I bought a house in Bowie 10 years ago because I saw the potential for a community that I could call home. I bought the house at 23 years old with my college sweetheart, with the intent to grow roots, become involved in the community and raise a family. Since I've moved here, I've been involved, have developed roots, developed friendships and I'm continually, non-stop, working to improve the community.
I grew up in an inner city, middle class, row home community in Philadelphia. My neighborhood was full of kids that played together and the adults knew each other and the kids. The neighborhood looked out for each other and the kids. It was a tight-knit community, one that use to be plentiful, but has since died out across the country. At the age of 11 I moved to the suburbs of New Jersey, which had a stark contrast in the feel of the community. I was drawn to Bowie because of its potential to feel like the community I once knew and loved as a kid. I will work to strengthen that community feel in Bowie.
In the summer of 2005 I visited a friend who interned for a Congressman in DC. He gave me a V.I.P. tour of the U.S. Capitol building and told me the stories of the Country's Founding Fathers. I was inspired by those stories, particularly by the painting of George Washington stepping down from his commission in 1783. It was a selfless act to preserve the greater good of the nation. A year later, in the summer of 2006 I traveled to El Amaton, El Salvador with Engineer's Without Borders (EWB) to help deliver a clean drinking water system to a rural, impoverished village. I met the most humble and grateful people, who thanked God multiple times for sending our group. We designed a system, but before we could implement it the local politician told us to never come back because we were attempting to deliver a project he promised. Those people never got clean drinking water. That day I realized the best engineers in the world can't help people as long as there are insidious politicians leading them, and there needs to be more in office that lead through love.
Like a lot American teens, I was unmotivated in high school and coasted through to graduation. I was fortunate enough, however, to be accepted to a program that challenged me to get into college - Rowan University's Equal Opportunity Fund (EOF). This program provided me with mentors that inspired and motivated me to challenge myself through education. Despite coming into college behind on everything, I took summer classes and increased my workload to obtain a Civil & Environmental Engineering Degree in 4 years. While working full-time as an engineer, I then went on to get a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) because I knew I wanted to understand the functions of government.
In short, I plan and design better communities. At times I design them through civil engineering, other times I develop long-range plans or strategic plans for future growth. Occasionally I'll create policies or programs to enhance their function. I started working for the Maryland State Highway Administration for 8 years, and have been consulting for the past 4 years. My expertise is designing elements of a community that provide access to people outside of vehicles. This involves American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, pedestrian safety and bicycle access. I also have a strong background in highway safety. For the past 12 years I've been problem solving community issues in transportation and community access, both at work and in my spare time. I know how to navigate the large state bureaucracy to deliver projects, and I plan to use these skills to serve the community of Bowie.