Jeanie Gueretta, management analyst and contracting officer’s representative with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management, brought 40 years of federal government service to a close with her retirement in Grand Junction, Colorado, on July 29, 2022.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to work for LM and with amazing federal and contractor colleagues who have been dedicated, hardworking, and supportive,” she said. “Thank you for making my time with LM fulfilling and memorable. DOE will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always be with you in spirit — cheering you on.”
Gueretta, who worked for LM during its entire 19-year existence, started her federal career in 1982 while a 17-year-old senior in high school with the Social Security Administration in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“I was a data transcriber keying in data from employer W-2 forms,” she said. “I transferred to DOE in 1985 and worked at the Albuquerque Operations Office for about 10 years, then transferred to the Grand Junction Projects Office in Colorado in 1995.”
In 2003, DOE designated the Grand Junction Office to become part of the new Office of Legacy Management program office.
“Since I was at the Grand Junction Office, I went with the flow as we became part of the new LM organization,” Gueretta said. “I’m proud that I had the opportunity to work with such great people. My coworkers are dedicated, and we have a strong organization with outstanding leaders and hardworking staff.”
She started with LM as a records manager up until 2017, then took on the role as a management analyst and the contracting officer’s representative for the LM Support Services contract.
High among the memorable experiences she had with LM was participating with the transition team for the Rocky Flats Site near Denver that transferred to LM as a long-term surveillance and maintenance site.
“Rocky Flats went through site cleanup and closure and was the first major DOE site to go through environmental remediation and closure and transition to LM,” she said. “It was exciting to be part of a team that was figuring out how to make the site transition successful.”
Gueretta led the Business and Administration functions transition to LM, which included a very large records collection and information technology systems and data. She helped develop a scoping checklist to track almost 500 tasks that needed to be accomplished by staff from different organizations.
“It was such a great tool that I used a similar version to track about 300 tasks last year when we completed the latest LM Support Services contract transition,” she said.
She said she was also very proud of helping develop a robust LM records management program, which was based on the existing Grand Junction Office records system. In 2000, the Grand Junction Office received the Blaine Hardesty Award from the National Archives and Records Administration in recognition of records management excellence. She said the work put into the Grand Junction Office records management program set the foundation for an even stronger LM records management program.
“I’m really proud of helping develop our great records program as our records collection continues to grow with each new long-term surveillance and maintenance site transition.” she said. “The program ensures that our nation’s history is preserved and that we are able to tell our story to future generations. Out dedicated records management staff ensure that we can respond to the numerous records requests from stakeholders received each year.”
Reflecting on her career, she said she held several positions at the Albuquerque Office, starting as a clerk-typist in the Transportation Safeguards Division, secretary in the Budget and Resources Management Division, emergency programs assistant in the Weapons Emergency Management Division, and then secretary for the deputy manager and manager.
She said she really enjoyed serving in the Weapons Emergency Management Division, where she participated in training exercises to prepare to handle weapons-related emergencies domestically and abroad. Her teams included DOE federal and contractor employees from throughout the DOE complex, other agencies including the military, and other government entities. Her adventures with emergency management sent her on exercises at the Seneca Army Depot in upstate New York and working with the British Royal Air Force and Italian government during an exercise in Vicenza, Italy. She was deployed twice to Florida for the Galileo and Ulysses space probes space shuttle launches.
“I also had the opportunity to observe DOE activities at the headquarters level while on detail at the Forrestal Building in Washington, D.C., supporting the startup of the Office of Environmental Management in 1989 and the Office of Field Management in 1994, “she said. “Working with these two new DOE program offices helped give me a perspective of agency workings at the headquarters level and the field level.”
Gueretta started as an administrative specialist in Grand Junction. From 1995 to 2003, she performed various administrative functions supporting the federal staff, including human resources liaison, training coordinator, records manager, and information technology coordinator. She was also responsible for overseeing contractor activities in records management, information technology, training, document management, graphics, and technical library and mailroom services.
Over the years she worked her way up from entry level to management positions, all the while raising her three sons with her husband Rick. She had started college after high school, she said, but marriage, a new job in Grand Junction, and then kids came along, so she took a break.
“Years later, I decided to go back to school because I felt that I needed to complete my degree and wanted to set an example for my sons on the importance of finishing what you start,” she said. “It was challenging being a wife and mother and working full-time, while also going to school full-time, but it was worth it. I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I walked in the commencement ceremony in Colorado Springs with my husband and sons cheering me on.”
“My advice to my sons has been to get your college degree while you’re young and try not to take a break, because it will be harder to get back into the school mindset later and you might have to retake classes like I had to do,” she said. “I think they listened. Antonio graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2020 with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Gabe graduated from Colorado Mesa University this year with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Anthropology and Geography with minors in Archaeology and GIS. And Nick is a senior at CMU majoring in Criminal Justice.”
She said she likes to do arts and crafts projects, like painting, making jewelry, hand-dyeing fabrics, and quilting and is looking forward to having more time to spend on hobbies.
“I’m a believer in continuous learning and that there are always opportunities for growth” she said. “In July, I started a 10-month Colson Fellows Program course on Christian theology, faith, and worldview as it relates to current culture. So far, it’s been really interesting, with students in my class from several states, and I’m looking forward to learning and personal growth as I complete the program.”
As a last hurrah at the GJO, Gueretta’s friends and longtime colleagues threw a party in her honor on July 21. LM Director Carmelo Melendez presented Gueretta with a plaque for her decades of service and Paul Kerl, LM Team Leader, presented a U.S. flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Many LM leaders attended, either in person or virtually, to sing Gueretta’s praises. The showstopper came when Gueretta’s son, Antonio, attending virtually, shared a heartfelt message with his mom.
“Thank you for all you’ve done for our family, holding down a career and chasing three boys around,” he said. “I just want to say how proud I am. I love you, mom.”
“Wow, that’s a hard one to follow,” quipped LM Deputy Director Peter O’Konski as Jeanie’s friends laughed, beaming at her through glistening eyes.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” LM Director Carmelo Melendez said to more laughs.
O’Konski, who attended the party virtually, was one of a handful of longtime colleagues to praise Gueretta’s professionalism.
“You really are the model of what we want people to be in federal service,” he said.