Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight
Name: Willis Bullard
Position: Legal Instruments Examiner – Regulatory Division
Years with SWL: Three and a half years
Hometown: Born in Ancon, Republic of Panama. Home is wherever my wife Maria is.
Education: Master of Ministry, Point Loma Nazarene University
Certifications: Non-Denominational Minister
Hobbies: Music, writing, gardening, coffee, and grandchildren
Family life: Married to my wife Maria for over 30 years. We have two children – Heather-Emergency Room Physician and Fredrick-Sr. Operations Manager, Amazon.
Q: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A: It goes beyond the month. We embrace family and enjoy all things with family and include cultural aspects of my upbringing as often as possible – especially in our food. I love telling stories about Panama and I am still trying to convince my wife Maria to retire there. The culture, the music, the food, and coffee. None better!
Q: What is a family tradition you wish to pass down, that your parents have passed down to you?
A: two of them… first, food. I learned from my mom and have taught my kids (kinda). They learn through tasting. Second, Christmas. It is different in Panama and I try to “get away” with hosting a traditional Panamanian Christmas where there is no tree and the presents are placed at the foot of the bed while the kids are asleep.
Q: How long have you worked for the Little Rock District?
A: Three and a half years
Q: What positions have you held in the district?
A: Regulatory – Legal Instruments Examiner
Q: What was your favorite job position and why?
A: My favorite position EVER was as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Army. I worked with the Defense HUMINT Services. I traveled the world and was able to find things that positively affected national security and foreign policy. And briefing a couple of presidents was pretty cool too.
Q: What are your short and long term professional and personal goals?
A: Professional – When I worked for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, my position was being converted to an 11-12. But family comes first and Maria and I moved to Arkansas to help our daughter with our first grandchild. I took a year off and became “Manny” to this incredible blessing.
A: Personal – My personal goals have all been met. Great wife, super kids, adorable grandchildren. I will finish writing my final spy novel in the next few years and then enjoy retirement.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Great team. SUPER great boss.
Q: What projects are you working on now and what are some of the challenges?
A: Adjusting to working from home is the biggest challenge.
Q: What has been your favorite project you have worked on so far?
A: Every day is my favorite project because each day is unique. I get to talk with the citizens of Arkansas and help them find the answers they need to repair their dock, or stabilize their bank, or draw water from a river to irrigate their farm… legally. And it is always a great feeling when I receive that, “thank you” email.
Q: What ways have you found to balance your home life with the busy schedule you have at work?
A: It used to be “never take work home” but now that we work from home we have agreed to “leave the work in the office”. When I am done working I close the home office door to create that separation between home and work.
Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
A: I am the author of the best-selling Super-Spy series of books. Life and Times of Biff Baxter. But there is the time I once sang Hotel California and Careless Whispers for a Filipino Band in a bar in Manama, Bahrain for a group of Saudi’s and Russians.