Justin Sanchez

Justin Sanchez, with wife Stephani, son Liam and daughter Amaya. 

Few of the thousands of recent Arizona college graduates have the work experience and life skills of Justin Sanchez of Litchfield Park.

Two weeks ago, he virtually walked across the stage to earn a Bachelor of Science in emergency management and homeland security from Arizona State University. 

Not long after enrolling at ASU, the military veteran was diagnosed with cancer. Despite this, he kept going and managed to beat the disease, all while juggling his responsibilities as a dad to his son Liam, being a student at ASU and working full time as a senior nuclear security officer.

Sanchez, raised in Peoria and a graduated from Sunrise Mountain High School, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

He works at the Arizona Public Service (APS) Palo Verde Generating Station.

“There are many things involved in my job that are considered safeguards,” he said. “What this means is that you must have a ‘Need to Know’ to get some of this information. What I can tell you is that I work with a great group of individuals from all different walks of life. 

“Our primary job is to protect the health and welfare of the public, APS/Palo Verde employees and the power plant itself from nuclear sabotage. We do this in many different ways, from screening employees coming to work, just like you would go through at the airport, and various patrols.”

He said the Tonopah facility has frequent trainings.

“I love my job and take great pride in what I do, especially right now during the COVID-19 crisis. We help keep the lights on and have continued to work day and night through all the risk. 

“The plant is a great place to work, and I don’t regret a single day in my 11 years out there.”