Hispanic Heritage Month: Dennis Guadarrama

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  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the commemoration into law to recognize the significant contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States and the Air Force.

The theme for this year's celebration is, “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.”  The theme encourages the nation to ensure that all voices are represented and welcomed to help build stronger communities and a stronger United States.

Meet Dennis Guadarrama, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s director of  strategic acquisition and category management in San Antonio.  He shares his experience as a civilian in the federal government and what Hispanic Heritage Month means to him.  

Here’s more from Guadarrama:

How do you support AFIMSC and the Air Force?  
I have served the Air Force as a civilian for over 33 years in numerous leadership roles. In my current position, I consistently evaluate current and future civil engineer requirements to ensure the proper contract vehicles are in place to execute a myriad of standard and complex projects.  In concert with strategic acquisition, the division leads the Air Force and Department of Defense in development and application of category management principles where the service applies private sector business approaches focusing on spend and demand management.  

What does this month’s commemoration mean to you?  
In one word, ”legacy.”  Born and raised just “across the tracks” from AFCEC headquarters, my father worked as a B-52 mechanic at Kelly Air Force Base for over 30 years. He also served along with the other 350,000 Mexican-Americans in World War II in the European theater. 

During my senior year in high school, I was fortunate to meet and have lunch with the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzales where we discussed future leadership opportunities for Hispanics. That conversation left an impression and began my journey to obtain a college degree although high school counselors recommended trade schools for students in my community.   

I am the first college graduate in my family where obtaining my civil engineering degree and master’s degrees provided examples to my two children who are now starting their own professional careers in marketing and internal medicine.  

I have had the opportunity to serve with superb Air Force leaders who mentor, coach and sometimes just listen. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in several leadership positions and see other Hispanics be offered these opportunities. It has been a privilege to sponsor science technology engineering and math events and be the guest speaker at career days promoting engineering to minorities