Caitlin Cruz is the Infrastructure Asset and Planning Manager for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Having recently completed the IPWEA NZ Asset Management Essentials Digital Badges, she took a moment to catch up with us about her learning journey and experiences in Asset Management in the United States.

Hi Caitlin, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi! As the Infrastructure Asset and Planning Manager for the Missouri Department of Conservation, I manage infrastructure assets across Conservation areas throughout the state of Missouri. I lead the administration of both asset management and capital planning software, both of which are integral to ensuring that we have effective processes and accurate data to inform our infrastructure planning strategies.

In the past, I’ve worked in service performance, reporting and compliance in a wide range of industries. I have a Master’s Degree in Science in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Texas State University. In a professional capacity, I have completed ITIL and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications.

What do you like most about working in Asset Management now?

I love my role because I’m able to use my skillset and past experiences to create an impact in conservation and put conservation efforts on the ground through infrastructure management.  I love working with a diverse team of people with expertise in infrastructure, GIS, system administration and business analysis to make well-informed decisions on infrastructure planning. There are always new and innovative ideas in the asset management industry to allow teams like mine to become more efficient and forward-thinking.

You’ve recently completed the IPWEA NZ Asset Management Essentials Digital Badges. How did you find out about them?

The Missouri Department of Conservation relied in part on the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM) to build an asset management programme that followed best practice and focused on future planning. This and other IPWEA NZ resources have helped to expand the Department’s efforts and have provided innovative ideas for asset management planning and procedures.

And why did the digital badges work for you?

The Asset Management Digital Badges were a great way of gaining a solid understanding of asset management best practice. The format of the badges is perfect, and allowed me to pursue professional development within my busy work week, while still gaining value from the dynamic format of the online training course.

How do you think the digital badges have helped you in your role?

The digital badges have helped me to build a strong background knowledge in Asset Management, almost like the building blocks of an asset management programme. When I joined my current team, I had experience in many related areas, but the IPWEA NZ Asset Management Essentials have filled in the gaps. The content and learning in the badges has been pivotal in my transition from an Infrastructure Asset Analyst to Infrastructure Asset and Planning Manager. I have gained a broader perspective but also the confidence to move forward in my role.

How do you think the digital badges could help others in the asset management industry?

The badges are a great way to introduce new team members to key best practices in asset management, no matter what their background. In our team, we have a range of diverse backgrounds and expertise in infrastructure, GIS, systems administration, and process development. The completion of the digital badges across the team will help to ensure our team is cohesive and stays current and well informed.

And finally, what would you say to someone starting out in their asset management career?

I would encourage new graduates to pursue a career in Asset Management as there is the opportunity to advance efforts in many different industries where infrastructure is a key component to success, no matter the individual interest.

The emerging focus on infrastructure management allows those involved to have a voice and use creative new ideas which truly make an impact in the community.

To find out more about the IPWEA NZ Asset Management Essentials Digital Badges, or the facilitated courses that we are running, visit our Digital Badges page!