Albert Huicochea: 20 Years Of Service

Aditya Kannan & Isaac Flater, Marketing Staff

From disinfecting operating rooms in preparation for surgery to being the principal custodian at the SALT Center, Albert Huicochea’s story has always been one that long had to be told. Albert began doing custodial work for the University of Arizona 34 years ago with the last 20 years seeing him assigned to the SALT Center. Even after all that time, Albert continues to be a source of positivity and optimism. He says, “When I start my drive to work with some feel-good music, I feel excited and happy about the day to come.”

When Albert started working at the SALT Center in 2001, the Patricia A. Bartlett Building – our main campus location – was still a few months from completion. SALT was still fully operating from the basement of Old Main.

“There was no space for us working at the basement, but we still made the most of it. During the summers and winters, the temperatures were so extreme that we had to conduct classes outdoors and I made it my responsibility to keep everything clean, everything working.”

Albert being awarded the Director's Award

In 2015, Albert received the Director’s Award in recognition of his immense contributions. 6 years later, he says that he is still hugely motivated by it.

When the new building finally opened, Albert quickly became the go-to for everything related to its upkeep. The deep personal investment he has for his work has been recognized by every director and staff member he’s worked alongside. It’s not uncommon for him to provide recommendations on building improvements to make the lives of students, employees, and his fellow custodians easier. Albert cites the support he receives from SALT Center leaders as one of the main reasons he enjoys working here so much.

Even when he’s busy with all of his work – as he often is – he never forgets to offer his support, advice, and friendship to students. Never one to shy away from talking about the challenges and personal hardships he faced during his childhood and teenage years, Albert is loved and fondly remembered by every batch of students that comes through the program.

"I care about their education. I know that they need to come to class every day, study, and put in the work to be successful, and I like to help them by teaching them that. Our students are our family."

With the reopening of campus for in-person classes, Albert feels prepared to take on the challenge. In his words: “I’m ready to take care of business.”