Baltimore Native Leads Coordination Efforts for US Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore in Key Bridge Response

Published April 23, 2024
Updated: April 22, 2024
US Army Corps of Engineers Spearheads Seamless Collaboration at the Unified Command Center.

Unified Command operations center

Emergency Operations end of shift briefings.

Emergency Operations end of shift briefings.

In the heart of Baltimore, Kimberly Matthews, a design manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, stands at the forefront of disaster mitigation efforts, orchestrating a seamless coordination between USACE engineers and architectural engineering firms. With a recent full-scale training operation conducted in early March as a foundation, Matthews and her team are now applying their honed tactics and procedures in a real-world scenario, tackling challenges head-on.

Matthews, a native Baltimorean, is no stranger to the importance of collaboration, and she is deeply impressed by the level of cooperation among various agencies and skilled workers involved in the disaster mitigation effort. She says, "there are ups and downs with every disaster mitigation effort, however, this Unified Command Center is exactly that, unified." Speaking on her role, Matthews emphasizes the criticality of her position in ensuring effective communication and synergy between engineering teams and architectural contractors, essential for the success of the operation.

Central to this approach is the recognition that no single agency can tackle such a monumental task alone. Instead, a diverse array of stakeholders—from local law enforcement and fire departments to state and federal agencies—have joined forces to form a cohesive team. While the process of coordinating among these groups is still in its nascent stages, the progress made each day is tangible, with the dynamics of the operation growing stronger with every passing moment.

While office-bound colleagues may lack direct visibility into the frontline operations, Matthews finds herself uniquely positioned to witness the tangible progress and accomplishments through live feed videos, photos, and meetings. “These glimpses into the ongoing efforts on the ground and in the water offer me a direct sense of pride in my job and mission,” she exclaimed.

What sets this response apart is its emphasis on steady, precise action. Rather than setting unrealistic benchmarks, the focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved and minimizing the potential for errors.

"The opportunity to witness firsthand the impact of our work is truly gratifying," said Matthews. "It underscores the significance of our mission and reinforces our commitment to serving our community in times of need."

Despite that she can't share the details of her work, her family is "proud to know she is working on the bridge collapse response." Overall, she says “I’m impressed with how we have come together and love that I can see the progress from one day to the next.”

As the operation continues to unfold, Matthews remains steadfast in her dedication to ensuring the success of the disaster mitigation effort, embodying the spirit of resilience and collaboration that defines the Baltimore community and the USACE mission.