DAS Spotlight Omarys Vasquez

Omarys Vasquez
Omarys Vasquez
Connecticut State Building Inspector
Department of Administrative Services

1. What do you do at DAS?

I am the State Building Inspector for the Division of Regulatory Compliance.

2. Why do you work for the State of Connecticut?

As a designer and an Architect my passion has always revolved around delving into the complexities of building and construction codes. I take pride in the challenge of creating designs that not only meet the specific programmatic requirements of a client, but also prioritize safety and thus eliminating the need for extensive changes later on. Throughout my career, I have been intrigued by the driving forces behind code requirements. Now, I now have the opportunity to be a part of positive change in the State of Connecticut. I am excited to have a seat at the table, where I can contribute to discussions and advocate for updates to the building codes that can adapt to the ever-changing times. This position is a significant milestone for me, and I’m looking forward to making a meaningful impact, ensuring that our state remains relevant and responsive to the needs of our communities.

3. What is your favorite part of your job?

I thrive on being a critical thinker and I find satisfaction in the daily challenges that come with my role. Every obstacle motivates me to continuously improve. Being both a learner and a teacher, I find joy in assisting others in resolving technical code challenges and interpreting underlying purpose of specific code references.

4. What does the State Building Inspector do?

State Building Inspector's role is quite diverse and encompasses various responsibilities. The main tasks include:

Building Code Development: Working alongside the Codes and Standards Committee, the State Building Inspector contributes to the development of building codes that apply to all projects within the entire state. This process occurs on a 3-year cycle to keep the codes up to date with industry standards and safety regulations.

Interpretations and Modifications: The State Building Inspector is responsible for providing interpretations of the building codes to ensure consistent understanding and application by stakeholders. Additionally, they may consider modifications or exemptions (variances) to the building codes based on specific circumstances or unique cases.

Permitting Oversight: They oversee the supervision of permitting for state construction buildings. This involves reviewing and approving building permits, ensuring compliance with the building codes, and regulating the construction process to maintain safety standards.

Inspections and Certificates: The State Building Inspector supervises the Bureau of Elevators and the Bureau of Boilers, who inspect and issue certificates for elevators, escalators, and high-pressure boilers in all commercial buildings throughout the state. These inspections are crucial to guaranteeing public safety and compliance with relevant regulations.

Licensure and Continuing Education: Working alongside the Office of Education and Data Management, the State Building Inspector is involved in determining the eligibility requirements for licensure for building officials. They also play a role in developing continuing education programs that train building officials to stay updated with the latest building codes and industry best practices.

5. What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?

Spending quality with my children and family. Being able to create lasting memories and planning exciting adventures with them is something I truly cherish. In addition to my family, I hold the position of President at NOMA Connecticut, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering minority and women architects, engineers, and construction managers. Along with these two activities, I also enjoy several other hobbies and activities. Reading, exploring the outdoors, traveling, and indulging in creative projects such as refurbishing furniture are some ways I like to unwind and nurture my passions.

6. What would you tell someone who is interested in working for the state?

The chance to be a part of a larger purpose makes working for the state a meaningful undertaking. The opportunity to create a positive impact is truly rewarding and can allow individuals to play a significant role in shaping the state’s future, enhancing the lives of its residents, and effecting significant change.

7. If you could choose one superpower, what would it be, and why?

Omnificence, which is the power to create absolutely anything without limitations. Usually, before I consider solutions for any given problem, my initial assumption is that if I have thought of it, someone has probably already created it. This superpower would be beneficial, especially when facing tasks that require completion quickly, but I lack the necessary resources or the time. The ability to have my thoughts automatically transcribed without any physical effort would certainly be invaluable in such situations.

8. Where is your favorite place in Connecticut?

Being a New York City native and moving here at the onset of my career, I haven’t given myself much opportunity to explore as much of Connecticut as I would have liked. Nevertheless, Topsmead State Forest has been my recent favorite. Despite being born and raised in a bustling city, I find solace and serenity in the expansiveness of the countryside. Topsmead not only offers me the perfect escape from my daily responsibilities, but it also provides me with a sense of peace and grounding, bringing me the necessary balance to my life.

9. Who inspires you and why?

Several years ago, I came across Julia Alvarez’s book called “In the Time of the Butterflies,” which vividly depicts the real-life events of the Mirabal sisters during the Trujillo era in the Dominican Republic. Among the sisters, I was really captivated by Minerva Mirabal, the third sister, because of her relentless determination to persevere in a communistic and misogynist society. She portrayed a flame that I have had within me since I was 8 years old, driving me to challenge the societal norms and traditional expectations imposed upon me as a female, a minority, and someone from a specific socioeconomic background.

10. Tell us your favorite fun fact.

I am a highly competitive person and strongly identify with Monica Geller from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. the most. While I may share her level of obsessiveness, I relish friendly competition and strategy games. In fact, I once organized a trivia battle for a family game night aimed at fostering better connections with new members.