TKA Tech Talks: Robert Mendez
Q: What is your role at TKA? Describe what you do day-to-day.
A: My title is a Biomedical Technician, so we perform preventative maintenance, complete repairs and calibrations when needed on all equipment – anything that touches a patient directly such as Vital Signs Monitors, Ventilators, CT scanners, MRI scanners, and Ultrasound machines. I am currently the Lead Tech Supervisor at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California which means I also help with daily operations and help my technicians with anything they need as well as questions they may have.
Q: How long have you been with TKA and why did you choose this profession?
A: I’ve been with TKA for 16 years this month! I started as an internal employee at St. Jude working in security and later as a night dispatcher for the transportation department. This means that I helped transfer patients from room to room or their room to diagnostic imaging, then back up.
During my 6 years in that role, I began to repair IV poles and wheelchairs every Friday for the hospital. I realized I had a passion for making things work after they have been considered broken. So, in 2009, when Biomed absorbed those responsibilities, I was given the opportunity to work in Biomed which was a department that I didn’t even know existed! There, I became an equipment technician who additionally was responsible for assisting the Biomed Technicians with preventative maintenance and repairs. Gus, my director at the time, began to cross-train me on minor biomedical equipment. Then in 2012, Tech Knowledge Associates (TKA) was birthed and offered to helped put me through school for Biomedical Engineering. Since graduating, I have become a BMET I, BMET II and thanks to my current St. Jude team, Supervisor. I feel blessed to have found my calling, thanks to God and it could have not been possible as well if it were not for Gus Guevara and for my director, Lance Krone for believing, trusting and having faith in me. I cannot thank you both enough!
Q: What are 3 words to describe your team?
A: Sedulous. Honest. Team Players.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is that I can help first-hand with patient care without being seen. Without our machines we service the doctors, nurses and technologist would not be able to assess the patients to the best of their abilities. We help to save lives by ensuring our machines will run flawless. It’s amazing to be a part of it!
Q: What has been your proudest moment working at TKA?
A: My proudest moment I would have to say was completing school and getting my Biomed diploma. I had 2 young children at home, and it was difficult to balance everything between work, school and family. I was also thrilled to be able to set an example for my children that if you start something, you need to finish it no matter how hard things may get. Sacrifice does pay off. My schooling allowed me to create a solid foundation for my family which was important to me because I grew up as 1 of 4 kids to a single mom on government assistance.
Q: What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
A: When I head to work, I am motivated by the daily opportunity to contribute to the common goal of better patient care.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: I am an open book. There is really nothing most people don’t know about me!
Q: How do you define success?
A: Definitely putting Jesus first. With that said, I also believe the key to success is to persevere with resilience no matter what is thrown at you. Achieving something is never easy and there will always be valleys. I found out that our struggles develop our strengths because when you decide not to surrender, that builds true strength. For example, because of my upbringing and hardships I faced at a young age, the statistics were definitely against me succeeding in life. But, because of the God I serve, mixed with the right people coupled with hard work – I have gotten to where I am today.
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