Custodians keep campus looking brand new

By Juliet Mendoza
Pulse Staff Reporter

Dolores Flores (left) and Marie Martinez (right) are two of Palo Alto's custodians.
Dolores Flores (left) and Marie Martinez (right) two of Palo Alto’s custodians. Photo by Juliet Mendoza.

The sun beams through crystal clear windows. Your reflection follows you on the shiny floors while walking down the hallways.

Palo Alto College celebrates its thirtieth birthday this year, and our school looks brand new. Housekeeping staff and contractors work hard to maintain the college campus.

PAC employees cover the East Side of the campus, and the West Side is contracted out to a maintenance service company.

Denise Zuniga, housekeeping general foreman, said, “All my employees work very hard. They are all my favorites.”

Working for The Alamo Community Colleges offers great opportunities, such as free classes on your own time, 75 percent off your children’s tuition, paid sick days, personal days, vacation time and medical benefits.

The PAC custodians work morning shifts from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and afternoon shifts run from 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Despite the great benefits, the job is stressful and the physical workload is heavy.

Zuniga said, “The community is so amazing. It outweighs any hardships from the job.”

John Strybos, Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities, said, “Outsourcing maintenance jobs is more inexpensive and help keeps tuition cost low.”

As people retire or quit, new employees are not filling these jobs. Strybos said, “The Alamo maintenance employees will stay employed until they retire. No one is getting laid off. Their job is secure until the maintenance staff decides to leave or otherwise.”

Marie Martinez, a custodian for PAC said, “People are nice at PAC, and I want to work here until I retire.”

Palo Alto custodian Alfred Ramos.
Palo Alto custodian Alfred Ramos. Photo by Juliet Mendoza.

Martinez enjoys working the afternoon shift, especially because she takes care of her blind mother who suffers from a bad back. Today, she is one of the most loved custodians on campus. She arrives early to work with a smile on her face, which gives you a warm-hearted feeling that she is happy to be here. She would be the kind of person you would run to if you were in some sort of danger. Martinez is responsible for San Jacinto’s second floor, Medina and the Student Center.

David Mancha, a student assistant in the Welcome Center, said, “Marie is genuinely friendly. Our goal is to treat everyone as family and gain your trust so that you feel comfortable to come and ask questions, whoever you are.”

Another long-time custodian is Edward Galvan. His commitment to PAC is unquestionable. With 19 years of service in his field, Galvan works the afternoon shift and his area is the San Jacinto first floor and Gutierrez Hall.

Palo Alto custodian Paul Ortiz.
Palo Alto custodian Paul Ortiz. Photo by Juliet Mendoza.

Galvan said, “PAC is family oriented and has the best instructors in the district and the students are great.”

Aracely Reyes Bowling, recruiter/adviser, said, “Eddie is a very hard worker and remembers everyone, and they remember him.”

The PAC community thanks all custodians for their work to keep PAC beautiful: Abelino Castillo, Dolores Flores, Edward Galvan, Irene Garduno, Alma Mancha, Marie Martinez, Paul Ortiz, Alfred Ramos, Juana Siquina, Maria Solis and the McLemore contractors.