A new breed of immigrant in San Francisco
In 2012 the Irish immigrant has transformed himself. The old road across the Atlantic is still being trod but a new breed of working man is increasingly leading the foray into American life. A quick scan of the profiles on a local San Francisco GAA team gives a sense of this new generation: 7 engineers, 2 carpenters, 3 technology specialists, and 1 strategy consultant (it’s 13 a-side over here). Not to mention the multitude of professionals on the line roaring abuse. And the ranks are swollen, buoyed by the steady stream of educated young men armed with one year visas and determined to turn it into a more permanent arrangement. Despite all the talk of forced immigration at home, you couldn’t meet a happier bunch. Educated and employed in San Francisco, these men aren’t looking back.
As evidenced above, the trade is still predominantly construction but the pathway today is higher. All qualified and hard-working this new generation is back building America’s infrastructure but this time in leadership roles. The most notable example of this can be seen at the Transbay Terminal site located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. This flagship Bay Area project is constructing the “Grand Central Station” of the West, and fittingly the thick brogue of the “Weshht” can be heard as it lilts across the site and around the local watering holes.
I look down daily from an adjacent skyscraper and watch as the massive foundations are put in place. Out in the sun at 11 to grab a coffee from the local “blue bottle coffee” shop (a local specialist roaster), I catch the accents as they pass and occasionally bump into a young lad that I know from GAA circles. On Wednesday last, I met a buddy from the club and he fills me in on the latest with the enormous hole they’re digging. When it’s finished it will funnel 45 million passengers a year across California, in a move that authorities hope will further boost commerce and improve the quality of life for commuters. Great experience for a young engineer: a new breed of immigrant already experiencing a better quality of life in California.
Niall Mac an tSionnaigh
Deloitte Consulting LLP San Francisco