Meet Stacey Pacheco: FIRST female Heavy Equipment Safety Instructor
Shout out to Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge’s Administrative Officer Stacey Pacheco who recently received her certification as a Heavy Equipment Safety Instructor. Stacey is the FIRST female in the Service to have achieved this certification and she will go a long way to support the science in the field with her behind-the-scene’s hard-driving work and devotion!
Stacey came with a Class A commercial driver’s license and a truck driving career when she started to work as office assistant in the Northeast regional office in April 1989.
“I started off assisting Teri Nehart in the RO with the Wage Grade workshop in 1991 and three years later when it was time to start planning again, Teri was too busy so that is how I became the lead. Then when I took the job at Conte, I told Andy (French, refuge manager) in my interview that it was a must that I continue to coordinate. He agreed.” The workshops are held every three years throughout the Northeast; so while she crunched budget numbers and supported the refuge staff she got to loving the virtual “maintenance shop” experience standing up these workshops and hanging with the guys who moved earth and maintained FWS buildings and land across the nation.
Stacey started working at the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge office in 1997.
“I love the policy and procedures kind of work so I can support the guys on the ground, but also know how happy I am in the maintenance world.” Stacey looked at me and said, “So, why not do both!”
With a huge smile and a glimmer of pride, Stacey called out those who have made a difference for her. “ I am so fortunate to have the support of Andy French as I love a variety of tasks – doing budgets part of the day and then out on heavy equipment too…it’s pretty great! “ She considers both John Blitch, National Heavy Equipment Coordinator and Bill Starke, John’s counterpart in the Northeast regional office her “mentors.” They are all gearing up for a Wage Grade Workshop (Fall 2016) and Stacey will instruct as well.
Bill mentioned in observation of her attending the “Training the Trainer” workshop in Nevada: “She had no problem as the only female of the bunch and the men had no issue with it either. I think that acceptance is a positive reflection on these FWS employees and of the whole Service.”
Two years of hard core training was part of her certification which included a design and delivery course in Texas and a “Training the Trainer” workshop in Nevada. She will train or shadow a trainer twice a year to stay certified so proximity to equipment at the Refuge and a few seasonal employees as students will give her some good experience.
Stacey has taken the bulldozer by the horn and is thinking of future dreams; she would love to become the assistant to the Regional or National Heavy Equipment Coordinator and with her “metal to the pedal” she will likely achieve her goals. Congratulations on all your achievements!