How long have you been with the company and/or in this current role?
I have been with Southern Nuclear for two years as an Environmental Specialist.
Give us a brief description of your job duties.
I provide overall environmental regulatory support to the Southern Nuclear fleet to ensure compliance with all local, state and federal environmental laws, regulations and permits. I work to enhance our rich natural resources and minimize Southern Nuclear's environmental footprint through systematic regulatory program implementation and promoting proactive environmental stewardship.
What other roles have you had related to Southern Nuclear/Southern Company?
I was a leased worker with the Southern Division of Alabama Power as a Utility Arborist for two years, ensuring proper vegetation management practices were applied to distribution rights-of-way. I then transitioned over to a leased worker Environmental Specialist position within the Alabama Power Environmental Affairs Water Field Group. I was responsible for background, assessment and compliance sampling in relation to the Coal Combustion Residuals Rule (CCR) for 2 1/2 years.
Why and how did you become interested in the nuclear industry?
As an environmental professional, I wanted to be a part of the nuclear industry, because I believe that it is the cleanest, safest, most reliable and affordable source of bulk energy generation. I wanted to be able to contribute to an industry that is at the forefront of clean energy solutions while still meeting the demand of customers.
What do you think it takes to succeed in the nuclear industry?
Success in the nuclear industry requires a “team first” mentality that incorporates joint collaboration, open communication and the respect of others. That foundation will sustain a productive work environment.
What are some obstacles you’ve faced on your journey to success?
I have been fortunate enough that I have not encountered any obstacles along my journey to success related to my Hispanic heritage.
One obstacle I have had to overcome was being able to balance both my civilian and military careers. When I assumed my new role at Southern Nuclear, I also became a Company Commander of an Engineer Unit in the United States Army Reserves. In order to achieve and sustain excellence in both roles, I had to rework my time management philosophy and forecast obtainable goals to measure progression.
What advice do you have for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to seek out a mentor/subject matter expert in your field and incorporate their historical knowledge and operational experience into your work practices. Guidance and tutelage are very valuable to a young professional.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for me to celebrate my ethnic background and share some of my favorite cuisine with others. Delicious food is a language that everyone can understand and an easy segue to talk about cultural differences. It is also a time to give thanks and reflect on previous generations’ sacrifices and contributions.
Was there a particular Hispanic mentor, trailblazer or historic figure whom you admired or who inspired you at some point in your life?
My grandfather taught me the importance of perseverance and dedication to family through the trials and tribulations he faced when he had to start his whole life over in the United States after Fidel Castro’s regime took over Cuba. My grandfather overcame many obstacles in his life to provide for his family and lay a solid foundation for future generations. His sacrifices, determination and grit have allowed for generational success in the United States.