By Tony Khing
Jojie Martinez was no different than most people who immigrate to America.
Martinez, his wife and two daughters came to the United States from the Philippines in 1992. “I was 33 years young,” said Martinez. “I was looking for better job prospects and a better future for my family.”
He had two things going for him: an appreciation about caring for the environment and what Martinez calls “an entrepreneurial spirit.” Those two characteristics helped him get a job in vegetation management and eventually led him to forming OrConLLC in 2008, a Fresno-based vegetation management company that’s been working with PG&E since its inception.
Jojie Martinez, owner of OrCon.
Martinez developed his love for the environment while growing up in the Philippines. “It’s a country abundant with diverse tree life,” he said.
Martinez earned a bachelor’s in horticulture from the University of the Philippines in Manila. He brought that and some work experience to the United States and got an entry-level opportunity in vegetation management and eventually moved up to being a supervisor. After a few years as a contractor, Martinez started his own company with himself and another person, who still works for OrCon, as the sole employees.
Their first client was PG&E, which knew about Martinez through his work with the contractor. The company selected OrCon as the primary contractor for a vegetation risk reduction program in Fresno.
PG&E was impressed with their work and commitment to safety and reliability. OrCon received more opportunities with PG&E and got more projects from other companies. As a result, their company grew from two people to 65.
“Because of OrCon, not only did we meet state and programmatic requirements in 2020, we finished 2021 inspections two weeks ahead of schedule. OrCon’s expediency didn’t compromise their work as two quality assurance audits revealed two perfect scores last year,” said Joseph Stewart, PG&E senior manager for vegetation management in the Central Valley.
“We take pride in our service to PG&E and our communities,” said Martinez. “We’ve earned the respect of PG&E through following comprehensive safety protocols. We’ve maintained several long standing professional relationships with our PG&E contacts, all of whom have been integral in our success.
“We value our staff,” he added, “and want to make sure they safely return home to their families and loved ones every day.”
According to Martinez, OrCon has earned PG&E’s respect in other ways. Such as making diversity, equity and inclusion a company priority. “Not only do we celebrate the diversity of our employees,” he said, “we make sure that’s a consideration in our hiring practices.”
And most importantly, OrCon’s emphasis on safety, which is more than important to their employees and the communities where they work.
“Public safety is important to everyone, regardless of race, color or origin,” said Martinez. "It must be the first topic in daily discussions and decisions.”
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