Our People: Keeping busy in the community

Sep. 24—Vincent Soule, the deputy director of the Eastern Plains Council of Governments (EPCOG), started out as a budding musician at the University of New Mexico after graduating from Clovis High School, but circumstances brought him back home to Clovis. He switched his education to science parlayed his biology degree to become a transportation planner for EPCOG in 2015 and he's been there ever since.

Soule is also active in the community, serving as chair of the Clovis Planning Commission and chair of the Volunteer Action Committee of the Eastern New Mexico United Way. He has also served as secretary of the Clovis Main Street board, secretary of the Clovis NAACP, among other community leadership positions.

The News managed to catch Soule long enough on Thursday for an interview.

Following are our questions and his responses.

Q: How did you get from musical performance to transportation planning at EPCOG?

A: I was called home after a year or so at UNM, and reconsidered my prospects as a musician. I decided to study nursing and got interested in the science. I got a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at ENMU. After that, I took a job in inventory control for a Clovis oil pipeline service company. Later, I applied for the position as transportation planner at EPCOG and got the job.

Q: How do credentials in biology and chemistry translate to transportation planning?

A: Math and science. The job requires mathematics and systems thinking apply to both science and transportation planning. Science plays well into the job.

Q: What are your favorite things about working with EPCOG?

A: We have made community impact, especially with infrastructure programs. We helped secure $14 million in funds this year and $12 million last year for improvements in our region through the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Our region is huge with Union County on the north, Roosevelt County to the south Guadalupe County on the west and the Texas state line on the east.

I like being a public servant.

Q: You have received an honor recently from Cannon Air Force Base. What was that?

A: I was named an honorary Command Chief along with other Clovis and Portales community leaders this year. We all got together for a picture with the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall III.

Q: You are also studying for a Master of Business Administration degree, I understand.

A: I'm taking online classes from Colorado Technical University. It's got a good online program. I learned about it from my father, who retired as a master sergeant from the Air Force.

Q: You also help your mother occasionally at her restaurant. What restaurant is that?

A: It's called Saeng's Orient. My mother, Saengduen Soule, has been operating the restaurant since 1997.

Q: What do you like best about living in Clovis and eastern New Mexico?

A: We're starting to see some growth with more urban amenities, like Dickey's Barbecue and Starbuck's, and more. Texas Roadhouse is building in Clovis. There is a lot of growth here in retail and restaurant business. We're getting to be like a big city, and we're located close to urban centers like Amarillo and Lubbock in Texas.