Interview with a Conduit Bender – Angelica Martinez
April 30, 2021
Curiosity, motivation and ambition guide every step of Angelica Martinez’s career path, and along the way she’s sought to be a positive example to her children while also proving that women can succeed in a male-dominated field like construction. With hard work and perseverance, she knows you can attain your goals, and this lifetime learner puts in the work no matter what she sets her mind to do. Though her path has not been without struggle, these days, Martinez feels lucky. She works at Corbin as a Conduit Bender – and with her eyes on the prize, she’s sharing a bit of her journey with us today.
- What factors brought you into the building and construction industry?
When I first came to the United States, I worked as a cleaner for a while, and then in a bakery making bread. After a while, I realized I wanted to understand how to operate all of the breadmaking machinery, so I learned everything.
My next job was in carpentry, building office furniture. I knew nothing so I decided to learn everything from scratch. I’m not really happy unless I’m learning, so I’m always looking for new opportunities to learn a set of skills. Construction gives you that chance.
- What does a Conduit Bender do, exactly?
Well, all buildings have electrical conduit. Conduit are the tubes that protect and route
electrical wiring in a construction project. And my job is literally bending that conduit to the specific needs of the project. I work as part of the fabrication team.
I love learning about electricity and how it works. When I started out I was assembling other parts electricians use regularly, but I’ve worked my way up to the Conduit Bender job that I have now.
- What motivates you? Do you see yourself advancing and growing at Corbin?
I do! When I started working at Corbin I really thought it was going to be hard, especially since my English isn’t good. But I believe that wanting is power, and I really wanted to do well. When I came to the U.S. my daughter was very small, and my motivation was to give her (and all my kids) a brighter future. I feel like I am making that dream come true. I started at the bottom making minimum wage, but kept wanting to learn more and that is how I moved up in my position and now I make $17 an hour.
My daughter sees me working at Corbin and now she says she wants to work as an
electrician when she grows up. This keeps me going. There aren’t a lot of women doing
this kind of work and I want to show her that if I can do it, she can do it.
- What advice would you have for someone considering a career in the skilled crafts?
To work in this field as a woman, you have to just do it. Don’t let fear take over. You have to believe in yourself. My motto is “wanting is power,” – if you want something badly enough, it gives you the power to make it real!