Pantoja, José "Penny" ‘67
After I graduated from Covell in 1967, I earned an MA in Economic Development from the University of the Americas in Mexico City. In my thesis I used Mexico as an economic model. My wife, Janet Lar Rieu Pantoja, and I had the honor of getting married in the UOP Chapel and also having our reception in our beloved Centro.
In our adventure in El Salvador (my home country), our two children William and Jennifer were born. William attended UOP for one year and Jennifer for three years. My first job as an economist was as a member of the Economic Council for the President of El Salvador. I had the opportunity to receive comprehensive training in economic planning at the University of Bradford, England. This training was instrumental in helping me to coordinate El Salvador’s first five-year economic plan under the Alliance for Progress. I was also in charge of the economic feasibility study for development projects that needed international finance. Besides coordinating international financing for El Salvador, I also negotiated the necessary funding with the international financial institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Eximbank, etc. in Washington D.C. Before moving back to the US, I was the financial manager of ANTEL, the telephone company of El Salvador. All this would not have been possible without the basic economic development principles I learned at Covell. Thanks, Dr. Robinson!
After we got back to the US in 1974, we settled in Sacramento where I started working as an accountant for a non-profit agency. After that I worked as a financial consultant for small businesses. In 1978 I started working for the State of California in the budget office. Once again, my bilingual education at Covell helped me to start a career, this time in the US. I retired from the State of California in 2002. Since 2003 we have been living on an acre in the countryside in Washington State near our children and three grandchildren.
I have been an avid wood turner for about 9 years now and having a blast. I built a 700 square- foot shop in which I spend most of my time when not with my grandchildren. I also have been refereeing soccer for more than 25 years in Sacramento and now in Washington.