Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions and accomplishments of Department of Commerce employees in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15—October 15).
Guest blog post by Raul Rodriguez, Utilities System Repair Operator, Office of Space & Building Management
I was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. My mother was an elementary school teacher and my father was a factory worker. We had a cheerful home. My parents were great role models. They were always working hard and encouraging us to help around the home. I think this is what helped form my work ethic and desire to work with my hands, troubleshoot and help others.
Twelve years ago, I moved to Maryland from Puerto Rico to find professional growth opportunities. I have a great family with two boys and a loving professional wife who works at the Pentagon. We attend the Christ Chapel Church and spend lots of time staying active playing sports such as football, baseball, and swimming.
I really enjoy mechanical work and decided to get my certification in Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) at the National Association of Power Engineers. I believe in continuous learning and moving forward in my career. I later went on to become a licenses electrician/journeyman in my field and am currently pursuing my masters license. I encourage anyone who is interested in this field, just go for it and do the best that you can. Your work speaks for itself.
I work as a Utilities System Repair Operator at the Department of Commerce Headquarters in Washington, D.C. We maintain the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the Department of Commerce’s Herbert C. Hoover Building. The engineering shop provides 24-7 coverage to maintain all building systems assuring that any emergencies that occur during off hours, weekends and holidays are resolved. We have a rotating schedule where we all chip in on working weekends every three months. In the nearly four years that I have worked for the Department of Commerce, I have worked on all three shifts and covered many snow emergencies, government shutdowns and holidays. I am proud to be a contributing member of the engineer shop at the Department of Commerce.
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the culture, history and contributions made by Hispanic Americans. We have a very vibrant community in the Metro D.C. area and you can experience all kinds Hispanic culture without driving more than 50 miles. I am proud of my heritage and enjoy sharing it with my friends and family.