By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – One of the keys to success, especially when it comes to work, is to love what you do.
If loving what you do is the key, then it is no wonder why Taylor Barker has made such a positive impact for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District Project Office in Columbus, Mississippi.
Barker, who has been a Ranger in Columbus since 2013, said the main reason he loves being a Ranger, is the unpredictability of the job.
“No two days are exactly the same,” Barker said. “You never know what will come up day to day with this job. One day I could be meeting with people from the community or other people in the Corps. The variety of the different things you do as a Ranger is what made the Corps a good fit.”
Along with his normal day-to-day Ranger duties, Barker also serves as the Law Enforcement Liaison and Buoy Coordinator for the Project Office.
Part of his duties as a liaison, Barker works with Game Wardens, local police, and sheriff’s offices, informing them of problems outside the control of the Rangers. As the buoy coordinator, he ensures no wake zones are marked and works with local marinas monitor boat traffic and channels are properly marked.
His ‘can-do’ work ethic is what has impressed Ralph Antonelli, Assistant Operations Project Manager, Columbus.
“Taylor’s a super hard-worker, a team worker, Antonelli said. “He’s very talented and does a great job, no matter what task we give him. He’s also one of our go-to guys. He can kind of do it all.”
Three people who have helped Barker the most in his career have been his family. His wife Lauren and daughters Locklyn and Larkyn, have provided him the support and perspective he has needed throughout his time at the Project Office.
“Lauren is my go-to on anything,” Barker said. “She will help me in whatever I have to do or whatever problem I’m facing, I have her 100% support. Having two girls has helped know how to relate to the younger generation. Hearing my oldest tell other ‘my dad’s a Park Ranger’ is special. It lets me know they understand and support what I do.”
Barker, who is a native of Lebo, Kansas, said that one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job is staying in contact with the different stakeholders on the Tennessee-Tombigbee (Tenn-Tom) Waterway and maintaining those relationships.
That attitude is what has impressed Justin Murphree, Operations Project Manager, Columbus.
“Taylor’s been a solid resource for the Tenn-Tom Waterway since he arrived in Columbus,” Murphree said. “Taylor is one of the most dependable, level-headed team members on the waterway. He is a valuable asset to the project.”
Barker’s goals for the future are to continue doing what’s he’s been doing since he got to Columbus, build relationships and to continue doing what he loves, being a Ranger.
“I want to continue to be that good leader and continue to build relationships with our stakeholders,” Barker said. “I want to help them understand what we do. Everything about this job is enjoyable. I love the people I work with and the people I’ve built relationships with. I remember the excitement of my first day on the job and since then I still love what I do.”