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Overcoming Obstacles - The Vaquero Group LLC

image Edward Pape, owns and operates, The Vaquero Group LLC

EXTENDING THE REACH - Congratulations. You are in business. Perhaps nothing is more satisfying than taking that plunge and putting your name on that line. By now, you have probably incorporated in one form or another. You’ve opened your bank accounts, registered with the State, maybe landed a few contracts and hired some people.





    If you are like many would-be entrepreneurs, you might have inked that first deal and then went on and filled in all the gaps. Hopefully, if you qualify, you may have even taken the time to recognize the importance of certifying the ownership of your company to reflect your status as a small, minority, woman, veteran, or otherwise recognized business, and here in San Antonio, that probably means certification by the SCTRCA. A lot of hard work, a certain amount of stress, and a level of preliminary capital investment, but it was all worth it because now the sun is up, the lights are on, and you are in business. Congratulations as I said before. Now what do you do?
    A lot has been written and discussed about the benefits of certification for qualified businesses, but understanding what those advantages really mean and how to best utilize them, is the important part of this equation. Participation in SMWVB-owned enterprises is encouraged. That does not mean set-asides or other guarantees of commerce headed your way. Indeed, there are many privately owned businesses that do not qualify for certification that might see these things as a disadvantage It is important to remember that, especially with regard to construction, certification as minority, woman, or veteran-owned does not necessarily equate to small, as defined by the SBA. It also does not imply ownership of a business by a minority, veteran, or woman. What it means is recognition and expanded opportunities based on your certification to benefit the economic health of our communities.
    What did I just say? Well, to put it another way, the encouragement of opportunities for these certified businesses provides for an increased level of competition which then results in improvement in the performance of the market to the benefit of the consumers.  More players means a better game.
    A lot or of SMWVB outreach from the larger consumers in our community involves very basic business topics like how to write a business plan or maybe an advanced class on Quickbooks. In the future, I am hoping to work with Construction News on exploring what opportunities are currently out there that fit into this category, to identify possible outreach efforts that would be of benefit, and how to get the word out regarding the benefits to the consumer of engagement with these businesses.
    Some of the frustrations that have been shared with me include the bundling of small tasks and projects into large contracts which effectively shuts out small to medium sized companies. Compartmentalization of large projects rarely happens because there is little perceived economic benefit to the consumer. However, in my experience, it can and does happen, though admittedly not often.
    However, and this is a big however, when it does happen, it may be a case of being in the right place at the right time, and more often than not, it is the certification that may make the difference in your successful selection for participation in a project.
    Back to the original topic of discussion – what do you do now? Those certifications while beneficial won’t guarantee you anything. It falls on you as the business owner to get out there and make yourself known - expand your presence in the industry. In a world where social media is so prevalent, nothing comes close to taking the place of first hand recognition. That means you go to the events and participate in the mixers, the skeet shoots, the golf tournaments and everything else in between. You join an industry association or maybe even more than one. And then you get involved by serving on a committee or even as a member of a board of directors. If you are smart,  you’ll even attend events or fundraisers for associations of which you aren’t a member. And when you’ve met the right people and been introduced as an active member of the community others  can help you achieve your mandated SMWVBE goals.
    Edward Pape owns and operates The Vaquero Group LLC, which performs commercial construction and consulting services. He has a BBA from UTSA with a concentration in Building and Development and an MA from St. Mary’s University in International Relations and Economics. Edward has performed on many large and recognizable projects in San Antonio including the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort and the Mirasol Homes Program for SAHA, and for the State of Texas when he acted as Construction Program Manager for Hurricanes Ike and Dolly Recovery Program. He is currently serving as the Vice President of the Hispanic Contractor’s Association.

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