Darren B.

Chief Negotiator

My mantra for success is the ABCs. A.) Ask questions. B.) Be kind to people. C.) Commit to do what you said you were going to do.”

Darren, originally from Houston, Texas, is a professional with many developed talents. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, also located in Houston. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, you may be surprised to discover that he also played saxophone for 15 years and conducted a jazz band.

From graduation to federal service

Darren was led to his current career as a federal government civil servant after being selected for the Pathways Internship Program, a prestigious paid opportunity that provides a direct pathway for accomplished recent graduates at various levels into a federal career.

“The internship provided me with an opportunity to work under the Veterans Health Administration,” Darren describes. “I rotated through the Office of General Counsel as well as all of the many facets of Human Resources. Specifically, it was the technical skills the Labor Relations department demonstrated that intrigued me, and where I saw myself providing the highest level of value to customers.”

A people-focused agency

That’s exactly what Darren did. Then, after 10 years of working in the labor relations field with larger agencies, he wanted a different career experience and join a smaller, people-focused agency. For Darren, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), ranked among the Top 50 Inspiring Workplaces in North America and Global Top 100 Inspiring Workplaces, was just the place.

He currently serves as Chief Negotiator for the USPTO Labor Relations team. This team provides program oversight and advice to leadership on the impact of planned changes around conditions of employment for covered employees. The team carries this out by negotiating, collaborating, facilitating and/or administering term collective bargaining agreements and agreements from management-initiated, mid-term changes with the applicable unions (POPA, NTEU 243, & NTEU 245).

“The Labor Relations Division is a lean, yet very efficient, group of highly talented and motivated experts who are always eager to provide their perspective on various labor topics,” Darren describes further, “and the USPTO has many unique flexibilities which provide employees more autonomy over work assignments and personal career goals.”

One of the best parts of Darren’s job is the unique, new nature of work assignments he receives each day, as opposed to routine work. Moreover, what he calls the “people aspect” of the job is very energizing. “I really enjoy collaborating and providing assistance where my expertise is needed,” he explains.

The recipe for success

The success Darren has enjoyed in his professional career is rooted in the standards of professionalism to which he holds himself accountable. “My mantra for success is the ABCs,” he explains, “A.) Ask questions. B.) Be kind to people. C.) Commit to do what you said you were going to do.”  

He also advises that networking was one of the strongest tools he leveraged in order to enter into his career.

“Connecting to people is not only important for entering into the field, but a skill that is important to master for any role in Labor Relations,” he says. “And for someone who wants to come to the USPTO in particular, you should be personable and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment.” 

Overall, Darren describes the USPTO as a workplace with a “special culture” consisting of a customer-service focus that also balances the work-life experience of all employees—two components that pave the way for career success.