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      October 10, 2023

      Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and the Path Leading to Continental

      “I learned to be proud of where I came from and to always put family first.” Phillip Cano

      Continental proudly celebrates the diversity in our team members’ culture and background. Phillip Cano joined Continental in 2015 as a Mechanical Test Engineer, specializing in Mechanical Vibration Testing & Analysis. After 5 years, Phillip switched roles to EMC & Transient Testing and has been in that role since, working out of our Lake Zurich and Deer Park locations. We spoke to Phillip about how his heritage has shaped him into the person he is today and ultimately leading his career path to Continental. 

      How do you think your Hispanic/Latin heritage has shaped your identity?

      “My great grandparents immigrated to Arizona in the 1920’s from the Sonora province of Mexico. From there, my grandfather served in the Air Force and returned home and eventually worked his way up to become the Fire Chief in Yuma, AZ. My grandparent’s perseverance and dedication to family instilled strong values in us which guided me to pursue my own career in engineering.”

      What are some things you love about being a Hispanic/Latin person in America?

      “I love the warmth large family events bring, especially when there is homemade Mexican food. I love that Hispanics are very welcoming and lead a family focused life, and I am especially proud that Spanish is a popularly taught second language within schools.”

      Speaking of schools, what are your hopes and dreams for the future of Hispanic/Latin Americans?

      “In high school, they offered engineering project-based classes though PLTW (Project Lead the Way), which is what initially got me interested in Mechanical Engineering. In college at Illinois Tech, I had the pleasure to take part in LIFE (Latinos Involved in Further Education), as well as SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) which were useful resources in finding mentors and practicing interviewing skills. It was great to see so many young adults focused on their degrees and post-college pursuits. My dream is for increased STEM classes in high schools so young Hispanics can advance their potential interests into strong career opportunities in the field and I hope young Hispanics will keep gaining interests in fields such as engineering and business.”

      You have a passion for photography and filmmaking. Tell us about how your heritage helps you with it?

      “Last year I volunteered to film and produce a highlight video featuring all the capabilities performed in Continental’s North American Qualification Laboratories. Together with a colleague from Guadalajara, México and with the guidance of our Senior Quality Manager, we put together a promotional film to be shown at a testing expo. The film was well received by marketing and is now published on the official Conti Services Website!” Qualification Laboratories - Continental Corporation USA

      What advice would you give to other Hispanic/Latin people living in America?

      “My favorite movie growing up was ‘Goal: The Dream Begins’, which features a young man named Santiago, a Hispanic immigrant, who decides to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer regardless of the obstacles in his way. During his journey, he receives support from a mentor, as well as his grandmother, who encouraged him to persevere. Like my own grandmother, she always reminds me to stay focused on being a leader for my family. My advice is to strive to make a gift of yourself to others through your education and talents!”

      Are there any Hispanic/Latin traditions or cultures you have enjoyed sharing with friends or colleagues?

      “I never was a big dancer growing up, until I started taking Salsa lessons from a Hispanic instructor friend. From there, I started taking lessons in other styles like Bachata and Swing. I now really appreciate the Latin influence in dance and have taken my friends to many more dance events.”

      Phillip Cano

      Mechanical Test Engineer