By Janna DeLissa
Spring is the time of year when many students complete their college education and start looking towards the future. For Calvin Reimer, formerly of Meade, a Security Engineer in the Foreign Service, that career path started in 1987 when he graduated from Kansas State University with a computer engineering degree. After answering an ad in a Kansas City newspaper, he was hired by the U.S. Department of State and went to work in Washington D.C. He later became a member of the Foreign Service. The Foreign Service is a governmental job but is not considered to be military or civilian.
Calvin began working as a Security Engineer for the Foreign Service in 1989. He started out working in the Middle East and East Asian departments. There are also African, Europe, Asian and South American departments. When working in the Foreign Service, one must serve overseas at least once every five years. The average stay in another country is two to three years, although it is possible to request longer assignments. His first overseas assignment was in Russia. Most of his work was done in Moscow because that is one of the biggest U.S. embassies. He met his wife Kathryn in Moscow, who was also a United States citizen working for the State Department as a nanny.
Reimer’s job seems very complex to the average “lay person” mind. About 50,000 people are scattered around the globe in the employment in the U.S. Department of State. E-mail communication is the primary form of communication. Calvin’s job as a computer Security Engineer is to make sure that all internet communications remain private. The computers must be protected from viruses, hackers or malfunction. The wide variety of information that is exchanged makes the job more challenging. Types of information that must remain secure include military training, economic and political communications, information on foreign policy and messages the U.S. President wants to get to ambassadors or diplomats.
One of the benefits of working in the Foreign Service is getting to travel to nearby countries while stationed overseas. After working in Russia, Reimer was transferred to Morocco, from where he visited North Africa, Spain and Portugal. He has also been stationed in Germany. Another benefit in some countries is frequently attending formal embassy dinners. Members of the Foreign Service are encouraged to follow local customs of the country they work in. One assimilation that requires a flexible personality is dietary. Reimer’s family eats more vegetables than the typical American family.
Calvin is the son of Margaret and the late B.B. Reimer of Meade.