Employee Spotlight

The best way to learn about life at SOC is to hear from our people.

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Angela

Deputy Program Manager

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Meet Angela

Deputy Program Manager

Tell us about what you do! 

I am a Deputy Program Manager (DPM) for our Department of State (DoS) Diplomatic Security Services in an important overseas U.S. Embassy. In my role as DPM, I am responsible for ensuring contract compliance and execution. I assist in providing overall support, leadership, management and direction to the overseas leadership staff in order to provide the appropriate services and protection for the United States Government.

If you had to explain your job to young kids, how would you describe it?

My job is to assist and support our hard working men and women overseas in order for them to protect personnel, property, and assets for the United States, helping spread U.S. diplomacy around the world.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

It’s rewarding when you receive a report from the customer for the down range teams’ impeccable work and professionalism displayed after a hectic and challenging day of missions overseas. Probably the most rewarding for me, however, is seeing personnel new to SOC deploy with us on the diplomatic security program for the first time. The overseas location I support is a location like no other with a very unique style of mission. Seeing the new personnel walk into this life changing industry, loving it and thanking you three months down the road for helping provide this unique opportunity for them is by far the most rewarding.

We simply hold a stronger reputation with higher core values within the industry. We are responsive – expeditionary – and operate without geographic boundaries. Where the mission is deemed most difficult, SOC will be there.”
SOC Employee
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Dave

Deputy Director of Canine Training

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Meet Dave

Deputy Director of Canine Training

Tell us a little bit about what you do.

In my position as Deputy Director of Canine Training, I provide direction and managerial oversight of the SOC Canine Training Center (CTC). I also take part in the solution of all sorts of issues having to do with people, dogs, vendors and logistics. Really, just about anything that has to do with the management of the CTC. I spend a significant amount of my time developing our talented staff, including canine trainers, canines and their handlers.

How did you decide you wanted to pursue this career? Did you come from a military background?

This is my second career. One of the questions I asked myself when I started searching for a new field was, what makes me happy? I have always loved dogs, so finding a full-time career with working dogs was a dream come true and the perfect fit for me.

I grew-up in a military family and spent a 30-year career in public safety. I began as a firefighter and then transitioned to law enforcement where I investigated arsons and explosions, which is how I became involved with working dogs. I was fortunate to have been accepted into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Accelerant Detection Canine Program, and worked for years investigating fires with my Accelerant Detection Canine, “Cadet.”

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Knowing that the SOC Canine Training Center’s staff is providing a valuable service to our Government by providing the very best Explosives Detection Canine Teams in the industry. Perhaps even more importantly, we are keeping Americans safe in some of the most volatile regions in the world.

I am thankful every day when I wake up to work with such a dynamic group of people that can think out of the box, not afraid to try new ideas and at the same time value each other’s opinions. I love working with SOC employees every day!”
SOC Recruiter
The ability to work with experienced professionals is great for personal growth and development. At SOC, I’m learning more each day on how the federal government works with its contractors, partners, and allies in the private sector.”
ISSO/IT Support Specialist
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Leanne

Director, Compliance & Training / Ethics Officer

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Meet Leanne

Director, Compliance & Training / Ethics Officer

“If you stay focused, informed, don’t take things personal and always stay respectful of others, all will work out well. I am one of those people that believes in doing things correctly, by the book and completely and I think that’s why I’m a natural for Quality Assurance and Compliance.”

Tell us a bit about what you do!
Currently, my role with SOC at the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot is ensuring compliance and providing oversight. This would be in meeting all regulatory requirements in Environmental, OSHA and training, as well as providing the oversight with Quality Assurance in the mission here of shipping, receiving, storing and demilitarization of the ammunition and explosives. 

How did you decide to pursue your current role in Compliance & Training and Ethics for SOC?
Actually, my career has evolved over the last 32+ years. I started as an Explosive Operator in 1988. I was mentored by a coworker who was in the QA department at the time and they encouraged me to join them as a QA Inspector. This is where my career really took shape. I moved through the ranks within the QA department and ended up managing the department. QA was tasked through the years with training the workforce in ammunition and explosive operations and I headed the training team there. I also worked in HR for a couple years as the Training and Compliance Officer. This all has evolved, as I stated earlier, into the position I hold now as the Compliance and Training Director.  

What has changed the most since you started in this industry?
Certainly technology. Computers have vastly changed the way we do business here at the Depot. I remember us having to keep huge libraries for all the regulations, drawings, and procedures. Getting information was at times daunting. Now, with everything electronic, information is instant. The mission here at the Depot has also changed since I started in 1988. We use to renovate and manufacture AA&E, now the main mission is archival storage and demilitarization for DOD.   

What does a typical day look like for you?
I can say that each day brings new challenges…even after 32 years! Just when you think you have seen it all, something or someone surprises you. Compliance and training are always evolving and we have to stay current. I work with my departments and managers to ensure we are meeting the regulations and the customer’s expectations. As part of the senior management team, I am consistently working closely with the GM and other Directors to ensure we are meeting mission and contract obligations. 

What is one of the most memorable stories from your career at SOC?
There are a few, but what I remember the most is the Depot’s role in supporting the warfighter and Operation Desert Storm in 1991. We shut everything down but the shipping operations to start loading trucks and trains to get the ammunition to the soldiers. This was serious teamwork by all employees. We would work until we just couldn’t any longer (17-18 hour days, 7 days a week). Everyone was willing to do their part and take on different roles if needed. Together we created success and met the mission.  We proved that the contractor, Day & Zimmermann, could deliver and get the job done well.

Any advice to someone considering going into a similar profession?
Compliance and oversight often does not make friends. Usually people don’t like to see the Compliance group coming their way (haha)!. However, if you stay focused, informed, don’t take things personal and always stay respectful of others, all will work out well. I am one of those people that believes in doing things correctly, by the book and completely and I think that’s why I’m a natural for the QA and Compliance role. Training people and giving them the skills to be better at their job is extremely rewarding. This is the favorite part of my profession. I would prefer to just train and connect with my fellow employees all the time. 

Tell us a little about what you do outside of work! 
I’ve been married 35 years to my high school sweetheart (retired Deputy Sheriff named David). We have one daughter and three grandchildren. I’m an equestrian and horse ranching enthusiast! I am a member of two different Nevada horse clubs and I and my grandchildren are very active in equestrian events, horse shows and trail riding. Horses keep me very, very busy in my off time. I also have three dogs, three goats, ten chickens and three dogs on the ranch. Truly living the Northern Nevada country life!

In addition, I love football and am a 40-year fan of the Miami Dolphins. I have only had the pleasure of attending one game when they played the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco. My dream is to go watch them play in Miami someday!

Ever since coming on board, everybody within the Billing department has been very welcoming and helpful. I’m very grateful about the positive work environment everyone contributes to, and it makes me feel valued and welcome at the company.”
Billing Analyst
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Heather

Senior Plans Analyst, Plans & Operations

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Meet Heather

Senior Plans Analyst, Plans & Operations

Tell us about what you do!

I am a Senior Plans Analyst, Plans & Operations, and I work at a major Department of Energy national security site for the Plans & Operations Department within SOC. Part of my work requires developing and publishing written orders that our Security Protective Force element utilizes on a day-to-day basis. This is mission-critical work to sustain and strengthen the national security site’s Protective Force operations to ensure our Nation’s critical sdassets are safeguarded, regardless of the potential threat. As an analyst, my position requires strong knowledge of the Department of Energy Directives and Federal Regulations, to name a few.

How did you decide you wanted to pursue this career?

 Prior to my current position, I was an Operations Sergeant in the Protective Force. With prior experience in this area, I was attracted to this important leadership position with responsibilities to write orders directly for the guards on station. As a mission-critical element supporting national security, this made me want to be a part of the process. I already had firsthand knowledge in the field and I opted to apply it to improving our support for the guard force.

What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?

When working in the security field, you have to be cognizant that things are ever-changing. The biggest challenge, for me, is learning to shift priorities. You have to be OK with the fact that things are going to come up and priorities are going to change. Then, you have to be able to adapt and execute. If you spend too much time focused on something that is no longer the priority for the sake of putting a check in the box, you’ll find yourself missing important deadlines.

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Bari

HVAC Systems Designer

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Meet Bari

HVAC Systems Designer

“My favorite memories involve good meals with fun coworkers on travel, or watching F-22 raptors take off at Tyndall Air Force base, or working on a facility for something that’s never been put in a building before.”

Tell us about what you do

I design Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems for buildings. Sometimes straight forward office buildings and more often specialized buildings like aircraft maintenance facilities or military research and development facilities. As the lead mechanical engineer on multiple projects at a time, I’m responsible for making sure the calculations, equipment selections, and construction documents are complete and constructible. Luckily, I have some good support and help when I need it. I also enjoy working on sustainable and energy efficient designs.

How did you decide to pursue a career as a Mechanical Engineer? 

I was good at math and physics in school. In high school, I competed in problem solving competitions which were basically engineering. My dad always wanted his daughters to be engineers and as it turns out, I wanted to be one too. Mechanical engineering was the broadest and fit my interests. That was my major from the day I applied to college. I ended up in HVAC from the co-op program interviews. A mechanical contractor told me taking a job with them would help me pass my mechanical engineer classes. It did, and I’ve been in HVAC ever since, moving to the design side after college.

What has changed the most since you started in this industry?  

A couple of things have changed. When I was a co-op, we used 2D AutoCAD, and now 3D BIM modeling has gotten a lot more advanced. Energy efficiency and energy modeling in buildings have grown and evolved as well. Designs are getting more complicated, but the controls systems are available to control more complication. Then, of course, the simple things that everyone experiences. For example, I use an iPad for notes instead of a paper notebook and video chat with coworkers instead of just using a corded phone.

Any advice to someone considering this profession?

Like anything else. I think you need to love it at least a little. My sister followed me into this profession, but has since changed industries. When she was telling me about her decision to move on after more than five years as a mechanical engineer, she said she didn’t get excited about magnetic-bearing chillers. I said, well they are kind of neat, and she said see you are in the right industry. You need to be in an industry that excites you because that’s how you get past the stress and the challenging moments

Anything else to add?

I really enjoy traveling, especially to countries with cultures completely different from my own.  Amazingly, being in a country where I don’t look like anyone else and don’t speak the language is typically when I feel most alive, when I start to understand the human experience, and when I feel most grateful to be an occupant on this beautiful planet.

I love working for a company that truly lives by their philosophy of putting the dog’s welfare above all else!”
Administrative Kennel Technician
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Kathy

MRO Contracts Administrator

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Meet Kathy

MRO Contracts Administrator

“Always give your 110% in everything you do! You never know what opportunities may present themselves, so you always want to leave a great lasting impression.”

Tell us about what you do
My role is a Contracts Administrator for our MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) Services part of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) within Government Services. I’m responsible for administering and managing our contracts as well as any of our subcontractors. Additionally, I’m involved in the bids and proposals process, by reviewing and preparing portions of our proposal responses.

If you had to explain your position as Contracts Administrator for MRO to a child, how would you describe your daily routine?  
My job is to protect the company by making sure we have the written agreement documents needed in place and making sure they are correct. It is important that we follow what is in the agreement, which includes following any Federal laws and regulations. If there are any problems or questions about the agreement, people can come to me for help. 

How did you get into this industry?  
I received a job within this industry shortly after starting college. I started out as a clerk and worked my way through different areas before Contracts in 2007. My whole career ended up being within this industry!

What do you love most about your job? 
I love that each day is unique and never the same. Different projects will come up quickly and priorities will get shifted around. It’s what makes the job challenging and keeps it interesting. 

What’s the most challenging part of your job?  
Time management can be challenging at times. Timeliness is essential. Time has to be managed appropriately to ensure all deadlines are met, along with the needs of the company and our customers through day to day contractual activities.

Any advice for someone pursing a similar career path?
Be prepared to review the details! For example, a slight addition or omission of a word or number can have a huge impact. It’s important to review things carefully.

Also, there is not always a clear answer. Sometimes things fall within a gray area that may require research, interpretation and judgment. Regulations are always changing. Therefore continuing education and utilizing available resources to stay current is helpful.

SOC is a very good place to work at and we’re always about security and safety.”
Facilities Support Specialist
Few companies make their employees feel as if they fully embrace the knowledge and expertise that diversity in age and experience brings, but SOC does that superbly. Never have I felt more valued for what I bring to the table.”
Billing Analyst
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Chef Doraid

Head Chef

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Meet Chef Doraid

Head Chef

“It’s rewarding when I look at the bigger picture, understanding that my staff serves over 90 thousand meals in a year to a workforce that is sacrificing everything to protect national security interests, including keeping us safe.”

Tell us about what you do

I am the main chef for our Baghdad Operation Center where SOC provides Integrated Security to the Department of State. I am responsible for ensuring our large workforce is fed around the clock. My job is to feed and support our hard-working men and women in Iraq for SOC Baghdad Operation Center along with transit personnel to stay healthy.

I cook all kinds of food such as Mediterranean, Asian, European, American and Italian dishes. I make sure that the cuisine is served with highest quality standards. I also plan menus, order supplies, inspect supplies, equipment, inventories, train and supervise cooks and food preparation. I have a sous chef and two kitchen assistants that work as a team in preparing the dishes under my guidance.

What would you say is your favorite part of your job?

It’s rewarding when I look at the bigger picture, understanding that my staff serves over 90 thousand meals in a year to a workforce that is sacrificing everything to protect national security interests, including keeping us safe. They work 24/7 away from their family, so providing delicious and healthy cuisine to our team is something we take great pride in. It means a lot when we receive comments and sincere appreciation from our management, employees, and customers that the food is great and tasty.

I am honored to support such a meaningful and patriotic mission, working directly with our teams who are protecting U.S. National Security, here domestically and abroad.”
Marketing Director

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