Born in Santa Fe NM, Rick Martinez’ first job was as a mortician at the Berardinelli Funeral Home. After a few years, Martinez left that job to start working with his father and brothers in a family painting business where they developed contracts at various commercial businesses and with many residences in Santa Fe NM. The painting business lasted for over 20 years and then Martinez found his real work in neighborhood protection, preservation and appropriate development in the City of Santa Fe. Martinez has promoted community input in strengthening neighborhoods in Santa Fe City Council forums. He has been vigilant to monitor zoning designations and affordable housing set asides as well as to facilitate neighborhood participation in growth and development. One of his proudest achievements is the creation of the caboose landmark at the corner of St. Francis and Cerrillos Roads.
The Working People's History of New Mexico Project (WPHNM) is an oral labor history project created to gather the labor stories of working people in New Mexico. While part of the interviews focus on the specific jobs that the interviewees performed, the interviews also explore labor-management relations as well as union, workers council, and social activism participation. The interviews contain information about family and social relationships and offer themes of social and historical interest in New Mexico and the US.