"I love working for FDA mostly because of its mission to protect and promote public health, including the health and wellbeing of its employees."
-- David Arvelo, Health Communications Specialist, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Dallas Field Office
Q: How did your career begin at FDA?
David Arvelo: My FDA career started in the summer of 1990 in the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA), Dallas District Office (DAL-DO), Laboratory Branch, Pesticides Residue Laboratory, working as a chemist. I performed a lot of sample prep and extractions for pesticide residue analysis. However, my specialty was high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis of paraquat and diquat (herbicides) residues in fresh produce.
I’ve always had an aptitude for writing and communications. I also have an insatiable appetite for learning. My first detail in FDA was as management and program analyst in DAL-DO’s Administrative Branch. It was a good fit, so I applied for the permanent position and got it. I served in that capacity for 7 years. During that time, I managed the district’s intranet website, assumed the role of HIV/AIDS health fraud coordinator for the district, and held several brown bag lunch-and-learn trainings on using Microsoft Office products to make work easier, among other tasks and projects related to communications. I later became the small business representative (consumer safety officer) for the Southwest Region. In addition to answering small business inquiries, I presented in workshops, seminars, and other events geared toward small businesses regulated by FDA. I also organized FDA workshops for small businesses. I served in that position for 12 years until I laterally transferred to my current role, where I answer stakeholder inquiries, perform outreach, and assist ORA with internal communications.
Q: What are you most proud of in terms of your work at FDA?
DA: I am very proud of the consumer and industry outreach I perform as part of my duties in ORA. I hope my work results in more well-informed consumers and more compliant and innovative FDA-regulated products in the U.S. market.
Q: What advice would you give to an FDA job seeker?
DA: FDA jobs may not pay as much as private industry, but the employee benefits and the mission of the agency are far more rewarding.
Q: When you're not at work, what is your favorite way to unwind?
DA: I love running with my husband, reading, and watching movies.