Today's story comes from one of our executive leaders, Ed Herrera. He's our Vice President of Workforce Management Solutions AND the brother of our CEO, Bobby! If you've heard of the Bus Story, then you'll know Ed was on that bus, too.

Ed's story reminds us, again, of the sacrifice made by immigrant families throughout time. It's a sacrifice many immigrants have made for the betterment of their families and many of us will never understand the debt immigrants' children feel. It's not easy leaving your life behind to build a better future for your family. Oftentimes, it means being apart from your loved ones for months, and even years or decades. Many immigrant children just want to make their parents proud, give back to their families, and provide an even better future for the coming generation. 

Learn more about the Herrera family's story, along with some never-before-seen #throwback photos!

Ed Herrera

VP of Workforce Management Solutions

I’m the son of Mexican Immigrants.
I’m very fortunate for the dreams my mom and dad had as they began their new journey in the USA.
I’m so proud of the legacy my mom and dad started.

Older picture of Ed Herrera with his family, including brother Bobby Herrera (CEO of Populus Group). Ed is the Vice President of Workforce Management Solutions at Populus Group.Circa 1968 in NM, TX, or OK. From Left to Right: Reese, Armida, Carmen, Sally, Carlos, Dad (Jorge), James, Mom (Martina), Hortencia

My story began in January of 1970. My family had already immigrated to the US. While I don’t remember my first few years, I learned at a young age that we were a little different than most of my childhood friends. My dad was the hardest worker I’ve ever known and part of growing up was the understanding that we were a migrant working family in the summer. If you don’t know what that means, that’s completely okay. Migrant workers in the US are people that migrate from state to state to work in the “in-season” agricultural crops. Each state has their own specialty crops and in the west where I grew up, my family worked the following crops (in no particular order):

  1. Sugar Beets—Wyoming
  2. Potatoes—Idaho
  3. Onions—Colorado
  4. Pears—Colorado
  5. Apples—Washington and Idaho
  6. Cotton—Texas and New Mexico

When I was growing up, I was accustomed to this annual ritual from 1972 to 1979: loading up the cars/vehicles we had in May, closing our house down for the summer, and returning in early to mid-September. I remember always leaving before school was out and returning after the new school year started. It felt normal and it was normal for me and my family. It also felt normal to me to meet up with the other migrant families from other towns and states. We’d share very similar stories and would often cross paths year after year. While I was too young (2-9 years old) to work, I can tell you I wasn’t too young to understand how hard this work was for my family—my older brothers and sisters, my mom and dad. It was grueling, hard labor every day. But as hard as it was, we always had each other. At the end of the day, we’d always be together as a family.

Photo of the Herrera family, including Ed Herrera, VP of Workforce Management Solutions at Populus Group and Bobby Herrera, President and CEO of Populus Group.

One of my [Ed's] absolute favorites. Taken in Grand Junction, CO in a field of pears. Top row (5) from left to right: Carlos (15), Bobby (4), Ed (3), Sally (17), Carmen (11). Bottom row (2): Reese (13) and James (9)

While I looked at my summers as an adventure because I could wander off into the Wyoming hills for 3-4 hours at a time as a 6-7 year old, I felt I always understood what the rest of the family was going through on a daily basis.
My dad gave me a lot of gifts in my early years—lessons I hold close. He set the example that family comes first; set the tone that how hard you work every day defines you; and set the example that his Team 1 (our family) was the original Team 1.

But I will close with this: his biggest gift to me was that no matter how hard you worked and no matter how tired you were, there’s always fun to be had with family.

I will forever cherish the priorities set by my mom and dad, even when we had nothing but our family. In closing, I’d like to say that I have never wished to be in anyone’s shoes but mine. I have sooo respected the sacrifice my parents made for the family and know that in my lifetime I won’t be able to match that sacrifice. I am grateful for the fact that I’m blessed beyond my wildest dreams to have the family and life I have today. That would never have been possible if my dad, Jorge, and my mom, Martina, didn’t have the courage and strength to immigrate to the great United States of America.