This is part of our series profiling Agency officers in various positions throughout the Agency. We talk with them about their daily challenges and rewards, as well as some exceptional moments. CIA.gov recently sat down with a Field Utility Systems Specialist to learn more about his journey to the CIA and his experiences here.
A small country town electrician thinks, “How did I end up here?”
I come from a long line of blue collar workers. Everything from Hog Butchers, to Electricians, farmers, mechanics, etc. I chose an electrical apprenticeship out of high school because college wasn’t generally anything my family did, and my dad would always say “learn to do something that people will always need.” Who doesn’t or wouldn’t need electricity, right?
After I finished my apprenticeship, I ended up working for a contractor that had an overseas construction contract with the US Government. One day I woke up to find that the company I was working for had lost the contract. I knew I had to find something more secure for myself and my family’s future. I got online and started applying for jobs in every government agency I could think of that had a three-letter acronym. Most wanted a bachelor’s degree or more, but I was a tradesman. I never went to college. I went to a four year trade school to learn my craft. Out of all the applications I submitted, the only one that believed that my trade school and work experience was as good as a degree was the Central Intelligence Agency.
Who would have thought that the CIA could use an electrician from a small town? The only stuff I knew about the CIA was the stuff I saw on TV or in the movies, and I never once saw an electrician in those shows. I wasn’t looking for a job, I was looking for a career and I had finally found it. I made it through the application process and started my employment with the CIA.
Fast forward a few years later and I found myself overseas heading out to a compound to try to fix an electrical safety issue because I was told that “our officers are getting the stuffing knocked out of them every time they touch this thing.” I showed up, tool bag in hand, and when I arrived I was surrounded by good, hard working people that had tons of electrical issues they were hoping I could help them with. I was able to fix the original issue pretty quickly and since I had some time until my ride came to get me the next day, I started working on the other problems they had. I fixed lighting circuits, camera systems, grounding issues, you name it. If it was an electrical issue, this place had it, and I was the only electrician for hundreds of miles. The next day, I was sitting with these officers eating breakfast. They were ecstatic that I was able to correct so many problems. I of course was just happy that I was able to support their important mission. As I sat there listening to the chit chat and enjoying my breakfast it sort of hit me, WOW, how did I end up here? How did a blue collar “regular guy” electrician from a small country town end up here, helping protect America with the CIA?
The CIA needs Electricians, HVAC Mechanics, and Diesel Mechanics just like any other agency or private business would. In fact, I think you would have a hard time naming a job that the CIA doesn’t have a use for. I am grateful every day that the CIA gave me the opportunity to serve my country in my own little way, and I would encourage anyone looking to give back to their country to come and apply for this amazing organization. If you have the skills, the CIA has the need for them.
For more information on the Field Utility Systems Specialist position featured in this story, click here.
Related positions that you might be interested in learning about are the Field IT Technician and the Field IT Systems Administrator.
Or visit CIA.gov/Careers and try our Job Fit Tool to help you explore what positions at CIA are most suited to your education, background, experiences and interests.