I would daresay that any parts and supply store in town knows the face and gentle smile of Manolo Olguin well. I also doubt that after speaking with him they would ever believe this is the same guy who used to skip English class in Mexico to go play soccer instead. “I didn’t like English,” he says, “then I came to work and as soon as I got here… I knew I had to learn it.” After arriving, he bought a book to teach himself English and while working in the fields he would use any break or stopping point in his work to study. “I would find Americans whenever I could and practice on them too,” he says. “I told myself ‘I’ve got this’ whenever I learned something new.”
Manolo has worked at Southern Valley/Hamilton Growers for a total of ten years, and like many of our employees has worked in a variety of positions. After two years on one of the harvest crews, he spent time in the packing house as a forklift driver, then in the fields as an irrigation manager, and eventually found his home at the farm shop. One of his crucial roles at the shop is making sure that parts needed for maintenance on equipment are purchased and available in a timely manner. His pursuit of English has served him well indeed as he interacts with parts managers all over town while searching for and picking up the exact part needed to get the job done.
The search for the exact part and the part name can be tricky at times, but Manolo is quite resourceful with the internet. He uses it to find the part in question as well as communicate parts needed with vendors. He says the most satisfying aspect of his job is when he finds the part he was hunting for. “Whenever I get what we need, I feel… I got it,” he says with the excitement of a child. His days are busy with lots of running back and forth from town to the shop and while his typical day is from 7 to 7, there are many times especially during growing season that he is here “until the job is done.”
When he’s not searching for the part we need, Manolo’s other main job is to take workers to the clinic and facilitate with the translation while there. Yet again, his English has served him – and us – well. No matter where he goes, what you ask him to do, or what task he is completing, Manolo does it graciously – with a shy smile and impeccable manners. We couldn’t ask for a better representative of our company out in the community and are so appreciative of his endless search and translation efforts on our behalf.