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Posted 5/30/2018

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By Jess Levenson
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Longtime Buffalo District employee Patti McKenna is officially retiring at the end of June 2018, after 35 years of outstanding service to the District. Her retirement party will be held on June 28.

“Buffalo District has been very good to me,” Patti said. “I had the opportunity to take some interesting paths in my career.”

Patti was 21 years old when she started at the Buffalo District. She began in the word processing section. Back then, employees didn’t type their own reports and the word processing section typed everything on huge machines called CPTs.

“The machines were bigger than we were,” she remembered.

Patti then moved to a secretarial position, which suited her Associates Degree in Secretarial Science. A short time later, she was fortunate enough to be placed in what was known as the Upward Mobility Program. In order to fulfill the program’s requirements, Patti took classes at the University of Buffalo and Buffalo State University, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Planning from Buffalo State. 

With the help of some great leaders, Patti gained a great amount of knowledge, skills and experiences in the different branches and sections of the District. She subsequently moved around from the Water Quality section, to Environmental Analysis, and finally to Planning Management.

After all the hard work she has put in, Patti plans to relax and enjoy doing the things she loves: gardening, exercise, spending time with family and friends, drinking wine and travelling. 

Before beginning her new adventures, Patti talked about change at the Buffalo District. 

“The biggest positive change I’ve seen is the increase in employees’ work-life balance, like working from home,” she said. “And the biggest change I’d like to see in the future is definitely a new building for employees.”

Patti also has some good advice for her peers.

“My advice to everyone is to take advantage of the great opportunities inside and outside of the Buffalo District,” she said. “Go for those temporary detail positions here in the District and all over the country. If it fits in with your family situation, helping out during disasters can be very rewarding personally and professionally. I regret not doing that now.”

Patti is very proud of being part of the Corps of Engineers. Wherever she goes, she will never forget her time with the Buffalo District, especially the relationships that have been built, and which grow stronger with time.   

“At the Buffalo District, people are friends,” she said. “We share life experiences, the good times and the bad, marriage, kids, family. We care about each other and we’re there for each other. I’m going to miss everyone dearly.”

Buffalo District Corps of Engineers Patti McKenna retirement USACE