Former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee Rodrigo Aviles, who recently began a new position with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), shares how his family has been there for him during his 20-year career at DHS.
I was proud to work as a member of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for nearly 21 years, the last 4 as a Transportation Security Inspector in the Tampa Bay Area. My family has been a constant source of support and inspiration throughout my career. My father and two uncles, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, instilled in me a strong sense of duty, honor, and sacrifice. Their service to our country inspired me to pursue a career in public service, and their guidance has been invaluable in my work at DHS.
My wife and stepsons have also been significant sources of inspiration for me. Our eldest served part-time as a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) while also serving in the Florida Army National Guard. Our youngest is currently in the U.S. Navy Basic Training program in Great Lakes, IL, and I am incredibly proud of his decision to serve our country. My nephew, who recently became a full-time TSO, has also been a source of support and encouragement.
In addition to my work with TSA, I have also had the opportunity to serve as a member of the Transportation Security Advance Team (TSAT). In 2012, I was part of a deployment to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in their efforts to manage the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a natural disaster that hit the tri-state area.
More recently, in 2021, I was deployed as a member of the DHS Volunteer Force to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in El Paso, TX. Our mission was to support CBP's efforts to secure the southern border, and it was an honor to serve alongside my fellow DHS colleagues in this important endeavor.
Through it all, my family has been there for me, offering words of encouragement, support, and a listening ear. Their unwavering love and faith in me have kept me going through some of the most challenging times in my career. I am grateful for their support and for the opportunity to serve my country as a member of the DHS community.
Secretary Mayorkas has been proud of the DHS families who supported our workforce and said that "when we serve, the family serves alongside." To me, this means that the work I do at DHS is not just a job, but a shared commitment and responsibility with my family. Their support has been critical to my success, from encouraging me to pursue a career in public service to being there for me during the long hours and demanding assignments.
After nearly 21 years of dedicated service with TSA, I recently accepted a reassignment to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in Boston, MA, as a Chemical Security Inspector. This new opportunity presented both professional and personal growth, and I was grateful for my family's support throughout the application and interview process. While the move would bring new challenges, I knew that I could count on them to continue to be there for me every step of the way.
Whether it is helping me pack and move, providing emotional support, or simply being a sounding board when I need to talk through a problem, their support is invaluable to me. I am proud to be part of a family that values public service and understands the importance of making sacrifices to support that mission.