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Small companies, big stories

image Gabriel Lomas, GL Contracting, feels Extending the Reach is an opportunity for both his company and others in the SMWVO business community.

SAN ANTONIO - Next month is the debut of Extending the Reach, a Construction News special feature publication focusing on small, minority, woman, and veteran-owned (SMWVO) businesses.






    Gabriel Lomas, who founded GL Contracting more than 15 years ago, rec-ognized the importance of Extending the Reach and wanted to be a part of the publication to give back to the community that helped him when he was just starting out as a general contractor.
    With 8A, DBE, HUB, DIBE, MBE, ESBE, HABE, SBE, VBE, and SDVOSB certifica-tions, Lomas built up his business and grew the company by utilizing these distinctions.
    In Extending the Reach, he will be one of several contractors who tell their stories, discussing the certification pro-cess, the advantages and disadvatages to obtaining these certifications, as well as other helpful information about operat-ing a SMWVO business.
    “There’s not a tool out there right now for what to focus on to market small businesses,” says Lomas, noting that this publication will be a tool to educate people in various stages of growth, from startups to companies like his that have been around a long time and are still learning about opportunities available to small, minority and diverse businesses.
    “If you’re starting in the private and residential markets, it’s not such a hard transition,” he observes. “But once you get into government or municipal work, there’s a lot of things to understand before you start out.”
    From his own experience, he sees tremendous value in being able to use Extending the Reach as a guide. He believes this would answer a lot of questions contractors may have about the qualifications to get certified, the benefits of obtaining those certifications, and which ones may be more worthwhile to pursue than others.
    Compared to other resources and materials available, Lomas feels that Extending the Reach would have been the solution to a problem he faced when starting GL Contracting. He recalls that when he started out on his own, one of the biggest challenges was finding exactly this kind of resource. He spent months running from place to place, person to person, in search of the answers he needed to address the many issues that arise when building a small business from the ground up.
    Ultimately, he utilized Google and talked to anyone who would listen to him about the challenges he faced. Extending the Reach presents him with a chance to help someone who is in the same position as he was five to 10 years ago. By joining other contractors in sharing advice from their first-hand experiences, he believes he can save contractors a lot of time running around searching for information and wading through mediocre resources to find the good ones.
    There are several very important questions small, minority, and diverse business owners ask themselves when starting out. They wonder where to start, who to start with, what the trials and tribulations of getting started are, and what will help or could potentially stall you up front.
    In the early days of GL Contracting, Lomas found it awkward and difficult reaching out to others for answers to these questions. He also found more reference to marketing tools for companies that were already up and running, but nothing substantial as to how to get up and running. That is why today, having found his way through the proverbial school of hard knocks, he is willing to provide answers for others who find themselves stuck on the same questions. Though he could not find a lot of wings to get under 15 years ago, he is willing to extend one to anybody who needs it today.
    Giving back to the community and supporting small business is why Lomas became involved with Extending the Reach, and it’s why he is excited to be among other companies who feel the same way.
    “One of the main things I hope people will take away from this pub-lication is who’s dedicated and who’s involved,” Lomas says. “I believe if you’re involved in this, then you care.”
    Since he has successfully grown his business through becoming certified with several organizations, he wants to offer guidance and insight that will hopefully benefit someone who is in the same position as him when he was getting his business off the ground. Among others, he aims to speak about what other contractors can do to grow as SMWVO companies and the opportunities available to them.
    At the same time, Lomas will be able to promote his own company and show what GL Contracting has learned, where the company has come from, and where it is going.
    Extending the Reach is almost here! No matter your size or field in the industry, if you or your company would like to offer your experience and support as Lomas and GL Contracting has, we are still welcoming sponsors and contributors. To be a part of this inaugural small, minority, and diverse business publication, contact Dana Calonge at 210-308-5800 or Dana@ConstructionNews.net. –mh

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Author Info
Mary Hazlett mary@constructionnews.net