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Strong work ethic behind Riveras Del Webb job promotion
Ramon Rivera, shown standing in front of the main building at Woodbridge at Del Webb in Manteca, was recently named operations manager of the Home Owners Association. He started working at Del Webb as a janitor. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

For Ramon Rivera, hard work plus a strong work ethic generously sprinkled with white-knuckle determination equals success.

About a decade ago, the recently engaged 31-year-old was cleaning houses at Woodbridge at Del Webb in Manteca as an employee of Rivera’s A-1 Janitorial Services out of Patterson. It was a small company specializing in construction clean-up owned by his father. Several years ago, the janitorial service landed a contract with Pulte Homes to do the job at Del Webb. They cleaned up each house that was built and got it ready for the new owners.

“That’s what introduced me to the Woodbridge community,” said the very personable and amiable Rivera.

Following the work ethic inculcated in his mind by his father, Rivera said, “I always made sure that my job was done 100 percent.”

That dedication did not escape the attention of the residents at Woodbridge. One day, he received a phone call from the homeowners association asking him if he would be interested in a job that was being vacated due to the retirement of an employee. That caused a bit of a dilemma for Rivera. He was at a career juncture where he was considering whether he should stay on in his father’s business – he has been serving as manager at that point – or “branch out on my own, pave my own road.”

He chose to walk both roads simultaneously, thereby maximizing his upward mobility chances by learning as much as he could from the job, and guaranteeing himself continued employment at the same time. He accepted the job of part-time maintenance employee working 30 hours a week, and continued to work full time with his father’s janitorial services.

There was no time afforded to him to be trained in his new job, though. “I was left to learn on my own,” he said. And learn quickly he did. “I want to do the best job that I can possibly do,” is the mantra he has always repeated to himself, and still do. And that catapulted him to even bigger challenges and job offers at Woodbridge.

He advanced steadily on the job, wearing different hats each time, until Feb. 2 this year when he was promoted to the position of operations manager with responsibilities that include front desk and customer services. And that is why visitors often find the fresh-faced and smiling Rivera greeting them at the front desk.

That quick climb to a managerial position which started at the lowest rung in janitorial work did not escape the attention of some residents who are impressed with Rivera’s performance.

“Ramon started working for Del Webb as a contractor for the developer, Pulte, nine years ago to do the final cleaning of the new houses before the owners took possession,” said Woodbridge resident Wil Harmon.

“For us here at Del Webb, this is a very young person. He has four things that make him special. He is intelligent, well educated, has a wonderful personality, and is a very hard worker. We, here at Del Webb, feel blessed to have him on our staff,” Harmon said.

That admiration and respect is mutual.

“I love the people at Woodbridge. I know just about everybody; I like to know people’s names and faces so I make it a habit to get to know people, remember their names. I feel that’s a sign of respect and showing your appreciation. To the people I don’t know, I introduce myself to them.  It’s been a real blessing to be a part of this community,” said Rivera.

He said the people he meets at this age-restricted community – one has to be at least 50 years old – has been a constant source of inspiration for him to try and become even more successful in life. They have shown him that it takes a lot of hard work to reach a point of success in their life that they can retire at a community like Woodbridge.

“I try to absorb anything I can learn from them. They come from a strong work ethic background, and are very successful people. So I try to absorb anything I can learn from them, the life lessons they’ve learned and have been passing on to me. I’m taking in everything I could to better myself,” said the youthful-looking new operations manager who could easily pass for a college student, and whose job mantra is, “don’t settle with just being OK and you end up higher” in the ladder of success.

Besides setting a wedding date for later this year — he got engaged last Thanksgiving to his fiancée, Kristie, who is an executive chef at Sutter Health Memorial Hospital on Coffee Road in Modesto — Rivera’s plans include going back to school to finish his bachelor’s degree. He’s thinking of attending the University of Phoenix. He already holds an Associate in Arts degree from Heald’s College in Stockton. He is currently working on obtaining an association manager’s certificate.

He also has big plans for Woodbridge in his capacity as operations manager.

“I want to make Del Webb the best community not just in Manteca, not just in the valley and in California but across the country. I know that’s a big goal but if you dream of big goals,” and you stay committed to them, you can make those dreams happen, Rivera said confidently. “Part of human nature is to want to be the best,” he added.

That’s his way of paying forward all the gains he has so far attained in life while being affiliated with Woodbridge, he said.

“If it were not for Woodbridge, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I’ve been truly blessed to be where I’m at,” said a smiling Rivera.

To contact Rose Albano Risso, email or call 209.249.3536.