Teachers & Leaders
IDEA Operations Staff Spotlight: Carlos De La Pena
Carlos De La Pena is the Sr. Facilities Manager at IDEA Brownsville and is committed to great service as well as keeping every student on his campus safe. Beginning his journey with IDEA 10 years ago, Carlos started as a purchasing clerk and steadily climbed the leadership ladder.
Now, education is the new challenge Carlos would like to take on. Following his daily routine of campus safety, Carlos expands his education in the evenings with IDEA-U. Read more to find out more about Carlos and his road to success with IDEA.
Where did you grow up / have you always been part of the Brownsville Community?
My family migrated to the US in 1972, and I have lived in Brownsville since 1974, in a neighborhood behind UTB / Texas Southmost College. I attended Cromack Elementary in 1973, Gonzales elementary in 1975, Central Jr High, and Homer Hanna High School. I also started the first Whataburger in Brownsville in 1980 before we had the 24-hour service, and we closed at 11:30 pm.
How long have you been with IDEA and why did you choose IDEA?
I started at IDEA in 2008 as a purchasing clerk. My responsibility was to purchase everything the campuses needed, from office supplies to electronics and all in between. I also expedited the purchase orders, to make sure we received them on time and on budget. During my first three years at IDEA, we organized monthly activities where employees would get together with their families, usually on the weekends. Depending on the month: February, Valentine’s Day party; March, spring break party. May, Mother’s Day activity and so on. My wife and I organized the summer Beach parties in June at South Padre Island. We truly love the Team & Family culture and connection at IDEA.
How does your role contribute to the student environment?
My responsibility is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the teacher to teach and the student to learn. My team works hard and diligently to maintain an environment free of obstacles that may impede the teacher from performing his/her best. By maintaining the campus free of potential hazards and keeping up with the cleaning and sanitizing duties, we are able to provide a safe, clean environment.
Take me through a day of a Sr. Facilities Manager (What responsibilities does this entail?)
At 6:20 a.m. I arrive at the campus. I walk around the campus making sure all is well. I check on the air conditioners to make sure they are working. I have morning traffic duty in the lobby, greeting students and teachers and a few parents.
We have a group huddle at 8:30 a.m. This is when I tell the Operations group what my plans are for the day. At 10:45 a.m. starts the favorite part of my job; cafeteria duty. I interact with Academy students and also keeping an eye on them - this runs until 12:15 pm.
By 3:45 pm it is traffic duty – student release time. At 4:10 I leave my school to attend IDEA-U where I am still trying to better myself educationally.
What was your journey (work experience) like to get to Sr. FM?
IDEA teaches that you have to work hard and commit to your work by giving 100% every day and sweating the small stuff. It is demanding and challenging, but I am fortunate to work with a fine group of Facilities Managers that are not shy in offering their input and feedback. Customer Service is my motto. I serve the way I like to be served. Also, we have a close knit group of Operations personnel that assist in making my job enjoyable.
You mentioned you are attending IDEA-U, that is great! What are your goals for your education?
IDEA-U has been wonderful for me – they are very helpful. They provide all kinds of help which is what I need as I go back to school at 58-years-old.
My goal is to get my degree in Business Administration and I’m about halfway through towards my goal. My plan is not to leave, but to grow with IDEA as an Assistant Principal of Operations after I receive my degree.
This is the best job that I have ever had, and I get to work with such fine people, especially here at IDEA Brownsville - we are just a great team.
What is your proudest moment as an IDEA Sr. FM?
My proudest moment is when my phone stops ringing. YES!!! If nobody is calling me, it means I am doing my job well. Of course, when it rings, it also makes me feel special because my campus needs me.