Editor’s note: In our “I Am DOL” series, we’re highlighting employees who work in a wide range of roles at the Department of Labor but who all share a passion for public service. Stay tuned for more stories, and explore current job openings at the department today.
As a third-generation miner, Nicholas Gutierrez understands the unique challenges — and rewards — associated with working in the mining industry.
Before joining the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Gutierrez spent 11 years working in multiple mines and experienced a tragedy that brought the importance of mine safety close to home: One of his own family members suffered a fatal mining accident.
“That was very significant for me, and [I] saw the ripple effects of what that causes for a family… financially, emotionally, you just name it. It just has such a negative impact.”
It was these experiences, Gutierrez says, that led him to pursue a career at MSHA. And since joining the department, he’s been promoted from a safety specialist to his current role as an assistant district manager.
“I utilize that [tragedy] as fuel to continue to allow me to be driven and committed to understanding what miners are doing on a daily basis. The work we do contributes to the health safety of our miners… I know it makes a difference in lives. There’s no better reward than understanding that what you do ensures that people home to their families.”
Gutierrez says federal service has also benefited his own family, and that he’s thankful for the opportunities, benefits and flexibility his work at MSHA provides.
“Through the Department of Labor and the Mine Safety Health Administration, there’s a world of opportunity across the nation. You know there’s someone counting on you to do your work — that’s what makes working for MSHA [so] fulfilling.”