Elsa Morfin Ibarra had her eyes on the future when she decided to take a job with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in Pharr, Texas.
Although her paycheck would take a slight hit when she moved from the private sector to state employment, Morfin Ibarra reasoned it would be a smart change. “The benefits were terrific—I liked the health insurance and retirement plan they offered,” she said. She also appreciated that a more predictable schedule would help her strike a healthier work-life balance. “I was looking ahead to when I would get married and have children,” Morfin Ibarra said.
She did get married, to Jose Ibarra, and now has two children, Andres (14) and Arturo (4). For many years, when her husband worked for a private company that made mobile phone parts, Morfin Ibarra provided the health, vision and dental benefits for the entire family. Her job with TxDOT and her benefits give her a needed “sense of security.”
The job also gives her satisfaction in knowing that she has a positive impact on her community. An office manager in the maintenance unit in Pharr, Morfin Ibarra processes claims when accidents on local roads cause damage. “We send those claims to the comptroller in Austin and when we’re reimbursed, the money goes right back into the roads,” making for a safer stretch of highway, she explained.
Morfin Ibarra also helps ensure those roads stay clean. She coordinates the Adopt-a-Highway program in her area. “We have several groups that have adopted roads, so it’s not unusual for me to go out several times a month with the volunteers.” Morfin Ibarra believes so strongly in the program, in fact, that she doesn’t hesitate to enlist her older son’s help when it’s time to pick up trash along the roadways.
After 19 years on the job—five in accounting, five in purchasing and nine in maintenance, where she is now—one could imagine that Morfin Ibarra is ready to retire. But that would be a mistaken assumption. “I’m comfortable with my coworkers and department—we are like family. I’m not thinking about retirement any time soon,” she said. “Other positions open up, but I don’t want to move. My coworkers are here for me and I’m here for them.”
Security at home... and on the road
Posing with Tinker Bell at Disney World
Moms with young children know one thing for sure: their kids are going to get sick. “When you have little ones in daycare, especially, you need good health insurance,” said Elsa Morfin Ibarra, an employee with the Texas Department of Transportation. Her youngest regularly trades germs with his playmates, “and that means doctor’s office visits and meds.”
Morfin Ibarra enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas when she first became a state employee and has stayed with the plan. “It came in handy when we went to Disney World,” she noted. Her son was running a fever and she was able to get care in Florida. “I always carry my cards with me when I travel,” she said. “You never know if you are going to need them.”