Joab Ortiz

Associate Project Manager for Burns & McDonnell

Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Illinois.

What is your family heritage?
Both my parents are from Mexico. My father joined the service, became a citizen, then met my mother while stationed in El Paso, Texas.

What is your occupation?
I am an Associate Project Manager for Burns & McDonnell. I lead public involvement efforts for various infrastructure projects throughout the community and nationally.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
I have been involved with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Kansas City Chamber's Diversity Advisory Board and am now the Chairman of the Board of the Kansas City Kansas Chamber of Commerce. These efforts have always allowed me to promote and support the Hispanic business community.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I connect to my Latinx culture in so many ways. But mostly through my passion for people and wanting to support local businesses.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Visiting with my abuela in El Paso. She'd always have this little black and white TV on in the kitchen while she cooked, usually late at night. Staying with her, listening to music and hearing laughter throughout the house.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
It means honoring where you come from, what's important in my life and how I can make a difference in my community.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
The most important issue facing our community is creating wealth within our own community. Education, housing, food insecurity and healthcare can only be provided when we develop an economic environment that provides opportunity.

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