It started during his time as an active duty Army engineer officer stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, when Troy Funk got his first taste of what it would be like working for the Corps of Engineers.
Assigned to Fort Stewart’s Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion, Funk’s platoon was responsible for installing storm drainage along Gulick Avenue on the installation.
“I was able to work closely with the DPW (Directorate of Public Works) personnel, which exposed me to the civilian side of the Corps,” said Funk.
It was this exposure that he said piqued his interest in working for the Corps.
“I had always been interested in getting on with the Corps due to the exposure I got while working with DPW,” said Funk. “I knew I wanted to work in construction and the Corps could afford me that opportunity while maintaining a stable home location.”
After leaving the Army, Funk applied and was selected for a position as a Civil Engineer at Hunter Army Airfield (HAAF) in Savannah, Georgia.
“It amazes me every day when I look at the types of facilities that we are producing,” said Funk, who now serves as the Corps’ Resident Engineer for Fort Stewart/HAAF. “When we start a job, it’s nothing but an empty lot, and at the end of the job, we have a world-class facility.”
Because employees in the field offices represent the “boots on the ground” for the Corps, Funk said they are the face of the district to a large number of people, from the public to other government entities and military service members.
“It can be challenging, but it provides the opportunity to interact with different groups of people,” said Funk. “I can spend an entire day in the field overseeing construction or I can spend an entire day working on paperwork. Every day is different and it keeps me on my toes.”
As the Resident Engineer assigned to the mega Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), Funk is responsible for the contract administration and quality assurance of the construction contracts associated with the project. The project will deepen the Savannah River from 42 to 47 feet, allowing larger, neo-Panamax vessels to call on the port with fewer tidal restrictions.
“SHEP has some large contracts associated with it which are currently under construction. So, there can be several issues going on simultaneously that require attention,” he said. “I'd say the most challenging aspect is staying on top of the issues as they arise and ensuring they are properly brought to a resolution.”
Funk said his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Fullerton and master’s degree from Auburn University helped prepare him for dealing with the time management and technical aspects of SHEP.
“My Army experience and time management throughout college and my military career have had the biggest impact on my preparation for dealing with numerous aspects of SHEP,” said Funk. “With a project of this magnitude, there is always something popping up that has to be addressed. So, you have to be able to multi-task and keep up to date on numerous issues.”
In his spare time, the self-proclaimed “dance dad” enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at church.
“Both of my girls are dancers, so we spend a lot of time doing activities related to that. My wife and I also volunteer and work at our church. She teaches Sunday school and I work the sound and video for our church services.”
When it comes to balancing work and family, Funk said it can be difficult depending on what’s going on at the construction sites, but he makes family time a priority.
“I see the girls off to school every morning and on most days I'm home in time for dinner and catching up on everyone's day. The best part about our job in Construction Division is that the work comes to us,” said Funk. “Normally, in the construction industry, you spend a lot of time on the road or travelling. So, you can miss out on a lot. With my job, my office and duty station remain in the same location, allowing for a more stable home life…so the whole engineering thing panned out pretty well.