Ricardo was hired by GDIT mid-way through his masters degree. He relocated his family from Massachusetts to Louisiana for the opportunity to bring his technology skills to government agencies. He started as a Software Developer and has progressed through a number of projects and roles in just three years. He’s even begun his Ph.D. with the support of GDIT.
I look at IT and tech as the gateway to my accessibility. As technology grows, my accessibility grows and it’s directly linked to my career.
Making technology our advantage. My team owns it.
My team is part of the Great Lakes National Program Office, which provides scientific research to the Great Lakes area. I work on applications that are crucial to scientists gathering, presenting, and analyzing data. We manage the backbone of the applications and data flows they use.
The programs we support are helping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mitigate some of the pollution that’s happened over the years. The data they’re collecting show the benefits of remediation projects that have been done by the EPA.
Sometimes in tech you might work with something that is just numbers and has no real meaning. I’m fortunate to work with datasets I can look at that are interesting and tangible. I know it’s making a difference.
Bringing expertise to customers and the company.
I lost my vision in my thirties so I’ve kind of grown along with accessibility in tech. I’m a subject matter expert in 508 Compliance and Accessibility so besides the work I do for my customer, I’ve also been a part of internal GDIT teams focused on improving accessibility for myself and other employees who rely on accessible features.
I helped GDIT roll out a new time system to improve the program’s accessibility. I worked with program stakeholders to provide testing of the tool so that when the time system went live, it facilitated an accessible version. It’s rewarding to work on projects that I know not only affects me directly, but it’s also improving other people’s ability to interact with systems.
Moving for the mission.
I spent most of my life in Massachusetts so it was a leap to accept a job that was 1,600 miles away. Thankfully, GDIT helped us through the transition. I came down to Louisiana with my service animal while my wife and daughter finished everything in Massachusetts. That four months of being away from them was challenging, but it allowed me to really focus on my job, meeting my team, and getting settled. GDIT’s relocation package helped us move without any financial burden and we have a better quality of life now than we did before.
Being a part of the team.
We recently had a run at work day for our whole office. They made it really inclusive so I could participate with Puck, my service animal. People may not know me, but they know Puck! He’s famous around here.
We joined the festivities and they even gave Puck a shirt. We did about three miles and it was great to be part of something that somebody might think is difficult to do in the case of visual impairment. I really appreciate that the people I work with made us feel included.