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Civil Engineer (GS-0810), Working for the Bureau of Reclamation (Part 2)

This article will explore the civil engineer (GS-0810) occupation with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), a contemporary water management agency. The USBR is best known for the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, Grand Coulee Dam in the Columbia River and Folsom Dam on the American River. Today the USBR is the largest wholesaler of water in the country and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the Western United States. Part 1 of this series, Working for the Bureau of Reclamation [1], discusses the many facets of this unique and essential Bureau.

The civil engineer’s responsibilities include developing engineering designs, drawings, and specifications for facility maintenance, capital improvements, and construction projects related to water resources infrastructure.

The federal government employs over 129,000 engineers and architects in the GS-0800 Engineering and Architecture Family [2] nationwide and overseas in a broad spectrum of federal agencies.  There are many engineering job opportunities available if you take the time to seek them out.

Q&A with Katie J. Bartojay

Katie J. Bartojay, P.E., works at the Bureau of Reclamation’s Concrete, Geotechnical and Structural Laboratory at their Technical Service Center in Denver Colorado.


Katie J. Bartojay P.E. (USBR) [3]

Katie J. Bartojay P.E. (USBR)

1. Why did you choose to become a Civil Engineer?

I was very interested in building and putting things together from a young age. I loved passing construction sites and watching my uncle place concrete.  I started school for architecture but liked the challenge and creativity (and math!) needed to design the individual pieces that hold up the structures.

2.   Are there any parts of job that are considered dangerous?

No.   Construction sites and testing labs have many hazardous but I have been fortunate enough to have worked with great engineering mentors and responsible contractors. On-the-job training taught me how to be safety conscious and showed me what to look for around overhead cranes, machinery, ladders, rebar, and other busy construction activity.

3. What is the most interesting part of your job as a Civil Engineer?

I am still fascinated by seeing something I worked on go from paper to a physical structure. I can look at something and see all of the people who contributed to getting to that point, from our original concept to the last nail.

4. What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Civil Engineer?

I think the most demanding and challenging part is that once your problem solving skills are recognized you tend to get involved in a lot of projects. Juggling the workload and being able to switch tasks when the phone rings is important, but it also keeps things from getting boring.

5. Would you recommend being a Civil Engineer as a good career path?

Definitely! It is challenging and fulfilling, and after 17 years, I still love to come to work every day.

Civil Engineer (GS-0810) Qualifications

Basic Education Requirement:

Additional basic education and qualifications requirements

Specialized Experience: Specialized experience must demonstrate the applicant has been equipped with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position, and that are directly related to the work to be performed. Specialized experience can be further defined as follows:

*Completion of graduate level education in the amounts stated above, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, is qualifying if it provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study.

The final article in our series will feature the electrical engineer (GS-0850) occupation.


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