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Crew Connection—Memo Castellon

A piledriver foreman posing for a photo.
Cuauhtémoc “Memo” Castellon, piledriver foreman

Considered to be the “backbone of Northwest operations” to many in Manson’s Seattle yard, Cuauhtémoc “Memo” Castellon has been with the company for over 25 years. Memo holds the title of piledriver foremen but started out as a pile driver early in his career. At a time when few Hispanics in the Northwest held major roles in construction, Memo helped open the doors for those who followed after him.

Memo was born in Los Angeles, California, but spent his early years in Mexico. He relocated back to the U.S. in Santa Monica to attend middle school and high school. Then in 1985, he moved to Oregon to train as a carpenter. After completing his training, he found that carpentry positions were limited, so he looked for alternatives. Not long after, he landed a job in Seattle. Memo remembers working for a couple local companies before officially joining Manson “to help with the Port of Everett Pier 1 Reconstruction project back in 1993.”

After Pier 1, he “made his way across the water” to the U.S. Navy Homeport project to assist Dave Nielsen, now Manson general superintendent. Representing a small portion of Hispanic pile drivers during the early nineties, Memo says it was a mix of “hard-work and the idea of making a lasting impression” that attributed to his continual success with the company.

Whenever things need to get done, he’s usually “right in the middle of things helping guys out in the yard,” and knowing the right people to call to get the job done. People like Amado Shuck, Manson crane operations trainer, describe Memo as “quite literally the hardest working person at Manson.” Dedicated to his job and to the people he works with, Memo has spent most of his life working on Manson projects and even traveling to wherever his leadership is most needed.

In 2017, Memo was diagnosed with colon cancer. At the time, he was working with the pile-driving crew at Terminal 4, but transitioned to the Seattle yard to lighten his work load. Memo underwent surgery and a round of chemotherapy treatments, but says “he was back working at the Seattle yard after a month of absence.” His resilience to difficult situations is one of the many reasons why Memo is a fixture at Manson.

Named after the legendary Aztec ruler Cuauhtémoc, Memo’s birth name means “falling eagle,” representing the moment the winged creature descends to strike its prey. People born with this name are said to possess powerful determination. A trait that Memo exhibits every day in his work and which contributed to his eager return back to work after his recovery.

Much like his work, Memo is passionate about his family. A proud father, he regularly talks about how he much loves his children. Strike up a conversation with Memo and he will tell you about his daughter’s success in the Nursing Practitioner’s program at the University of Washington. In the rare occasion that he’s away from the yard, Memo will likely be found spending quality time with his family on hikes and days at the beach.

Reflecting on his years with Manson, Memo says it’s the tight-knit group of people that he has worked with over the years that makes the job fun. “We’re having fun out in the yard, but always getting the job done.”

A tugboat crew at jobsite in Mexico.
Memo worked on the Cedros Island project in Mexico in the early 2000s, where Manson used the HAAKON supported by the HARRY M to install a conveyor platform and the conveyor for a salt manufacturer. He is pictured here aboard the tug with some of the other crew members. L-R: Joe Barney, Memo Castellon, Bill Teasdale, Jimmy Bryant, Lumpy, Russ Mackey

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