I was born in San Diego and our family lived there until 1955, at which time we moved to Lamont. I attended Mountain View School in Lamont and after graduation continued on to Arvin High. After graduating from Arvin I continued on to Bakersfield College. I graduated from Bakersfield College in 1963 and went to work for the Shell Oil Company that same year as a Junior Draftsman. My job at Shell was a dream come true as I loved drafting and I knew I was well prepared for this opportunity. After all, I built a good foundation under the careful eye of Mr. Watts and I excelled in drafting at BC.
My career at Shell spanned a period of 28 years and included assignments in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Houston, Texas. I retired from Shell in 1991 in the position of Supervisor, Drafting and Reprographics where I managed three drafting departments and the Reprographics center.
After leaving Shell I took some time off and then took a position with the Mojave Pipeline Company which was a new company in Bakersfield. There I worked as an Engineering Technician for four years until they left town. After that I went to work as a Piping Designer for TJ Cross Engineers. Working at TJ Cross was some of the most intense and challenging work that I had ever encountered. We did work mostly for the major oil companies. My Shell experience paid off here. I retired from TJ Cross in May of 2004 after working six years for them.
In addition to my career in the Petrochemical Industry, I also taught drafting at the junior college level. With my unique industrial experience and a few required classes, I earned a “Limited Services Teaching Credential” which allowed me to teach my subject of specialty at the junior college level. My teaching career started at Long Beach City College where I taught Pipe Drafting for two years. My Shell job then brought me back to Bakersfield where I continued my teaching career at Bakersfield College. At Bakersfield College I taught classes in Drafting, AutoCad, and Piping Design. Overall I taught more than eighteen years until I retired in 2004.
I have been married for 29 years and have two children. I met my wife, Margie, in Los Angeles when I worked for Shell in the downtown office. We had our children latter in life than most, so our kids are very young. My son Jesse is 20 years old and currently attending Bakersfield College where he is a business major. My daughter Salina is currently a senior at Highland High School. After graduation she will be attending Bakersfield College.
Having been in Cadets at Arvin for four years, I thought for sure that I would go into the Army after high school. Funny how life gets in the way! I ended up going the National Guard route and did my basic training at Fort Ord (D-3-3) in 1964. After basic I trained as a radio operator. This was quality time in one of the best areas in California!
During my stint in the guard we had two memorable assignments. The first interrupted our convoy as we headed to Camp Roberts for our annual two week summer camp. We were somewhere near Lost Hills on Highway 46 headed east when we were asked to head south on Highway 33 towards Los Angeles (it was the summer of 1965). No one knew what was going on until we got to Los Angeles. The next thing we knew was that we were somewhere in the middle Watts!
The other memorable assignment took me to Berkeley in 1969. Seems all these hippies had taken over Peoples Park. All I remember about this assignment was that we marched up and down the streets a lot just to show those hippies we were here in great numbers. Don’t mess with Sam, peace brother.
Among my best memories of Arvin High was when Alvino Lujan ran a 4:28 mile. It was during a track meet with East High which had two quality milers, Keith Daley and Chick Fero. Alvino came in second while setting a new record for the mile at AHS.
My most memorable time is the time I spent at Bakersfield College as a student were I formed some very strong friendships with other students from Arvin High. There was Fred Garrison, Howard Wren, Bill Curbow, and Mary Chandler. I remember when we all parted ways when Fred, Howard, and Bill transferred to Sacramento State to finish their education and I started my career at Shell. I don’t recall what Mary’s plans were at that time but I know she went on to greater things.
At this point in my life I like being called “Don Justo”, I feel I’ve earned my grey whiskers.