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Hernandez Honored As Top Employee

Published: March 20, 2017

Oscar Hernandez, assistant manager for event operations, was named by his peers in the Department of Athletics recently as employee of the month.

Hernandez, a member of the university since 2007, was recognized in a special ceremony held near the University Student Union that saw Friendship Walk renamed for the month as Oscar Hernandez Lane.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley applauded Hernandez’ recognition.

“Oscar is known for his great working relationships with coaches, staff and student athletes,” she said. “He manages his group with responsibility and accuracy. He always can be counted on. His co-workers say ‘He never lets me down and has been here for many years and understands everything that goes on in the Pyramid.’”

Hernandez felt honored by his distinction.

“It was a bit of a shock,” he said. “I didn’t even know I’d been nominated. I appreciated being recognized by people I see all the time.”

He feels one reason for his acknowledgment was the level of commitment he brings to his position.

“I work hard to be helpful to the people in athletics,” he said. “I make the time to always be around and to help get the job done whatever it is.”

His responsibilities as assistant manager for event operations include oversight of game operations for men’s basketball and men’s water polo, women’s volleyball, softball and women’s water polo and beach volleyball.

“I’m there on game day and for their daily needs,” he said. “When it comes to practice schedules and anything the students need, I am there. If anything needs attention on our field or facility, I’m their guy.”

Take, for instance, a typical match in women’s volleyball.

“Usually I reach out to our conference to make sure we have all the games scheduled correctly at the right time in the right venues,” he explained. “Then I reach out to the visiting teams and officials to give them the information they need when they arrive. I’m in charge of hiring and training staff on game day operations. I manage and oversee setting up the arena. I make sure this place is ready to go by game time.”

It takes a broad skill set to do his job. “You have to be personable,” he said. “You need to communicate with a lot of different people. Coaches all have their own personalities. Some can be challenging and some are not, depending on how their seasons are going. You want to be able to communicate with them. The key is to be available to respond to the coaches when they need me to.”

The Long Beach native and graduate of Wilson High School is the son of Jose Hernandez, a longtime member of the campus custodial department. “I love Long Beach,” he said. “It’s my town and I like living here.”

He takes his greatest pride in setting up everything and having it ready for events.

“People don’t realize how much work goes into that,” he said. “People don’t realize all the behind-the-scenes work it takes to get this venue ready on time. You work with all kinds of people from coaches and staff to security. It is important that people from off campus can come here and have a positive experience. Plus, I’ve had the chance to meet people I never would have met otherwise.”

Oscar Hernandez (l) with President Jane Close Conoley.
PHOTO BY TRANG LE
Oscar Hernandez (l) with President Jane Close Conoley.

Knowing what he knows about operating a sports facility changes the way he sees the sports world.

“I tend to nitpick when I go to different arenas,” he said. “I immediately compare how I do it with how they do it even when I’m there just as a fan. I don’t like to critique but I see when something can be better or that person ought to be doing something else. The Walter Pyramid is a unique arena. When people come here for the first time, they are amazed by the structure and the way it looks. But when I go to other venues, I ask myself why that security officer is standing there or why customer service is so poor. That’s because I want to provide the best customer service here. We teach our staff early on to have smiles on their faces and greet everyone who walks by. It is important to be proactive and to try to help everyone.”

When he isn’t working for CSULB, Hernandez hangs with his Long Beach family. “I like to spend time with my younger siblings,” he said. “I work out because I work in athletics and it is important to stay fit for those for long days and longer nights. I’ve learned a lot here from working with a lot of different people. Whatever comes my way, I can deal with the challenge.”

He recommends CSULB as a place to work. “It’s a great place to work where you get to meet a lot of people,” he said. “You need dedication for this kind of work. If you don’t love college athletics, you won’t last long. For me, I love college sports at CSULB.”

Hernandez received several gifts including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift card to California Pizza Kitchen, a $25 gift card to Stonefire Grill, a $10 gift card to Target and a $5 gift care for In-N-Out.