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News | Sept. 27, 2019

Distribution San Joaquin’s Maldonado retires after 51 years of combined service

By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Having served a combined 51 years as a federal civilian and military service member, Richard Maldonado, equal employment specialist, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Joaquin, California, is retiring.

Maldonado served four years active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then 16 years in the Air Force Reserve. While in uniform he served in the Security Police career field and retired as a master sergeant.

Maldonado served in the Vietnam conflict from 1969-70.

According to Maldonado, the key to his success is being inquisitive and learning to think in questions. He received some solid advice early on in his career that still sticks with him today.

“Early on in the military, a supervisor told me “when you do not follow a rule or regulation, you are setting a new standard.” As time went on, this resonated with me and I passed this on to anyone working with me in the Human Resources and Equal Employment communities," said Maldonado. 

Years ago Maldonado ran across quote that he has since modified to better reflect civil servants—one that he shares with both employees and supervisors.

“We are not just civil servants. We are the custodians of how this organization will grow and develop. We guide the evolution of its physical structure. We have a powerful influence on the future of the entire organization,” stated Maldonado, continuing, “We all have some type of impact on our organization.”

He attributes much of his success to one of his mentors.

“Ms. JoAnn Schopman is a co-worker, mentor, confidant, leader and supervisor. As a result of a Reduction-in-Force in 1999, I moved over from Human Resources to the Equal Employment Opportunity community. In the 20 years that I have been working with JoAnn, she exhibits patience, encouragement, and guidance in my development to be an effective EEO professional,” said Maldonado.

If asked to give a highlight of his civilian career, Maldonado would be hard-pressed to discuss just one.

“It is difficult to identify one specific area. These last 20 years I have been able to take my experience and knowledge from Human Resources and apply it to Equal Employment Opportunity. I am in the people business and EEO is about facilitating solutions to concerns our employees’ have. Every time there was consensus to a concern it was really satisfying to me,” said Maldonado.

In his retirement Maldonado plans to do volunteer work with Vietnam veterans at the Hospice of San Joaquin organization.

Maldonado summed up his working experience, commenting, “It has been my privilege to work for five different agencies in the federal government and each agency equipped me for the next. Sometimes we do not stop and realize how far reaching DLA is and how our agency has developed and challenged us to take on more in supporting the military services and the nation.”