U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
FHWA Works: Careers in Motion
FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Agnes R. Vélez
Full Name: Agnes R. Vélez
Title: Transportation Specialist
Division/Department: Office of International Programs
Location: Washington, DC
What is your typical workday like?
My typical workday starts with a review of my list of things to do crafted the night before. (On a good day, I get to cross out half of them.) With half the world ahead of us, a typical day may feature a meeting or conference call with our Japanese partners including the Intelligent Transportation System – Joint Program Office-based Research Fellow; a meeting or conference call to discuss the U.S. participation in the World Road Association; an exchange of e-mails with two or three different international partners; writing a briefing or issue paper on an international matter for FHWA Administrator's or Transportation Secretary's office; a meeting, conference call, or e-mail communication on the Hispanics in Transportation initiatives....in summary, a lot of communicating, both orally and in writing.
What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
My biggest accomplishment over the last year was to prepare our new Executive Director transition into his position as the U.S. First Delegate to the World Road Association (WRA) and to get him elected to the WRA’s Executive Committee. As an elected member of the Executive Committee, the Executive Director will be part of the group leading the Association’s policy direction for 4 years beginning in January 2017. As the U.S. First Delegate to the WRA, the Executive Director has the final authority to determine U.S. policy positions within the WRA and on how to cast the votes on any given issue.
Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
A few years prior to joining the agency I was briefly involved in local politics in what was a most interesting and unusual professional experience. Days and nights were very long and I never knew what to expect, yet it was a dynamic environment where I met hundreds of people from all sorts of life. For example, as the party's Undersecretary, I visited all 78 counties in a period of 18 months. I would speak in front of dozens of people to present on the party's program, but could also be faced with thousands while introducing the candidates. Fortunately, I was never afraid of speaking in public, but still, that required a lot of energy and preparation.
What are your hobbies in your spare time?
I love reading and exercising, but my true passions are baseball and dancing. I don't play baseball, but I try to catch a Nats game as often as I can. I also watch them on TV and even listen to the games on radio! As for dancing, Latin Rhythms are my favorite and I go out dancing at least once a month.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
One of the lessons that have served me well is to stay positive and engaged, even in the midst of challenges and difficulties. To do this is important that you take your career in your own hands. For example: if training funds are not available, ask to be involved in a project where you can learn something new or meet people you have not worked with before. Take calculated risks and volunteer to take on projects, tasks, and assignments even if outside your comfort zone; it pays off in the long run.
Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
I don't follow social media. As social and extroverted as I am, I value my privacy, and try to stay away from social media in any shape or form. Had it not been for work and on-line shopping, I would not have an "on-line" presence.
Careers in Motion Home
Page last modified on December 8, 2016.