You might say his brother's loss was his gain. When someone at church offered Jose Martinez's brother a job at a local laboratory, his brother wasn't interested. But Martinez was.
"It was supposed to be in the model room, but when I got to the lab, I was told I'd be in the finishing department. I was a little intimidated; I saw those cutting discs and thought, 'Whoa, I'm going to lose a finger'," he laughs.
But he needn't have worried; he was a natural and was quickly up to speed in finishing techniques. During the next few years, he worked tirelessly—often putting in 14-hour days— learning all aspects of partial denture fabrication from the owner of the lab, the late Jim Higgins. When Mike Janes became president in 2006, Martinez gained even more knowledge. "I learned all of the fabrication techniques and mechanics from Jim, but Mike taught me how to assess a case and consider how the framework design would work for the patient," he says. "Neither of them ever gave up on me, and wouldn't let me give up on myself no matter how frustrated I'd get by a difficult case."
Now that he's the manager of that finishing department, he takes those early experiences into consideration: "I'm so grateful for the guidance I've had, so I love training others and working together to produce the best quality for the patients. It doesn't get old because we never know what kind of challenging cases await us every day," he says. "I have an awesome crew."
The feeling is clearly mutual. "The team members in his department say Jose is the fairest supervisor they've ever had. He expects a lot of them but he gives a lot as well: support, training, encouragement...and even donuts every Friday," says Janes. "Plus Jose has the best work ethic I've ever witnessed; he's truly committed to his work."