(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)