Chapter Spotlight: 4 Questions with Houston's Vicki EakerVicki Eaker with MPUG’s Houston Chapter currently works at Shell Trading via her employer Sogeti USA LLC. She’s the application readiness project manager for the Global Shell Trading Vista Migration Project. Prior to joining Sogeti two years ago, Eaker spent three years managing projects in healthcare (including one Project Server implementation as well as SharePoint strategic planning) and five years as a PM in the retail industry focusing on point of sale and infrastructure. Here Eaker answers four questions…

What are your biggest goals for your chapter this year

Glad you asked! Our primary goal is to recruit new board members. We have all of our board members moving on to new opportunities. We so very much want to find three board members to carry the torch and support the Houston Chapter in it new growth. We have a great plan drafted for 2009 with most events planned and/or speakers committed to present. We are heavily recruiting enthusiastic new professionals who have a passion for spreading the word about MPUG and bringing the chapter to an even higher level of service to our project management and Microsoft Project community.

In your experience, what tends to be the hardest project management challenge to eradicate

Balancing the real story by communicating project risks or challenges transparently to high-level stakeholders, while still maintaining the appropriate perspective on the state of the project and preventing stakeholders’ fears from getting out of hand. Managing up, while managing down is always my favorite challenge.

What do you like best about attending MPUG chapter meetings

The professional networking and social aspects. It’s great to see professionals come together due to a very specific commonality — Microsoft Project tools — and connect and even partner in their related efforts.

Name a restaurant in your city we absolutely have to check out next time we’re in Houston.

You came to the right person since I don’t cook much. The short answer: anything Pappas (there are several types of them and they are a reliably good regional chain). However, to name a few restaurants that you may not otherwise hear of, Thai Pepper, Uptown Sushi, Goode Co. for fab seafood or BBQ, El Tiempo for Tex-Mex (order the grilled specials and only have one margarita), The Flying Saucer or The Gingerman for a plethora of beers, or any of the new wine bars on Washington Avenue just off of downtown. Catch you at a chapter meeting!