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March 27, 2023

Retiree reflects on half-century of agricultural work in Salinas Valley

Jesse Holguin wraps up career with Gonzales Irrigation Systems

SALINAS VALLEY — Jesse Holguin retired from Gonzales Irrigation Systems on Dec. 31, wrapping up a career of 40 years with the company and more than 50 years in total with agricultural work.

Holguin began working for Mel Fowler of King City 51 years ago, creating and installing concrete pipe and lines. The company changed hands after Fowler died and was bought by a larger company from Bakersfield and then switched to the GIS ownership.

Holguin said he began his time with GIS by running the warehouse in Gonzales, before eventually being sent south to run the King City warehouse 16 years ago.

“I love my work because I’m learning something everyday,” Holguin said about the business, having learned about concrete, plastic and aluminum parts along the way, as well as pumps and parts sales.

“I could help them a lot because I knew what was out in the field,” he added. “I could tell them how to repair something over the phone.”

Holguin, who lives in Soledad, said he planned to begin 2021 and retirement by assisting his wife with sewing, as he said she was great at sewing and he would help by cutting patterns for her to learn a new skill.

Holguin said he loved working with people and will miss that the most as he enters retirement. His customers ranged from Gilroy to Paso Robles, and he said he would miss helping them with their irrigation problems.

Meanwhile, his son, James Holguin, continues to work for the company after having entered into the agricultural business because of his father more than 25 years ago.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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