IEM Spotlight: Carlos J. Ruiz Acevedo, PE
IEM Puerto Rico
Where did you grow up in Puerto Rico?
I grew up in Aguada, PR on the west side of the island.
How were you and your family impacted by the 2017 Hurricanes?
All Puerto Rico residents were impacted in one way or the other by hurricanes Irma and María. My family and I were fortunate and did not experience major property or physical damage as a lot of Puerto Ricans did. However, for the first time in our lives we felt a loss of control and everything we usually take for granted was gone. We know though that is nothing compared to what most Puerto Ricans suffered and lost.
What’s do you do for IEM Puerto Rico?
I was hired as the Operations Manager for IEM Puerto Rico supporting the R3 (Repair, Reconstruction, and Relocation) Program of the Puerto Rico Department of Housing using CDBG-DR funds. As Operations Manager, I am responsible for daily field operations and ensuring that they are performed in an efficient manner. I oversee logistics management, performance standards, safety policies, and procedures to ensure alignment with the program’s goals and objectives. I also direct human resources and management activities on the operational side of the program, to include staffing needed to accomplish operational tasks.
What led you to IEM and what do you like best about working with the IEM Team?
After working with FEMA for 13 months, I learned about HUD CBDG-DR funded programs, and as an engineer was interested in being part of this phase of the island’s reconstruction. I started searching for companies that were going to be part of CDBG-DR programs for open positions that fit my skillset and I found IEM.
I enjoy the IEM Team and the energy and effort that team member dedicate to each task assigned to them. Also, I like that the IEM team is pushing forward to make things happen so hurricane survivors, or applicants as they are called in the program, are able to move into their safer, more resilient homes as soon as possible.
What led you to emergency management?
I was drawn to the opportunity to assist my people in a time of so much need and despair. My heart really led me to the emergency management field – using my knowledge and skills to help with the issues facing the island.
What do you feel is the most promising part of rebuilding Puerto Rico?
For me, the most promising part of the rebuilding process is the opportunity to create safer, more resilient homes and infrastructure to ensure that in future events our people do not go through the same suffering and lack of resources we went through with the events on 2017.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend my free time with my family. I am a married father of two – a 12 years old boy and a 14 years old girl. Both are involved in a lot of daily activities, and my wife and I enjoy spending quality time with us all together.
Your favorite childhood memory?
It is hard to pick just one thing. I had a very happy childhood – full of good experiences and learned a lot from the bad ones. I grew up in a tight knit family environment with a lot of love and understanding around me. All that I am now I owe it to my childhood experiences and a special thanks to my parents. So I have to say that ALL of my childhood memories are my favorite: playing competitive basketball, family trips, playing outside with friends in my neighborhood, working at the family business, etc. Remembering my childhood, growing up on Puerto Rico, always brings a smile to my face.