When Mathew Ittoop left his native India on New Year’s Eve in 1990, he couldn’t wait to start his new life in the United States. He stepped off the plane and thought, “This is a great country that leads the rest of the world.”
Ittoop and his wife landed in New York City, where Itoop went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the Polytechnic University, now affiliated with NYU and work for the City Transit Authority as a maintenance supervisor. In 2004, Itoop moved to Dallas, where his wife took a job, and opened a printing business. Although he became a successful entrepreneur, he longed to put his technical training to use. “I was never satisfied with just doing business deals,” he says.
In 2007, Ittoop joined the Dallas sanitation department, and moved to the public works department in 2010. Now a licensed professional engineer, he supervises the Internal Inspections Group and oversees contractor invoices for construction and material testing for the state. He also leads special projects. “Dallas is very welcoming to immigrants,” Ittoop says. “There are six program managers at public works engineering and construction, and four are immigrants. So we need immigrants and their capabilities here.”
As an immigrant, Ittoop also plays an active role in the city’s civic and cultural life. He is the vice president of the Association of Asian American City Employees, which organizes cultural events, hosts personal development seminars, and facilitates community outreach. For example, after recent hurricanes ravaged parts of the state, the group collected donations and supplies for victims.
When I came here, I never thought I could reach this height. But this country gave me that opportunity. I am more than happy to serve this country in any way that I can. Every single immigrant who came here will say the same.”
“It’s a blessing for me that I could come here and live in this country,” says Ittoop, who is now a U.S. citizen and the father of three children. “When I came here, I never thought I could reach this height. But this country gave me that opportunity. I am more than happy to serve this country in any way that I can. Every single immigrant who came here will say the same.”