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Rod Ritcherson


On May 5, 2024, Lupe Martinez celebrated 55 years of service at UMOS.
Lupe Martinez has devoted his entire 55-year professional career to improving the living and working conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers and other low-income populations at UMOS. Lupe Martinez, himself, is a former migrant worker whose family traveled throughout the Midwest harvesting crops.

For 50 years Martinez held the title of President and Chief Executive Officer. Today, Martinez is President Emeritus of UMOS, a newly created position in January.

When Lupe Martinez was appointed President/CEO, in 1974, UMOS was a single state, single-focused, migrant farmworker serving agency only. Today, under Martinez’s leadership, UMOS is nationally recognized, providing diverse programs and services to diverse populations in six states: Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Martinez has positioned UMOS to be a performance-based, data driven, customer focused corporation. He oversaw the operations of over 50 performance-based program contracts, often competing against larger, Fortune 500 corporations. Those 50+ programs are divided into three major divisions: Child Development, Workforce Development and Social Services. UMOS also produces four corporate and several community events.

With over $100 million in secured contracts, UMOS has become the largest Hispanic-managed, non-profit organization in Wisconsin, and one of the largest in the nation. UMOS is the largest non-profit workforce development contractor with the state of Wisconsin.

Martinez advocates for under-served populations at the local, state, and national level, with a focus on improving the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farm workers. At the national level, he is chair of the National Farmworker Alliance, comprised of 23 national and regional trade associations and farmworker organizations.

Martinez sits on the board of Farmworker Justice, a national non-profit that collaborates closely with elected officials on immigration reform and other federal legislation that impacts agricultural workers. Also, on the national level, Martinez is the former chair of MAFO, a national partnership of farmworker and rural organizations that sponsored a national farmworker conference for 30 years.

At the state level, Martinez continues the fight for farmworker rights. Democratic Governor Jim Doyle appointed him to sit on the Wisconsin Council on Migrant Labor, a statutory council that enforces the state’s migrant labor laws. He was reappointed by Republican Governor Scott Walker and served as the chair of the Council under Democratic Governor Tony Evers. Lupe Martinez is the recent past President of the Wisconsin Farmworkers Coalition, comprised of farmworker serving agencies, advocates and government agencies throughout the state.

At the local level, Lupe Martinez is a member of the executive committee of Employ Milwaukee Workforce Investment Board and former State director for LULAC.

Martinez has received many awards, honors, and recognitions. He was named by Madison 365 Publication as the most powerful Latino in the state of Wisconsin. He was recognized by the Green Bay Packers with the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs’ Farmworker Advocate Hall of Fame Award, the Farmworker Justice Farmworker Advocate Award, HPGM’s Lifetime Achievement Award, BizTimes Media Non-Profit Executive of the Year Recognition, MKEOne Driver of Diversity Leadership Award, the Omega School Legacy Award, The Hometown Hero Award from the Wisconsin State Assembly, and the Cesar Chavez Community Service Medallion from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, to name a few.

Lupe Martinez’s philosophy is to treat every customer, every client, as if he or she were your aunt or uncle, brother, or sister, and to serve them with dignity and honesty and to go the extra mile in making a difference in their lives.

Lupe Martinez has made a difference in the lives of thousands. Although Lupe does not show any signs of retirement, some would say he has already achieved a lifetime of accomplishments over his 55 years (and counting) of service to others. As Martinez puts it, “It is a privilege to serve others.

UMOS is a non-profit, advocacy organization that provides programs and services which improve the employment, educational, health and housing opportunities of under-served populations.


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