About Joe Alvarez
Joe Alvarez, an engineering equipment operator, has been a maintenance worker at San Andres National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico since 2019. For 11 years before that he worked at the International Boundary and Water Commission.
What he loves about the job:
“The support I get from my fellow wage-grade workers assigned to other national wildlife refuges.”
What’s most interesting and rewarding about it:
“Seeing all the wildlife and beauty of the refuge and knowing that I have a huge role in maintaining it for future generations. All the road work, repairs to water catchments and drinkers, erosion control, etc., is done not only for Fish and Wildlife Service purposes but also for biologists or botanists from other agencies wanting to do studies on the refuge. All of that makes me feel really good.”
What’s most challenging about it:
“Getting used to the agency’s different policies and requirements.”
Skills you must have to succeed at it:
“Problem-solving. A lot of the time you have to come up with a solution on your own. Second would be confidence in your ability to handle any situation when working with heavy equipment or in general maintenance. Third would be willingness to work with others as a team.”
Animal he identifies with:
“Grizzly bear. Because I don't mind being by myself, and I am a huge fan of wild game meat.”
To find available refuge maintenance-related jobs, go to USAJobs.gov. Search “WG-3502,” “WG-4749,” “WG-5716,” “laborer,” “maintenance,” “maintenance mechanic” and/or “engineering equipment operator.” Filter by “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” or “Department of the Interior.” Standards and experience requirements vary with specific positions. Details about job standards.