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Changing the channel

Mark Martinez is the new South Washington County Telecommunications Commission administrator. (Bulletin photo by William Loeffler)

South Washington County

A new top dog will occupy the administrator's office at the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission.

Gus, a Schnauzer, will accompany new administrator Mark Martinez on his daily commute.

They'll succeed outgoing administrator Fran Hemmesch and Chance, her French poodle that often visited the office.

"The work that Fran has done put me in a great position to start in a place where I don't have to reinvent the wheel and I can move forward and reach out to the cities," Martinez said. "In terms of brokering relationships with all the cities involved, that's another one of my strong suits. I'm a collaborator. We all want to do the best work of our careers. It's just a matter of getting to it."

A native of San Diego, Martinez previously worked as community cable access coordinator for the City of New Ulm/New Ulm Public Utilities. Previous jobs included technical coordinator at Minnesota State University, Mankato and supervisor of audio visual and global broadcasting for Mattel.

Like his predecessor, Martinez sees no future in providing public access to cable equipment and programming — simply because subscriber money is better spent elsewhere.

"When I was in New Ulm we were a more traditional public access..." he said. "What I found out is that there really isn't that much of a necessity for the public to get their views out anymore when you have YouTube, where the public can easily express their First Amendment rights. It's not as necessary now.

"When I found out that SWCTC was really focusing on city initiatives, city departments, city government, it's just exactly what I was moving New Ulm toward. I think it's the best way I can apply my professional experience for the future."

Martinez met his future wife, a native of Mankato, when they were students at San Diego State University. They lived in New York City and Beverly Hills, Calif., before moving to Minnesota.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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