My name is Albert DeLeon, I am currently employed at Kirschenman Enterprises located in the south eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley, a valley rich in agriculture, I was born here to Ag Farm Workers and I have had a lifelong experience in this field, born to farmworkers, every summer vacation since I was 13, I had the opportunity to work alongside either of my parents learning the values of what it is to earn some money in return of hard work. It has been my passion for the past 31 years since I became independent and I was able to get a job. At age 18, I graduated from Arvin High School, considering that my parents didn’t have the sufficient money to send me off to a college, and the fact that it could have taken four or more years to complete my education, I chose to go to a refrigeration trade school in Phoenix Az. where I completed a certificated course in commercial and industrial refrigeration which got me my first in Arvin at age 19. I stated working as the refrigeration technician, and soon the plant was sizing up offering better paying positions which evolved in me becoming the plant manager at age 20. I operated a commercial cold storage, warehousing, shipping, and receiving department there for about 10 years while working there. After that I moved down the road to a smaller location owned by a farmer, Kirschenman Enterprises has been my home for the past 22 years. Here I have been able to apply my knowledge in refrigeration, as well as the other warehousing chores that come with managing a cold storage, but most important for me, I was able to interact with the farmworkers, those that drive a tractor plowing the dirt fields and hand picking the crops.
Having had that great experience, I chose to continue more education and attended online classes as well as paid courses partnered by The California Fresh Fruit Association in the field of Human Resources, I have been Kirschenman’s Human Resource manager for the past 10 years. This role has allowed me to drill down into the needs of those workers out in the fields, I do not put aside any other worker, we are all important in the operations of this company, but those out in the elements are skilled workers that have real needs and the resources to them are at times limited due to their work environment and work schedules. Therefore, it has been my main reason to have excelled in this field of work.
In addition to my role at Kirschenman Enterprises, I have been a Board Member of the California Farmworker Foundation for the 2 years, this has been the experience of my life. Being able to see how the rest of the world sees and participates in providing donations, food and goods, health care, protective work gear to these essential farmworkers really makes me feel great about what we all do. I have never been prouder than knowing I am part of those that care and provide to them.