Co-op student following in father’s footsteps working at USACE

Published Feb. 24, 2023
Will Jasper is a Quality Assurance Specialist working on the Louisville VA Medical Center project and student at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Will Jasper is a Quality Assurance Specialist working on the Louisville VA Medical Center project and student at the University of Louisville's J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Louisville, Kentucky -- Being a member of a team can often feel like being part of a family, and sometimes team members actually are family. That’s the case for Will Jasper and his father, Kevin Jasper.

Will is a part-time Quality Assurance Specialist working on the Louisville VA Medical Center mega-project, and his dad, who has been with USACE for 33 years, is Deputy Chief of Planning, Programs, and Project Management Division for the Louisville District. Kevin is temporarily assigned to the Nashville District as the Interim Chief of the Integrated Project Office.

Will started his work with the district by completing a co-op in the Levee Safety section from January to May 2022. In that position, he helped with levee inspections and reports.

“It was nice to have that experience and see what the district office was like before I got the opportunity to come out to the VA site. I like the fact that there are so many different opportunities within the Corps, especially being a co-op, I have the opportunity to try out different things if I want to,” Will said.

The following fall he began working on the Louisville VA project as a full-time QA Specialist from August to December 2022. He said he plans to keep working part-time as a QA while going to school with hopes of doing full-time during summer break.

Will said learning about USACE and its mission influenced his interest in getting hands-on experience working for the Corps.

“My dad is definitely the main reason why I wanted to come work for the Corps. With my dad working here, he pushed me to apply and get an internship here so that I would be set up the same way that he is through his job with the Corps,” he said. “He has always spoken highly of his jobs here and told me about a lot of cool opportunities that he’s had during his time here.”

Will said he finds his current job interesting because every day brings something new.

There’s no such thing as a typical day in this position. You never know what is going to happen on any given day,” he said. “Most of the time we are out in the field, assisting with inspections, watching backfill or watching concrete being placed, and then we gather the information we got from that and come into the office and write a daily report,” he shared. “Basically, we read through specs and drawings and watch any work being done in the field to make sure that the work is being done correctly so that we can ensure that the quality of the project is what we expect.”

“I enjoy that each day is different so that you don’t get into a routine of doing the same thing every day and getting bored or tired of the work you do. It is nice to have the flexibility of not having to be in the field all day every day, but always have the opportunity to go outside if you need a break from the desk,” he added. “I still haven’t decided exactly what I want to do after graduation, but I could see myself staying in a position like this so that I have the flexibility of being behind the desk as well as being in the field.”

Besides being a USACE co-op employee, Will is a student at the University of Louisville in the J.B Speed School of Engineering where he is earning a degree in Civil Engineering graduating in May 2024. He said he could see himself coming back to work on the project after graduation to see the project through to completion.

“I’m still not sure what exactly I want to do after graduation, but if it is possible, I would like to be able to come back to this project and see what the job looks like as the building becomes a finished product. I have seen the job site when they were working in the ground, on backfill and drilled piers, and started to work their way up, so it would be cool to come back and be a part of the team that helps it become a finished product,” he said.

No matter what he does after graduation, Will said he is thankful for the opportunity he’s had at the Louisville District.

“Having the opportunity to work for USACE this early in my career has been pretty cool. My dad worked hard to make it into the Corps, so it feels pretty good to be able to start my career here so young,” he said. “Working as a co-op for USACE gives me a great entry point into the workforce, and it is nice that I have the opportunities to bounce around and try out different jobs before I commit to one after graduation.”

Kevin said he’s proud of his son’s accomplishments with USACE.

“I’m very excited he has given USACE an opportunity - his experience with the DVA Louisville Project is a unique opportunity that will serve him well in the future,” he said. “USACE has a great need for young engineers such as Will and my hope is his experience will demonstrate to others the value to the nation we provide, and they come join us.”