What is your key responsibility?
My job is to effectively and efficiently conduct Section 7 consultations under the Endangered Species Act for threatened and endangered steelhead in South-Central and Southern California. The Act requires federal agencies to consult with NOAA Fisheries on actions that may affect threatened or endangered species so we can recommend steps to minimize adverse effects to the species and their habitat.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Dallas, Texas.
What is your educational background?
I got my BA in Marine Science at the University of San Diego and an MA in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.
Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today?
The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz really resonated with me.
What does being a career civil servant mean to you?
It means I get to work from a position of service to my country, and with that comes the responsibility to adopt a mindset of humility, accountability, transparency, and equity.
What advice would you have for today’s youth interested in a federal government career?
Do some self reflection. Confirm your intention and desire to serve others over yourself. Confirm you have a desire to better the federal agency ahead of personal gain.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
Attempting to convince people to leave water in the stream for fish like steelhead.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy running, cross/strength training, and writing and reading poetry.
What are you working on now?
Changing traditional, long-standing mindsets and color-blind culture toward a color-brave culture so we can advance NOAA's Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives.
Can you describe a project you worked on that was particularly interesting or enjoyable?
The most interesting projects are water-diversion projects because you often have to be incredibly strategic, creative, and thoughtful to gain water for endangered Southern California steelhead.
Are you a member of a community or religious organization, or volunteer/mentorship program?
I am an active participant in the Latinos@NOAA Employee Resource Group. Outside of NOAA, I volunteer with Up and Running Again. This organization provides a pathway to lifelong success by training homeless individuals living in rescue missions to complete half marathons.
What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
It reminds me to rediscover and reflect on my Mexican heritage. My Grandpa Antonio Flores from Saltillo, Mexico, crossed over the Texas border as a young boy with 10 other children to pick cotton. He grew up fast, only to lie about his age to gain entry into the U.S. Army. He finally retired as a nurse for the VA Hospital.
If you're from a group underrepresented at NOAA, what advice would you give to students from a similar background?
Be proud of your heritage. Don't cover up your accent. Share your culture and perspectives. NOAA Fisheries would be lucky to have a workforce more reflective of the communities we serve.
What institutional challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
There aren't many Mexican-Americans in NOAA Fisheries so I'm doing what I can to remind leadership the value of recruiting Mexican-Americans, including the value of making financial commitments to retain Black, Indigenous, and people of color within our region.