Be a Pillar: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Inspiring the Future
To celebrate who we are today, it’s important to reflect upon and honor the significant moments, cultural impacts, and people who have guided us along our paths. Built on a shared culture that celebrates unique backgrounds and experiences, DPR recognizes the rich history, influence and contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond by spotlighting voices of employees who identify with these communities.
Following are the reflections of DPR employees as they share stories about the mentors and experiences that shaped their career paths, influenced their approach to work and how they hope to inspire others to dream big.
Daniel Davalos Cantu
"Thanks in part to my experiences, I am acutely aware of the obstacles and sacrifices others often must make to improve their circumstances and reach their goals..."
I was raised to value and appreciate the nobility of the construction industry thanks to my grandfather's influence. He founded a construction company in Mexico, so I grew up around builders, visiting jobsites and workshops where heavy equipment was kept, and workers would plan projects.
As a first-generation immigrant, I started working in the U.S. under a temporary work visa. The path to permanent residency (a.k.a. a Green Card), was long, tedious and stressful. Going through that process, along with everything involving immigrating to a different country, really made me aware of the adversities people of all backgrounds go through and must endure.
Thanks in part to those experiences, I am acutely aware of the obstacles and sacrifices others often must make to improve their circumstances and reach their goals, whether it’s immigration or other challenges or disadvantages. I always try to pay close attention to other people’s situations, keep my empathy radar turned on, and try to help clear obstacles that are on their path to reaching their full potential and goals.
"I believe my dad's support gave me the confidence, and perhaps even the extra push, to challenge myself to choose a male-dominated major and later a career path in a male-dominated industry."
Family is a central value in our Latin culture. My dad always taught my two sisters and me to be strong and independent.
During my last semester of Electrical Engineering school, I had a job interview where they took me on a jobsite tour. I realized that construction management was the perfect mix between a technical and managerial path that I knew I would enjoy. Although I began my career as a project engineer, my current role is a talent partner focused on developing our people and helping build highly effective teams. My goal is to hire, inspire, develop and grow the best people in the industry.
I believe my dad's support gave me the confidence, and perhaps even the extra push, to challenge myself to choose a male-dominated major and later a career path in a male-dominated industry.
"Construction was the backdrop of my entire childhood and is interwoven into the fabric of my DNA, so it was a natural step for me to build a career in the construction industry."
My grandfather was a carpenter by trade and, on weekends, took me to visit many jobsites. Those are some of the best and most enjoyable memories I have of growing up. I recall sitting on an empty paint bucket, flipped upside down, and coloring while he worked. For lunch, we had baloney sandwiches and an ice-cold RC Cola as he would recap his work tasks. In a way, those moments became my first "lunch and learn" in the industry!
In my early career days, my BIM manager from a community college project shared that the secret to training others was to take the time and patience you would have if teaching a loved one, making them feel safe and understood. This made me immediately think of my grandfather, and to this day, any time I have the opportunity to teach a new platform, I think of him and use the same patience he had with me as a child who sat on a paint bucket asking a million questions.
Construction was the backdrop of my entire childhood and is interwoven into the fabric of my DNA, so it was a natural step for me to build a career in the construction industry.
"I believe that if we all exercised support and kindness to each other regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any perceived difference, we would be a stronger society."
As a teen, I attended a job fair where an executive from a local, large food distributor took an interest in me, later offering a rather "grown up" job working in their front office. A female executive at that company showed me what was possible, leading by example and pushing me outside of my comfort zone, becoming one of my most influential mentors.
Then while attending California State University, Fresno, spending a semester in London and backpacking across Europe, I was inspired to take an aptitude test that pointed me in the direction of engineering. In time, I found my sweet spot as a preconstruction executive in Silicon Valley working with the best general contractor – which is quite a dream for a woman from a humble migrant town in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
I remember how I was supported throughout my journey and how important it is to elevate others to become the best versions of themselves. I believe that if we all exercised support and kindness to each other regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any perceived difference, we would be a stronger society.
DPR’s monthly Global Social Responsibility (GSR): Be a Pillar series spotlights diverse experiences and perspectives of employees and partners. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year in the U.S. from September 15 to October 15 to commemorate the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities, including their influences and contributions to American society at large.
Posted on September 6, 2022
Last Updated September 9, 2022