From the Block to the Top: Anthony Fagan

As a boy, Anthony Fagan didn’t look up to doctors and lawyers – like Spiderman and other superheroes,  they weren’t “real” to him. And he certainly didn’t see himself as a career man. His aspirations came from watching young boys grow into OGs on the block and wondering how he could be like them, including by going to prison.

“Growing up, I had wanted to go to prison because I felt like I wouldn’t become a man until I did,” he said. 

When Fagan returned home after seven years in prison, he didn’t have a job, but he did have a place to go. Every Thursday, he showed up to 2nd Call – the innovative anti-violence program founded by Skipp Townsend and Kenny Smith that guides men and women coming out of prison into careers in the construction trades. Fagan was first mentored by John “Big John” Harriel, who taught him that 2nd Call isn’t just about getting a job. It’s a pathway to a new mindset, new skills, and a long-term career that can be life-changing.

And it worked. Today, Fagan is an assistant superintendent on the Destination Crenshaw for general contractor, PCL Construction, a role that carries serious responsibility. Among other duties, Fagan provides on-site coordination for all phases of the construction, coordinating subcontractors, material and equipment and ensuring work is proceeding on schedule.

Anthony Fagan standing in front of the Destination Crenshaw’s construction headquarters, future site of Sankofa Park.

As a construction superintendent, Fagan brings not only a wealth of experience to the project – having worked on the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles and the USC Village – but is testament to the commitment that Destination Crenshaw made to provide real uplift to the local community through sustainable development. Fagan is just one of hundreds who will be working on the project, which has an aim of hiring 70% of its workforce locally, a goal unheard of in construction projects.  

As a longtime participant in 2nd Call and now a class facilitator, Fagan is instrumental in helping men and women follow in his footsteps and adopt a new mindset that puts them on the same road to success. Using his own story, he expertly facilitates discussions that help 2nd Call attendees identify toxic patterns in their lives and take responsibility for their past and control the trajectory of their future. 

He also guides them toward understanding that they have an opportunity to build rather than destroy, which is why Destination Crenshaw is so exciting to Fagan. 

“Prior to getting in construction, I was part of the problem and not part of the solution,” Fagan said. “And with Destination Crenshaw, I’m now able to build up the community that I once was part of the destruction of.” 

Fagan is also excited about the prospect of building an iconic landmark that will exhibit the artistry and brilliance of Black people in all its forms, including lowrider cruising culture – a favorite memory of his growing up in South LA. 

Fagan has come a long way from his childhood years on the block. These days, he’s driven by being a provider for his family and presenting a different outlook to community members who have similar experiences to his. That’s what gets him up in the morning.

“I’m not a celebrity,” he said. “I’m a simple guy from the local hoods who brings a different perspective and is able to show people that grew up like me that it’s a realistic goal to change.”