Medina leaves his Stockton home at four in the morning and heads to Oakland, California; the reason of his routine travel? To start a new day of work at a construction site —of one of the busiest bridges in the country— the new San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.
Ramon Medina settled in the Central Valley at the age of 15, soon after he began working in the fields, picking tomatoes and other seasonal crops.
“As long as you have two feet, two hands and a strong heart… you must continue working,” is what Medina describes as his motto in life.
He wanted a better opportunity for himself and his family, and so with little or no experience he began working for MCM Construction Company in 1992 —one of the largest construction companies in California.
“The reason I went was because in the fields you do not make much and I wanted a steady job.” Medina noted that, “I told my boss at the time, I want to get into construction and he said to me, ‘you’ll never get there because to begin with you do not speak English,’ I said English?! Language is not what does the job, it is you [the person].”
As part of MCM Medina has worked in several main projects one of them, the California Highway 4, the Ort Loftus Freeway known as Stockton’s Crosstown Freeway which was built in the early 1990s.
Building bridges, freeways, fixing roads and driving large and heavy equipment soon turn into Medina`s passion.
Medina has spent the last 10 months in Oakland and San Francisco as a traffic controller at the Bay Bridge
With approximately 280,000 vehicles traveling across the bridge daily, working alongside cars on busy roads makes our jobs very dangerous, said Medina as he recognized the risks of his job.
“It is scary but you get used to it, you just need to be careful and always be looking around you, but I miss being up on the bridges with the other workers.”
The Bay Bridge became a focal point following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, which damaged a section of the East Span of the bridge, five years ago it was determined that the entire bridge required seismic safety improvements: an estimated $6 billion dollar tab for the State of California—this might be one the most expensive bridges in modern U.S. history.
“I feel very happy with my job.”