Education and Involvement have always been on the forefront for Rodriguez
Growing up just southwest of Downey, Jose Rodriguez recognized the importance of education from a very young age. His parents, both from Mexico, instilled in him and his three younger siblings the significance of attending college. With this at the forefront, Rodriguez worked hard in school and ultimately was accepted into UCLA where he began to study Civil Engineering.
“My dad always told me that I was going to college. I was a super naive kid, but luckily I did well in school, got good grades, played football and got into UCLA,” shared Rodriguez. “I was extremely fortunate.”
Nearing his graduation from UCLA in 2002 when web-based careers began to flourish, Rodriguez started to realize that Civil Engineering wasn’t as lucrative of a field as he had anticipated. He quickly began an internship with Turner Construction where he built relationships and made an impression within the organization. Rodriguez has been a part of Turner Construction ever since. Working in Construction Management, he has been fortunate enough to have overseen the creation of large-scale notable projects like the Long Beach Miller’s Children’s Hospital and the recently completed SoFi Stadium.
Over Rodriguez’s career, he has been involved with mentoring high school students in the areas of architecture, construction and engineering. He has served on a steering committee within Turner Construction to increase the diversity and inclusion within his company. As a proud UCLA alum, Rodriguez has also served on the Southeast UCLA Alumni Board which encourages alumni to network and give back to their respective communities. He feels it’s important to give back to the next generation and provide opportunities for others who may need a helping hand.
High school sweethearts, Rodriguez married his wife Brenda during his final year at UCLA. As his career began to take off, they began to plan for the future. He and his wife have three children and when the kids were young, they decided to move to Downey. Knowing the importance of being an extremely involved father, Rodriguez took part in all aspects of his children’s lives even, coaching them in various sports, from as young as kindergarten all the way through their middle school years.
“We moved to Downey because of the schools,” said Rodriguez. “Once we moved here, we realized how giving this community is. The Kid’s Days, the annual carnivals, the summer concerts… it was such a solid community, we wanted to get more involved.”
All three of his children attended Gallatin Elementary School where his wife volunteered during their years there. She soon became a member of Gallatin’s PTA and Rodriguez quickly followed as he supported his wife with various events.
“I started by barbecuing at the annual carnival. That’s really how I got involved and then I got approached to be the PTA President,” Rodriguez began to laughingly explain. “Well they actually asked my wife first, but she said ‘no’. So, they then asked me, and I said yes.”
Rodriguez credits his involvement on Gallatin’s PTA to “opening his eyes” to the district, where he quickly began to get a more in-depth look at how the schools and Downey Unified operate. He began to invite more parents to join the PTA in hopes of getting more families involved and broaden the membership at Gallatin. Through his years on the PTA, his interest in the programs within the district began to grow and he soon wanted to be a voice for families with children in schools.
“That was my motivation to run for the Board, I wanted another parent on the Board that currently has children in the district,” shared Rodriguez. “I can relate and see firsthand to what the parents and kids are going through with distance learning. So, I can empathize with a majority of parents. I feel like that is extremely important.”
Rodriguez’s wife is currently a fifth-grade teacher in a neighboring school district, his twin sons currently attend Downey High School and his daughter attends Doty Middle School. Seeing not only his children but also his wife deal with the various challenges all families are facing provides him a unique perspective, and he is looking forward to the work ahead of him as he begins his first year on the Board of Education.
As he concluded with some final thoughts, Rodriguez shared his experience during the election and truly wants to thank the community for its support. “The experience was humbling, stressful… it was a roller coaster of emotions and I am definitely thankful for those in Downey who put their confidence in me and all those who helped me.”
“This is just another part of my life where I am again fortunate and working to do the right things for the right reasons,” Rodriguez continued. “I am hoping I can do a really good job [on the Board of Education] and make my family and the community proud.”