Cathy Alphonse is pictured with her grandfather, “Ed Taylor,” and at a theme park, where she seeks the most thrilling rollercoaster rides she can find.

November 8, 2022

On Her Grandfather’s Advice, Alphonse Learned Discipline in Marines

The promptness and dedication Cathy Alphonse learned during her service now make her a highly valued and well-respected Haskell team member.

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Getting away from home as a youngster is a true learning experience. Count Cathy Alphonse as someone who learned from a relative at home and benefitted from perspective she gained when she enlisted in the Marine Corps.

Alphonse, a Project Accounting Supervisor in Haskell’s Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters, recalls growing up in the small town of Green Cove Springs, on the western banks of the St. Johns River in suburban Jacksonville.

“I had gotten into the wrong crowd in high school,” Alphonse recalled. “If I didn’t shape up and make good decisions going forward, it was going to be tough.”

The voice who influenced her to join the Marines was her grandfather, Ed Taylor. Taylor moved to Green Cove Springs from his native North Carolina as a Marine draftee during World War II and stayed, going on to serve as a county commissioner, mayor, auto-repair shop owner, teacher and coach.

“My grandfather was my rock,” Alphonse said. “He was one of those men who did everything for everyone. He knew how to fix things and do just about anything for anybody. He just understood. I really looked up to him.”

Alphonse served eight years, mostly in Jacksonville, as a Marine Integrated Management Specialist. She oversaw the maintenance of AmTrac vehicles, the assault amphibious vehicles that can maneuver from land to water.

“Discipline was the No. 1 thing I learned in the Marines,” Alphonse said. “You never tell someone it’s not my job. You find out how to do it. Being on time and dedicated to commitment are essential. I have taken that out of the Marine Corps every single day of my life.”

Alphonse left the Marines in 2005 to spend more time with her 2-year-old son. She investigated becoming a police officer but eventually followed the career path of her father, who was a Certified Public Accountant. Alphonse learned accounting as a middle-schooler, when her father taught her how to do her own taxes.

That expertise led to a role with Haskell, which she finds intriguing every day.

“I make sure that the subcontractors are OK from a financial and procedural point of view,” Alphonse said. “Most people think that accounting is the same every day and can be redundant. But every project is different, and I don’t do the same thing every day. One day it will be an international project, the next closer to home with different responsibilities.”

Alphonse feels a profound sense of pride when the work interaction involves her hometown.

“I ride by the new Baptist Hospital every day in Clay County,” she said. “It makes me smile to know that my company, Haskell, built that. I work for a company that makes a difference.”

Her coworkers have the same appreciation for Alphonse. In 2021, she received Haskell’s Living the Values Award, which goes each quarter to those who exemplify the company’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

“A former Marine, Cathy served our country with pride and continues to lead by example through her discipline and compassion both professionally and personally,” Construction Project Coordinator Samantha McKendree wrote in her nomination. “She is a devoted mother to her son and together they dedicate time to various volunteer activities both in their community and at Haskell. She is always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need, upholding the values of service throughout all aspects of her life. Cathy is committed to always doing the right thing and is a model of what it means to truly live Haskell’s values.”

Even as a well-respected professional, Alphonse said she still had a bit of a wild hair: She loves rollercoasters and enjoys seeking out the steepest and scariest rides she can find. She shares that thrill with her son.

“I may not jump out of planes or helicopters anymore,” she said. “But I have always been a bit of a daredevil. I just love that thrill.”

Honoring Our Veterans

Haskell proudly employs veterans of the United States Armed Forces and currently employs more than 100 team members who previously served our country. To commemorate Veterans Day, Haskell.com this week is spotlighting one of them daily. Additionally, Haskell annually presents each veteran on our team with a special thank you gift.

As Haskell grows rapidly across the United States, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region to meet the needs of new and existing clients, veterans continue to play an ever-increasing role. Those who have served our nation understand mission, structure, results and accountability. They are a perfect fit with Haskell’s core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust.

Are you interested in transitioning from the military to a career with a vibrant, growing company that provides nearly unlimited opportunities? Contact us to learn more.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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