My name's Angye Bernabe, I'm a field engineer in the Phoenix Operating Group where I'm working on the ASU Multi-Purpose Arena. I did two internships with Mortenson, but first job of my career, and I think I was so lucky to land such a big job and learn from such a great team. So, definitely not my first exposure to construction, but my dad always worked in construction and one way or another he started doing concrete, but he was a handyman all around.
So he did carpentry work, woodwork, yard work. He did stick build, he did foundations, he did masonry. He was always working on the house, always building something new. You know, I've always seen people work with their hands and see what they could create with their hands. So ever since I was little, I mean, I love going with him to Home Depot, love kind of see what he was doing.
And so that day I actually got a trowel. He would teach us kind of how to float and kind of how to work the concrete, how it's supposed to look. And so it was it's always been really hands on because of him. My dad is from a very poor town in Mexico. He moved to the US when he was 18, all by himself, you know, didn't have, I think, any family here at the time. What kind of life did you imagine?
All I could imagine, coming from a very poor town, I imagined that coming here I could improve myself and help my family. My parents in Mexico could be able to have a better life.
The first time I realized that I wanted to do construction was when I was about ten or nine. The neighbor had a little project for him which was pouring concrete slabs so she can set her new shed that she had just bought. It was setting the concrete slab. He had formed it. He had poured the concrete. He had finished the concrete.
He had removed the forms. The door wasn't aligning with the front of the slab facing her house. And so he just kept looking at it and kept looking at it, saying, why isn't it lining up? And then I looked at it. I'm like, Dad, you, you did you poured the concrete wrong. He's like, he like turns to me like, super scared, like, no, no, I did it.
I'm like, yeah, it's like, oh, my gosh, I did pour the concrete wrong. And that's when I decided I'm like, oh my gosh, I love problem solving, you know, even something as little as that. I love to kind of working through that and realizing seeing the whole process and, and see, oh shoot we, we messed up, you know, and then learning how to fix it and then go around that.
I was exposed to construction management and I'm like, that's what I want to do. It's hands on. You work closely with the trades you problem solve, right. Throughout my whole college career, I would tell my dad, oh, yeah, I'm in construction management. You know, I'm studying for construction. But he was like, I don't understand what you're doing. Like, what do you do?
Like, I don't get it. He didn't quite understand. And then it was a Sunday night and he was like, Oh, well, I'm going to this site tomorrow. And so he showed me the address and it was this address, and I was like, Oh my gosh, you're kidding. Like, that's my project
What did you think when you realized that you are going to be on the same project as your daughter?
I felt very… what can I say? I couldn’t believe that I was going to be working together with you. And to think you studied this in college. And when I told you I was coming here and you told me your first project was here, well, I didn’t know what to do! I was very glad to get to work together with you.
He came on-site and I give the Spanish translation for the safety orientation coming on to site. So it was great too. So like my dad, what I do, we both teared up later that day when he calls me and he's like, Oh my gosh. He's like, I am speechless. What you do excuse my language, but he's like, you're a badass.
Like, I can't believe, you know, that's what you do out there. It was almost really rare to hear from someone so traditional and so quiet and so it meant so much to me that it came to that point where he understood and he saw me and he was proud of, you know, what I do and what I've become.
This is a perfect example of the American dream: immigrant from Mexico came to the US to find love, family, and fortune. He found his wife, my mom and had four kids, worked in 100 plus degree weather to make ends meet and make sure we had everything we needed to succeed. Taught me to work hard, be humble, but to always fight for my worth.
Today I'm a field engineer building the ASU Multipurpose Arena and have the incredible honor of working alongside one of the most hardworking, dedicated men I know.
Well, I hope you keep going (with your career) and you enjoy it as you keep going forward.
This would have never been possible if I didn't have this man and my mom supporting me every single step of the way through my journey. I would not be the woman I am today. I am so incredibly proud to call him my dad and that I get to work next to him on the first project of my career. Te amo, Apa.