Blog Post:

Employee Spotlight: Meet Vance Higa

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At Amentum, we celebrate our people, our cultures, and we recognize the value of diversity and inclusion. In May, we’ll focus on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month while shining a light on one employee at a time.  Today’s Q&A is with Vance Higa, Program Manager, Critical Missions.

How did you come to join Amentum?

I joined Amentum through legacy AECOM in 2019.

What is your professional and personal background?

Prior to working in administrative roles in hazmat, I worked in the pharmacy industry, managing sales and hazardous pharmaceutical waste disposition. As a team, we ranked first in the region and third, corporate-wide, in sales and pharmacy best-practice.

I am educated in Biology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where I studied Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and secondary-succession of invasive species in the fragile ecosystem of Hawai’i.

Describe the work you do and how you think it makes a positive impact.

We manage hazardous waste services in Okinawa, Japan, and must safeguard the citizens of the host nation. Through continual education and commitment, our Amentum team ensures the quality of life for all people is improved through awareness of hazmat, professionalism, and trust, in Okinawa.

What are some of your accomplishments and/or what has been your proudest career moment?

Through dialogue and committed action, I have been able to breakthrough impasses and bridge gaps with customers and vendors, alike, to improve upon Amentum’s trust in the local area of Okinawa.

What do you enjoy about working for Amentum?

Amentum has robust training programs and encourages growth individually and professionally.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about fostering my colleagues for success.

What’s your career advice?

Never give up on your goal. One step forward, never to retreat, is all the courage you need.

What does safety mean to you or do you have a favorite safety tip?

In hazmat, overly communicating upon gaps can greatly improve the safety performance of colleagues and protect the public. Encouraging communication will encourage others to feel psychologically safe to increase communication and collaborate on improved safety methods as a cohesive team.

What’s the best invention in the world and why?

The Internet is the best invention in our modern world. It serves as the vehicle to bridge gaps, provide innovation, and broaden global collaboration and resources, to improve the quality of life for most, if not all, people.

Anything else you would like to share from a personal or professional perspective?

I am proud to be an Asian-American/Pacific Islander from Hawai’i, where the diverse culture is what makes the people and place unique and special. A unique quality in Hawai’i, is the Aloha Spirit, which is compassion and love for family, friends, and community. One of my favorite musicians is Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (IZ), who had the biggest Aloha for all walks of life and could touch the hearts of people through his love of music. An influential author, to me, is Daisaku Ikeda, who has taught many people to never give up on creating a better life for others and themselves by courageously having dialogue to break through indifferences and push through seemingly difficult impasses for all of humanity. 

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