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Manzanares Employee of the Month

Published: September 18, 2017

Nursing students on stage
PHOTO BY SEAN DUFRENE
Ralph Manzanares (c) with President Jane Close Conoley and his peers in facilities management.

Custodian Ralph Manzanares was named by his peers in facilities management recently as employee of the month.

Manzanares, who joined CSULB in 2012 after a 26-year career as a Whittier warehouse worker for Eastman Kodak, was recognized in a special ceremony held near the University Student Union that saw Friendship Walk renamed for the month as Ralph Manzanares Lane.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley applauded Manzanares’ distinction.

“Ralph is a solid contributor who is committed to quality work,” she said. “Ralph is always ready to lend a hand to his co-workers with a great attitude. Ralph always shows the willingness to go the extra mile, inspires others to work as hard as he does and is always eager to learn more skills to do a better job.”

Manzanares is pleased to be recognized.

“I feel good about being named employee of the month,” he said. “It shows people appreciate what you do.”

His custodial responsibility is to keep the campus well supplied.

“I’m the guy who orders supplies for all the closets on campus,” he said. “There is always something for me to do. I make between four and five deliveries every day. Certain buildings need many supplies while others need few. Every day, someone needs something they did not put in their supply order. It is all a matter of staying aware of what people need. Sometimes they order the wrong stuff and it is up to me to correct that for them.”

Manzanares moves everything from buffers to burnishers.

“The biggest things I move are floor scrubbers which can weigh as much as 500 pounds,” he explained. “Using a truck with a lift gate on the back, I have to tie everything down before taking them to be used or repaired.”

Papers loom large in Manzanares’ deliveries from jumbo rolls of bathroom tissue to paper towels.

“There are plenty of hand soaps, too,” he explained. “Certain buildings need two different kinds of soap. The PE buildings, for instance, need both shampoo and body soap. Other buildings need disinfectant cleaners. Micro-fiber cloths fight for space with scrubbing pads.”

Deliveries come with their own special challenges.

“I remember when the elevators in the AS building needed repairs,” he said. “I still had deliveries to make. My student assistant, a staff member and I had to carry supplies up the stairs until the elevators passed their inspections.”

When Manzanares drives the campus’ distinctive delivery carts, he keeps an eye on safety.

“We are not allowed to use the horn so it is easy to get stuck in traffic,” he said. “Students are always looking at their phones. I told a student worker recently to drive as slowly as the students walk.”

When he is not keeping CSULB supplied with what it needs, he enjoys caring for his grandchildren Isaac and Ralph with his wife Cathy.

“Cathy and I grew up together in Whittier but we never met,” he recalled. “I knew my wife’s father and grandmother before I ever met her. It was not until then that I began to make connections.”

Manzanares is glad he made the choice to join CSULB.

“Working in facilities management gives me a strong sense of purpose,” he said. “I’m glad I came here.”

Manzanares received several gifts including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift card to Claim Jumper, a $10 gift card to Amazon and two certificates for an Original Whopper from Burger King.