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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District News

Employee Spotlight: Bryan Taylor

Published June 6, 2014
Bryan Taylor is a Civil Works Project Manager at the Tulsa District. He began his career as a park ranger at Keystone Lake in 2002.

Bryan Taylor is a Civil Works Project Manager at the Tulsa District. He began his career as a park ranger at Keystone Lake in 2002.

Bryan Taylor is a Civil Works Project Manager for the Tulsa District. A Tulsa native, he attended Booker T. Washington High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Langston University, a Master of Science in BioResearch from Oklahoma State University, and a PhD in Environmental Science from OSU. Bryan began his career with the Tulsa District as a park ranger at Keystone Lake in 2002.  He is an avid runner, and has competed in three half-marathons, five marathons and two 50-mile ultra-marathons. He is married and has two daughters.

You started out as a Park Ranger with the Corps in 2002. What piqued your interest?

I was at a career fair, after I completed my master’s degree, and I ran into Nancy Crenshaw and Earl Groves, from the Tulsa District, and asked them about what the Corps of Engineers was all about.  I gave them my resume and Earl called me and told me about a position as a park ranger and I said, “Let me think about it.”  So, I looked at the organization, and I looked at the structure and I saw Regulatory, and I said, “That’s where I wanted to be.” So, I told him my goal would be to hopefully work for Regulatory one day. I was assigned to Keystone Lake. It was totally opposite of anything I was used to. I’m an urban, concrete-guy but I was pleasantly surprised.

In what way were you pleasantly surprised?

It was one of the best jobs I’ve had. It turned out to be one of the best experiences that I’ve had because of the nature of the work. The resource management and the interactions you have with people were probably the highlights of the job.

What were your expectations of being a park ranger?

My expectation was that it would be more law enforcement-oriented. There is a law enforcement aspect but it wasn’t the type of law enforcement I was expecting. It was more of a park management-type role and geared toward environmental sustainability and taking care of resources.

What type of a personality do you think is necessary to be a park ranger?

You have to definitely be a people person. You have to be pleasant, not easily aggravated and you have to be able to be professional, to professionally relay negative information. You have to be able to communicate the requirements without sparking a heated reaction.

You said you wanted to work in Regulatory even before you came to work for the Corps. Why Regulatory?

I was from a biology and environmental background, and I felt the regulatory position would really highlight my technical expertise, which is in biological sciences and environmental sciences. There was also the policy aspect. I was really interested in environmental policy. It seemed like that would really fit my background.

Was there any particular individual who inspired you to continue on in your education?

My inspiration was my mother. She was a single mom raising nine kids. I’m the fourth of nine. She never took “no” for an answer. She had this drive and I think she passed it on to me, and she always had extremely high expectations of me, and that still carries me now. I teach my daughters this, “You can’t take ‘no’ for an answer. You have to always look for a work around no matter how difficult the situation.”

In your current position, what is your favorite aspect of the job?

The pace. There’s never a dull moment. There’s always an opportunity to solve an issue or accomplish something. It’s like a moving train. From a career standpoint there is an extraordinary amount of exposure to the organizational structures and the inner workings of the Corps from the district to division to headquarters level, and to see the connections that exist between a lot of the policies and processes and how things get accomplished within the organization. So, from a career standpoint, that’s probably the most valuable aspect but in terms of my personal satisfaction, the pace. It just keeps me going.

You started running about six years ago. You’ve run five marathons, three half-marathons and two ultra-marathons. How does running help you?

Running keeps me grounded. It gets me back in focus. There really is such a thing as a runner’s high. Once I did that first 50-miler – this is corny – but that changes your outlook on life. Because when you’ve run 50 miles, you think nothing should be so big of a challenge that I can’t face it or that I can’t get through it. You can get through it because you have that accomplishment to pull from. As a group, runners are some of the most well-organized, strong-minded and positive people you can be around. I love being around runners because there’s always a positive vibe and there’s always something we are talking about accomplishing. They are a constant source of positive energy.