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Posted 7/8/2014

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By Jenn Miller

Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relation­ships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself. – U.S. Army website, www.army.mil.values/

Behind the scenes at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, technical writer/editor Patrice Morey is busy working with her teammates to effectively communicate intricate plans through the informational products and graphics she creates and the edits she provides to technical reports. 

“Patrice’s skill of transforming ideas, concepts, report documents, and complex briefing information into graphical and user-friendly products is a difference-making capability that has garnered national attention for Jacksonville District and enhanced our reputation across the south Atlantic region and the nation,” said Eric Bush, chief of Jacksonville District’s Planning and Policy Division.

Although she usually works behind the scenes, Morey was front and center when Jacksonville District Commander Col. Alan Dodd announced that she had been selected as the district’s Professional Analytical Employee of the Year during a June 20 award ceremony.

Morey’s dedication to ensuring that accurate, concise information is conveyed and understood by a broad audience is one of her key attributes in upholding the Army value of integrity.  Integrity is a quality that is developed by adhering to moral principles. It requires that nothing is said or done that will deceive others. As a person’s integrity grows, so does the trust others place in them.

“She fully embodies all of the Army values,” said Bush. “She collaborates across all organizational lines to ensure that our work products are accurate, precise, clear and compelling. And she demonstrates the highest personal standards of quality and integrity, unquestioningly providing extra effort to ensure that the works she performs meets her own standards and those of everyone else involved.”

Even though Morey technically resides in the district’s Planning and Policy Division, she still works for the entire district, providing support to all mission areas.  Some of her recent products were in support of the district’s Lake Worth Inlet, Jacksonville Harbor Deepening, Central Everglades and Herbert Hoover Dike Dam Safety Modification studies.  Her work doesn’t’ stop there, as she also provides assistance and support for other districts as well, including the Middle East District’s work for the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Fifteen years ago, Morey joined Jacksonville District as a visual information co-op. From there she became a visual information specialist and later served as the congressional liaison prior to becoming the district’s technical writer/editor.

“Here at the Corps, I have been very fortunate to work with almost everyone in the building in one way or another. I just want to help people communicate better and more efficiently to capture the audience’s attention and better ensure their comprehension of our message – all in an effort to facilitate better decision-making,” said Morey.  “In all our jobs, we are constantly teaching, facilitating and communicating through our interactions.  People learn in different ways, so we have to be able create a product that will be easily understood by as many people as possible. I believe sound public service is based on full participation at all levels – you can’t participate effectively if the information isn’t available and understandable.”

Not only does Morey work to ensure she is developing products that the entire team can stand behind, but she is also willing to take time out of her own schedule to ensure this is achieved; often working long hours and weekends to ensure deadlines are met.

“If I have to work 8, 10, 12 hours a day, I want it to be something towards the greater good,” said Morey.  “And that’s why we do what we do here at the [Army] Corps of Engineers; we want to make a difference and we work hard to do that.”

Prior to her time with the district, the Seattle/Baltimore native worked as a banker, lending officer and project manager/planner for a bank, an emergency management planner and a city planner, where she learned the value of communication through her many public engagements in this position.

“You can have the best intentions, but without communicating them properly, you can just forget it,” said Morey.  “I recognized that we needed to find a better way to communicate with people and knew that graphics would be that equalizer.  Even if the graphics weren’t perfect, they would facilitate discussion and take the decision making out of the personal realm.”

With this realization, Morey decided that she needed to devote herself full-time to art school. She had previously received degrees in economics and planning/community design, and was expanding her toolkit to get a degree in graphic design. Shortly before completing this degree, she was offered a job with Jacksonville District, where she has been working with teams for the past 15 years. 

“I am very fortunate to work with team members and an organization that cares about communication,” said Morey.

Crediting her urban planning background, Morey is able to streamline complex information into a single graphic, presentation, poster or handout.

“Urban planning is all about finding connections and making a whole. I can usually see the big picture pretty quickly,” said Morey.  “I can look at all the fine points and figure out how they are all connected and that’s what I try to do here.”

With her involvement in so many products over the years, the ones that stick out to her are the ones that get to the heart of what she has aimed to achieve during the span of her career – getting to the essence of the message.

“Out of all the public meetings, reports, conferences, posters, town halls I’ve worked on, what really stands out in my mind are the numerous Civil Works Review Boards (CWRB) I have worked on with teams,” said Morey. “The beauty of those CWRBs is that you really have to get to essence of the project and the essence of the message you want to convey.”

Whereas many artists often try to retain the original graphics to ensure that they are not modified, Morey’s transformed the way she has done graphics to do just the opposite. She creates graphics in basic programs that all employees have on their computers to better ensure that any of her teammates can access the original files and modify them to meet their needs.

“I like efficiency and I like things to make sense,” said Morey. “People are often multi-tasking to the max and with all the work that is going on,  [they] can't wait for someone to make small changes to their product.”

With the time that Morey devotes to extracting key pieces of information into products, she is able to help ensure that it is succinct and that the products she creates are valuable takeaways at any meeting, whether it’s a public, interagency or internal meeting.

”Patrice is one of the most valuable employees any organization could have and we are so very fortunate to have her on our team,” said Bush. “Her kindness, exceptionally brilliant work and mission-first selfless attitude have helped make Jacksonville District great and have set us as a benchmark for the Corps.”

army values Integrity Jacksonville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE