Dr. Vela is a native Texan, born in Rio Grande City. His first job after college was in San Antonio as a Circulation Manager for the San Antonio Express News. He left to join the Air Force in 1973. Upon retiring as an Air Force Officer, he went to work as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State. His first tour was as a consular officer in Ciudad Juarez where he provided citizen services to Americans in distress while also doing some political reporting on the Mexican presidential election of 1994. Thereafter, he served in management positions supporting embassy operations at the embassies of Tegucigalpa, Mexico City, Windhoek, and Port-au-Prince. Key challenges included dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in Tegucigalpa and the earthquake in Haiti of 2010. He also served as a Management Officer in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he assisted with the visit of President Bush in 2007. On his tours in Washington, D.C., he served as Staff Assistant and as International Relations Officer in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. A highlight in the latter position was reporting on the U.N. Mission of Observers in Prevlaka deployed to observe the demilitarization of the Prevlaka Peninsula during the Bosnian War. On a separate Washington tour, he served as a Pearson Fellow in the U.S. Senate with a portfolio of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Trade. And on a separate assignment with the Department of Defense, he served as Chief of the Democracy Division teaching courses on democracy for Latin American military officers and enlisted personnel in Spanish. While there, he also taught security studies for U.S. military officers completing the Armed Forces Staff College at Fort Benning, Georgia. Since retiring, he has enjoyed teaching Federal and Texas Government at Northwest Vista College. As might be evident, he has enjoyed traveling, learning foreign languages, and now teaching classes on government. He relishes the opportunity to help students at NVC get a start that might lead to a career in public service.