While other children were playing with trucks or dolls, Virginia “Jenna” Roberson was decorating and rearranging furniture in her bedroom.
Today Roberson’s childhood hobby has blossomed into a successful interior design career, which has earned her national recognition by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A nine year employee of the Corps’ Savannah District, Roberson was recently named the 2017 USACE Interior Designer of the Year. She competed with USACE Interior Designers throughout the world to receive the honor. The annual award recognizes a Corps employee for distinguished professional excellence, achievements and superior performance in interior design.
“Jenna is one of the most talented interior designers that we’ve ever had,” said Terri Dismukes, chief of the Architectural Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. “She has received numerous compliments from clients all over the United States. Everything she does is top notch.”
Roberson’s nomination cited her superior accomplishments in managing more than $400 million in interior design projects in various stages of design in 2016. Her effective leadership and management expertise resulted in the successful completion of projects that benefit military service members, civilians, and families throughout the Savannah District’s area of responsibility. This includes 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia, North and South Carolina. Occasionally, Roberson does work for other districts when the need arises.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Roberson of the honor. “It’s nice to be recognized for my contributions here and to know that someone was paying attention to nominate me for it.”
Roberson’s interior design projects range from Army family housing and large administrative, training and supportive war fighting facilities to flight control towers, renovations and various other facilities.
As the Savannah District’s only interior designer, Roberson says that time management and close collaboration with staff members and customers are key in accomplishing her mission.
“Time management can be very challenging, because I’m the only designer and I’m working on all of our projects,” said Roberson. “My portion of a project doesn’t take as much time as the architect’s portion but it’s still very stressful when all the deadlines are at the same time.”
Roberson says she spends the majority of her time meeting with vendors and collaborating with customers to ensure the Corps fully meets its requirements with the final product.
“One of the interesting portions of my job is dealing with the customer and making my vision of what we are doing jive with what they want,” said Roberson.
This requires her to work closely with both in-house design staff members and architectural/engineering firms to establish program and project metrics for success.
“I’m passionate about helping people with their space’s potential,” said Roberson. “My goal is for the military service members that occupy these facilities to have a space they can feel good about and can work more efficiently in. That’s a top priority of completing the mission and I enjoy being a part of that.”