Long before Pinam, Angie Thacker’s story started just south of the Rio Grande River in Rio Rico, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
She was the oldest of four siblings. She first crossed into the United States as a three-year old in her mother’s arms late in the 1970’s. The journey from there to small business owner in Durham has been a long and remarkable one.
Her parents, Irma and Hector Cantu, grew up on the fertile land just south of the Rio Grande river. Then her Dad worked as a migrant farm laborer in the United States. Meanwhile the United States annexed their traditional family lands and made what was once Mexico, part of Texas--the Horcon Tract pact of 1977. Hector and Irma Cantu divorced when Angie was only ten years old.
Angie became the de facto housekeeper and guardian of her younger siblings, as her Mom took to the road as a migrant farm laborer herself, picking tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Angie lived these years in the tiny town christened Progreso, Texas, where she still has family to this day. She was responsible for meals, getting the younger kids off to school, attending school herself, and keeping the house clean and orderly. Angie says now, this life steeled her, it was...
“where all the dreams began that eventually became a reality in North Carolina.”
Her experiences growing up are why she does not take for granted anything she has now.
By the middle of high school, it had begun to dawn on Angie that there was far more out there in the wide world than south Texas. As a sixteen-year old, that meant moving to South Carolina, and to a migrant laborer camp at John’s Island. South Carolina’s humidity was shocking to a child of arid South Texas. Six days a week Angie would spend all of her daylight hours in the field with her Mom and her brothers. On the remaining day they would leave camp to do all of their shopping and errands. They also had to fit in doing their own laundry that day.
After everything that grew near John’s Island had been harvested, the family would head to Elwood, Indiana. It was a hard life traveling from one migrant labor camp to another.
At twenty-two, Angie struck out on her own. She says now,
“You weigh your options, stay miserable or gamble everything on the opportunity to find something better.”
Her first job after striking out on her own was at a McDonald’s. then she tried waitressing. Eventually, through a variety of experiences, she realized construction and building were her natural gifts. She worked at Column Mechanical in South Carolina, gradually moving from unskilled labor to an electrician’s helper, where she helped wire the Embassy Suites and many more new buildings in Charleston over the years. She read the plans and translated them for an entire crew of male Latinos, often seven or eight non-English speaking, but experienced electricians. They could not read plans that were written in English. Angie translated and then worked as part of the team that installed.
Some people ask Angie, did you ever go through a party phase? Her answer is a kind “no.” There was never any party era for Angie. Necessity dictated that choice for her, as she worked to provide for herself and her family.
She moved to North Carolina, met and married Warner Thacker. The couple had a
Five years ago, Angie founded Pinam Construction with Warner. Today this fast
growing company works on projects from residential to commercial, from new
construction to restoration and remodelling...