A Mission of Service in Central America

28 / August / 2017

“We use our gifts in service of others.” This statement is used across Barge Design Solutions as a reminder that our work often spans beyond the scope of a given project, and that as a firm, we can change lives in a profound way. The company’s involvement with The Peugeot Center (TPC) at Lipscomb University has made long lasting impacts in Nashville and around the world since the center’s beginnings a few years ago.

TPC is an initiative created from more than a decade of engineering missions organized and operated within the Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering, and serves a hub for the college's outreach program.

In partnership with TPC, several Barge Design Solutions employees have completed projects abroad, such as the installation of a 104-ft. bridge connecting two school campuses separated by a busy highway in San Esteban, Honduras. Teams have also been sent to partner with community development organizations on other bridge projects, as well as projects that aid local water quality issues.

Engineers Luke Burris and Kris Hatchell have participated in several of these projects, with over 40 Lipscomb-sponsored mission trips between them. Burris has thoroughly enjoyed each of his mission trips. He explains, “The relationships we get to build with the people who will use the structure or water system are what make the work especially gratifying.”

As a student, Hatchell helped launch Lipscomb engineering missions in 2004 and now serves as an advisor. He has been actively involved since the group’s inception, serving as the University’s Missions Coordinator in Guatemala from 2011-2013. In fact, Barge Design Solutions’ involvement with the mission program is what drew Hatchell to join the company when he returned to the United States in 2013.

Burris got involved as a student at Lipscomb University, and now serves as a mentor for current students. “When I was a student, I had transformative experiences on these trips, and being able to go back and be a part of that as a mentor has been really rewarding,” he says.

Over the last five years, Barge Design Solutions has sent several groups of employees to Central America to participate in various TPC projects, which has been especially rewarding to Hatchell. “Getting involved with other disciplines from around the company to use our gifts collectively in service of others has been a rewarding experience. This is about more than projects to us—it’s about the people. Using our gifts to support and help others is at the heart of what engineering is. Barge Design Solutions has a heart and mind of service, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy working here.”