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News | Oct. 1, 2020

Hispanic Heritage Month Employee Spotlight: Carlos Guzman

DLA Land and Maritime

Editor’s Note: The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month each September. We are highlighting employees of Hispanic heritage throughout the month in honor of their enduring contributions to the agency’s global mission of logistics support to America’s warfighters.

What is your position title and role?

I am the Technical and Quality Analyst Branch Chief for Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s Business Process Support Directorate

What do you think about when you hear Hispanic Heritage Month?

That it’s a time to reflect on the example, legacy and sacrifices other Hispanics have made which enable me to live the life I enjoy today.

Who are some people of Hispanic heritage you admire?

My mother and family. Although not perfect, they gave me all the tools I needed to be where I'm at today. Not all of them had exemplary lives but even from those I gathered constructive landscapes to shape my own path. Through them, I learned that the foundation for success is not one free of imperfections but rather one that provides an adequate combination of positive and negative experiences. I have no better example of what love, hard work, commitment and loyalty signify. I'm forever grateful!

In your opinion, what challenges remain for Hispanic Americans today and how can understanding history help us to overcome them?

I get the sense that most Hispanics have embraced the American way of life with a sense of pride and gratitude. We don't feel entitled but believe in “working our way up” to realize our dreams and aspirations. We strive for progress for our families and future generations by not dwelling in the past but rather looking to the future with tenacity. I don't think our challenges are too different from anyone else's; I accept the fact that life is not easy and only through perseverance and resolve we can achieve success.

How long have you worked for the federal government including military service?
A little over 16 years.

How long have you worked for L&M and how did you get your start here?

I have worked for DLA since February of 2007 and I was hired through the Corporate Intern Program. I have been with the agency for 13 years and seven months.

Who would you say was your greatest influence in choosing your career?

Prior to working for DLA, I had engaged in a business venture that had stalled. I recall my mother giving me a paper ad for DLA's Corporate Intern Program and the rest is history. Essentially, I needed a good job that would allow me to support my family.

What is your favorite thing about your line of work?
How multifaceted it is and how human interface is crucial to ultimate goal realization. Rather seldom will we encounter tasks in our line of work that won't require multiple touchpoints. Therefore, positive human relationships become the most important aspect in achieving success in serving the warfighter.

How has your family’s Hispanic ancestry/origins influenced your life?

I carry an added sense of pride and responsibility because of it. My ancestry is variegated in nature and it intrinsically makes me appreciate the richness of each background. I'm Spanish; I'm African; I'm Taíno--all in one. Folkloric amalgam! Cultural explosion! Multifarious gastronomic fusion!

I often think of being a conduit for other Hispanics; I have the ability to either open doors for others or take away opportunities if I don't properly represent them. My commitment to God and my family, the way I conduct myself inside and outside the workplace, will have an invariable impact on upcoming generations. They will be screened through the lens of my example and that of my contemporaries. That is a heavy burden to carry but one that must be undergone.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?

Every situation in life is temporary. So, when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully. When life is not so good, remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way.

What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?

Definitely becoming a dad; it comes with the most responsibility but nothing is more rewarding!

If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be?

The electric guitar.

What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

The list is long and dynamic! I simply don't want to stop “growing up” because I fear I would stop dreaming. Someone once said: "the secret is to die young as late as possible"; so to me, as long as I am able, I want to do something that adds meaning to my life and contributes to someone else’s improvement.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
This is a tough one but maybe a professional cyclist at the Tour de France.

What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done?
Racing my ATV at over 100 mph down the drag strip. 

If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?

You can't always choose your circumstances but you can always choose your attitude.