Jake Sena, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing from Eastern New Mexico University in 2004, was named to Albuquerque Business First's 40 Under Forty list for 2018 for his work as a procurement manager at Sandia National Laboratories.
"I feel extremely fortunate and honored to even be nominated for this award. Actually being named as an honoree is truly special," said Jake. "To be in the company of so many other great individuals is not something I take for granted. It an achievement in my life that I will always appreciate."
Sandia National Labs is a multiprogram engineering and science laboratory that delivers science and technology to resolve the nation's security issues. Jake manages a department of 18 subcontracting professionals that support the Laboratories' programs in issuing subcontracts for the purchase of products and services.
"I have a great boss, and my staff members are amazing," said Jake. "I enjoy engaging and collaborating with others to reach goals. I also love seeing my staff succeed in their careers. I truly feel that I'm most successful when I see others succeed in their careers. Supporting the mission of Sandia National Labs is something I cherish as well. The work that is done here has a global impact that is so important that it's easy to have a passion for your job."
His career goal is to have "passion for my job and the company that I work for. I want to continue to be excited to come to work. I also want to see others achieve success through my guidance and mentorship. I don't think I necessarily must continue to climb the corporate ladder to be happy, but I would like to continue to grow in my career so I can continue to be a valuable member of the company."
Jake's previous job positions include working as a policy analyst and strategic contracting representative for Sandia National Labs, subcontract administrator at General Dynamics OTS in Florida and as a store manager at Baskin Robbins, where he worked for his father.
He was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. His father owns a restaurant, and his mother works for Los Alamos National Labs. He has two siblings: Nadette, his older sister, and Adrienne, his younger sister.
Jake played basketball in a junior college in Texas before "burning out and realizing the education was not very good." He decided to enroll at ENMU. "I had a buddy going to school there at the time, and everyone was very friendly and accommodating. The education seemed to be much better as well, which it definitely turned out to be."
He was named to the Dean's List and participated in intramural sports, including basketball and flag football.
When asked about his Eastern Experience, Jake described his time at ENMU as "great! I met my best friend, Nick Gerard, who was also my best man at my wedding. My professors were supportive and dedicated to student success. Dr. Dale Davis was my advisor, and he was always willing to give advice and guidance.
"My younger sister, Adrienne, also attended ENMU playing on the volleyball team, which is a testament to the quality instruction that it is," he said.
Jake explained that attending ENMU prepared him for his career by teaching him to interact with others on a professional level. "I had to be able to engage with professors and University staff effectively to accomplish my goals. Teamwork and working well with others was also important in being successful at ENMU, which is certainly a valuable skill I use in my career."
He was inspired to major in marketing due to his father's experiences in the business world.
"My father has always been a businessman owning franchises, so I knew I always wanted to get into business for myself," he explained. "I wasn't exactly sure which concentration of business I would go for, but I eventually gained interest in marketing."
Jake said that his father is his most "impactful role model. He's taught me work ethic and responsibility, but also to be a good person. He always puts family first and helps others in need.
"His support for his family has never wavered, and it's obvious that we are his priority. He'll make any sacrifice for his family to provide the best life possible for them. He's been known only to buy one pair of off-brand shoes, e.g. LA Gear, every 3-5 years just so he can pass down that much more money to his kids and grandkids."
Jake loves spending time with his wife, Krystal, and their two children, Jaxon, 5, and Sariah, 2. The family has a dog named Rio. "I am also very close with my siblings, parents, and extended family," he added.
Growing up, Jake's accomplishments were sports-based. For example, his high school basketball team won a state championship. He still plays basketball and softball year-round. He also enjoys watching San Francisco Giants and 49ers games.
In his professional career, he won the Corporate Supply Chain of Excellence award during his time at General Dynamics in Florida (he also received a master's degree in business administration in Florida). He earned the award in support of some International Department of Defense programs. That award and being named to Albuquerque Business First's 40 Under Forty list were the two awards Jake is the "most proud of."
Jake's advice to students interested in his career field is to "be open to new experiences. I didn't know where I'd end up after my undergrad. My ability to be open and flexible while adapting to changes allowed me to experience many amazing things in my career while continuing to develop professionally and personally.
"The ability to work with others is key to almost any career. You want to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, but it's also critical that you're able to collaborate with a diverse set of personalities."
Jake said that giving back to his community is something that is important to him. He makes it a priority for himself, his family and his staff and has coordinated several events where his department volunteered at local charities, including the Roadrunner Foodbank, Mandy's Farm and the ABQ BioPark. He has donated to many charities nationally and locally, including the SAFE House, The Good Shepherd Homeless Shelter, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Wounded Warriors Project, Toys for Tots, the United Way of Central New Mexico, JDRF, Scleroderma Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Salvation Army and Goodwill.
A fun fact about Jake is that he loves pancakes and has even won a pancake competition at Sandia. "My kids love the weekends because I make lots of delicious pancakes that can include Skittles, Lucky Charms, peanut butter cups and more awesome ingredients," he said.
Read more about Jake being named to Albuquerque Business First's 40 Under Forty list.