DECADES OF SOUND BUSINESS PRACTICES BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR GENERAL CONTRACTOR
Planning and measuring are as important to general contractor Guiomar Obregon in running her business as they are for managing major infrastructure projects. So, when she launched Precision 2000 (P2K) two decades ago, she contacted the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center.
“We knew the SBDC was there to assist small businesses, so I took many of their classes, initially,” said Obregon. “As the company continued growing, we continued accessing the SBDC resources.”
P2K is an Atlanta-based general contracting firm that builds infrastructure-related projects, including water and sewer lines, earthwork, roads, bridges, sidewalks and streetscapes. It repairs concrete on airport runways and taxiways. It works with the Georgia Department of Transportation on highway repair contracts, replacing concrete slabs, and contracts with military bases in the Carolinas and Georgia.
Through the years, the UGA SBDC has helped P2K with small business certifications, marketing and finance. This partnership heated up after the Great Recession.
“In 2007, I had many loans that were maturing, and the banks were not lending. Our sales had dropped to half of what they were, and we were in a bad spot to refinance,” she said. “The SBDC helped me prepare the documents for a 7(a) SBA loan, helping me refinance the equipment and some of the real estate, the office and the equipment yard.”
“The SBDC taught me about the 7(a) and how it was applicable to the refinancing I needed. The SBDC also helped me navigate, look for the best options and negotiate with the banks.”
The UGA SBDC then assisted Obregon in applying for the SBA’s 8(a) business development certification, which can help minority and other disadvantaged businesses secure contracts with the federal government.
“The 8(a) was essential because it opened new avenues. Guiomar has worked with the SBDC to guide her company out of recession and into strong growth,” said Carolina Ramon, the director of the UGA SBDC’s Office of Minority Business Development who is now helping Obregon with strategic planning.
When Obregon decided to open her first global market, she met with international trade consultant Rick Martin. “When we opened our office in Colombia, he helped with knowing what kind of preparations we needed to take, where to get equipment and how to understand import/export regulations.”
In the last decade, P2K has grown from 40 to 70 employees. Annual sales have doubled to $18 million. Obregon and her company have received several awards, including the 2017 Inspiration Award from the Latin American Association.
Obregon also co-founded the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association, which has grown to 250 members in the last six years.
“I’ve learned, as a business owner that you don’t have all the answers, and you don’t have to. You do have to reach out to entities like the SBDC and ask them to help you,” she said. “We think, that as owners, we have to know and do everything. I would encourage everyone to use the resources of the SBDC.”