Salt Lake City School District did Orozco right by saving his position for when he returned from active duty. In the 30 years since his second comeback, Orozco has been part of a lot of change throughout the district. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that his job description changed — he’s spent more time managing people than taking care of messes in recent years — and some of it can be chalked up to the custodial profession being much different than it was in the 80s and 90s.
“You’re always learning from people,” says Orozco, who now deals with school administrators, contractors and even public safety officials as the head custodian at the district’s East High School.
People seem to always be learning from Orozco, too. Despite his impressive rise up the custodial ranks in the district, Orozco likes to think that he treats others as equals, and is always eager to share some of the wisdom he’s gained. Oftentimes, these lessons have helped others advance their own careers and personal lives.
Johnny Rodriguez, for example, is now the head custodian at an elementary school in the district. But before he got that title, he spent a good deal of time working directly under Orozco at East High School. He says Orozco taught him to take pride in himself and the school he cares for, and to always be there for one’s family.
Travis Olson has also worked his way up to being the district’s custodial manager and views Orozco, his former boss, as one of the mentors he’s had along the way. Like Rodriguez and Brewer, Olson recalls Orozco as being someone who will take the time to teach coworkers and impart wisdom.
“It was always pretty solid advice he would give,” says Olson. “He wouldn’t sugar coat anything. He was honest with you.”
The greatest lesson Olson learned from Orozco is that a person who is on time for work is really just late. It’s only the person who is five minutes early for work that’s truly on time. Olson still thinks about that lesson to this day.
“Over the years Marcos has been a mentor to many in the custodial department. But more than that, Marcos has been an integral part of the school community,” says Brewer. “For as long as I can remember, he has been a part of the school community counsel. He’s always looking out for what the school can do best to serve the community.”
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