Know Your Neighbor: Joseph Quintana

Longtime river guide moves career indoors

By Kathy Córdova
For The Taos News
Posted 2/20/19

In addition to community work, Quintana discussed his professional life, both indoors and outdoors. For 25 years, he owned and managed Native Sons Adventures, a fun, weather-dependent outdoor business.

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Know Your Neighbor: Joseph Quintana

Longtime river guide moves career indoors


It doesn't matter if he's working indoors or outdoors - Joseph Quintana views his life in Taos as tranquil, a place that presents him with the opportunity to help others. He's been a river guide, bicycle shop owner and insurance broker, always devoted to his Taos home.

Volunteer activities

During a recent interview in El Prado, Quintana shared that he served 12 years on the Taos Fiesta Council. The year-round position results in the traditional and cultural aspects of the historic Taos community coming alive via performances and participation in many activities such as parades, dances and more. He, with all Fiesta Committee members, organized and managed the activities as a member of various committees.

Currently, Quintana helps others as president of the Fraternal Order of Eagles #3489, or the Kit Carson Order. "I'm honored to be in a position to help the community. The Eagles is a very community-oriented organization. I want to see people happy and successful, whether it's students, elders or anyone else. Everyone is on our radar," Quintana said.

Quintana joined the Eagles four years ago. He served as an officer every year and this is his first as president. He said that Eagles' activities remained aimed at programming. The organization sponsors dinners and other fundraisers for giving and helping. Scholarships and assisting families of deceased persons rate high on the group's agenda, but the group also contributes to other causes.

"I want to dispel any perception about the Eagles as an 'old man's organization.' People step up to the plate and ask, 'What can I do to help?' " The local organization includes 450 members and a Woman's Auxiliary. "The auxiliary is part of the Eagles; the women have the same mission [to help people], and they assist many," explained Quintana.

Outside/inside career

In addition to community work, Quintana discussed his professional life, both indoors and outdoors. For 25 years, he owned and managed Native Sons Adventures, a fun, weather-dependent outdoor business. River raft guides took groups of people along the Río Grande during summer months. During the 1986-87 season, Quintana, who also owned Native Sons Bike Shop, expressed an interest in bike racing. He approached the Angel Fire Corporation, and the organization constructed bike racing courses on the mountain. "The marketing director believed in us," said Quintana.

The corporation hosted the first downhill and the first dual slalom at that time, and currently remains one of the nation's premier biking destinations. Red River hosts 100 mile races, but not for mountain bikes, according to Quintana. In conjunction with the town of Taos, Native Sons developed and mapped multipurpose trails.

For 15 years, Quintana belonged to the Taos Outdoor Recreation Association. "This organization consisted of 15 to 20 members of the outdoor recreation business - skiing, llamas, rafting, biking and hiking. We all worked toward helping others enjoy the outdoors in Taos. I guess we weren't so far off the mark. The State of New Mexico is currently considering a state Outdoor Recreation Office. It will be interesting to see how this works out," said Quintana.

The outdoor activity required long hours at work. "One day, one of my daughters told me, 'All you do is work. You don't even know me.' That was my wake-up call. I sold the business and looked for something else to do," Quintana said. His career change involved working indoors.

His new career was in the insurance industry, which Quintana calls, "asset protection."

"People seek insurance for a reason. They want to protect what they own," Quintana said. "People line up to see me. Word got out that someone (me) cares about the clients. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. I have from 300 to 400 clients, and I wouldn't change this for the world. It's a most satisfying career, one I won't leave until I retire."

Quintana works at the Thomas Gutierrez Insurance Agency. One of the most enjoyable aspects of his job includes the fact that Gutierrez treats him like a brother. "I bring some expertise and he brings support to my life. It's a good partnership. Tom is top notch. He knows the value of employees and how to keep them," said Quintana.

Family of givers

The helpful side of Quintana does not emerge accidentally. Locals knew his parents as "givers of the community." The late Herman and Evangeline Quintana both worked as educators. Herman was a principal during part of his career.

Joseph Quintana's three children remain a source of pride and joy to him. The eldest, Soledad Quintana, lives in Colorado Springs, assisting people who are recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. She helps her clients become whole again. She has a daughter, Zaria, an eight-year-old second-grader. Quintana's only son, Xavier, works as a physicist for the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. His partner Kiley is a pediatrician. Joseph calls them "a power couple." Ana-Alycia, Joseph's youngest child, and her husband, Morgan Cunningham, own a float spa in Colorado Springs. The couple raise their five-year-old daughter, Cora.

Joseph Quintana described his partner, Christine Barela, as "the most beautiful woman on this planet, smart and funny."

Spare time

When asked about the favorite aspects of his life, Quintana shared that he loves the tranquility of Taos, including sunrises and sunsets. He enjoys visiting with and talking to locals, especially elders who know so much history. Quintana cited Luis Barela Sr. and his wife, Trinnie, as those with whom he enjoys talking.

Foodwise, as a true Taoseño, anything with green chile appeals to Quintana, especially green chile chicken enchiladas. He enjoys watching old westerns such as "Wagon Train," "Bonanza," "The Rifleman" and "Gunsmoke." In his life, Quintana has visited many beautiful places - England, France, México and Canada - but prefers his good life in Taos.

"There are so many changes in our community, but there's no place like Taos. I live in a special place, both indoors and outdoors. In my career and my community involvement, I have the privilege to meet people and hear their stories and the history of Taos," he said.


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