Jose Gallegos was recently named the director of the Directorate of Public Works. Gallegos has been working at WSMR for 13 years. Prior to that he worked at Holloman Air Force Base for seven and a half years. Gallegos also served at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla, Washington.
Where are you from and where is home for you?
Las Cruces, New Mexico is where I was born and raised. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degree from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Who are your family members?
My wife, Marie, and my three children; Julian, my oldest son, Jonah, and Isabelle.
What did you aspire to be when you were young?
I was always into sports, but when I realized I wasn’t quite the right size I moved on. I went on to want to become an auto mechanic. I took a three year program in high school. When I went to NMSU I was encouraged to pursue engineering, so that’s what I ended up choosing.
What led you to civilian service?
I have quite a few family members who were civilian servants. My father worked as a radar technician for a tech facility at WSMR, and I have a couple of uncles who worked out here as well. I was attracted to the great benefits and the opportunity to move to different areas if I wanted to. At the time, I wanted to stay local and most jobs in the Department of Defense are in New Mexico.
Do you have any stories you would like to share from your time in the Army?
I realized how important my job was, how it fit in the world, when working with the Air Force on Sept. 11, 2001. I realized that we were supporting a very important task for the nation. Even in my small role I think it’s fitting, with the anniversary coming up, that we keep in mind the defense of our nation when performing our job. It’s not just a job. I remember going to work that day and realizing how important everyone’s role in in the military and civilian service is for the nation’s defense. Before that day I just saw my job as a job.
What have you learned from previous leadership roles?
How important it is to listen to people. How important it is to include individuals at all working levels and to seriously consider their input. One person alone does not run the organization, it’s a result of multiple efforts. Garrison Commander Col. Brian Michelson’s emphasis on dignity and respect is something I truly believe in. Dignity and respect results in a positive response from the people, not just within the organization, but with the external customers we deal with as well.
Is there anyone who helped guide you to where you are today?
A lot of people helped guide me, including some of my old former bosses. In college there were professors and the people who encouraged me to pursue engineering. There’s also my wife and John Poland, my boss from my time at Holloman who provided a great deal of guidance.
What do you and your family like to do for fun?
We like to camp. We like to do road trips to places we’ve never been before as well. We like to do outdoors stuff. We’ll probably go somewhere east for the summer.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m a health nut, so I try to run. That’s actually fun for me. It relaxes me. I’m a certified master gardener, so yard work also relaxes me. I hang out with my family, we go to baseball games, some of the kid’s games, and some church activities.
What are your priorities in your new position?
One of my priorities is to look at the workforce internally, as far as communication, coordination, and interaction, to see if we are working well. I also want to do the same with our customer base. The first priority feeds into my second priority, which is to raise the moral of Public Works in the hopes that it becomes the place where people enjoy working and people think of Public Works in a positive manner. I also want to focus on employee development and make sure the employees are given the right training and the right opportunity to better themselves in their respective field and to succeed in their jobs.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope I make this organization better. I hope that we support the mission in a positive manner and in a better position to receive new and future missions. I realize that it’s a big job and, initially it could be very little return on investment, but I really feel that I’m backed by a lot of good employees. These employees will help the organization reach the goals that I’ve stated.