Q&A with Acting Architect of the Capitol Christine A. Merdon, P.E.
Q: You have previously stated that working for the Architect of the Capitol is a lifelong dream come true for you. What lit your spark of passion for tackling the mission to "serve, preserve and inspire"?
A: My mother is my biggest role model. She is an immigrant who moved to the United States, supported three children working as a hairdresser while also earning college degrees at night. Her journey, in my view, is the American dream. Inspiring others through my service by preserving our national monuments is my way of giving back for all that this nation has given my family.
Q: In addition to the remarkable work you do on the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, House and Senate office buildings, Library of Congress facilities and the U.S. Botanic Garden, what other projects informed your executive skills?
A: During my time in the private sector, I worked on major construction projects:
- Washington Nationals Major League Baseball Stadium
- O’Hare Airport Modernization Program
- Los Angeles Unified School District
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
- Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum for African American History
- Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorial Renovations
- White House Military Office
These experiences taught me many things, the most important being perseverance. Many of these projects were difficult, but moving forward with determination and doing it regardless of the challenge ultimately led to the team’s success. These experiences are relevant to our projects on the Capitol campus.
Q: What is your vision for the Architect of the Capitol?
A: I am committed to successfully meeting the agency's mission with a progressive focus on people, projects and preservation. I want to foster an atmosphere of accessibility and transparency to attract and retain talented employees who are engaged and passionate about their work; support projects that are forward-focused and incorporate a broad view of the structure and needs of the Capitol campus; and position the agency as an authority on historic preservation.
Q: What's the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I get to do something different every single day. There is never a boring week, and there is always a new challenge to tackle. The team at the Architect of the Capitol are some of the best tradesmen, craftsmen, architects, engineers and service providers in the world. It is a dream to work with them in our nation's capital.