PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- A recruiter attached to Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Philadelphia received national recognition by receiving an award from Navy Recruiting Command Nov. 20.
Chief Machinist's Mate Sergio Palacios, the nuclear officer recruiter for NRD Philadelphia, beat out 25 other contenders and was recognized as the Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) Recruiter of the Year for the 2013 fiscal year.
Palacios, a San Bernardino, Calif. native, has been in the Navy for more than 17 years.
As the nuclear officer programs recruiter for NRD Philadelphia, Palacios single handedly attained 80 percent of the command's nuclear attainments. He also attained the first Nuclear Reactors female in the nation in three and a half years.
These achievements come from hard work and a strong dedication to service.
"Since reporting to Navy Recruiting District Philadelphia I made it a personal goal to find only those quality applicants that had an innate desire to serve in the military," Palacios said. "As we progress through an application I get the opportunity to get to know the person and I get to see the desire and excitement build as they inch closer to their possible selection. Nothing is more gratifying than receiving the phone call following their final interview to let me know that they were selected for these elite programs. Seeing someone get the opportunity to serve in a career path they desire, I get to see that from the beginning."
Although Palacios has been successful in his recruiting efforts, it hasn't always been easy.
"The toughest part about recruiting is the selection process," Palacios said. "The Navy's Nuclear Power Program seeks elite students and engineers from across the nation and [the Navy's] standards can be difficult to meet. It is always tough to inform an applicant that they are not qualified for this specific position, but I always offer alternative pathways for those that still desire to join the military."
Palacios has been able to overcome the challenges of the selection process by increasing his area of responsibility and by working with top ranked universities in the area, such as the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Villanova, Rowan, and Drexel to name a few.
"Working closely with these universities has allowed me to increase the number of students that were receiving the necessary information about the Nuclear Navy, which in return increased the number of quality applicants that began to contact me to apply," he said.
His experiences in the Navy nuclear field have also contributed greatly to his success as a recruiter.
"With over 14 years in the Navy's Nuclear Pipeline already behind me, I have had the opportunity to tell my story and experiences to fellow engineers," Palacios said. "Knowledge beyond program opportunities has helped me to provide them insight as to what life as a naval nuclear engineer truly is. Hearing the program from someone that has experienced it does lend credibility to a program that for the most part, is entirely classified."
For other Sailors thinking about going into recruiting duty, Palacios has a little advice.
"Recruiting duty is not easy, but it is not without its rewards. I have had the opportunity to complete a degree, delve into unknown territories and see motivated civilians transfer into fields outside of offices and research," he said. "If you have excellent people skills, this would be a great stepping stone towards any direction you chose in the military. A successful recruiting tour will reaffirm why you joined and it will help you refresh the excitement that you once had as you entered the world's finest Navy."
For more news from Navy Recruiting District Philadelphia, visit www.navy.mil/local/NRDP/.