Name: Michael Apodaca
Title: Texas State Field Director
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Based in: El Paso and Austin, Texas
Q1. What does a day at work look like to you?
My daily schedule is a pretty busy one—from conference calls in the morning to checking in with our staff, it feels never-ending. The best part of my day is checking in with our staff and watching their successes. Most of our regional field directors are new to campaigns at a professional level, so to see them learn something new or succeed in a challenge is gratifying to the work I’m doing.
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign?
I’ve worked for numerous candidates locally, consulting them on targeting voters and fundraising. In 2009, I had a friend who was running for school board and met two wonderful people who were helping in the campaign. After the campaign was over, one of them became the new field director in Texas, Emmy Ruiz—she’s now general election director for Nevada—and she asked me to join her as a regional field director for El Paso. After my first OFA adventure in 2011, I left to return to my business—until our current Texas State Director Hector Nieto twisted my arm to come and join Team Texas again as state field director. It was just an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Q3. What's your favorite part of your job?
Next to my RFDs succeeding in their goals, just listening to the stories that our volunteers bring to our campaign. Each one of us has a story to share, of why Barack Obama compelled us to join his campaign for change in our country, and each is very unique and different from the next. One of our potential fellows in El Paso told me that she had never been involved in politics, because all she saw were stereotypes of the same old politicians. She opened her eyes when she became pregnant and had her first child. Now responsible for the next generation, she felt that she needed to make sure that her son will be able to go to best schools, have the cleanest environment, and be able to find a better job than the one she had at the time. But she didn’t get involved, because there was just no one to really believe in—until one day, when she heard a senator from Illinois who decided to run for President and caught her interest. She got involved in 2008 making phone calls and going out and registering folks and she’s ready to do it again in 2012.
Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your job?
A good organizer is always expecting the unexpected, so there’s no such thing.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
In 2009, my mother and I took over a cell phone store that was not doing so well, and we have turned it around in the last three years. I learned many of my marketing strategies, and how to make a pitch, through my experience with OFA. It’s been supremely enjoyable to be a business owner!