(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series ends with graduate Andres Quintero).

Mineta San Jose International Airport, located in the heart of Silicon Valley and minutes from downtown San Jose, welcomes over eight million passengers annually.

Design elements like Terminal B’s airy paseo and the parking garage’s seven-story “Hands” mural representing diversity and innovation remind visitors that SJC is more than just a travel hub.

Andres Quintero, ’06 Political Science, ’11 MA Public Administration, serves his community as vice chair of the San Jose Airport Commission, an advisory body to the San Jose City Council.

 “I’m glad I’ve been able to provide my prospective and look out for the citizens,” said this San Jose native.

Appointed for two three-year terms ending in June 2015, Quintero first got involved in politics at age 12, when he volunteered to pass out literature for a presidential campaign. He got a taste of “real” politics in 2003, when he interned for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren in Washington, D.C.

Quintero’s role on the airport commission encompasses advising the city council on many management matters, with a focus on safety, customer service and fiscal responsibility.

 “I have found it very rewarding to be on the commission because you think it’s an airport and you use it every once in a while” but it’s a very important asset, he said.

Quintero helped oversee the airport’s $1.3 billion renovation and played an instrumental role in making the airport more welcoming to international visitors.

He also works as a policy analyst for Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez (who earned a bachelor’s in political science from SJSU in 1987) and serves as vice president of the Alum Rock School District Board of Trustees.

 “The commission has prepared me to realize that the decisions you make have an impact on other people’s lives and you have to make sure that you make the right decisions as best as you can,” he said.