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Digging Deep to Build a Solid Foundation in the Pacific Northwest

Mike Nieto in front of bulldozer

Digging Deep to Build a Solid Foundation in the Pacific Northwest

Coming from a family with a long tradition in contracting, Mike Nieto learned at an early age that being a contractor meant that you had to be tough, smart and hold a stiff upper lip.  After many years working in the construction industry with this philosophy, Nieto saw the detrimental effects of high employee turnover and asked himself, “What if we focused on building people first and projects second?” In 2005, he answered this question by creating Catworks Construction, a construction company unlike any he had experienced before.


After several years of taking on private sector work, Nieto wanted to take his company to the next level and pursue working with the world’s largest customer, the U.S. government.  He realized he needed help in gaining a foothold in government contracting and discovered the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program through a fellow contractor.  The SBA 8(a) Program is a nine-year program offering a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.


Starting the SBA 8(a) Program with just a handful of employees in 2008, Catworks Construction today has more than 40 dedicated team members. Its annual revenue has increase from $800,000 to more than $10 million. The company has been awarded public works contracts from numerous federal agencies to include USDA Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Interior. Nieto’s impact goes beyond his company – he is the founder of Dig Deep, a nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of trauma dig deep and build strong foundations for a better and more successful life. He was recognized as the 2018 SBA Portland District 8(a) Graduate of the Year.

From the owner

“The job we do today lines us up for the job we do tomorrow.” said Nieto. “If we are committed to building each other - building people - we’ll never have to worry about getting work.”

For more information

Catworks Construction:

SBA Portland District Office:  

SBA Government Contracting Programs:

Company Name: 
Catworks Construction, LLC
Vancouver, WA