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HSF Alumni

Miguel Angel Baltierra

  • Gender: Male
  • University: California State Polytechnic University - Pomona
  • Undergraduate Degree: Architecture
  • Graduate Degree: Architecture in Urban Design
  • Hometown: Los Angeles
  • State: California
  • Organization: Aviation Planning Division, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Position Title: Senior Airport Engineer and Project Manager

Mr. Baltierra was born in Los Angeles, California, where he was raised with four sisters and two brothers. His parents are originally from Mexico. His father apprenticed with artist Diego Rivera as a young man, working on the artist’s murals at the Palacio Nacional and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, while supporting himself as a bus driver. He is actually depicted in one of the murals. 

He then went on to work as a printing pressman and union organizer. His mother was a dedicated homemaker who focused on raising the children and assisted with union organizing activities in California. 

He describes his parents as being nurturing and positive, and having a sense of humor. He says, “‘si se puede!’ was the mantra at home,” and adds, “there was no option: I was to go to college.” He says his older siblings “set a baseline” for him by being excellent students at UCLA, Northrop University, Cal State Northridge, and the University of Minnesota. Their campus activism, fighting for increased minority student admissions in the 1960’s and 1970’s, inspired his future work with community-based organizations. His passion for design and architecture further fueled his eagerness to pursue a higher education. 

With the guidance of several friends and mentors, he applied and was accepted to California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture. From there, it was on to Harvard University, where he earned a Master of Architecture in Urban Design. He also received a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University School of Business, in Washington, DC. 

Today, Mr. Baltierra is a Senior Airport Engineer and Project Manager for the Aviation Planning Division of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). In this role, he is a project leader for aviation planning studies and terminal redevelopment programs. One of his more notable accomplishments occurred in his prior role, after the 9/11 attacks, when he worked with a core team of PANYNJ architects to analyze the World Trade Center site for recovery, and participated in the master planning efforts. 

In addition to his professional architecture and engineering career, he is on the Oculus Committee/Advisory Board of the American Institute of Architects’ New York Chapter. He also serves as a board member at Projects for the New Millennium, Branford, Connecticut, and is an Architect in Residence for The Puerto Rican Workshop Inc./ Taller Boricua, a nonprofit arts organization in East Harlem. 

His advice to aspiring Scholars is to “never give up, never quit, and to never listen to the dream stealers.” He reminds them to allow themselves to daydream, engage intuition, and let their creativity flow, “as it will lead to their greatest breakthroughs.”