Martinez Goes from Top Student to Essential Employee

Viking Spotlight 2020 04 07 martinez goes from top student to essential employee

Francisco Martinez discovered hands-on, problem-solving style work was his niche as early as high school. As a student at Union High School, Martinez was introduced to agriculture mechanics and basic carpentry courses and his passion slowly began to blossom. When he began his courses at Sampson Community College, he found a home in the Industrial Systems Technology program, where instructors guided him and helped him hone his skills.

As a student at SCC, Martinez says there were several skills he had not yet acquired but praised his instructors for their teaching methods. “I really didn’t understand a lot, but they taught me very well and the more they taught me, I learned better and I liked it more and more,” he recalled.

Francisco Martinez focuses on leading all the troubleshooting related to production at Turlington Lumber Company in Clinton, N.C. (Courtesy Photo, Tom Turlington)

Martinez described labs with Durwood King, Industrial Maintenance Instructor, where he spent time troubleshooting issues. Martinez and other students tried solving problems with control systems, if they were unsuccessful, they tried other ways until they discovered the correct method. Martinez credits this practice and several others for preparing him for his current job. 

King says Martinez happened to be one of his finest students. He stated, “Francisco has a good natural technical mind. He learns things very easily. He’s a very good worker, he’s not lazy and he’s diligent.” 

King commented on Martinez’s work ethic, ability to work in a team, and skill level being what made him an excellent student. King was confident he would be a successful employee for these same reasons. When Turlington Lumber Company, located locally in Clinton, asked about qualified students, King knew Martinez would be an excellent candidate.

Martinez was hired full-time after graduation as a Maintenance Supervisor. His main priority is ensuring the production side of the plant runs smoothly. For Martinez, the job is the perfect fit. “It’s just the same as what I learned in school at Sampson. It’s troubleshooting, and that’s what I really like,” he expressed.

President of Turlington Lumber Company, Bill Turlington, says Martinez quickly became an asset and showed himself as an adaptable, versatile employee and one to be depended on. “Fran’s attitude has been great. We count on him to solve most of the issues that arise in our production process. Fran treats the other employees with respect, and it is obvious that he has gained theirs,” Turlington shared.

Martinez is described by employers and former instructors as a dedicated and hardworking. (Courtesy Photo, Tom Turlington)

When he arrives each morning, Martinez sets programs in the computer system, turns on machines, checks to ensure things are running properly, and prepares for the day ahead. Each morning, he hopes for the perfect day. For Martinez, this means no machines go down and there are virtually no “hiccups.”

“Whenever we break a record on the production, I get excited because it means I’ve been doing my job because everything has been running good and we haven’t stopped. When we have a good day and it runs smoothly, that’s what I like,” Martinez exclaimed. 

Martinez encourages other students to consider the Industrial Systems program at Sampson Community College. He commended instructors in the program like King and Reuben Cashwell for helping him get his start. “It’s a very good field to look at and you learn so much,” he concluded. 

Students interested in Industrial Systems Technology can contact Durwood King at 

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education, and workforce development options and early college education.