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Employee Spotlight - Economist Chris Baker

Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Feb. 26, 2014
Meet Tulsa District Economist Chris Baker in this Employee Spotlight.

Meet Tulsa District Economist Chris Baker in this Employee Spotlight.

In this edition of the Employee Spotlight meet Chris Baker, an economist who works in our Planning Division. Here, Chris discusses his work in a STEM-related field and how he came to work for the Corps. Chris attended Broken Arrow High School and is an Oklahoma State University graduate.

Q: How long have you worked for the Corp?

A: It has been about three and-a-half years now. I started as a student and finished grad school about a year ago and now I work fulltime.

Q: What do you do as an Economist?

A: Right now, I’ve been working with levy safety. So we have levy screening at the district level, rate the levy on how it will perform for a flood and come up with consequences that would happen if the levy breached. In general, what we do as economists are benefit calculations such as for a levy or a dam to show how much of a benefit they are to their surroundings and the project.

Q: What do you love about your job?

A: I really love that I get to travel a lot. I was in Sacramento in December and then New Orleans a couple of weeks ago and I’m leaving again for Seattle soon. I love being able to meet all the different people and I also love the national level on which we get to work on projects.

Q: What inspired you to pursue this career?

A: In one of my undergrad classes Ed Rossman , who is my supervisor now had just gone to New Orleans and they were doing research on the populations impacted by Katrina. After the presentation I thought, “Oh my gosh, that was really cool I can’t believe someone gets to do that for work.” So I went and got his contact information. There was an opening at the Corps and I was offered to come and work with them while I was in Grad school and loved it. I moved into full time about a year ago.

Q: What is your favorite project that you have been involved with?

A: Right now I am currently working on a pilot project were they are working on a public involvement and communication plan for social involvement and communication plan, for reaching out to socially venerable populations in Tulsa. By socially vulnerable I mean low income, language barrier, elderly populations, or people who are more at risk during flooding. We are working to develop a communication strategy increasing awareness with these populations of their flood risk and to help improve evacuation effectiveness for Tulsa. This project is still in its beginning stages but it is very interesting so far.

Q: How did you get where you are today?

A: Through a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck!  In high school, I took a lot of advanced placement (AP) classes. Then when I was an under grad, just making sure to to do my best and to work hard. The luck part being Ed Rossman coming and speaking to my class and there being a position open that led me to this. I put in the work and when the opportunity showed itself, I was ready to step up.

Q: Where do you think you would be without the Corp right now?

A: Well I was working at a convenience store as a night manager, so that’s probably where I would still be. So, I am much happier here!

Q: What are your interests outside of the Corp?

A: I have just recently bought my first house with my wife and I am interested in working on fixing it up. I also really like going to concerts and that has been one of my favorite things since I was about 15 or 16.

Q: What kind of concerts have you attended?

A: This past summer we went to the Gentleman of the Road concert in Gutherie featuring Mumford and Sons and some other big bands. We also went to a Dave Matthews concert, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert last year.