What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
I've always had one foot in the military and one in the civilian world, and this is my favorite job. Since I graduated college in 2015 from SUNY Maritime in the Bronx, New York, I had several jobs that lasted anywhere from six months to a year. With CAES, I'm coming up on four years, and it’s just the best job. That's what gets me up in the morning.
What do you do at CAES?
My title is Equipment Maintenance Technician. When I started with the company, I was an Equipment Inventory Assistant in the operations department. What I do is keep track of all of the calibrated pieces of equipment for a few different departments. Whenever these items are due for calibration, I collect them and have them sent out to Simco, Keysight or some other third-party company. When the items come back from calibration or repair, I hand them back out.
What got you interested in pursuing your career?
My degree is in International Transportation and Trade so I guess you could say my expertise is in the areas of logistics and inventory tracking management. It was something I did when I was active duty with the Coast Guard as a gunner's mate. I worked in the armory, which meant keeping track of weapons and ammunition and pyrotechnics. You obviously wouldn’t want any of those items to go missing. That was the beginning of inventory management for me, and prior to joining CAES I had a similar job in the field of logistics and inventory tracking dealing with electronic components.
What is your proudest accomplishment of your career?
I recently got a promotion. I’ve had promotions in the military before, but this was my first promotion in the civilian world. That’s been my proudest accomplishment so far given where I started with the company and all of the additional collateral duties that I’ve taken on since and to see all that hard work acknowledged by my supervisor and upper leadership.
Before working at CAES, what was your most unusual or interesting job?
I guess I would say it all started with my very first enlistment in the military, with the Coast Guard. I was 18 years old, and after boot camp I went to a technical school to become a gunner's mate. Now, I'm a kid from the Bronx, and I’d grown up in the city my whole life. And then all of a sudden, I'm sent up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with no car, no driver's license, not even a bicycle. I spent about a year pretty much living on a 210-foot Coast Guard cutter, the Reliance. We’d leave for patrol up and down the Atlantic coast boarding fishing boats, and in the Caribbean we’d come across migrants and conduct searches and rescues. Sometimes we’d run into drug running vessels, and they would hightail it while we tried as hard as we could to chase after them. Being part of the gun crew was definitely something I look back to and say, wow, that was a very different time of my life.
Who was your most important mentor and why?
This may sound corny, but life has been a mentor. I've taken bits and pieces from different life lessons. And I’ve borrowed life lessons from my wife and my parents and grandparents and her parents. It's pretty much been a process of learning from my mistakes.
What skill do you think everyone should learn and why?
Constantly try to expand your skill set. Don’t get stuck with just one particular set of skills. If there's an opportunity to learn something new or do something new, definitely go for it. Having a mindset where you’re constantly learning new things helps to make you kind of indispensable.
What’s the best advice do can give to someone just starting their engineering career?
Make yourself indispensable, In my previous two jobs, it ended up that my position was no longer needed. My job was easily replaceable. I was not indispensable. So, when I walked into the interview at CAES, I said I want to do something that allows me to take on additional roles where I can be someone that people rely on and helps me be an important employee within the company.