By Chuck Walker
MOBILE, Ala. – In order to put a puzzle together, you must make sure you have all of the pieces and ensure those pieces fit together.
If the pieces don’t fit or if you don’t have all the pieces, you will have a very difficult time solving and putting said puzzle together. You will never get to see the complete project, that beautiful picture nor the satisfaction of a solved puzzle.
In her 27 years working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 24 years being in the Mobile District, Lita Trotter, Supervisory Accountant, has proven that she is a perfect fit.
“I enjoy the many opportunities, the wonderful people, and sharing my knowledge and experience with others,” Trotter said. “There is always some issue or problem to solve. I love puzzles and resolving issues is like working puzzles.”
Trotter grew up as the oldest of seven children right here in Mobile. She said her motivation comes from the hard work and dedication her mother and grandmother showed while raising her.
“Growing up, we always had nice clothes good food and toys for Christmas and birthdays,” Trotter said. “They made our clothes, and a lot of the food came from my grandmother’s garden. You don’t realize how many sacrifices were made for you until you have grown up and start looking back. I was determined to one day be in a position where I could take care of them.”
Trotter’s first job was when she was 16, working at a corner store with her grandmother making $1.25 an hour. Ten years later, an opportunity arose with a temporary position as a teller with the Mobile District in the Resource Management Department.
The determination instilled in her by her upbringing showed during her interview for the position.
“I would like to publicly thank Margo Nabors and Jim Farnell for giving me a chance and hiring me in RM as a teller,” Trotter said. “I remember saying in my interview, ‘please just give me a chance and I will do the rest.’ I don’t think they know how much they blessed me and my family.”
After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Mobile, Trotter was presented the opportunity to gain permanent employment as an accountant with the USACE Finance Center in Millington, Tennessee.
In 1999 she returned to the Mobile District and back to RM. She then worked in Emergency Management and the Readiness Support Center as a Budget Analyst. After that she then returned to RM as an accountant and progressed to her current position as Supervisory Finance and Accounting Officer.
One person who has been impressed with Trotter is Brian Ivey, Chef of Resource Management, who is her colleague and supervisor.
Ivey said her hard work and the manner and demeanor, in which she does it, is what makes her stand out.
“Lita is one of the best, if not the very best, employees with whom I have ever worked,” Ivey said. “Her accounting and accounting systems knowledge is as high as anyone in USACE, but what sets her apart is her positive and patient attitude with our customers. She spends extra time to ensure correct accounting records and to meet customer’s needs. She is an excellent supervisor, rising from a GS-5 to our Accounting Officer and doing so in a non-competitive manner, only doing what is right and allowing her actions and performance to set her apart.”
Trotter said her advice to those just starting their careers in USACE is to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and be willing to grow.
“Be patient and build relationships,” Trotter said. “Take advantage of opportunities and volunteer for duties even if they are outside of your normal duties or pay grade. This will allow you to learn so much and to become a valuable asset to the organization. Show them who you are and what you can do.”
As Trotter reflects on her career, she is amazed at where she’s been and how far she has come on her journey with the District. The quality traits she learned when she was younger continue to shine in her work and personality.
“We were raised in the church and taught to be humble, honest, respectful and kind,” Trotter said. “We were always shown by example to work hard and help others. They instilled in us the confidence we needed to succeed. I would have never thought I would go from a temporary teller to the Finance and Accounting Officer of this great District.”