Faces of CNM: William Abeita

After retiring from the Navy with 25 years of service, William came to CNM and found his new career and a bright future
November 11, 2020

During his time in the United States Navy, William Abeita served in three conflicts—the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom—and did everything from operating propulsion/electrical plants on large ships to shuttling Navy Seals and Marines onto land for special missions. His career was long and accomplished, but when he retired and returned to civilian life he immediately felt lost and left out because the Navy was all he knew. 

“I felt like I went from being someone, to being a nobody,” he says. “I felt like I was starting all over again.”

That’s when William—who grew up on Isleta Pueblo—utilized his GI Bill® and enrolled in CNM. He wanted to re-engage and knew CNM was the most productive way to find a new career. Interestingly, he chose to major in Electrical Trades because he’d had some scary experiences with electricity. In the Navy he was zapped several times and also provided medical help when a fellow shipmate was electrocuted. As an adult, he learned that his grandfather died from being electrocuted. 

“I hated electricity, so I thought I should look into it,” he says.

William started the program in 2017 and decided to pursue the Photovoltaic and Programmable Logic Controls concentrations. In school he made strong connections with his instructors and fellow students and went on to found the Electrical Association, which provided students with volunteer opportunities, tutoring, mentorship, and professional development. 

He graduated with academic honors in 2019 , and thanks to his hard work, was selected for a Facebook Co-Op program. This program sent him to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and then to the Los Lunas Data Center where he spent eight weeks learning about everything needed to build, run, and maintain a data center.

After a successful Co-Op program, he was then hired by Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions (BGIS), which serves as a contractor at the Facebook Data Center in Los Lunas. William now works as a Lead Critical Facilities Technician where he’s tasked with maintaining all the infrastructure that supports the center, including the cooling system and electrical system. William says the work environment and camaraderie is better than he could have ever imagined.

“I am so grateful and honored to have this job,” William says. “Moving back to New Mexico was difficult and I felt like I didn’t fit in. But now I have my place.”

 As for the future, William says there’s no stopping. He’s in his mid-50’s, and even though most people his age would be eyeing retirement, he’s only thinking about career growth. He recently took a certification exam to advance in his field and wants to find ways to support his coworkers in their growth, too.

“People my age are usually thinking ‘I’m done,’ but for me, I’m excited to keep working and there is always something new to learn,” he says.

Disclaimer: GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.