“The Latinx community is stronger together because when we are together, we are like a family.”
Jon Cantu, a project manager in the SFPUC’s Infrastructure Division, comes from a tight knit family, something that is a huge part of his Mexican culture. Cantu’s family comes from a small town called Linares near Monterrey, Mexico. Located in a citrus region, his family worked on a farm growing oranges, but ultimately settled in Houston, Texas.
“Growing up in the United States, spending time with my family was the best way to feel connected to Mexican culture and to my heritage,” he shared.
Cantu reflected on the theme of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month: Esperanza, a Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. For him, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to collectively acknowledge and celebrate the contributions by the Latinx and Hispanic communities to American society, its economy and culture.
“We celebrate and recognize our accomplishments, but we also acknowledge our resilience as we all look forward to the next chapter and emerge from a very difficult year together,” he shared.
Cantu credits his family and culture for his career growth and professional journey. He has been with the SFPUC’s Water Enterprise Local Water Conveyance and Distribution System Program since 2019. He works on critical projects to replace and rehabilitate the SFPUC’s water distribution pipelines in San Francisco. As a project manager, Cantu manages the scope, schedule, and budget of his team’s projects and is responsible for the project from planning, environmental review, engineering design, contract bid and award, and construction. Cantu finds it incredibly gratifying to collaborate with his team and colleagues to resolve problems on projects that need support and input from many groups within the SFPUC throughout the project lifecycle.
“We do difficult work but there’s no shortage of people here with the expertise to solve any problem with a technical or creative solution,” he said. “When you’ve hit a roadblock and an already busy team helps turn it into a speedhump, it’s pure motivation to keep going and continue improving your work. I’m here for it!”
Cantu shared he was fortunate as a former Student Design Trainee to have a great opportunity to start working for the SFPUC and jumpstart his career in public service. “Reflecting this Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m inspired by the accomplishments of my family and the opportunities they created for a generation of Cantu’s,” he said.