Essential Worker Spotlight: Francisco Ramirez

Francisco Ramirez

General maintenance worker keeps campus shipshape during pandemic

This Inver Hills News story was originally published March 31, 2021, and is republished today in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

About National Hispanic Heritage Month¹

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.

Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Other Dedicated Web Sites


Francisco Ramirez, 52, started working at Inver Hills Community College in 2019. Francisco’s essential, on-campus duties as a general maintenance worker in the college’s Operations department have continued uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally from Santa Cruz, a tiny village in the Mexican state of Puebla, Francisco graduated from Instituto Leonardo Bravo, Class of 1986. Before starting his job at Inver Hills, he worked as a custodian at 3M and Ameriprise Financial. He chose the operations field because he enjoys multitasking and being part of a team.

“I am responsible for making sure everything is clean,” he said. “The best part of my job at Inver is the good teamwork in our department.”

Francisco and his wife, Amada, have been married for 29 years. Amada and her sister, Emilia Cortes, also work as general maintenance workers at Inver Hills; Amada works as a salad girl at Tinuccui’s as well. Francisco and Amada have two children, Paulina, 28, and Mauricio, 19. Francisco and his family reside in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Essential employees defined²

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19


  • Workers who support the education of pre-school, K–12, college, university, career and technical education, and adult education students, including professors, teachers, teacher aides, special education and special needs teachers, ESOL teachers, para-educators, apprenticeship supervisors, and specialists.
  • Workers who provide services necessary to support educators and students, including but not limited to, administrators, administrative staff, IT specialists, media specialists, librarians, guidance counselors, school psychologists and other mental health professions, school nurses and other health professionals, and school safety personnel.
  • Workers who support the transportation and operational needs of schools, including bus drivers,crossing guards, cafeteria workers, cleaning and maintenance workers, bus depot and maintenance workers, and those that deliver food and supplies to school facilities.
  • Workers who support the administration of school systems including, school superintendents and their management and operational staff.
  • Educators and operational staff facilitating and supporting distance learning.

Workers to ensure continuity of building functions, including but not limited to security and environmental controls (e.g., HVAC), building transportation equipment, the manufacturing and distribution of the products required for these functions, and the permits and inspections for construction supporting essential infrastructure.

One word that best describes your time at Inver Hills:


Francisco Ramirez Q & A

Francisco and his wife, Amada
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your life on the job?

COVID has made me appreciate my job and family more.

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?

Meeting deadlines; once met, everything goes well.

Three words that describe you as an operations professional:

What is one thing every general maintenance worker needs to know?

Do your job well and handle your responsibilities.

What person has influenced you the most in life?

My mother

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully, retired and enjoying life.

Francisco Ramirez 11 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Iceland
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Bought my own house
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Donate to St. Jude 2) Share with my family 3) Help abandoned children
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Storage Wars and Pawn Stars
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Build a house in Mexico, my home country
  8. Dream occupation: Opening a restaurant
  9. Person you would most like to meet: President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador
  10. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Building and construction
  11. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: COVID-19 pandemic
Learn more about Inver Hills Community College by contacting:

Admissions Team
College Center

Learn more about the Operations department at Inver Hills by contacting:

Paul DeMuth
Director of Operations
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

¹ SOURCE: National Hispanic Heritage Month
² SOURCE: U.S. Department of Homeland Security > Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency > Office of the Director

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