12 Feb Meet Our Staff: Claudia Cabas, Construction Manager
Claudia Cabas is invincible. Seriously.
She was sitting across the table from me, carrying herself in the way that a Colombian woman with a family, two jobs, and a continuing education would carry herself-incredibly confident.
For Claudia, everything starts with family. “After my family, then everything else,” she explained.
Her day starts with her family, her two kids and her husband, Eduard. Eduard and Claudia met in Colombia, her home country, and they moved to the United States for her husband’s work. Eduard’s background is in aerospace medicine, which deals with ailments involving people in the world’s fastest and highest-flying planes.
After she does her routine, she teaches at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. She teaches Spanish in the mornings. She’s been doing this since she lived in Ohio, where she also taught design and construction in addition to Spanish.
When the clock hits 11 AM, she rushes over to her job at 1st Oklahoma Construction. She works in construction management, dealing with the particulars of every site that 1st Oklahoma Construction has. She’s been doing so since May of 2013.
Claudia’s background is in architecture. In Colombia, she worked as an architect with the government, specifically the Department of Housing. She did say there were a considerable amount of differences between U.S. and Colombian materials.
“The design is universal but when you are from Colombia, the materials that we use [in the U.S.] are completely different,” she said. “Sheetrock, for example. There’s none in Colombia. We have concrete in Colombia in residential areas. In this business, I’m learning and relearning every day.”
This is Claudia’s biggest drive. When I asked her what she wanted most out of life, she said, “To learn, relearn, and learn.”
“Even when I’m teaching, I learn from my students every day a new word in English. It’s important to learn new things so I can give back.”
This might explain after working two jobs and raising a family, why Claudia is in school. She’s working on her master’s degree in construction management at the University of Oklahoma. She went back to school in 2012 and plans on finishing up in summer of 2014.
But, if she had to give it all up for her family and move back to Colombia, she wouldn’t even hesitate.
“We didn’t HAVE to be here. We chose to come here,” she said proudly. “If something has to deal with my family, if I’m going to be in a position where my family comes after myself, I won’t do it. You build your family every single day of your life. You don’t want to jeopardize that.”