Firestarter Spotlight - Felipe Esparza

Congratulations to Felipe Esparza!

Felipe has very clear memories of applying at CBHA almost five years ago. He had just graduated with his AA degree in business management and he was excited to work in that field. However, he hadn’t been able to find a job. At that point there was an opening at CBHA for an optician. “I had had absolutely no training in the optical field but decided to apply anyway,” he said. “My only other option was to go back to school.” He didn’t really have much hope of being hired; therefore he was very surprised to get the call telling him he had gotten the job!

Turns out Felipe is very well suited for the job, partly because of his excellent attitude, according to Navid Fregoso who nominated him to be Firestarter of the Month. “Felipe treats everyone, staff and patients alike, with a great deal of respect. He speaks very professionally to everyone and greets them always with a sincere handshake which gives patients the confidence to ask any unanswered questions they may have. They also know they can return if they have any concerns or problems and he will take care of them. Patients often ask for Felipe by name.”

It’s been four years, nine months since Felipe began working at CBHA. When he was hired, he was told it was ‘on the job training’ - that he could sign up for the optician apprenticeship program. He would need to log in 6,000 hours before he would even qualify to take the exam to become a licensed optician. It took three years. “I have already worked the 6,000 hours, I am in the middle of the studying portion and will enroll this month to take my state boards in February. I am studying like crazy.”

When asked what the favorite part of his job is, Felipe quickly says “everything!” He went on to say it is the people he works with that makes his job so special. His title changes to licensed optician when he passes the state board. Here at CBHA it will be Manufacturing Licensed Optician which he says is “a real mouthful.” Felipe credits Dr. Forbes with the work he has done to make Eye Care’s transition to manufacturing eye glasses so successful. In the beginning we’d do 40 jobs a month and now we are up to 240 a month.” His home base is the Othello Clinic; however, he visits the other clinics on a regular basis which is very much appreciated. “Felipe is always willing to help out with anything he can do to help the PSR’s. We know if he is coming to Connell, we can count on his support and we appreciate his willingness to help out,” Fregoso said who works at our Connell Clinic.

Felipe found out he had been chosen Firestarter of the Month at the conclusion of the monthly Eye Care staff meeting. He was under the mistaken impression that, since he had already had the honor of being chosen Employee of the month in May, 2017, that he would never be chosen again. “I was rendered completely speechless when a large number of staff members walked in and congratulated me”, he said. “No kidding, I couldn’t even think of anything to say!” He is very grateful to have been chosen.

He likes to spend any spare time he might have with his family. He and his wife have a three year old son. “He’s a busy little guy,” Felipe said. “We recently hosted Thanksgiving Dinner complete with turkey, ham and all the trimmings at our house. Our extended families came and we had a great time together.” He continues to study for his state boards when he isn’t working.