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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Laura Buker

Laura Buker and her family posed in front of the Great Smoky Mountains
Buker with her husband (Todd Buker) and their two children, Luna and Noah, enjoying the outdoors in the Great Smoky Mountains.

For this Inside DELTA piece, we are excited to get to know Project Manager Laura Buker who has been with DELTA for the past year. 

What is your background?

Originally from Madrid, Spain, Buker obtained her Bachelor and Master of Science in Forestry Engineering as well as a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and Water Resources Management from NC State University.

headshot of Laura Buker
Buker’s credentials led to various and unique positions in her career, such as a forestry engineer, a civil engineer, a property manager and a project manager. Her interest in NC State University and DELTA grew when she researched the role of a project manager.

“During the pandemic, as many other people, I reasessed my professional career and took an interest in project management,” Buker said. “My husband, Todd Buker, who works at DELTA, put me in touch with Merranie Zellweger, the director of project management, to discuss the realities of the job, whether it would be a good fit for me and how to steer my career in that direction. She was tremendously helpful, and it really encouraged me to look into it further. When a project manager position opened at DELTA, I jumped at the opportunity. Luckily, they saw my potential, and I was able to make the career shift. Although leaving my engineering career behind was scary, I have never looked back!”

How would you describe your role at DELTA?

As a project manager, Buker helps diverse teams throughout DELTA organize their work, track daily tasks, stream workflows and improve efficiency. Her goal is to try to reduce the mental burden of tracking work. 

“I deal heavily with a team of IT professionals and love being able to apply my analytical skills to my work as a project manager,” Buker said.

Buker also appreciates the importance of communicating with different stakeholders to identify opportunities that can assist them in organizing their work. She recently worked with the implementation of a new project management tool with DELTA, ClickUp, and learned the ins and outs of the tool to help the team adopt it. 

“As a project manager, I follow up on assigned tasks to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks,” Buker added. “I also have continuous conversations and seek an open dialogue to learn how I can help a team or an individual organize their work efficiently.”

What is your favorite experience at DELTA?

Not surprisingly, Buker found working with a project management tool to be her most rewarding experience thus far with DELTA! 

“I really enjoyed the implementation of ClickUp,” Buker said. “I love troubleshooting and figuring out how to improve processes and streamline work. I’m an organizer at heart and love to make sense of the chaos.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As a relatively new member of the team, Buker appreciates how much other, more experienced project managers within DELTA can teach her. 

“I adore the culture at DELTA and my team,” Buker said. “I continue to learn from them, and I especially love their sense of humor and how real they are. They help me to understand the big picture and then focus on how to organize the daily operations to remove redundancies and improve systems.”

Coming from an engineering background, Buker likes the daily human interactions she now has as a project manager with DELTA. 

“As an engineer, sometimes we were so focused on the production work, there would be weeks where I didn’t talk to another person,” Buker explained. “As an extrovert, I feel that project management is a much better fit for me.”

Buker added that working with her husband day to day is also both a benefit and enjoyable. 

“Because my husband works at DELTA, I get to learn how other units within DELTA operate and about the work they do,” Buker said. “It has been really fun talking about work with my partner and sharing a common objective, yet with enough separation in our daily work that it doesn’t interfere with our relationship.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Buker and her husband have two children. Outside of work, they like music, traveling, anything water related and the outdoors.

Buker and her family on a recent “epic trip” to Mexico City and the Yucatan area.

“I love to spend time with my family,” Buker said. “We especially like to go hear live music whenever we get a chance. My husband also has a YouTube channel about interesting North Carolina sites and stories, so we love to take small field trips to places of interest and I get to learn more about my new home!”