EmailFacebookLinkedInTwitterCloseFacebookInstagramLinkedIn100% Employee OwnedMenuSearchSearchYouTube

In honor of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month, we spoke with SWCA’s API Employee Resource Group (ERG) Co-Lead, Austin Xu, Project Manager out of SWCA’s Pasadena office. Austin shares a bit about himself and his career path and the circumstances prompting him and co-lead Sunny Lee to create the API ERG 


Q: Can you tell us about yourself and your career – how did you get started at SWCA?

A: I have been with SWCA for over six years now.  started as an on-call bio tech while in grad school, it was a flexible way for me to get my foot in the door professionally while getting my degree. Fast forward to now, I am a Natural Resources Project Manager supporting the SCE contract. My main role is managing our TROW (Transmission Roads and Right of Way) projects.


Q: What are your favorite things to do outside of work?

A: Recently, I’ve been getting more back into traveling to new places and conducting outdoor recreational activities. Right now, I already feel like I have travel plans for the next 2 years! Besides that, I also enjoy staying at home playing games with friends and spending time with my cats.


Q:  How did you become involved with leading the API ERG and how has it impacted you?

A: We were inspired to create this group partly due to the increase in Asian hate crimes our community faced in this country these past few years.


Q: What are the goals and activities of the group?

A: Now that we have a solid and active community within our ERG, we hope to reach new heights with our goals. One of which is bringing on a guest speaker, as Sunny mentioned.


Q:  What are some things you like people to know about your culture and history? 

A: I would like for people to be aware that we are a lot more culturally diverse than what appears on the surface. People should not assume someone’s ethnicity based on how they look or what language they speak. For example, I am half-Chinese while my girlfriend and her family are Taiwanese. Even though both my family and my girlfriend’s family speak Mandarin, I know that it would be incorrect to assume that they are Chinese.


Q: How can individuals better support and be allies to the API community? 

A: Support API small businesses and media! Getting involved in API community events will help build your perspective for the culture and understand the issues that we face.