I am Mission Success: Laura Valdez
Take five minutes and learn about CNS’s Laura Valdez, Quality Projects and Programs. “I am mission success” profiles share how each employee feels tied to the Pantex and/or Y‑12 mission. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.
Laura Valdez, Quality Projects and Programs.
With 27 years of experience at Pantex, Laura Valdez has a passion for doing things well. This has made her job in Quality Projects and Programs the perfect fit for the last ten years.
“I enjoy instilling quality in our mission. Even more satisfying is witnessing the same passion in others for quality and for making sure what we do is the right thing and for the right reasons,” she said.
Laura graduated from Caprock High School in Amarillo, Texas and never dreamed she’d be working at Pantex. Attending West Texas A&M University, Laura earned both undergraduate and masters degrees in accounting. She began working at Pantex as a budget analyst. Since then, she has worked in Projects, Program Management, and now Quality. The experience and knowledge gained from each area has paved a path to her passion for what we do at Pantex and for doing what is right.
What is your favorite aspect about your work environment? How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met?
The role I am in now is very gratifying because Quality touches every aspect of what we do at both sites. I have the opportunity to work with many different organizations and processes. I’m also in a position to affect change, whether it’s from a continuous improvement perspective or responding to an issue. I view our role as the conscience of the company, which carries with it a great responsibility to ensure not only that we meet our mission, but that we do it right.
Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult?
No. I knew I wanted to be an accountant from an early age; and, at the time, never saw myself as doing anything else. The significance of what we do at Pantex means so much more to me now than when I was younger or even when I first started working here.
Although my education is in accounting, I have been able to move into positions that helped me grow and learn. I never would have thought I’d be doing what I do now. I’ve been in this position for ten years, the longest I’ve been in any position here.
As an employee, what do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a person who isn’t afraid to speak up for what is right. Those who know me know that I speak my mind; and, when I do, it’s always from a good place. I’ve seen what can happen if someone doesn’t speak up, and I don’t want to be the one who stood by and let something happen because I said nothing. I am that way at work and at home.
I am also someone who will volunteer where I see a need and have a hard time saying no when asked to help. I hope I am remembered as a person who helps others.
What work advice would you offer someone who is new to Pantex or Y-12?
Don’t hesitate to offer suggestions for improvement. Ask questions. A new set of eyes and perspective on processes are an important aspect of a learning organization.
Another bit of advice that I feel strongly about is to learn as much as you can about different functions at work. Don’t limit yourself or hesitate to try something new. Pantex is a great place to do that, because you have the opportunity to move into other positions and build on your experience and knowledge base. It can be very rewarding personally, especially as it increases your contribution to the organization and our success.
What’s your favorite outside-of-work activity?
I spend a lot of time with my family. My husband, Jason, and I have been married for 21 years and have two children. Madison is 13 and Alex is 16. I enjoy being involved in their school and sport activities. I recently coached my daughter’s club volleyball team and will be helping coach her team at Holy Cross Catholic Academy this year.