Gumaro Lobatos, affectionately known as ‘Omar’ by his colleagues, is a man who has worn many hats. From maintaining the grounds to working in welding and fabric departments to his latest role as the grounds foreman who oversees a team of 32 people in Irving ISD, Lobatos goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

A native of Juarez, Mexico, Lobatos moved to El Paso in 2001 knowing no English, but with lots of determination. After studying and watching American television shows, he taught himself how to speak English, all while working as a chef full-time while picking up diesel and mechanic skills during his free time. In 2007, he relocated to Dumas, where he began working for the school district until a visit to Irving inspired him enough to relocate in 2011. 

“My aunt lived in Irving, so I would visit on vacation, and I always loved it,” said Lobatos. “One day I saw a job listed for the district and decided to apply.”

Lobatos interviewed with Irving ISD Grounds and Environmental Quality Manager Todd Lane and was hired shortly after, beginning his career with the district’s grounds department.

“Omar is just a great guy,” says Lane. “He’s very hardworking and always willing to do for others.” 

When speaking about his career, a huge smile appears on Lobatos’s face. You can see the love and passion he has for it. 

“I love to wake up in the morning and come to work,” he says. “I love to serve and help others any way I can.”

Lobatos also says he’s grateful for his amazing team. He describes it as a family. 

Maintenance Appreciation Day, celebrated each year on March 4, is a time to recognize and celebrate the hard work of employees in the maintenance field, like Lobatos. 

“We are strong people and no matter if it’s hot or cold or if the schools and offices are closed, we’re there,” he says. “Everything we do is for the kids, first.”