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John B. Cruz III

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Information about John B. Cruz III

Profile image of John B. Cruz III

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/7/1943
Birth Location:
Wareham, Massachusetts

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Seafood
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/7/1943
Birth Location:
Wareham
See how John B. Cruz III is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Cruz Construction Company president John Bert Cruz, III, was born on May 7, 1943, in Wareham, Massachusetts. Cruz’s parents, John B. Cruz, Jr., and Madeline Martin Cruz, were the children of first generation emigrants from the Cape Verde Islands, off the Northwest coast of Africa. Descended from whale harpooners, Cruz’s grandfather John B. Cruz, Sr., was a prohibition era business associate of Joseph P. Kennedy. Living with his mother until he was twelve, Cruz attended school in Wareham, Massachusetts, Cleveland, Ohio and Buffalo, New York. Cruz worked alongside his father as a carpenter in Boston in 1956. Completing his studies at Patrick T. Campbell Junior High School, Cruz graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1962; he then enrolled in Wentworth Institute where he studied business administration.

Joining his father’s carpentry business, Cruz took care of the administrative work as superintendent and estimator of jobs. Significant growth led to the two going into the general contracting business with the formation of John B. Cruz Construction Company in 1969. In 1970, Cruz was bonded and accepted his first general contracting job. Mentored by Dennis Blackett, Cruz completed Taurus Apartments, an affordable housing project in 1973. Attending the Minority Developers Executive Training Program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cruz gained the acumen necessary to build over 1,500 units of housing and to specialize in build-to-suit projects. By 1983, Cruz was building between 300 and 400 units annually, managing a workforce of over 2,000, and managing apartments. The John B. Cruz Construction Company provided general contracting services for various Boston area projects including The Fortress, Council Towers, Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute Laboratory Research Institute, Boston Police Department Headquarters, Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Prang House, and Prang Estates. Cruz handled jobs as large as $17 million as a general contractor and $150 million working with other companies; in 1989, he developed a $36 million, 463 unit project.

As an active member of the Contractors Association of Boston and the National Association of Minority Contractors, Cruz joined with Smoot, Moody, McKissack and other black firms to fight for legislation to ensure parity for minority contractors. Cruz committed to helping Cape Verdean and other minority contractors to develop, and to staying and working in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Cruz also established the John B. Cruz Bridgewater State University Scholarship in his father’s name.


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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John B. Cruz III's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz talks about his grandparents' experiences in Cape Verde
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III remembers his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III describes his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III talks about his paternal grandfather's business
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz describes his father's profession
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes his father's experiences of work discrimination
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III talks about his father's U.S. military service
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III recalls the founding of the John B. Cruz Construction Company
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about his relationship with his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III remembers moving frequently as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III lists his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III recalls moving from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III recalls his experiences in Buffalo, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - John B. Cruz III describes his elementary school experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes the Cape Verdean community in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes his community in Buffalo, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III talks about racial identity in the Cape Verdean community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about racial identity the Cape Verdean community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III remembers Patrick T. Campbell Junior High in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III talks about his religious upbringing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his family's musical interests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III remembers Boston Technical High School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III describes his parents' personalities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III recalls his start at the John B. Cruz Construction Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - John B. Cruz recalls his decision to pursue a career in construction
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III remembers his first car
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes the influences on his early career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III remembers joining the John B. Cruz Construction Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III recalls meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III recalls his first general contracting project
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III remembers the influence of Dennis Blackett
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his financial obstacles
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III recalls the growth of the John B. Cruz Construction Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III talks about his government contracting work
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III describes his apartment developments in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III describes his plans for the John B. Cruz Construction Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III talks about the Contractors Association of Boston
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III talks about the importance of minority businesses
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz III talks about his professional obstacles
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III describes his accomplishments
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III talks about the opportunities in the construction industry
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John B. Cruz III describes his concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - John B. Cruz III describes his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John B. Cruz III talks about his community leadership
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John B. Cruz III describes his children's education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John B. Cruz III reflects upon modern racism
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John B. Cruz describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John B. Cruz III narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John B. Cruz III narrates his photographs, pt. 2