VICENZA, Italy –
Rudy Valentin deployed with U.S. Army Europe’s 1st Personnel Command from Heidelberg, Germany, to Kuwait in 2006 as the deputy commander. His unit consisted of about 1,000 personnel, mostly human resource specialists, and supported over 260,000 warfighters in two named operations across Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. The 1st PERSCOM was responsible for unit strength accounting and reporting, casualty reporting, replacement operations, customs, and postal operations at 27 locations, theater-wide.
Valentin, a retired lieutenant colonel now Logistics Readiness Center Italy employee, said his time in Southwest Asia supporting the Global War on Terrorism was the pinnacle of his active-duty Army career. For his actions during the deployment, he was awarded the U.S. Army Bronze Star.
But it’s not always what you’ve done that matters most. It’s what you’ve done lately. And Valentin continues to excel and set the bar at his current position with the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s LRC Italy, daily. The workforce management specialist was recently selected as LRC Italy’s employee of the quarter (senior-graded) for the 1st quarter of fiscal year 2023.
“It was a surprise, honestly,” said Valentin. “I’ve only been here for six months, but I’ve been working really hard to bring everything up to speed and to standard because I have very high standards, myself.”
Since arriving at LRC Italy, Valentin has created new management tools to enable the organization the ability to see where all the human resource actions are in the HR process.
“I believe they enjoy the transparency I provide,” said the 27-year retired Army field grade officer who’s last active-duty assignment was with the U.S. Army War College. “There’s no secrets with me. I’m a no-nonsense kind of guy. This is where we’re at in the hiring process. This is what we need to do next.”
LRC Italy has about 45 ongoing hiring actions, right now, he said, and every open billet generates an evaluation and an award. Plus, every new hire generates a new set of assignment orders, a travel voucher, requests for Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance and Living Quarters Allowance, and more.
“LRC Italy has a high turnover rate because we have a lot of low ranking billets in the command so people get the job, they stay 6-8 months, they learn the job, and then they switch over (to something else),” said Valentin, who served at U.S. Army Medical Command in San Antonio, Texas, as the business office’s chief of civilian HR for 2.5 years before coming to LRC Italy.
“We have over 240 positions I’m authorized to fill. There’s no overlap authorized with civilian billets so I do my best to help new employees arrive as quickly as possible when somebody leaves,” he said.
“Everyone knows I really care,” said Valentin. “Especially in the HR world where we have so many actions – we need to take care of any pay problems and leave issues first.”
Valentin holds a master’s degree in strategic military studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, a master’s degree in HR from Troy State University and a bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a second language from the University of Puerto Rico.
And this isn’t Valentin’s first time being selected as employee of quarter. He was the employee or the quarter and then employee of the year at U.S. Special Operations Command Africa in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2016. He was also the employee of the quarter in 2019 at the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, where he worked as the civilian HR liaison for two years.
But being selected as LRC Italy’s employee of the quarter means just as much as those other assignments and recognitions, if not more, he said.
“I enjoy my job. It’s about taking care of people more than anything,” Valentin said. “The most important thing is waking up in the morning and being happy about going to work. I have that here.”
Valentin is married to his wife, who is from France, for 21 years. His oldest daughter is a commercial airline pilot, his son studies data science at the University of Bologna in Italy, and his youngest daughter is a freshman at Vicenza American High School. He is also the proud grandfather of a 2-month-old grandson.
Valentin, who was born Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and raised in New York City, speaks Spanish and English. He also speaks French, and he learned Brazilian Portuguese as a Foreign Area Officer with U.S. Southern Command. In addition, he speaks Italian, which has proven extremely valuable at his current assignment with LRC Italy.
“We have over 150 Italian local national employees. When they come into my office they can express themselves in their native language, and I understand them,” said Valentin. “I think they enjoy that, and they feel more comfortable.”
LRC Italy is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, and transportation as well as central issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management, and property book operations. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Italy directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of U.S. Army Garrison Italy.
LRC Italy reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.