Military veteran Victor Valdez, EMBA ’14, arrived at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 22, 2014. But already the new chief operating officer and managing executive of the agency’s Enforcement Division is looking toward the future.
“One of the principal parts of my job is to grow my successor — to grow the people who will replace me,” he says. “I want to make sure those people who work for me have a good idea of what it takes to move to the next level. It helps them perform their jobs better today, it helps their career development, and it shows that I am invested in their success.”
The long-term view that Valdez brings to the SEC also propels him forward in his own career. He says he has learned to think two or three moves ahead as a strategic planner, which is one reason he enrolled in Smith’s Executive MBA program.
“I wanted to learn how to understand and articulate return on investment for different projects that I was working on,” Valdez says. “But I also wanted more business education to support my long-term goal of moving to the private sector.”
After attending the U.S. Air Force Academy out of high school, Valdez served for more than 20 years as a military officer. During his varied assignments, he was a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, responsible for researching criminal, terrorist and intelligence threats.
More recently he served with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation before joining the SEC. In his new role, he will oversee project management, information technology, human capital strategy and risk management, among other functions. He says he welcomes the challenge of supervising about 200 government personnel and 100 contractors.
“I like to be challenged,” says Valdez, a Los Angeles native. “I would get bored if I just stayed in a comfort zone. I would not feel like I was doing what I should be doing.”
He says attending Smith’s Executive MBA program while serving as deputy director of strategic planning and corporate programs at the FDIC challenged him — and his family — but he received support from his classmates and others in the Smith community. “The ties that I have with my cohort are very strong,” he says. “And I anticipate those ties growing over time.”
Already his strategic planning has paid dividends at the SEC. “Vic brings an impressive breadth of management and planning experience to the critical position of managing executive,” says Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “I am pleased that he will take a leading role in the division’s ongoing efforts to improve our effectiveness.”