Heather Pinto has spent almost her entire career at Berkeley Lab. She started at the Lab at 18 on a temporary assignment in the Workforce Diversity Office. After several assignments she was hired on as a permanent employee in the Sponsored Projects Department. Forever curious and interested in trying new things, Heather followed her interests to EHS, then to IT, before moving over to Facilities to the Design and Construction group as an administrative supervisor.

Heather earned her AA degree online shortly after the birth of her second child, and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in organizational innovation in 2010. In 2013, she transferred to UC Berkeley to focus solely on process improvement in the University’s Campus Shared Services office. She came back to the Lab in 2015 as a supervisor in Procurement before moving back to Facilities as the Fleet and Contracted Services Manager. At the beginning of 2023, Heather was promoted to her current role as Site Services Department Head in Facilities.


My brain operates in process improvement mode. I am always looking at how we can make things better.

Heather Pinto


How many different jobs have you had in your career journey, and which one was the most rewarding? Why?

I’ve held a number of different jobs since I started working at 15 but I have to say that the most impactful job was when I worked at Blockbuster Video, because that’s where I met my husband. Blockbuster also gave me a really good customer service base that has been a staple in all of my jobs.

I have loved working at the Lab and a lot of my jobs have been good for different reasons. I really, really enjoy working in Facilities because I have so much respect for the services we provide to the Lab at so many different levels. I really enjoyed when I managed the project to install the conveyor system for the Receiving department around 2010 and to help improve their efficiency.

My brain operates in process improvement mode. I am always looking at how we can make things better. I really like my current job a lot, because I feel like I can have more of an impact on people and the services we provide to the Lab. I find that I really like customer service and that providing good service is really really important to me. I think that’s why I do so well in positions where I can make things easier for people.

For the most rewarding [job], I think it’s a combination of when I was in Facilities the first time doing a lot of process improvement projects, and my current job. In my current job I have 60 people in my department, and I’ve taken the time to sit down and talk to each one of them. I feel like it’s really important to know something about your people. I sat down with them and wanted to know what their challenges were, and what things we could improve, but I also wanted to know them as people.


Who was your most influential mentor – formal or informal – and how did they shape your career path?

Delia Clark, who was my initial supervisor when I was in EH&S the first time. Delia was a really big influence on me, and she became one of my good friends. She was always really supportive and interested in helping people grow and see their own strengths, and helping them understand the people part of things. Another was Rosemary Lowden. I think she [Rosemary] helped me see my own potential more than I saw my own potential for a long time. She would give me things to do that were sort of outside of my scope. She recognized that I was smarter than maybe I thought I was at the time. And Jim Dahlgard in Facilities also gave me the opportunity to stretch outside of my “job” and believe that I was capable of doing more.


What career setback or mistake has helped you to succeed or grow?

I was doing an out of class assignment and interviewed for the position but didn’t get it. It felt really bad at the time because I was clearly good enough to do it [as an out of class assignment] but the person they hired blew me out of the water with her experience. Now, I’m so thankful that I didn’t get that job because it really did open other doors for me.


What is the most important piece of career advice you have received/learned?

It came when I was doing the out of class assignment when I was in IT. I interviewed for the role and I didn’t get the position. The person that they hired was fantastic. But Rosemary Lowden told me that sometimes when one door closes, another one opens. That you might think that’s the thing that you want, but another opportunity might actually be a better one for you. And she was absolutely right. Not getting that position allowed me to move over to Facilities. My career really grew once I moved to Facilities.


A career at Berkeley Lab offers a range of opportunities supported by training, mentorship, and career development programs. Whether you choose to build a career at the Lab or take your skills to other organizations, a career path to and at the Lab sets you up for success.

1 Comment

  • Valerie Applebaum says:

    Love this Heather, especially about how you met your husband on the job! And great advice there at the end, thank you for the reminder!