Center for Ethical Formation Hosts Dr. Rob Martinez of Norfolk Southern Corp

L to R: CEFLER director Natt Gantt, Dr. Rob Martinez,
Associate Dean Patricia West, and Dean Michael Hernandez
On October 29, 2015, the Center for Ethical Formation had the privilege of hosting Dr. Rob Martinez, Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate with Norfolk Southern Corp.

Dr. Martinez shared in law chapel service his amazing story of being a child of the Cuban Revolution.  His family recognized that Communism was coming, and fled the country a year and a half following the takeover by Fidel Castro when Dr. Martinez was just four years old.  This experience, said Dr. Martinez, has in some ways defined his life.  He saw his father do whatever was necessary to protect his family, including being labeled a traitor.  Dr. Martinez also learned that the majority can often be wrong.

Dr. Martinez was the former Associate Deputy of Transportation in President George H. W. Bush's administration, and later the Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The lessons of integrity and always speaking the truth stayed with Dr. Martinez even in these high profile positions, including interviewing with former Senator George Allen.  He warned against being a yes man to anyone in life.  “If getting through is what you’re looking to do in life, you’ll probably achieve it.  But will you have succeeded in integrating your ethical dimension with your professional life?”

Martinez consented that disagreeing with someone in authority may be challenging, but can be maneuvered by first asking permission to offer a different point of view.  Answering truthfully may sometimes mean respectfully disagreeing, but is always the right response.  He encouraged students and faculty to “reflect an ethical integration of one’s principles with one’s professional life” with boldness rather than remaining silent.

Currently, Dr. Martinez is the Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate with Norfolk Southern.  We are blessed that he shared wisdom from his success with our community.

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