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Spencer Defty grew up in Healdsburg, California and moved to Davis before high school. Upon graduation, Spencer spent time working for local farmers and vineyard owners. This opportunity allowed him to learn real hands-on skills with heavy equipment, business management, and customer relations. In 1989, Spencer purchased his first small farm tractor and secured local jobs in the agriculture industry. From that point forward, Spencer took on development work on his own and began building personal relationships with local customers by providing reliable, quality work at a reasonable
price with the best customer service.
Since that time, Diamond D General Engineering, Inc has maintained consistent growth and financial success, built on his reputation for a positive attitude, responsiveness, problem-solving innovation and integrity. Diamond D is now a certified heavy civil construction and engineering company that performs excavation, demolition, earthmoving, paving and habitat restoration work. Spencer's leadership approach rewards teamwork, initiative and accomplishment, creating a positive work environment that challenges his staff and provides opportunities for advancement while fostering the excellent performance that his clients expect.
As President, Spencer firmly believes in his employees and treats them as an extension of his family. "The company is really the employees. They are our biggest asset. We draw a lot from the farm community, people who are talented, smart and hardworking who can't make a living on farms anymore."
In the private sector, Spencer is known for his reliability, trustworthiness and commitment to his family and to his employees. In the community, Spencer has been acknowledged and praised for his volunteer work, contribution, and willingness to volunteer his time to better this region. In June 2008, Spencer inspired a collaborative effort to pay tribute to local World War II Veterans by hosting a World War II Playday in Woodland, Ca.
He continues to fight for the small business community and the greater Sacramento region as he co-chairs the Sacramento Metro Chamber Small Business Committee and is an active member of the Metro Political Action Committee. For the past four years, Spencer has been an active volunteer participant of the regional Capitol-to-Capitol trip which is the largest legislative program of its kind to improve the economy and enhance the quality of life in the greater Sacramento region.
He also makes the time to attend local board meetings, write letters, and voice his opinion regarding topics such as the California Air Resources Board off-road diesel regulations. These are just a few things that Spencer and his family sacrifice their time for in order to assure the community's future.
Two friends Lew Parker and Mitch Caron sought a better way to do business by putting their employees first. In 1991, they founded PC Mechanical Inc. to do just that. Fast forward 19 years to 2010 and Parker, the president and CEO and Caron, the vice president and general manager, are busier than they have ever been primarily because of the loyalty and respect they have earned of their fellow employees and secondly through the assistance of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program.
“We knew that we could treat employees better than we had been treated,” said Parker. In 1990, after Caron completed a grueling 30-day tour in the Republic of Angola for his previous employer - Caron and Parker launched their own full service, multi-disciplined mechanical repair and service company from Parker’s garage.
Using Caron’s pickup truck as the first “company” vehicle, Parker, Caron and a hand full of their previous coworkers crisscrossed Santa Maria, San Ardo and Bakersfield serving oil field equipment. Within a short period of time they moved out of Parker’s garage and into an 8,000 square foot facility in Santa Maria where they operated for 14 years.
In 1996, PC Mechanical applied for the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to assist in securing government contracts. Parker, a Native American who grew up on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho was accepted into the rigorous 9-year program.
Using their extensive experience within the service and maintenance industry and their 8(a) certification, they continued to secure numerous government contracts including their largest-to-date a $140 million multi-year military contract they won over competitors worldwide. In June 2009, they began to repair, recondition and maintain thousands of pieces of military equipment including the Navy Seabee’s bulldozers, cranes and generator sets. “The first contract we did like this large one was done seven or eight years ago through the 8(a) program,” said Parker.
Looking back on the success and growth of PC Mechanical, Parker said, “We started a company that caters to employees and that has been the backbone of our company – it worked.” Currently, PC Mechanical has over 50 employees, and offers extremely competitive benefits including a 100% premium paid for employee medical and dental insurance, a lucrative 401K with a 4% match of gross and a cafeteria plan. “Family comes first here, if a family member becomes sick, we let our employees stay home and take care of them and keep them on payroll.”
Parker also attributed PC Mechanical’s success to their 8(a) Business Development Specialist, Catherine Clark, who worked with them during the 9-year program. “Catherine was with me 100% of the way and led me all the way through it. She is very personable, helpful and upfront. The 8(a) program was valuable – it opened the door to get involved in government contracting,” said Parker. PC Mechanical graduated from the 8(a) program in 2005.
In March 2005, PC Mechanical moved out of its previous facility and into a new 67,000 square foot facility in Santa Maria, which they bought. They have also continued to receive numerous awards along the way and recently won Boeing’s “Performance Excellence Award” for gold level performance for their work during 2009 at Vandenberg Air Force Base where they have maintained the launch facilities for 15 years. The award is given to Boeing’s Top 100 Contractors worldwide for meeting and exceeding performance standards for all 365 days of any given year.
Also, they are being recognized as an Outstanding Business at the upcoming Spirit of Small Business Awards held in August by the Pacific Coast Business Times and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Los Angeles District Office.
The company supports community activities with donations to the Highway Patrol Widows and Orphans, Santa Maria Police Department, the Boys and Girls Club and Food Bank Drives. The owners also sponsor along with their employees local sports and activities.
“PC Mechanical is one of our most successful graduates of recent memory and a great example of what the 8(a) Business Development Program can do for small businesses. We are proud to have helped them find their way both as a business and as an extended member of the SBA 8(a) family,” said Stephen J. Olear, acting district director for the Los Angeles district office.
Recently, PC Mechanical was recognized as an outstanding business in North Santa Barbara County at an awards luncheon titled - Spirit of Small Business on Thursday, August 12, 2010 hosted by U.S. Small Business Administration and Pacific Coast Business Times.
Should you require any additional information regarding the SBA’s 8(a) program, please contact Glen Constantino at (818) 552-3235.
Originally in the painting business, Jack Roper, now 65 years old, has many years experience in the construction business in Birmingham and St. Petersburg, FL. He owns Southeastern Industrial Construction, a $28 million annual revenue company headquartered in Pelham. He employs roughly 80 employees, but that number grows with job contracts and the use of subcontractors.
Jack is married, and has three grown children.
Some years ago, he owned another company, Roper Painting, now subsumed into his current, larger business. His painting firm was hired to do some subcontract work by a more experienced master contractor. That gentleman asked Jack if he had minority participation. He didn’t although he employed many minority workers. The master contractor’s advice was instrumental in changing Jack’s approach to his business.
When he started his new company, Southeastern Industrial Construction, Roper sought and gained 8(a) certification after his company worked on the Air National Guard complex at the Birmingham Airport. That designation has been since the source of many additional jobs, and an important reason for his company’s success.
“Gaining that designation was one of my most important business decisions,” Jack emphasizes. “Without it, I won’t be anywhere near the success we now have. It literally opened many doors to jobs I won’t have qualified for before we were certified.”
Jack was also quick to credit a close friend who helped him through the rough times of starting his new business. “Without his help, I won’t have been able to even start,” Jack said. “I am indebted to him.”
Southeastern Industrial Construction has since worked on many projects in Alabama. Among them are Legion Field’s renovation and the Anniston Army Depot. Jack’s values permeate the firm’s operations.
“I firmly believe in delivering good work at a fair price and on time,” Roper added. “As a business owner, if you commit yourself to be fair to your customers, they will come back to you for additional work. And that is the source of staying in business for the long haul be fair to your customers, to your employees, and to yourself.”
“Making a killing on any one job is the way some construction firms operate. But that’s not my way,” Jack stressed.
He also credited much of his firm’s success to hiring good people. “I have found I am not the smartest person, but I know how to hire the right people and put them in the right positions,” Roper said.
He follows another rule: be able to get 50 percent of any job’s work done using 25 percent of the money. “That way,” he added, “you have most of the money (75%) for use during any job’s most difficult part, finishing to the customer’s satisfaction.”
Jack was especially grateful for his luck in being in the right place at the right time. We are grateful, too. Southeastern Industrial Construction is an asset to Birmingham and to Alabama. Congratulations on your success story.