Building Structures, Lives and Faith

As a young man growing up in the small town of San Miguel, NM, Armando Figueroa remembers the hot summers he worked alongside his father, a migrant worker. While most kids his age were out riding their bikes and hanging out during their summer vacation, Armando was learning the value of hard work and preparing for what would one day become his livelihood.

Although it was not an easy childhood, Armando recognizes his parent’s efforts and the example they set for him. Armando admits he genuinely admires his father because he taught him about work ethics and working hard for the betterment of his family.

His career in the industry began to take shape after graduating from Las Cruces High School and enrolling in the Carpenters Union Apprentice Program—one of the largest and most respected programs at the state level and recognized by the Federal Labor Department. He began with hands on experience in concrete, painting, framing and sheetrock among other elements in the general building construction, working with large general contractors locally.

A few years later Armando moved to Phoenix, AZ, where he worked in commercial and residential construction for an entire decade. There, he developed and mastered the necessary skills to excel in both areas. He knew it was also important to work smart and enrolled in the University of Phoenix where he took courses in Business Management. Learning about the business aspect of the industry became yet another area Armando wanted to master and felt was imperative for his future endeavors. “You need to be a balanced and versatile individual, multitasking as a salesman, artisan, craftsman, and a business man,” admits Armando.

As much as Armando enjoyed finishing and supervising the big commercial building projects, he also recognized that he found his niche; he enjoyed the residential construction a bit more. It was where he was able to allow his artistic talent to flourish. “I like the detail, the finishing aspect of the project, how it all comes together.”

After a successful tenure out of state, Armando was ready for a new challenge in his career and moved back with his family to Southern New Mexico to start his own construction company. Today, following in his father’s entrepreneur footsteps, Armando is owner of Chief Cornerstone Builders, LLC. Since his return to the valley, Armando has been successful with his customers, taking pride in every project and striving to please every client with his hard work and expertise. He explains, “My work is my best referral. In this type of business you have to adapt to the economy, to the culture and personalities.” He explains that he enjoys that every client has a different need, everyone is different and he likes to take time to understand and know what they want. Now, with close to 20 years in the building industry, Armando can look back and feel good about his achievements and accomplishments.

Aside from building structures and homes, Armando also does his part to help rebuild children as a foster parent in the Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program with the Bair Foundation. However, he could not do it without the help and love of Melissa, his wife of sixteen years. His children, Leah, 16; Isaac, 14; and Noah, 12; are also very important in the foster family structure. Armando says that they serve as role models to the foster children, modeling a sense of normalcy in their otherwise chaotic life. In the past four years, Armando and Melissa have fostered as many as three children at one time and he says it has helped him build patience, a side of himself he needed to work on.

“We foster because every life is important” he adds, as he talks about his experience as a foster parent. “We have the ability to help these kids who have already had a rough life,” Armando explains. The family’s purpose for fostering is to make a difference in these children’s lives by teaching them about values and love. “Most of these children have only had bad experiences, so we want to show them that good does exist. All we can do is plant the seed and let God do the rest.” Together, the Figueroa’s teach the foster children that they need to do the best they can in school and for themselves.

Armando Figueroa is a man who wears many hats, and worship minister is just another one of his many titles. He and his family are active members of the New Life Church where for the past five years; Armando has been a worship minister. The entire family is actively involved and all three kids participate in the music ministry. Isaac plays the drums, Leah sings and Noah helps with the tech portion.

Like many of us, the poor decisions Armando made as a young man had a profound influence on every aspect of who he is as an adult. “It’s a challenge to remake yourself and move forward in spite of negative experiences,” he says as he acknowledges the importance of God in his life and credits Him for all his successes. His mother was the one that instilled faith and hope in his heart as he was growing up. “Even though she was limited in education and financial resources, she was able to plant something in me that is still the source of my strength,” proclaims Armando. Along the way mentors like his loving grandparents, teachers, pastors and Sunday school comprised a big part of who he is today. He can gladly say that in his life, God and family come first, then striving for excellence in the areas of business and community.

Fall 2011
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