Asset Management Leader Leaves Lasting Legacy for Navy

29 September 2021
Letitia Gomez, asset management business line leader for Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington, retired after 34 years of federal government service. She served at NAVFAC for the vast majority of her exceptional career and was awarded the Civilian Service Commendation Medal.
Letitia Gomez, asset management business line leader for Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington, retired after 34 years of federal government service. She served at NAVFAC for the vast majority of her exceptional career and was awarded the Civilian Service Commendation Medal.

Retired Rear Adm. Christopher Weaver, former Washington Naval District Commandant and Commander, Navy Installations Command, spoke at a ceremony honoring Gomez on September 28, to dozens of Navy civilian and military personnel.

“Doing your job the way Leti did her job for 34 years is a contribution to the mission readiness of our Navy, it is a contribution to the economics and vitality of our community, and it is fundamentally changing people’s lives,” Weaver said. “She did that. She leaves this job with the absolute certainty that she did the best she could and got outstanding results.”

Gomez, affectionately known as Leti, hails from San Antonio, Texas, and earned an associate’s degree from San Antonio Community College, a bachelor’s degree from University of Texas, Austin, and a master’s degree from Trinity University, San Antonio, in urban studies. In 1987, she secured an internship through the Presidential Management Intern Program with NAVFAC, Chesapeake Division, now known as NAVFAC Washington. Upon graduation from the intern program, she was hired full-time as a community planner.

Gomez was later promoted as a planner and assigned to Marine Barracks Washington, Henderson Hall, and Marine Corps Base Quantico. She served as an activity liaison officer assigned to all Marine Corps activities in the National Capital Region before being promoted to the role of activity operations director for an integrated products team.

“I think the most memorable project that I had as a planner was the planning and eventual construction of the Marine Barracks Annex in Southeast Washington,” Gomez said. “The planning effort required a great relationship with the Marine Barracks Washington leadership and staff, and externally with the adjacent community, Washington D.C. agencies, and Federal agencies. It was very rewarding, professionally and very satisfying to see a plan realized.”

In 2003, Gomez moved on to NAVFAC Headquarters to work as the claimant liaison officer to other Department of Defense commands. In 2004, she joined Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and worked there as a strategic planner for four years. In 2008, Gomez returned to NAVFAC Washington as the asset management business line leader and held that position until retiring.

Rick Owen, who served under Gomez from 2008 to 2014, was appointed to serve as the new asset management business line leader for NAVFAC Washington.

“I met her when she arrived at asset management. I was a brand new region [community planning liaison officer] carving out a new swim lane among other swim lanes that overlapped and was not popular,” said Owen. “Leti actively supported me… and showed how to support command priorities with patience and a team approach. Pretty soon I saw Leti’s open-door policy at work. Eventually I also saw how Leti managed a crisis.”

The Washington Navy Yard shooting occurred on September 16, 2013, resulting in the killing of 12 civilian employees and contractors. NAVFAC Washington headquarters is situated on the Washington Navy Yard.

“People reacted with a wide range of emotions, from fear and sadness to incredulity and rage,” Owen said. “Leti rose to the occasion and validated all of those emotions without reservation or judgement… She set an example for relating to people in distress with compassion and vulnerability.”

During her tenure as NAVFAC Washington asset management business line leader, Gomez brought aboard approximately 150 new people into the organization, including 40 interns.

“Thirty four years ago a smart young woman from Texas was given a chance and she took it to come and be a Presidential Management Intern with NAVFAC,” said Capt. Eric Hawn, NAVFAC Washington commanding officer. “She packed her car, came to Washington D.C., changed her life and put it all on hope. I would say that NAVFAC has certainly gotten the better end of that deal. Leti is leaving behind this great legacy and that is something we can all take stock in.”

In the lead up to her retirement, Gomez spoke about the asset management team that she did so much to build at NAVFAC Washington.

“I am proud to lead the 59 hard-working and dedicated asset management staff. I am also very proud of the fact that I have a diverse staff that are professional and excel at the work of supporting the Navy, Marine Corps and Department of Defense missions in our area,” Gomez said. “The asset management team has developed some very important plans for the future of the U.S. Navy National Museum and National Maritime Intelligence Center, among others, as well as encroachment plans to protect our installation operations, hundreds of military construction and special projects to provide facilities for the variety of missions we have. They have also provided the maintenance of our real property and geographic system information that is important to the Navy's financial accountability.”

Gomez plans to travel with her spouse, Ruth Eisenberg, and to enjoy spending time with her extended family in Washington D.C. and San Antonio, Texas. She looks forward to working on projects that have been on hold, including collaborating on a book about a national Latino LGBT organization that she helped co-found, as well as her family genealogy. She also sits on the board of the American LGBTQ Museum in New York City and will continue in that role for the next three years.

In parting, Gomez delivered words of advice for her asset management and NAVFAC colleagues.

“Take care of yourselves. Family comes first. Treasure your friends. Make sure to contribute to your Thrift Savings Plan monthly as much as you can. It will be the majority of your Federal retirement nest egg. Lastly, be proud of the work you do in support of our national defense.”
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