How does a start-up construction company go from being a home-based business to arrive at a level where it operates from two offices, has a dozen contracts, supports 15 full-time construction managers at multiple sites on an aggregate of nearly $10 million of awards?
Jaime Pinedo, can answer the question, “Work with the Los Angeles District Office of the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA).” Mr. Pinedo founded his Miramar Construction, Inc. in 1999 with expectations to grow into an entity that could handle large construction and general engineering and public works projects. He recognized the potential in joining the SBA 8(a) program and quickly sought the Agency’s assistance.
The SBA’s Section 8(a) Program is a business development program to help businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain equal access to the resources needed to develop their ability to compete on an equal footing in the mainstream of the American Federal Procurement Process. Companies admitted to the program are assigned a Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS) to provide one-on-one counseling, schedule training workshops, and to assist the company in its expansion into the realm of federal government contract activity and ultimately achieve full and independent competitive viability.
Miramar received its 8(a) certification in February 2002. Within a short time, Jaime Pinedo was selected to attend an SBA sponsored week-long training program held at Clark Atlanta University. He took full advantage of this scholarship to the prestigious SBA Executive Education Program and was selected as the First Place winner in the Business Case Competition.
Mr. Pinedo received constant communications, encouragement, counsel and guidance from Bonita Rentie, his BOS. In addition, Ms. Rentie aided him in developing an efficient plan to optimize the benefits of the 8(a) program. As a result he was able to effectively market his business and attain further exposure via promotion opportunities at numerous conferences and expositions.
Under the SBA’s aegis, Miramar was trained for and accepted into the mentor Protégé Program and the HUBZone program. Acceptance into these two valuable programs opened the access door to contracts of varying size, scope and complexity. Accessing these contracts helped Miramar assume the critical mass to foster profitable growth and to create additional employment opportunities in construction and engineering.
Miramar Construction was selected as the first contractor to perform two emergency contracts to remove debris from multiple basins for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Because of this specialized experience and his recognition as a solid public works engineer, Jaime was invited to join the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and was soon asked to sit on the board of this influential organization.
Los Angeles SBA District Director, Alberto G. Alvarado praised Mr. Pinedo stating, “Jaime Pinedo is a great American success story. He arduously worked the program to leverage his resources and thereby maximized the benefits that his company received.”
Jamie Pinedo has indeed benefited from the excellent tutelage thus far provided by the SBA. However, he is not one to rest on his laurels. The lessons the SBA taught him will keep him ever vigilant when it comes to prospecting for new business. For example, at a recent SBA sponsored matchmaking expo held in The Disneyland Hotel, one of the most industrious of the 1,000 companies seeking new business was Miramar Construction. And who was there representing Miramar in its attempts to acquire more blocks to better build his company, Jaime Pinedo, himself?
To contact the SBA Los Angeles District Office for information on 8(a) Business Development call:
- Armida Brother at (818) 552-3233
- Catherine Clark at (818) 552-3311
- Betsy Copelan at (818) 552-3313
- Bonita Rentie at (818) 552-3310
- Carlos Johnson at (818) 552-3232
Or visit the SBA’s user friendly web site at www.sba.gov.
When Mr. Ed Rice was approached to comment on his business success, he humbly replied, “what success” and mused further, “It’s hard work and ever-present”, intimating that success in entrepreneurship comes from the complete dedication of oneself to the enterprise in question. You better believe that Ed Rice is committed to his Popeye’s stores. No matter what time one visits the operations for a Cajun Cuisine Catch-up, he or she will most likely encounter Ed Rice involved in any one of the myriad management details, or even pitching in to serve the customers or to staff the cash register.
A demanding but fair manager, Ed has made it his policy to staff his enterprise with the best and most well rounded students from the neighboring high schools. His interview process involves a review of the individual job seeker’s report card with special stress placed on attendance record, comments from teachers, and grades. Mr. Rice feels that, if the student is a responsible team player and is respectful at school, he will undoubtedly treat Ed’s customers in a manner worthy of their patronage.
Ed Rice is a true inner city entrepreneur. At age 19, having just graduated from Fremont High School, he started his own real estate office, and successfully ran it for 10 years. In 1985 Ed opened his first Popeye’s franchise, the 103rd Street store, using a 7(a) SBA guaranteed loan underwritten by American Pacific State Bank, an institution which was subsequently merged into City National Bank. As one would expect from a borrower as responsible as Mr. Rice, the loan was repaid in advance of when required. The 18 jobs created are a living tribute to Mr. Rice’s business acumen and vision.
Unfortunately, Ed’s Watts restaurant was damaged during the 1992 civil unrest; however, the structure was reconditioned via an SBA disaster loan used in conjunction with his business insurance. An interesting anecdote relating to this establishment centers on the fact that Popeye’s was the food of choice of the National Guard in 1992. In fact, Mr. Rice cooked for and fed those guardsmen assigned to keep peace in Watts right out of the 103rd Street store.
SBA Los Angeles District Director, Alberto Alvarado offered praise stating, “Ed Rice epitomizes the meaning of the word entrepreneur. Ed assumed tremendous risk, expecting the concomitant return on his investment in his first venture. His dedication and tenacity earned him the appropriate rewards.”
Employing the ingenuity referenced by Director Alvarado, and by using personal capital and CRA funds, Mr. Rice followed the traditional path taken by most entrepreneurs. He parlayed some of what he earned and everything he learned from his first success and opened another Popeye’s in the Crenshaw District. This second franchise, at 3268 West Slauson Avenue, is operated in the same fashion as the original site. The 14 employees, whose jobs were created through Ed Rice’s enterprising spirit, remain focused on excellent customer service, an integral part of the core competencies of Ed Rice’s company.
Ever the entrepreneur, Mr. Rice is in the planning stages to open another Popeye’s. Feasibility studies and site consideration are currently in process. Expectations are for the third operation to create 20 new jobs in the Central Los Angeles community. Ed Rice may, again, call upon SBA financing to help provide clear sailing for this new Popeye’s franchise.
The Watts Popeye’s can be contacted by calling (323) 566-9402. The Crenshaw District location can be reached at (323) 569-0071.
For additional information on SBA Loan Programs and Services please call the Los Angeles District Office at (818) 552- 3210 or visit the SBA’s user friendly web site at www.sba.gov.
Ms. Arlene Dotzler founded North Coast Construction in 1997. As a woman-owned sole proprietorship in what is often thought to be a male-dominated industry, Ms. Dotzler soon found the going tough in all aspects of the business. It was particularly difficult to acquire and maintain a significant volume of construction contracts to reach that point of critical mass needed to carry a business through potential economic downturns.
Then Ms. Dotzler heard about the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Minority Business Development Program. Also referred to as the 8(a) Program, it is intended to help socially and economically disadvantaged business owners compete in the Federal Procurement Marketplace. The SBA’s 8(a) program assists these firms in gaining equal access to the resources necessary to develop their business and thereby, improve their ability to compete on an equal basis in the mainstream of the economy. Seeking that so called “equal playing field”, Arlene Dotzler contacted the Los Angeles District Office of the SBA. She applied to the 8(a) program and was certified into it in early 2001.
Upon certification, Ms. Dotzler was assigned a Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS) to work with her and to serve as an advocate. The BOS is completely facile in all aspects of the program and possesses a sound understanding of business management and the principles of financial analysis, and in turn draws upon these skill sets to shepherd the participating company through the program and enlighten the participant as to how to optimize participation.
The essence of SBA 8 (a) is a “self-development” program. The participant must take the initiative to avail herself of the various components of the program that can add value to the business. In short, the business owner must “work the program.” This often involves having one-on-one consultations with the BOS, participating in SBA- hosted training and LOS ANGELES PRESS OFFICE workshops, and taking the necessary steps to acquire the appropriate bonding (which can be guaranteed by SBA) to foster revenue growth.
Arlene Dotzler personifies the epitome of initiative. Since her 8(a) certification in January 2001 she has utilized the full menu of 8(a) services. She immediately attended the SBA’s Lead Point Seminar to receive 7(j) technical assistance in the form of a one week session on strategic management and effective business operations. While this was a substantial amount of time for a small business owner to invest in training, it paid outstanding dividends. Arlene Dotzler, not only sponged up the knowledge, but applied it to the operations of her business and in the process successfully changed her company into a winning entity.
Over a 2 year period she tripled North Coast Construction’s total revenues, and grew her 8(a) revenue to a point where 50% of total company sales are 8(a). Her bonding capacity
increased three and one half times. Credit lines available to fund projects grew exponentially. Equally remarkable is the community economic development that sprang from the growth of her business. Over the 24 month that Ms. Dotzler has been in the 8(a) program she has doubled her payroll and created an additional 6 new jobs.
Los Angeles District Office Director, Alberto G. Alvarado praised Arlene Dotzler stating, “Ms. Dotzler showed her tenacity in accelerating through the program. She took nothing for granted, thereby exposing her company to the full gamut of program deliverable and the concomitant rewards. She truly exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship.”
North Coast Construction operates out of Santa Barbara County and can be reached using the following contact information:
216 West Walnut
Lompoc, CA 93436
(805) 740-1727 Fax.
For more information on the SBA’s Programs And Services please call:
- Armida Brother at (818) 552-3233 for 8(a) Program.
- Barbara Madel at (818) 552-3314 for SBA Loan Programs
- Fernando Olivares at (818) 552-3256 for information in Spanish
- Or visit the SBA’s user friendly web site at www.sba.gov.