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Himes engineers future of Omaha District

US Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District
Published Aug. 20, 2020
Updated: Aug. 20, 2020
Dr. Michael Izard-Carroll, Public Affairs Director interviews Col. Mark Himes, Omaha District Commander on engineering the future of Omaha, Aug 20.

Dr. Michael Izard- Carroll, Public Affairs Office Chief interviews Col. Mark Himes, Omaha District Commander, Aug 20

“I find it really inspiring to see what our predecessors have done as far as the Army Corps of Engineers, and the construction of these really neat pieces of national infrastructure, and you see our folks that continue to operate and maintain these things today,” Himes said. “I find it very satisfying from an engineering standpoint and I also find it very inspirational as you get out and get on the ground at some of these places.”

Himes says he is excited to be back in Omaha where he was stationed previously from 2008-2010 where he specialized in military construction while working out of Fort Carson, Colorado. Himes’ pervious hitch with the District was also something of a family affair because it was during this time he met his wife-Tia. Tia worked for the Omaha District close to a decade in real estate and as a project manager.

“For us to come back to Omaha it’s very rewarding both professionally and on a personal standpoint,” Himes said.

Himes knew he was being given a command 18 months ago and knew his orders were to Omaha in the spring of 2019. In preparation for his return Himes reached out to individuals who knew the District. He heard from former employees and others who dealt with the Army Corps of Engineers in a professional capacity, and what they told him over and over was that he was inheriting a big district both in terms of geography as well as capability. The thought of such an undertaking might intimidate most people, but Himes was confident in the people he would be leading.

“There’s so much talent and expertise inside of the District that we’ve just got some amazing folks that work on some really neat projects. I think that’s recognized really throughout the nation for that expertise and those great people that we have right here in the Omaha District,” Himes said.

Something else that helped ease the transition was having the opportunity to sit-down with the outgoing commander Col. John Hudson.

“Although the transition is very finite with the ceremony itself and the passing of the guidon, the work doesn’t stop just because one commander’s leaving and a new one’s coming in… A treasured moment to be able to be able to pick his brain a little about the district and get his thoughts on a number of things as I come into the position,” Himes said.

Himes says his return to the District has been familiar, but also refreshing. He mentions that there are plenty of people around he remembers such as the District’s Chief of Construction Pete Sturdivant who he worked with as a project engineer in Colorado.

“It was nice coming into that familiarity where I saw folks I had worked with previously still here and now have the opportunity to continue to work with some of those same folks,” Himes said.

While the familiar faces have helped make his transition more comfortable, Himes said the prospect of working with new people with new ideas has been exciting.

“There’s a lot of fresh faces as well, and it’s exciting to come in and meet new people, new ideas, fresh ideas, and get to work with a new team as well,” he said.

Himes, a native of Pittsburgh, earned his commission in 1998 from Virginia Technical University. He also holds a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and Missouri University of

Science and Technology.

Prior to assuming command of the Omaha District Himes was stationed in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, while attending the Army War College. Himes has also served in Hawaii, Louisiana, Iraq, Alabama, Washington, Afghanistan, Florida, and Germany.

Himes awards include the Bronze Star (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (six awards), Army Achievement Medal (three awards), National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal (two campaign stars), Afghanistan Campaign Medal (one campaign star), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.