New Employee Finds Challenges and Safety at the UDAF
UDAF Employee profile:
Sam Lima: Motor Fuels Specialist
Division of Regulatory Services
Sam Lima is one of the department's new employees. He joined the Division of Regulatory Services as its Motor Fuels Specialist. Sam's transition from his previous job is noteworthy since this time last month he was in the Army…in Iraq…stationed at a camp near Bagdad that came under enemy mortar attacks regularly. Sam was a Petroleum Lab Technician and performed fuel tests on the JP-8 fuel used by Chinook and Apache helicopters.
"We were under mortar shell attacks about two to three times a month," he said. "One time we were running tests on fuel at a location and 9 to 12 mortars were fired at us." He was close enough to the action on a regular basis that he received the Combat Action Badge (CAB). Sam was an E-4 Specialist stationed at Camp Taji which is a military base near the Bagdad Airport. He worked exclusively to confirm that the fuel the Army bought from nearby foreign countries was not sabotaged and was safe to use in the helicopters and planes.
The equipment he was trained to use was some of the most advanced available.
"Out there, he said, the Army wanted everything done fast, so we used the best equipment there was."
Sam applied for the Utah position online from Camp Taji. His supervisor, Brett Gurney, says his training and experience clearly made him the top candidate for the job. Upon Sam's conclusion of his military commitment, he joined his wife and young son in Salt Lake City and came to work for the Department.
Today Sam is applying his skills in the Division's Motor Fuels Laboratory where he is testing fuels for octane levels, analyzing for the presence of water, checking the amount of ethanol in gasoline, and responding to consumer complaints. His time in the field now is a lot less stressful, even during the height of rush-hour traffic in the middle of summer.
"This is a great opportunity for me to do something I can stick with, and do until I retire," he said. "This is a good place to work. The people are great, and there are no mortars! You can't beat that."
He said his goal when joining Army was NOT to be an infantryman, but to develop a skill that he could use after his time of service. "I have a family to look after," he says. "To me, a motor fuels specialist was something I could put to use in the outside world."
His plan worked.
"We are excited to have Sam onboard," said his supervisor Brett Gurney. "He is a great asset to the program and brings a lot of knowledge and experience that helps the Department better serve the public."
Sam is among several veterans working at the Department who are either currently serving in the military, or who have recently returned from service. A few individuals are: Jeremy Peterson, Plant Industry; David Daniels, Plant Industry; Dr. Chris Crnich, Homeland Security; Dave Oberhansley, Tony North, Animal Industry; Cody Huft and Don Nerdin, Regulatory Services; Gordon Brown, Administrative Services; and Stephen Wright, Chemistry Laboratory.
Sam in the Army metrology lab at Camp Taji near Bagdad,
Outside of the metrology lab in Iraq.
Sam inside an armored vehicle in Iraq.
Sam running a fuels test in the UDAF Metrology Lab in Salt Lake
Posted: December 6, 2011