Antuan Duran: Carrying the legacy of his father, led by the pursuit of self-improvement


Foreman Antuan Duran has been with Olympic Companies for five years and has shown exemplary work ethic and leadership skills. Now, as he prepares to take the next step in his career to be a Business Representative with the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, we sat down with him to talk about what he's building through his 15+ years working in the sector.

In search of a better life, foreman Antuan Duran's late father moved his family of three to the United States. Antuan was 12 years old and started at Whittier Middle School in Sioux Falls. At 16, Antuan and his now wife were expecting their first child. At the same time, his parents had to move back to Mexico City because of their undocumented status.

"So when they had to go back, I had to make a decision whether to leave or stay. I ended up staying in South Dakota with no money and by myself, because of the pregnancy. I didn't really want the kid to grow up by himself or not be around," he said.

That's when he started his career in construction. As a junior in high school, Antuan started roofing, specializing in steep roofs through a friend's uncle's business. He continued working on residential housing and drywall jobs with a friend after he graduated from Washington High School. Through these eight years of working in residential construction, Antuan immersed himself in learning all that he could about specialty work in the trades as well as the business side of things as he took on residential drywall projects as a self-employed contractor.

By that time, Antuan and his wife had three boys (now aged 13, 15 and 16). "As I was working in residential housing, hiring people to help me, making my own hours, sometimes late into the night, and making really good money, I realized that as a dad to three kids I had to be home more and finally look for a more regular setting," he said. Having a more stable status by then, Antuan found Olympic Companies through a Facebook post and applied for a job.

In his decade and a half of working in construction, Antuan has shown a never-ending pursuit for self-improvement and for doing better for his family—something he says he carries with him as he thinks of his father's journey to the United States. "It has shaped everything in my life. He made that decision—not something that was easy as he left his home—for us to have a better life away from the struggles we were burdened by there."

He says that the move shaped him in different ways, from learning to work hard for himself and his young family when he was 17, to constantly striving to improve himself and his skills in the field. "The beauty of this country is the 'variety' in everything... something I would've never seen back home. And even the opportunities, too. To be able to do pretty much whatever you put your mind to—that's really shaped me. The variety of cultures in this country has equipped me to communicate with anybody—something that's really helped me run the crew on jobs," he said.

Antuan recently became a naturalized U.S. citizen, a big moment that happened during the pandemic in a quiet ceremony in Omaha, a few months prior to his father's passing in Mexico City. "My mind is at ease now. It's peaceful. Knowing that I'm okay and I'm here, and that I can't be taken away from my wife and kids is everything. Now that I have that stability, I can keep going on my path of self-improvement."

He said that his family and crew at Olympic Companies stepped up to help him with his citizenship test, in which he had to memorize 100 Q&As for a 10-part questionnaire. "I remember having the book with me all the time. My kids ran through the questions with me at dinner, and Dean (Vice President/Branch Manager, Olympic Companies SD) and I even went head-to-head with the same questions one day. Everyone helped me one way or another." In his five years at Olympic Companies SD, Antuan says he's found trust and freedom to grow. Last year, he was able to run his first big job at the expansion of the Faulkton School District. "I was able to choose my crew and Olympic trusted me to run a bilingual crew for that job, which was very valuable to me," he said.


This month, Antuan starts in his new role as Business Representative at the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters' Sioux Falls office where he'll be using his trade knowledge, life experience, leadership and bilingual skills. He'll be working closely with the Spanish-speaking recruits and will significantly support a sector that continues to grow amidst workforce shortage. The crew at Olympic Companies SD sends him off with well wishes, inspired by what he continues to build on his path of self-improvement.

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