SAN ANTONIO -- Throughout his career at the U.S. Army Environmental Command and the Air Force, Ike Mapa has led with a smile and kindness.
His 40 years as a systems engineer for the Air Force prepared him to apply these skills at USAEC where he works on both acquisitions and environmental projects.
Retiring this December, Mapa said he is looking forward to finally getting out from behind his desk to fish with his friends, travel, and give back to his community through service.
Before joining USAEC, Mapa worked for the Air Force at Randolph and the former Brooks Air Force Base working on mechanical systems for building facilities and also with the Human Systems Programs Office at Randolph working on chemical and biological defense systems and aeromedical systems.
His experience with weapon systems helped him thrive in his role at USAEC, where he could zero in on the environmental aspects of weapon system acquisition.
At USAEC, Mapa supports new weapons programs and legacy systems through demilitarization and disposal estimate analysis. He helps to make sure that the estimates for these systems include accurate costs for proper demilitarization and disposal in line with environmental standards.
He also was involved with the Environmental Performance Assessment System, which assesses the status of Army installations’ environmental compliance, and specifically reviewed the toxicity levels of substances like asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls and coolant oils at installations.
Mapa previously supported the Army Installation Management Command by providing different approaches to establishing energy savings in buildings using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.
His most recent project was the development of the Pollution Prevention Catalog in 2019, which enables Army installations to share best management practices for pollution prevention technologies and is updated annually.
“I love writing,” said Mapa. “I don’t write well but the P2 Catalog gave me the opportunity to improve my writing.”
“Of course, I love writing [technical] specifications, because that’s what I did for the Air Force,” he said.
Mapa said the P2 Catalog is also an incredibly meaningful project for him because he can see the value of his work whenever someone calls up to ask about the technology in the catalog. This project is an important step in making all installations more environmentally efficient through information sharing.
Reflecting on his career, Mapa noted that his favorite quote was from his former commander encouraging him by saying “you rock,” which helped motivate everyone to work toward their mission.
Mapa also emphasized that the lasting impression of friendship and camaraderie at USAEC has made it an incredible place to work.
He said he shares this inspiring message with his children who are now in college: “[You have] lots of years ahead of you, don’t let one failure define your future. Keep going and keep searching. Keep digging,” he said.
This advice is especially meaningful to Mapa because as he retires and ends his career this December, his son is graduating college the same month and just starting his career.
In retirement, Mapa said he is excited to get out to the coast and fish with his friend who has been bragging about his catches.
Mapa also said he is looking forward to being able to travel again, especially to the Philippines, his home country. He will also be dedicating his time to feeding the homeless and supporting widows and orphans.
Mapa’s final piece of advice is to “always show respect with a smile,” which perfectly captures the positive and kind attitude Mapa brought to his career and community.