Jorge Rodriguez spends the better part of his day in the world of dentistry.
As a Territory Representative for Benco Dental in the Rocky Mountain Region and former Service tech in that same area, he puts his background in dental equipment to good use. Jorge, 34, who graduated with distinguished honors from the U.S. Army’s Department of Defense Biomedical Equipment Maintenance Technician course, but his training in action in the Army’s 47th combat support hospital. His specialized knowledge in the dental field allowed him to begin work at Benco servicing, repairing and being the “go-to guy for all equipment related to this specialty, from chairs to x-rays”.
When not focused on dentistry, this El Paso, Texas resident’s side pursuits still reflect his attention to minute detail and dedication to an art. As a craftsman of fine leather, Jorge can spend upward of 30 hours on a handcrafted briefcase or bag, but he views it as time well spent.
“They go from concept to reality. I dream them up, sketch them, develop the patterns, fabricate a protoype, refine it and ultimately make it for myself. I refine details on paper and implement them into the sketches to better visualize the final outcome,” said Jorge.
Although he loves the creative process, he equally finds satisfaction in sharing it with others. Jorge volunteers as a teacher at his local leather supply store.
“I volunteered to teach my first hobby which, was braiding leather, and it developed,” he said.
Jorge referenced his participation in the agriculture department of his high school, where he first began leather braiding for tack and saddlery.
Today, he creates everything from shoes to briefcases, and takes particular pride in the accomplishment of detail work. The complexity of a one-string knot, which he used to create a tassel closure on a bag, or shoemaking allows him to refine his skills.
“When you make shoes there really is a lot involved. Oddly enough you have to consider biomechanics. The way a foot moves, the way a person walks, how they step.”
Next time you see Jorge as a Friendly Benco Rep ask him about his briefcase.
“Many times I have been to a store, an art gallery or an antique shop and more often than not I run into a piece that draws my attention and a series of inevitable questions always follows. I wonder, who made it? how did they make it? and how did they learn to do that? When you find the object that catches your eye it is like seeing a reflection of the individual who created it. When you see the skill and complexity of the piece you can imagine the time it must have taken to make. More often than not the technique reveals that the artist or craftsman who created it must have had a long journey to reach that level of proficiency.”