Our nation's strength comes from the diversity of its people.
In celebration of the culture and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Spain, Sound Transit recognizes Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as Latinx Heritage Month.
Our Latinx in Transportation (LIT) employee group is hosting or sponsoring many events this month in collaboration with King County Metro and Seattle Department of Transportation - from trivia to poetry readings to a virtual gala and more.
For Valerie Valero, a senior civil engineer at Sound Transit, it's a "time to celebrate the history, cultures, and contributions from Latin countries."
"For me, this month I get to share my own personal experiences and Mexican customs with my co-workers," she said. "The many events that we hold through the LIT group helps keep many of my traditions alive - such as Dia De Los Muertos."
Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) is a two-day Mexican holiday (Nov. 1 & 2) for celebrating the lives of beloved family members.
Valero has worked at Sound Transit for about three years, joining the agency after moving from Texas, where she worked for the Texas Department of Transportation as a transportation engineer.
She's an experienced engineer and an avid hiker who loves spending time with family, as "family is a big part of my culture."
Now, on to the questions!
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: I’m always excited to explain to them what I do for work, which is Senior Civil Engineer for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension and Operations and Maintenance Facility South. I provide engineering support through the design phase by managing project agreements, coordinating with third party agencies and managing the efforts of consultants. Many of my friends have no clue what this means, so I typically just explain to them how great Sound Transit is and what transportation services we provide to the public and how we are expanding.
Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?
A: Spending time with family and friends, swimming and hiking!
Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit?
A: It all started while I was on vacation in 2018. I was visiting a friend that had moved to Seattle, while touring the city I found myself standing at (what I know now as) University Street Station. I was looking around since this was the first time using this mode of transportation, when I found myself intrigued of how the whole system operates. The engineer inside me started looking at the design and construction of Link light rail. As I was asking myself what company design this system, a light rail vehicle entered the station and it read "Sound Transit." As I boarded, I was already researching Sound Transit and what career opportunities existed in the organization for civil engineers.
Q: How do you get to work?
A: I work remotely primarily, but when I come into the office I use a combination of bus and light rail.
Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?
A: Solar powered satellite phone, 15 seasons of ER and a fully staffed yacht.