June 30, 2020
Native Lubbockite, veteran, music and movie fanatic, purchasing manager, fleet supervisor – these are just a few words to describe Felix Orta.
Felix served in the army for five years then got his first job as an equipment and utility operator at the Texas Tech heating and cooling plants. There, he eventually became the supply coordinator and was sent to Austin for further training as a buyer. Shortly after, he started with City of Lubbock as a senior buyer. Five years later, a position opened up at LP&L, perfect for his power plant and procurement experience.
Fast forward nine years later, Felix manages a team of three: Buyer Elsie Quintanilla, lead equipment technician Malcolm Rainwater and equipment technician Ryan Fonseca. The team handles a variety of tasks, including all material bids and contracts for equipment, poles, wires and anything electrical; work orders for fleets; purchase order assistance; and repair and tune ups for vehicles. If a bid is more than $50,000, then LP&L is required to turn it over to the public for neutrality and transparency. Their projects involve a diverse group of people from vendors, contractors and construction firms to electrical suppliers, engineering firms and fleet suppliers.
“Our team is always hitting the ground running handling all of the requests coming our way,” said Orta. “We back each other up and make sure we’re always open and communicating if we have any comments, questions or concerns. I trust in my staff and know they can make decisions to help deliver the best value for LP&L.”
Felix and his team go through training to be certified in their line of work. Felix earned two certifications as a Texas purchasing manager and contract manager. However, the training continues after earning a certification. Every three years, participants have to recertify and maintain their credits.
Over the past few years, the procurement department has been very busy as LP&L prepares to move to ERCOT with new transmission, substation construction, advanced metering installation (AMI), billing system updates (CIS), new and updated infrastructure and more.
“The longest request for proposal (RFP) in my life was for the AMI and CIS projects. We released those RFPs back in April 2017 and didn’t make the final award until June 2018. Typically, a normal RFP takes around 90-120 days to be awarded,” continued Orta. “This was one of my favorite projects, because I learned a lot and felt like my team played a vital role in the process. It also brought the City, LP&L and numerous vendors together in a collaborative effort.”
Felix’s dedication not only shines through for his team but also to his family. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he would coach his two young sons all year long in peewee sports.
“My favorite thing to do is to help these kids and be a positive role model for them. Most importantly, I want to make sure they have fun,” said Orta.