This week on Bucket Talk we chat with Kevin Martinez, an electrician who you might know as @_ksparky on social media. Hailing from San Diego, he’s long been an aspirational guy. After a frightening car accident turned his world upside down, Kevin bounced around a few different gigs before getting a job as a delivery driver at a San Diego electric company. After a while, Kevin worked up the guts to ask for an apprenticeship role, and the rest is history. Now, he’s a foreman and a testament to what hard work and perseverance can do for any tradesperson.
Eric Girouard 0:00
This is bucket talk weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discussed what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:29
This is Jeremy and Eric here with bucket talk powered by Brian. On this episode, we have Kevin Martinez. Kevin Martinez is a electrician by trade but before we jump in, Eric, what's been going on?
Eric Girouard 0:40
Hey, guys, all right. For those you that don't know, we got a couple important holidays that are coming up here. I'll talk to the first one. The first one is national first responders day that was October 28. And it's for those police officers, EMS firefighters and all the first responders out there. This one was near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a town called Bristol, Connecticut. And for those that don't know, a lot of you probably do because it made national news two police officers were killed on the job a few weeks ago, and another one was injured in a horrific, horrific scene, an incident that happened in my hometown. So as we pass this national first responders day, I want you to think about and honor all those folks that are out there on the frontlines protecting our communities and our families because it's dangerous work. Let them know that we appreciate it. Jeremy, what about what's coming up in your world?
Jeremy Perkins 1:35
November 11 is Veterans Day One of my favorite days you know, I did my time in the service tax Hall past and present service members for their service. Definitely a time to reflect on your service and, and all the good things that you've done some of the funny stories and definitely good time to to maybe call a buddy that they used to serve with on November 11. I think we're dropping something. We did a little collab with a veteran friend of ours and I'm super excited for it to come out. But that's pretty much it in our world.
Eric Girouard 2:07
Awesome. Awesome. And for those listeners out there supporting our buddy K Sparky. You can use code Cali 10 ca Li 10 today for $10 off your first order of $60 or more. All right, let's dig in All right, today
Jeremy Perkins 2:27
we're here with Kevin Martinez. Kevin Martinez goes by the name que es Sparky on the Instagram but Kevin welcome.
Kevin Martinez 2:35
Thank you Thank you got to be here. Appreciate you guys having
Jeremy Perkins 2:39
awesome awesome and to be honest with you I screwed up your handle it's actually case Sparky not cast Sparky. So you know that's that's my bad. But dude, thanks for being on. This is awesome. You're an electrician by trade and kind of want to do a little background on Kevin himself. So where are you from? You know, how'd you get your start? kind of run us through that?
Kevin Martinez 3:00
Yeah, yeah, no worries. So I mean, everything from the beginning to now pretty much. My name is Kevin Martinez. I go by underscore, K Sparky on the social platforms. But I'm pretty much 28 years old, based out of San Diego, I grew up and TJ, which is our neighborhood city, if pretty much south of the border right here from San Diego. I grew up you know, typical 90s Kid, I think still playing outside with all the kids, right? Like every day after school, stuff like that. It was in about like sixth grade prior when I decided to move to San Diego, and ever since just been living here, man, typical mentary middle school, high school. And then pretty much from high school as well thing I talked about it before. We're just going with the flow as far as like where kids want to do after high school. And it's something that I think a lot of people can relate right? When you're still in high school, you don't know what you're doing you just spoiling all your friends by the typical, you need to go to college. If not, you're gonna end up working at McDonald's and things like that. Right? Right. Oh, I decided to, you know, start applying myself like what am I going to do? Where am I going to go so, decided to go out to community college, I was like, you know, the other colleges are getting kind of expensive, like, as far as like university, I tried to travel and things like that. So I decided to just go to my local community college. And my plan was to just transfer there. So I was basically in college, I was really into graphic design as well as my plan was to get a Business Administration, right, get my associates from that. So I decided to go with the major business admin and also a minor in graphic design. So I've always been into graphic design pictures, and all those type of things by then we had like Tumblr and things like that from high school growing up, but it was something that I really wanted to do. So I pursued that going in community college, I was also very into sports. I was into soccer. So, you know, I was always in school. And when I was in school, I was either playing soccer, and I decided to start getting small jobs prior like coaching, I think and also like Baskin Robbins mood, I
Eric Girouard 5:18
had no idea man, I played soccer growing up my entire life, we're gonna have to, you know, chop it up a little bit.
Kevin Martinez 5:26
No magic. But yes, it was always soccer. For me. I was at school, if we weren't studying, I will go with my friends to like the local park, they have like a, you know, the goals and everything just scrimmage like all these community college around us. It was fun. But the reason I decided to get the business administration because my dad, the reason when we moved over here, he started working for one of my uncle's in the glazing industry, as far as like window installations. Were like in high school, I would always, for example, like in summer, go with my uncle and just hold my pops out, either in the shop, you know, making friends or screens for doors and stuff like that. Just small stuff. But he never crossed me right at that point that I was just going as far as like helping them. I was helping him and also my brother, who was also right after high school, start working on my pops. I tried to get my brother into community college, but you know, and there was this thing. And he always told me, you know, he should maybe try out the electrical field, blah, blah, this cousin is doing it. They're just doing like stealing pies super easy, but in my head. I mean, it never crossed me, you know, being electrician or doing something else besides school. I was very stuck to it. But yeah, after that probably was around 2015, you know, life happened. So I was involved in a very bad accident with my brother, I was a car accident, rainy day, we both pretty much got it checked out from the car, and I survived the accident. And unfortunately, my brother did, my brother didn't. He's no longer with us. But you know, I carry his memory every day when I wake up. So it's something that I think made me and changed me in a way, right? Somebody at that age, going through that it is all the things that go through your head and all the grief and you know, just try and deal with it. No longer having your best friend with you, right? Everyone, when you lose, somebody that close is just, you know, affects you and changes you. And I feel like everybody in their life at least has like that, that big impact something that happened in their life that also changed them. You know, for me, it was that. And, you know, it's, I feel like as I grow up and mature, I'm more openly about it, to talk about it. Because I feel like a lot of people don't know about it, you know, and a lot of people decide to always judge you when you're doing things, especially with the social media, but I don't think they know where I come from, and how, how much I've like struggled in life and like to be where I am today, right? So as far as that happened, I was injured very bad. And when you name it, I mean, dislocated my head, also broken femur on my other leg. On one of my right hands, I broke my pretty much my my bones on my forearm. And then on the left, I had a cast as well because I shaved my hand. So I was like always I started when I went to therapy, I was like the only one that was really, like, focused on every part of the body. And people were just like, amazed. They're like, No, you're lucky to be here, you know, you're young, you'll get better soon. So I think out of that, I learned how to be patient. Because, like, Damn, it's like, you're, you're like now all of a sudden, like your life changes, right? Like, you're like in a bad risk. Obviously, I couldn't go to school. And it's like the way I never want to like people to feel bad for me, right? So I always like push myself and you know, ask myself, like, you know, why me? Right? Like, how can I get the second chance he didn't. So we always pushing myself is something that I've always been doing, like since like that day. And I think every time when I wake up, it's just like, no excuses for me. You know, I push myself as hard as I can every day. Do I mean that's a lot.
Eric Girouard 9:12
I mean, you've gone through a lot man like gamma. Go it right. But it's like, man, you're you know, that's some heavy stuff. Yeah,
Kevin Martinez 9:21
man. It's like, pretty much I consider my life like a little novella, right? Like a Mexican novella. Pretty much. It's all these crazy things that have happened that sometimes I forget, you know, I'm just soaking up all my life, but I gotta like I remember and I catch myself know that those things really happened to me. And you know, I just need to grow from them and being grown from them ever since. I don't feel like a lot of people have gone through anything close to that and I don't wish them to but it made me really realize and grow up as fast as I did, and mature as fast as I did. And you know, just start thinking about the way life is and all those things, right?
Jeremy Perkins 9:55
Yeah, yeah. How'd you get your start in electrical
Kevin Martinez 10:00
So after that happened, I pretty much went to therapy, all that for about like three months, Doctor told me, hey, you need to take it easy, you know, you can't worry, blah, blah. As he released me, I found a temp agency and started working literally the next week after he released me. I want to you know, I want it to work. I want it to like, you know how my pops out, you know, and so I just like the same big Z. And then I started working for this warehouse boasts, you know, the speaker bows. Yeah. Yeah. So I started working for the warehouse right here, let's say by the border, everything that comes in semis and, you know, distributes to all America start working with them. But it was a temp agency. So a temp agency only lasted like 90 days, because they don't pay you for insurance and all that stuff. started bouncing around jobs. I was from Bose to like, I think it was like Ashley's furniture. Just they're like building furniture for a little. Yeah. Until like one of my cousins reach out to me. He's like, hey, well, like I see that you're doing better. You know, before I wanted to reach out to you, so you can come work with me. But right now they're looking for somebody as a driver and the White House and I was just like, you know, driver where? And he pretty much explained to me that I would have to drive every other week to NorCal which is like, San Francisco saccharina.
Jeremy Perkins 11:18
How far was that from where you're at?
Kevin Martinez 11:20
Throw about, say, like, 10 hours around there. Eight to 10 hours?
Jeremy Perkins 11:26
Yeah. Wow. That's quite the hall. Yeah. So
Kevin Martinez 11:30
it was like drive up on Tuesday and come back on Thursday. But I was like the deal. And you have to deliver tools. Right? I was like, okay, you know, I got it. So yeah, join with them. And the interview and then they got me right away. Turns I was an electrical company. You know, the shout he was talking about. So it was an electrical company here in San Diego was very big, their name so they're still electric here in San Diego. They're really big company. As far as like, all California, they go to I think they just moved to Texas. They've been in Texas for about like five years, I believe, started driving with them all through California, every other week. And during the week, I will just stay in the shop pretty much. We will get Rex as far as like for tools. I say this job site needs X amount of tools and in game boxes. So I would make sure I pulled those for them. Throw them in a truck. And whenever we had delivery schedule, I would go and deliver them. Come back do the same thing. Right. So I started like testing tools and saws, you name him a walk in the wall. Yeah. So I started getting like really familiar with tools knockout sets, Poles, benders, all this stuff was in the shop pretty much. It was like, you know, for everybody that went to the shop, they always talk to us, because we're the ones that, you know, hook them up with all the tools.
Jeremy Perkins 12:44
That's cool. I mean, to be able to get like that kind of exposure with with some of the coolest stuff. I mean, that's pretty neat.
Kevin Martinez 12:51
Yeah, man. So I started testing all the tools. It was like, you know, in Canada, and a Christmas shot, right?
Eric Girouard 12:58
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So
Kevin Martinez 13:01
I was there for about a year. And towards the end of my year, I started like noticing going to different jobs. And I will notice all these other kids, right, helping the superintendent, that's how I was delivered tools. So I will start thinking like, you know, how did they get that job? Like, I want to go on the job site to you know, how can I do that? So I was working on my cousin and another coworker, the other coworker. Towards the end, it was kind of fishy missing days here and there. And so I asked him, What are you doing? What's up? And then he's like, Well, you know, how you ever thought about joining the apprenticeship? And I was like, what's the apprenticeship? Like? What are you talking about? That? Well, you should talk to Paul right? But he's like here every day, the hiring manager, you know, like, are you going to do this your whole your whole life, just drive around, blah, blah, you're young dude, you're 21 you know, you need to start thinking about your future. And say, this vantage point, the last pillar, which is like, you know, like, start moving? Yeah. So it got me thinking, I'm like, maybe I should talk to that guy and get an opportunity on the field. You know, maybe I'll start doing it. So he told me about like, three weeks, until I, you know, I finally, you know, got the guts. I'll walk inside the office, because when you think about it, we're at the warehouse, and the warehouse was the main office for that company. So we had superintendents, hiring managers see it, like everybody was there. I would like pretty much deliver their FedEx to their desk. So I got the guts, I went and asked them like, Hey, so what's up with the apprenticeship? And he just looked at me with a smile. He's like, Oh, so you're ready.
Jeremy Perkins 14:29
You gotta that's, that's unbelievable. Sorry to interrupt you. But that is unbelievable. People don't even realize like, you know, at a young age when when you finally you know, get the guts to either quit a job because you hate it. You know, move on because you have a better opportunity or ask for something like, it takes a lot of guts to do that. Because you've never known how to do it. You don't know how to approach the situation. So I know exactly how you feel in this situation.
Kevin Martinez 14:57
Yeah, and I feel like I thought Right now, a lot of people relate to me because they're in that spot. They don't know how to make that change. You know, they're in a spot where they're looking for a different opportunity as far as like their job, or something else I want to do, but they don't know what options they have. They don't know what options to have out there. So far for me, I feel like I was in that position, but I never knew what what it could be as me like join the electrical apprenticeship. I never knew what it was exactly. Which is something that you know, it's what offered today. But pretty much that happened. And he got me a test appointment, like, pretty much the week after. To this apprenticeship, they're gonna test you blah, blah, blah. So I was like, I'm ready. You know, let's do it. I studied I think for a little bit. And then like, the night before, I was just starting to algebra and all these things, try and go back to my college mentality. Why did they ask me this? And when I show up, they told me Oh, no, no worries, just basic math, like dividing fractions while longer. I was like, what? Like I was stressing them out before about it. But now I went in, I went in, it was a basic exam. A lot of people asked him this question, actually, which is crazy how a lot of people don't know how the apprenticeships work. But pretty much went into the facility. Right? A lot of people that's on the same thing. Obviously, my my situation was very different from like other people, for example, high schoolers that just got out of school or trying to join the apprenticeship, or even like older people trying to join an apprenticeship like for them, obviously, they have to apply and go on a waitlist, but they don't even know this because that information is out there for them. You know, even a lot of people that I talk to, so my situation is very different. I have my opportunity. They're out the office, right? And then I got a test they right away, I went and tested. And luckily I passed my first time. So you know, I didn't have to do nor retakes anything like that. So I passed my first try. And from there, I went back to the shop, and they just couldn't believe it. They're like, they will tell me things like, we'll see you the next week. You're not gonna last? You know, we'll see you back in two weeks.
Jeremy Perkins 17:03
That's motivation do that out? Like, yeah, is
Kevin Martinez 17:06
it for me as motivation? Like, okay, like, you'll see, you'll see it. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 17:11
I never like to prove it wrong.
Kevin Martinez 17:12
Like, I'm not going to come back. Because I was just tired of the driving like, shout out to those who drive because, you know, it's, it's a tough job, you're away from home every other week, or every day, you're eating on the road, I got so comfortable, I didn't add things by myself, I would just stop, you know, like somewhere, like in NorCal, stop and eat by myself, and then just keep driving. And then go till which that's what got me to move on, you know, it was just very tiring for me. So my friends will hit me up, like, Hey, let's go have a beer. I'm like, do it. I'm in San Francisco. The key that I
Eric Girouard 17:48
take from that is like, because we talked to the top, over the road drivers. And yeah, is making sure you're finding a trade that matches with your personality, you know, and if you're quiet, and you liked the alone time and time in your head, like that's great, but it sounds like you're more out and about and like it's matching that type of trade, to your personality, and what keeps you fired up every day. And what you know, if you're a people person, you shouldn't be doing that. If you're not maybe a great, you know, or whatever it may be.
Kevin Martinez 18:21
Yeah, and that's one of the things that I always like, tell the younger people coming up, because I tell them, like, when you're young, you have the opportunity to change and see what you're gonna like, as you get older, you don't have the opportunity where like, I don't like this, I don't feel comfortable. I mean, look for a different job, right? Because now you got bills, you got a family, and things like that. So for the younger people coming up looking to get into trades, that's where I tell them, you don't know if you're gonna like be an electrician, and you could try it. But what if you're better, you know, you'd like me an iron worker or Carpenter, there's so many things that you can do. But you don't know until you try them. So that's like another thing that I always promote to the other people that are willing to get into the trades that you need to find whatever motivates you every day, right? When you wake up every morning so you can go work, and at least enjoy because it's something that you're going to do for the rest of your life. You
Jeremy Perkins 19:13
Kevin, I got to stop you here because you mentioned something that's near and dear to my heart. My mom's side is from Orange County, and my grandmother actually retired from Denny's. So like, I have all the Danny's baseball cards everything the fact that he said eating alone at Denny's, man. I mean that that just that just struck a chord with me so I can promise you there
Kevin Martinez 19:39
being I learned that menu
Jeremy Perkins 19:42
gotta have the Grand Slam man. Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. So you know we were chatting off air and now you're doing well in the electric trade and what's next for you?
Kevin Martinez 19:54
So so far, like I mentioned, I joined the apprenticeship. Yeah, was with the non union so it was not new. For five years, my whole apprenticeship and from the non apprenticeship, pretty much it taught me how to, you know, put in the time. And always you want to make a name for yourself because I feel like a non union, it's harder, you got to say was with the same crew, as far as. So I got to work with great guys and non union, the company I was with, they taught me a lot. And like I said, I always had that motivation to learn more ask questions, which at the beginning, I did not get by when I was like a first year, second year, a lot of people, you know, they don't want to give me the chance because I came from the shop, they wanted to put me material handling, which I did for like about a year. And then until they gave me the opportunity to actually go into the job site. So as far from there, once I got the opportunity, I think that's when the whole case Sparky started, because I started scrolling through Instagram and seeing all these different trades, World of electricians, right, shout out to them. But me as an apprentice, seeing them and all the accounts on Instagram is just blew my mind. But it got me thinking too, if I'm doing this every day, all this crazy job sites, you know, why not share my journey. So that's when I, you know, made a different Instagram from my personal one and started posting on my work because I didn't want to bore my friends, obviously, with all this electrical stuff. I just started, you know, I dug up through the old pictures and posted those and then just start posting content every day. Like I was mentioning earlier, you know, I had a lot of time. So even people in that company didn't know who I was, at the beginning, I didn't like to pose my face, because I always felt like I was gonna get in trouble, which I did towards the end. But
Jeremy Perkins 21:30
I think kind of the thing like dude, when I was posting my job, it was the same thing. I was like, you know, I had a really shitty day, but like, I didn't really want to explain it because I was afraid of the repercussions. So I just kind of kept it to myself.
Kevin Martinez 21:46
Yeah, I did for a long time. Until like, I think probably like, right before I landed, that's when I didn't care. But the little furniture you can imagine like, like three years, I think four years of the apprenticeship. I was just pause. And like, nobody knew who this guy was right?
Jeremy Perkins 22:01
You're like, I really liked my job. It's great.
Kevin Martinez 22:05
Yeah, but I mean, that goes into another thing. Because I feel as as now me been doing it since like, 2018. I feel like that's a long time, like four years, right? I've gotten to like experience like the both sides of like a whole company and everything, but also as far as social media. Because I feel a lot of people asking me this question to that. How do I go into the social media, I want to post my work, but I work for this older guy, blah, blah, blah. And I explained to them how, for me it was hard at first too. But no, I just posted it, because that's what I like to do. I really enjoy the trade and then me learning every day, the new tools I will get. I mean, you get excited when you walk around with a new pair of brunch, right? So you want to share that. And I feel a lot of people don't do that. Because, you know, they feel like, in the back of the head, what were they going to say? What is this person gonna say, you know, but
Jeremy Perkins 22:55
Well, it was my saving grace that I was really good at my job because my boss would come over, and then you'd see me underneath the hood of a car like recording. And he'd be pissed. But at the same time, like, you know, I was doing my job and I was doing it well. So like, it's kind of funny, because you know, him are you really. But it was funny because like, you're right, you know, who you are just trying to post your content and trying to, you know, make a little bit more than just kind of make a day out of it. You know what I mean? You're you're posting to Instagram, or you're posting whatever channel and when my boss didn't understand it, so I got a lot of shit at the lunch table for it and what have you, but he kind of let it go. But yeah, I can see how a lot of employers would be a little upset about it.
Kevin Martinez 23:44
Now, yeah, tell me about I mean, I'm talking about DCS and stuff. So I'm quick to change their mind because the way I put it out it's understand there's like two types of people, right? You got the people on their phone, right at work, texting, scrolling through their phone, but as creators of content creators, I feel like we just record as we work though, like you on my videos will see me with two hands, right? Just knocking on work, things like that. So that's more my field where I'm still getting things done. Right, right around the job. But like, you know, I'm still getting content, but I'm working. And a lot of these people it's like, if the, you know, forming walks by he sees this guy on the live but he's like, strolling through his phone or like, you know, talking to his girlfriend like that's when they bugged him.
Jeremy Perkins 24:27
But like, that's in the shit house for two hours.
Kevin Martinez 24:29
Yeah, like, where's this guy going? For him all day? That's the type of people that's like where it makes a difference because I mean, for me, I've I've done it for so long. But you know, when it comes down to it, and they want to put me on so I always explain to them how it's like okay, but I'm doing this in my own time. Right? Like I get home and you see me posting like a pm or things like that what I've worked throughout the day, but it's like, Hey, I'm gonna be here getting 20 feet done. You know, like I run like 50 feet while this guy's like, keeps cutting his bends because he doesn't know how to bend pipe.
Eric Girouard 25:00
Do you know like, the difference that separates men, I mean, if you took the time out of your work day to post, edit and post all the content, you'd be working, you know, a quote, you know, less than the average person, if you put all your time into just working and not posting, you wouldn't be building up your profile, it's, you got to put in the right amount of time, crank out the work, put it in, and then you know, it's whatever is the theory of nine to five, what's your five to nine? And like, in and then and then if you really are, what's your nine, nine to like, 2am, and then sleep those four hours? It's like, you got to figure out the balance of like, your core job. What to do on the side? And then and then how much more do you want on top of it well, and what you're willing to sacrifice on
Jeremy Perkins 25:49
into pylon on top of that, you know, I didn't actually realize the power of social media until I started posting and then guys locally, we're like, Dude, I didn't know you guys did that kind of stuff at the shop. So it actually we ended up getting more people to come to the shop, we had more, you know, younger kids saying, hey, I want to get involved with this. I didn't know you guys, you know, restored or old cars or, or did frame repair or welding or this, that and the other thing. And to be honest with you, it's almost like a little commercial people know, where you're from and what you're doing. So it actually kind of helped out my boss, but he didn't realize it, you know what I mean?
Kevin Martinez 26:29
Yeah, I mean, it helps in every, every single aspect of it, as far as like you promoting your work, but also showing other people where you guys are going, and actually getting, you know, hooked then to like, you know, more interested in your tasks and moods or whatever, you know, it may be for depending on the trade. And I think that's something that we provide. And it's funny, because, as of right now, also to like, I got guys coming up to me and told me, Hey, like, I went on YouTube yesterday to try to like, find out how I had to do this. And then I just look at them, okay, like, tell me, how many videos did you find? He said, None. Like, will you see that? I was like, well, that's where I'm trying to provide for you guys, you know, something where you guys can actually learn and see the little things that matter, right? Or how to do things the right way, at the job site. Nobody's doing that. So it's like a lot of people get some hope then obviously, like the people already in their apprenticeship, people who want to get into apprenticeship, I actually get to see what you know, other trades do. So I think it's a great thing. I don't see the negative. And then and that aspect. I mean, I can see if they're strong until the fall, they obviously but they're actually getting the work done. And, you know, learning from it, learn from their mistakes and growing as they go into trade. There's nothing wrong with it.
Jeremy Perkins 27:43
It's funny that you bring up YouTube, because my boss came up to me at one point in time and said like, I'm paying you to go on YouTube to figure out the problem. And I'm like, yeah, like you're paying me to solve the solution. And, and I'm going on YouTube, somebody out there has done this job that I haven't done, and they're gonna walk me through it. I'd rather watch a video for eight minutes, know how to do the job and then get it done for you. I mean, there's no shame in being a YouTube mechanic per se. You just need to know how to apply it properly.
Kevin Martinez 28:17
Yeah, there's a lot of information out there and and that's one of the things if you if you really want it, you'll put in your time. I mean, you got YouTube, you got books, ebooks, you know everything out there to Instagram, Tik Tok, I mean, even Tik Tok chosen things from here and there, right that people actually building stuff mechanics or whatnot. Yeah, there's always ways to learn now that I feel like before, I mean, other people didn't have which, I don't know if it makes them uncomfortable with just like seeing people on their phone and trying to figure out their other way. But I mean, as long as they're getting the work done,
Jeremy Perkins 28:49
that actually brings up a good point, too, is like the phone is a resource. Now you know, guys used to pull out the book or the manual and look through it. Now. It's on the phone. So if you see a guy on the phone, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're doing something wrong or or texting or this that any other thing. They may actually be trying to find the answer. So
Kevin Martinez 29:09
yeah, pretty much Instagram on a nutshell.
Jeremy Perkins 29:14
So where are you now? Like, what are you doing? What's your day to day job now?
Kevin Martinez 29:19
So as far as of now, I ended up leaving that company after six years with them. And joining my local union here in San Diego.
Jeremy Perkins 29:29
You got congrats you.
Kevin Martinez 29:33
I think my received my certificate back in around like April. And it was something that I was thinking about since I believe it was like a fourth year third year, I knew I had the option if I really wanted to. And when he came that time this year, you know, I said I just gotta move on. Because for me, I just wanted to keep growing and I feel like where I was at at that moment, there was not that much room for me to grow. And I will see other people still trying to climb that ladder and I knew For me, it was going to be a long time. So I decided to join the union. I talked to one of the organizers here in San Diego. And the process was very easy for me since I already had all my certificates from school for my journeyman license. He made the process easy. And I ended up at a shop. They told me one of my friends had gone union. So I reached out to him. And you know, he got me into the company I came out today, which is a big company here in San Diego, too. That's more middle serves San Diego, and that's a union company. And they're pretty much doing the same thing, new commercial. So I decided to join the union and test out how different it is from the non union. Because I mean, that's another debate that will go on forever. And union versus non union is never, never good enough for me. Right? On people always commenting about that.
Jeremy Perkins 30:48
I'll tell you what, with Union and non union, there's a place for both. And you really need to look into it to figure out which way you want to go. I mean, that's really the, the meat and potatoes of it, you know, there's no wrong way. It's just what's the right path for you?
Kevin Martinez 31:04
Exactly. It's like, where are you spending that moment, because I feel a lot for a lot of people not union where it's I mean, you're getting everything that you want, maybe you work close from all over again, in truck, and other things that makes it beneficial for you. But when it comes to that moment, there's lots of people in the in the union that you know, are there for the benefits and also for the work. But yeah, turns out I joined the Union, same thing will like they tell you the benefits and all. But when you're non union, they don't want to talk about a union that also you know, you don't know the what they provide for you until you talk to somebody from there. But yeah, join or non union and I was just getting the vibe from it, the the union shop, how different it was from my last company where I came from a production based company, which is every day you need to write your production, how much you do today, to where I went to the union, it was a non production. So end of the day, you just sign out and go home. So it felt very weird for me and being in that position. I started doing just doing my thing, keep working. I was working by myself. Next thing, you know, they put a guy with me and apprentice. Next thing you know, here's another one, here's another one. And then at one point, I had like, seven with me. And they just started seeing the quality of work that I was trying to provide. I mean, I didn't change the mentality just because I went to Union I was gonna like, slow down. I came in with the same mentality, just doing the work what I love quality work, obviously. And next thing, you know, they offer me if I want to be a foreman, they start mentioning at first, hey, like, I'm hearing this and that. I know, what do you think? But obviously, it wasn't a thing that I was, like, just they're like, I'm working to be a foreman, right? Like, oh, like they're gonna make me a format. I was mostly like, just doing my thing. And I kept telling them, if it happens, it happens. And I'm very grateful for it. If not at school, you know, I'm just here to do my work. And, you know, keep on with the same mindset. But thankfully, the gfM with he offered me the opportunity. And he made me a foreman. So it's just been a different ballgame. Fast. Nice. Yeah. So like I said, I journeyed out this year, and then like two months ago, August, they made me a foreman. So it's kind of been a crazy transition, which I'm still trying to get used to it like I was mentioning to you earlier, it's kind of hard coming from somebody that makes a lot of content to you know, find those ways to like, get around. It's like it's different. Now the type of work that you do, obviously, you know, I've got guys with me, like a whole crew of around like 11 are various to like six. And now I'm like Iran, they gave me pretty much the common areas, which I'm basically doing like big classrooms and stuff like that. So trying to keep up with the guys and everything that they need with the other trades. And like I said, I'm just thankful for the opportunity and just trying to keep growing. Because, you know, I could have easily said no, and stayed comfortable at that position as a journeyman still making content, you know, something that I've learned how to do pretty well, I believe, just installing things like that, but I want it to grow and keep growing, right. That's one of the reasons I came to the union. So the fact of me taking this opportunity, like it's a different side of trade, but I'm still growing in that aspect, right? A lot of people forget it. Yeah. Because I have a lot of followers on Instagram. They want to judge me and tell me I've been in trade 20 years or Yeah, I mean, think about it, man and trade, like five years, right? So where I'm at today, I try not to compare myself with others. Because I have my own journey. Like I mentioned earlier, I've been through my stuff in life and where I'm at today, you know, it's sometimes I put myself down thinking I could do this better, but when I think back of everything that I've been through and how fast I've done it, like not even the Instagram but the whole like trade as well of learning a new trade and being where I am today. You know, I just keep pushing and trying to make myself better every day. Because if I compare myself then it's just gonna make me like bring me down right and then Something that I don't like to listen to negative people, because I just focus very focused on where I'm going on what I'm doing.
Jeremy Perkins 35:06
That's actually a big takeaway there, look to others to see where you can go. But don't compare yourself to others, because it really is your own journey. Everybody has their own path and their way of doing it. But, you know, it's good to look around and see what there is out there and what opportunities you have, but at the growth and the rate you want to go, it's totally up to you and what you want to do.
Kevin Martinez 35:27
Yeah, exactly. It's, I think it's up to everybody just to themselves, how far they want to go on their plan. And, like I mentioned, I push myself a lot, I think you'll hear from inside of work. So I started work, and now with the whole Instagram, and I feel like I live this tree like inside and out of work. And it's something that makes you better, just like every little aspect of it, either, like teaching other people who makes you better, because now it's like you want to know the answer to and you know, you don't want to promote that work as well. So always following that, and then other people. But yeah, it's something that I speak on a lot about, just you know, wherever people are going, staying positive, having that plan, and just uplifting each other because I feel like everybody could move up together, you know, I'm never like greedy, where it's like, Oh, I'm gonna do this by myself, you know, like, you know, I'm this my goal, nobody else is like, I try to as I go, just bring other people up. And I feel that's one of the things I provide on Instagram, just, you know, inspiring other people and even people, younger generation messages me or things like that with like that. I've inspired them in some way to them choosing this path in the electrical trade as well, or in the trades, and it's just something that motivates me to keep doing it.
Jeremy Perkins 36:42
Eric Girouard 36:42
no, we love it. I mean, I mean, you are as dedicated as it gets to your craft and your trade and all that. But what we always like to ask every guest is put all that aside. When you have a chance or a moment to not think about what you're doing for work and not what you're thinking about doing for your social accounts and all that stuff. What do you like to do to unplug that's completely unrelated.
Kevin Martinez 37:11
The gym life was just
Jeremy Perkins 37:15
get your swallow
Kevin Martinez 37:17
cheap and off roading. I feel like been there for me. As far as like my experience from life, you know, being down at one point and feeling very weak. I feel like he brought me into like the gym more and more. We're I started going I think like right after high school. But the more I got to it when I felt like alone goes a long time. It's just like the gym and unplugging from everything and having like an hour to myself where I could just like you know, lift weights and forget about everything. And then the other thing will be like riding my quad because that's something that my brother like to do as well. And we all like doing here around this area with my cousins, friends, things like that. So just going to the dunes and riding you know, forgetting everything when you're riding. Obviously you don't have your phone. So it's just having fun and doing those.
Eric Girouard 38:01
We do that up here. We do it a little differently than you guys do in the sand. We ride in mountains and rocks and shit, but we love
Kevin Martinez 38:09
rock climbing. There you go.
Jeremy Perkins 38:11
No, that's crazy. I that is something I want to get out. You know, I've heard stories of the Baja, you know, and then you know that area and dude, you guys just rip it out. Especially with a Baja like right next door. Yeah, that's crazy. And it's awesome. The strings
Kevin Martinez 38:28
are crazy, even like NASCAR. That's that's something I mean, those cars are amazing. Congrats to you guys as well for being part of that. And for Eric for the opportunity that we went out there as well to Vegas.
Eric Girouard 38:40
Oh, yeah. Now the team was super pumped. They said it was an absolute blast. It was just last minute for us all and the team and stuff. But it was it seemed like it was a good time. Good event and looking forward to a lot more.
Jeremy Perkins 38:55
All right, Kevin, if there was one thing that you put in your tool belt, one thing only what would it be? Maintenance, lineman pliers,
Kevin Martinez 39:06
Heather hammer there everything. All in one right there.
Jeremy Perkins 39:12
I knew I knew it would be that. I mean, that's pretty, pretty solid choice. Awesome. So get yourself if you're going to be an electrical apprentice or you're getting into electrical trade. Get yourself a nice pair of lineman pliers. Yes, sir. Awesome. Awesome. So this is pretty much the end of the podcast. Kevin, I appreciate you being on the podcast. You know sharing your story. We've known each other for a while this has been awesome to get to know you even more. And then our listeners be able to know more about you as well. But if they wanted to know more about you hit us with where they can find you.
Kevin Martinez 39:46
Yeah, so I'm typically on social media platforms like Instagram at underscore que Sparky and also have a YouTube and Tiktok when I'm trying to get more info but if you guys are looking for me, you guys can find me there. they're following me and messaging me for you guys have any questions as well
Jeremy Perkins 40:03
oh yeah hell yeah And sorry to our listeners that I butchered your handle in the beginning so but it's underscore K Sparky so I got
Kevin Martinez 40:13
it. Yes sir. Thank you. Awesome awesome.
Jeremy Perkins 40:17
And as a thanks to K Sparky, use the code Cali 10 c a l i 10. At Bryant work where.com on your next order of $60 or more for $10 off
Kevin’s family moved to San Diego when he was in sixth grade and he lived the life most kids live through high school: he played soccer, got into graphic design and had to figure out what to do with his life. He decided to go to community college, where he wanted to major in Business Administration and minor in graphic design. However, after a tragic accident and some devastating injuries, he was forced to change his path. He takes this in stride, though, knowing that he learned a lot from the adversity.
“I don't feel like a lot of people have gone through anything close to that and I don't wish them to but it made me really realize and grow up as fast as I did, and mature as fast as I did. And you know, just start thinking about the way life is and all those things, right?”
After recovering, he linked up with a temp agency, he bounced around to businesses like Bose and Ashley Furniture. He did this for a while, but eventually he landed a gig working for an electric company in San Diego, delivering equipment to Northern California each week. He worked around the warehouse for a while, but then, thanks to some encouragement from his cousins, he got the guts to ask for a way into something bigger.
“So I got the guts, I went and asked them like, Hey, so what's up with the apprenticeship? And he just looked at me with a smile. He's like, Oh, so you're ready.”
Well, he landed the apprenticeship. Turns out having some gumption works. After patiently working his way through the apprenticeship, he was finally at the job site, like he wanted. This is where _ksparky was born. He was seeing people posting about the trades on Instagram and he decided he wanted to put his hat in the ring, too, sharing his day-to-day life in the electrician world.
“But it got me thinking, too, if I'm doing this every day, all these crazy job sites, you know, why not share my journey.”
This past April, Kevin got his certificate and was able to join his local union in San Diego — a huge step after a five year apprenticeship. Not only that, he’s already made it to foreman. He’s come a long way very quickly, but he knows he needs to keep growing and working hard every day to ensure he continues to be someone people can look up to, be it someone on social media or a lifelong tradesman who works for him.
Lilly from the Elm Street House@elm_street_house
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