Lupe Martinez, president and Chief Executive Officer of UMOS, will assume the newly created title and position of president emeritus effective January 1, 2024, the organization announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Martinez has been with UMOS for 54 years, 49 years as president/CEO, and was first appointed executive director in 1974. “In my request to the UMOS board to step back from day-to-day management of the organization, I was honored with the title of president emeritus. This affords me the opportunity to continue to be of service to UMOS and focus on long-range planning, building, maintaining, and enhancing strategic partnerships, securing funding for the agency, overseeing government and legislative affairs, and assisting the board with the transition of a successor CEO,” says Lupe Martinez in a statement.
Martinez has grown UMOS from a small, single-state, single-focused organization, into the largest Hispanic-managed non-profit in Wisconsin and one of the largest, multi-state non-profit corporations in the country. UMOS currently operates in seven states with over $100 million in secured contracts in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and throughout Wisconsin.
“We are delighted that Lupe will remain a member of the UMOS family and continue in his new role to help UMOS grow and prosper,” says Ben Obregon, chair of the UMOS board of directors. The UMOS Board Personnel Committee, in conjunction with an executive search firm, will begin an internal and external search for a successor CEO to lead UMOS into the future. “Jose Martinez has been appointed interim CEO, effective January 1, 2024, to provide day-to-day leadership until a permanent CEO is selected.”
Jose Martinez (no relation to Lupe Martinez) has been with UMOS for over 27 years. He has held several positions at UMOS including Director of Child Development, Wisconsin Works (W-2) Director, VP, Farmworker & Community Based Services, and Senior Vice President, Farmworker & Community Based Services. He currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer.
Lupe Martinez has devoted his entire 54-year professional career at UMOS to improving the living and working conditions of migrant and seasonal farm workers and other low-income populations. Lupe Martinez, himself, is a former migrant worker whose family traveled throughout the Midwest harvesting crops.
Martinez has received many awards, honors, and recognitions. In the last 5 years, Martinez was named by Madison 365 as one of the most powerful Latinos in the state of Wisconsin. He was recognized by the Green Bay Packers Foundation with the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award and has earned the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) Farmworker Advocate Hall of Fame Award, the Farmworker Justice Farmworker Advocate Award, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM) Lifetime Achievement Award, BizTimes Media Non-Profit Executive of the Year Recognition, the Hometown Hero Award from the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Omega School Legacy Award, The World Citizen Award from Th International Institute, the Cesar Chavez Community Service Medallion from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
In November of this year, Martinez was honored with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s 2023 President’s Award for Leadership in Racial Equity and Social Justice.
“Although my role may change, my commitment to UMOS and those we serve has not and will not. I am honored to have played a role in the growth and success of UMOS and I look forward to continuing this effort by working closely with the UMOS board and the new CEO, as well as with our strategic partners, funding sources, elected officials, and leaders in the communities where UMOS serves,” Martinez said.