If you were to summarize Sherry Deskins’ career in a phrase it would be “expect the unexpected and make the most of each moment of opportunity.” She never expected to be married while in college, but she met her future husband, Mark, when she went to him to ask for his advice on a class.  Mark was a graduate instructor at the time.  Six months later Sherry and Mark were married.

When Sherry finished her degree in 1984, she went to work at an Eveready Battery Company in Asheboro, NC.  Early into her career, she was asked to manage 30 production employees across several production lines.  “This was a very tough job,” she says, “but the 1.5 years I did the job I learned what has defined my career.”  Sherry describes the job as one where she learned to communicate with many different types of people.  “I became good at team building and problem solving, and I learned to be very detailed oriented.”

When an opportunity came to move back closer to her home, Sherry joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center in southern Maryland.  Her initial assignment was in an explosives manufacturing facility.  Shortly into her assignment, Sherry again saw the unexpected occur.  The facility where she worked had some significant environmental issues.  Sherry was asked to work on these even though she had no formal training in environmental engineering.  “What I found was that the issues that needed to be resolved required basic problem solving skills.  Also a lot of what I was asked to do was to develop compliance procedures.  My background as an IE prepared me well for this job.”

After spending 15 years with the Department of Defense, Sherry had an opportunity to move to the Architect of the Capital (AOC).  The AOC is responsible for the U.S. Capitol, 7 Congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and other facilities.  Sherry is the division director in charge of environmental programs in support of the AOC.  In this job, she has created an environmental compliance program for the AOC, providing policy development, interpretation and technical assistance, regulatory interface, oversight to ensure compliance.  “A lot of what I do is project management,” Sherry explains.

Sherry’s career is a good example of the versatility of an Industrial Engineering degree.


Sherry Deskins is the Environmental Division Director for the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). The AOC is responsible to the United States Congress and Supreme Court for the maintenance, operation, development and preservation of 17.4 million square feet of buildings and more than 553 acres of land throughout Capitol Hill. She has worked at the AOC since 2003 and is responsible for the interpretation of environmental laws and regulations, development and implementation of the environmental program plan, application of environmental permits, interaction with environmental regulators, and oversight of environmental compliance for the Agency.

Prior to working at AOC, Sherry worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), (Department of Defense) for 15 years. The majority of her career at NSWC was devoted to environmental compliance including the interpretation of regulations, providing technical advice and guidance, completing regulatory reporting and interacting with regulators.

After graduating from West Virginia University with an Industrial Engineering degree in 1984, Sherry worked for the Eveready Battery Company in Asheboro, NC for 4 years. She was a production supervisor for the first 1.5 years of her career with Eveready, supervising 30 hourly production employees; producing and packaging batteries.  The remainder of her career at Eveready was as a staff engineer in the Industrial Engineering office.

Sherry is married to Mark Deskins.  They live in southern Maryland and have 2 sons.

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