Interview with Carmelo Melendez

Carmelo Melendez

Program Office Director of the Office of Legacy Management, U.S. Department of Energy

GW-CEPL, Senior Leader Program Alumnus

Please share what led you to public service and the Department of Energy?
I come from a family where public and military service was a family ethos. After 20 plus years in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps, I looked for another way to give back to the public in a meaningful way while addressing the issues of our time. National security and energy rose to the surface and I was competitively selected for a position with the Department of Energy.

Why did you choose the Senior Leader Program (SLP) at The George Washington University, Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (GW-CEPL)?
I looked at different programs that provided instruction of the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) and that offered qualities to folks who have senior leadership potential.  After looking at several programs, I was pleasantly surprised at how succinct and well-run the SLP at GW-CEPL was.  The reputation of the University as well as the proximity to my work and family added to the decision.  I am also an alumnus of GW.

Did this program challenge you? What tools did the program provide you with?
SLP was challenging in the sense that it opened up my aperture to look at things differently in regard to leading change and strategic planning.  The program instructions and methodology linked well with current issues, including the historical contextual perspectives.

How have you used the SLP to progress in your career?  Has your attendance in the SLP benefited your agency?
SLP introduced me to look at things differently, to be able to interact differently with other executives and staff – producing results that add value to the agency. 

Is there an example of a specific leadership challenge where the SLP benefited?
SLP prepared me for navigating the dynamics of changing leadership and being able to assist that leadership to be successful with management agendas, and transition those new leaders and management agendas into assuming a new role.

What did you enjoy and appreciate the most about SLP?
I enjoyed the well-structured program and the inclusion of Jared Peatman and his interpretation and adaptation of historical figures within the ECQs' framework.  This brought interesting and identifiable ways of seeing that challenges can be overcome and how the people before us overcame them using these skills

Is there anything that you would like to add?
I hope to be able to sponsor co-workers to attend the GW-CEPL,SLP program as well.