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Profiles of Hispanics at EPA: Sally Gutiérrez

Profiles of Hispanics at EPA


photo of Sally Gutiérrez

Sally Gutiérrez, Acting Director
Water Permits Division
Office of Wastewater Management
Office of Water
Washington, DC

Question: Where were you born?

Sally Gutiérrez: Houston, Texas.

Question: Where did you go to college? What was your major?

Sally Gutiérrez: I went to the University of Houston for my undergraduate degree. I majored in dietetics and human nutrition for undergraduate and pursued an advanced degree to improve my knowledge and skills in environmental science.

Question: What brought you to EPA?

Sally Gutiérrez: It was a strategic decision to come to EPA.  Given my experience at the state level on water issues, I was very motivated to work on national water issues, and EPA was "the" place to pursue that goal.

Question: What kind of work do you do at EPA?

Sally Gutiérrez: I've been with EPA for nearly 20 years now. I am currently serving as the Acting Director of the Water Permits Division in the Office of Wastewater Management. In this capacity, I oversee the wastewater permitting program for the US. It is really interesting to work with such a broad range of stakeholders including municipal and industrial users, animal agriculture and many others. I am so lucky to work with such a great staff and to have many partners in the work across all of the Regions and here in headquarters. My home office is the Office of Research and Development.

Question: What message would you like to send young Latinos who are considering going to college?

Sally Gutiérrez: There is a global movement to convert to green, knowledge-based economies.  This conversion will require highly skilled scientific workers.  Those who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math will be in high demand.  It's a terrific career choice. In terms of words of wisdom, I urge young Latinos and other youth to never sell themselves short or doubt the importance of their views and contributions. 

You need to continue to build on your education and, more importantly, don't forget that you need to develop important workplace skills beyond just your technical skills. Your professional expertise and technical knowhow will help you move up in organizations. But other workplace skills such as learning how to influence, advocate for your position, deliver exceptional results on budget and time, and effectively adapt to any agency's culture are the keys to your success. 

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