I Am Mission Success: Katie Paul
Take 5 minutes and learn about Krisha “Katie” Paul, Pantex’s Cultural Resources Management Senior Associate. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.
Any new hire at Pantex — and there have been lots of them of late — can tell you that the first week is a fire hose of information. They have full days packed into in a full week of learning about all the puzzle pieces that create the mosaic of Pantex. One of the friendly faces new hires can count on seeing is Pantex’s historian, Katie Paul, who provides the newbies with a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of their new work home.
A relatively new employee herself with about a half-year of experience under her belt, Paul oversees a wide range of responsibilities at the plant. In addition to teaching new hires and visitors, she gives tours, oversees the plant’s compliance with environmental laws, assesses buildings for preservation and historical integrity, and catalogs and maintains artifacts related to the plant’s World War II and Cold War missions.
An Amarillo native, Paul went to college at West Texas A&M University in nearby Canyon and received a graduate degree in history. She then gained a fascinating range of experience with various jobs working for WT’s School of Engineering, the Amarillo office of the Texas Department of Transportation, and the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission.
“I’ve been an administrative assistant, a planner, a grant writer, and a city manager,” Paul said. “I’m glad to have found my home here at Pantex, sharing my love of history with employees and visitors alike.”
Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.
From a young age, I loved history. I had no idea that I could make this kind of a career out of a subject most people find boring, but I’m very glad to have been able to join the Pantex family! When I began studying history in college, my goal was to work in a museum, but plans changed and my career took me down a different path.
This position at Pantex is really the best of all worlds: part museum work, conservation work, communication, networking, and writing. These are all things that come from both professional and educational experience. It is amazing to be able to come to work, practice history, share history with my peers, and work with people who are all dedicated to the mission and service to the United States.
What is your favorite fact about Pantex’s history that you enjoy sharing with the new hires?
My favorite era of Pantex history is our World War II operations. It’s such an amazing thing that we were able to transform farmland into a fully functioning industrial operation in just 5 months. It was so important for the Allies’ success in the war — and we still use buildings that were involved in that early World War II work.
I thoroughly enjoy hearing the Pantex story from the beginning and understanding the complex pieces of government that went into standing up factories for war production — and what a tremendous feat it was.
What CNS principle drives you to be successful?
All of the CNS guiding principles provide motivation for achieving success and upholding our mission, but my favorite is “promote a questioning attitude.” Though I am a historian and most people think history is dates and facts, there are always questions to be asked and answers to be found.
As a history buff, what is your recommendation to other Texas Panhandle history buffs?
I always recommend the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon because it has such a wide variety of collections. They have antique vehicles, branding irons, a petroleum exhibit, fine art, firearms, geology, paleontology, and something for just about everyone. They have enough rotating exhibits that you'd be able to find something new to see even if you visit several times per year.
What is your favorite outside-of-work activity and why?
I am very interested in 3-D printing and modeling. I have a 3-D Fat Man replica on my desk that I printed with my home printer and painted. It’s such a fun way to be creative and exercise the technical part of my brain.