My name is Armando Porras and I am the Infrastructure Management Intern for the USFWS Sacramento Regional Office. I recently graduated from Sacramento State with a degree in Civil Engineering and started working for the Service in April. I grew up in the small town of Castroville, approximately 2 miles away from the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge and developed a passion for the outdoors, which led to my interest in environmental conservation and sustainability. During my free time, I enjoy fishing, hiking, and exploring my local public lands. As the Infrastructure Management Intern, I support the division with various projects and tasks related to quarters, facilities management, transportation, and visitor services.
Being hired right when quarantine started was an interesting and new process. In my four months working for the service I have only been to the Regional Office once, but that hasn’t kept me from learning. In the Infrastructure Management Department, I work closely with National Data Manager and Facilities Management Coordinator, Riki Hawk. Riki has been training with me weekly; to do a variety task involving the management of government assets. My mentor, Riki, is also good at giving me advice and showing me how business works in the government. With the resources given to me I’m able to adequately address questions, comments, and concern from refuge or fishery managers and staff, regarding quarters.
The great part about my job is that my team allows me to help on a variety of projects. With Visitor Services I have the ability to work with individuals like Ivette Lopez, Miguel Marquez, amongst others. With their help I’m able to promote diversity and equity through events like Latino Conservation Week, in which we hosted an event featuring the Salinas River NWR and the surrounding Latinx community. Another great project that we are currently working on is a video to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The video will take place at Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge Complex and I will be giving a few words illustrating my connection to the local refuge and my passion for the outdoors.
I also help our Regional Transportation Coordinator, Andrea Smith, with a variety of small task which include project management tasks and reviewing reports. I’m currently helping her review a paper by the Transportation Research Board. I love being part of those types of assignments because they are closely related to my engineering background. Transportation is a major concentration in Civil Engineering, so I understand this type of literature better. With that being said, my internship is straightening my “business” and “legal” language; I’m more of a math guy so I am definitely learning plenty from all members on my team.
The internship allows me to network and gain experience in the service, so that when I get my PE license, I can apply for a permanent job as an engineer for the service. This aligns perfectly with my career goals to work as a licensed engineer for an agency that promotes the protection of the natural environment.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office