May is AAPI Heritage Month, when we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures.
This year, we're also reflecting on how we can support these communities and stop AAPI hate.
Sound Transit Asian American and Pacific Islander Masterminds (SPAM) member Marlon Herrera notes that "Asians and Pacific Islanders are the global majority, and it’s important that we celebrate our contributions to the world."
I would be nothing if not for the resilience of my ancestors. It’s about our heritage, our present and our future.
"Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed so much to our culture and the vibrancy and success we celebrate here in the Puget Sound," he said. "We also face a unique set of challenges... [like] the model minority myth that we really have to break down."
Herrera is Filipino, a Seattle native and a deputy construction manager here at Sound Transit. He has been with the agency for two and a half years.
Prior to that, he was studying at the University of Washington, earning two master’s degrees in Public Administration and Urban Planning.
He spent the last three years working for Seattle Public Utilities, where he helped manage water work for major infrastructure projects –including Big Bertha, the Center City Connector streetcar and several Link extensions.
And he is this month's "Inside Sound Transit" guest – where we introduce you to the people working to make it easier to get to where you live, work and play!
Learn more about Herrera in this video interview with fellow SPAM member Alan Yamamoto:
Now, on to the questions!
Q: What do you tell your friends you do for work?
A: I usually tell them that I make trains go “choo choo.” When that doesn’t cut it, I explain that I manage construction projects across our light rail, commuter rail and express bus system. When there’s repairs or improvements on our infrastructure, I help make it happen. For example, I’m helping rebuild parts of the Link Operations & Maintenance Facility Central in SoDo. This work allows staff to effectively and safely maintain our next-generation light rail vehicles.
Q: What’s your passion outside of your job?
A: I love nature. I spend much of my time outdoors – whether it’s running through our parks or backpacking up mountains. I also fight for conservation, sustainability and environmental justice in my volunteer work, where I serve on the boards of Seattle Parks & Recreation and the Woodland Park Zoo.
Q: What attracted you to work at Sound Transit?
A: My whole life, I’ve called the Coast Salish lands home. This means I’ve been riding ST Express since I was a kid! I am proud to deliver sustainable, equitable and stress-free mobility that brings our region together. The benefits are cool too.
Q: How do you get to work?
A: I live on First Hill, so I have the pleasure of a 15 minute walk to Union Station. When it’s pouring raining, I might hop on the First Hill Streetcar.
Q: What three things would you take with you to a desert island (besides food and water)?
A: A hammock, a terrycloth bathrobe and my phone with my favorite music downloaded for offline listening.