For Miguel Guajardo, the black cloud of a bad economy turned out to have a silver lining in the long run, one by the name of El Camino Construction& Engineering Corporation, a business venture that has led to him being the first recipient of the Shaun Lumachi Rising Star Award.
In 2008, Guajardo and two partners founded his first construction business. "But with the economic downturn, we kind of split and started our own businesses," he says. Now flying solo, in 2010 Guajardo decided to land with his new venture in Long Beach, mostly because of its centralized location in relation to several major Southern California freeways and in between Los Angeles and Orange County…although it didn't hurt that he already lived here. "It turned out it was a good decision," he says, "because it turned out to be springboard for a lot of locations."
Three years later, that decision is working out well for Long Beach, too, as El Camino is a local business on the rise, currently with 20 employees and revenues last year of $3 million. But that's peanuts compared to Guajardo's vision for where El Camino will be three years hence, with a goal of 50 employees and revenues of $10 million annually.
Guajardo feels stability and partnership are the company traits that will help El Camino ascend to such heights in such a short time, as he looks to hire employees who will be vested in the El Camino, with a parallel to El Camino's own investment in its customers, an investment that doesn't stop when a project is completed.
"We have very little employee turnover," Guajardo explains. "Basically, my business philosophy is to grow the business and the talent that I bring in. Same thing with my clients. We nurture our contracts, so we grow as their business grows. We have a lot of past clients who seek us out as their preferred contractor."
The Shaun Lumachi Rising Start Award is given in memory of Shaun Lumachi, whose entrepreneurial spirit led to his co-founding the Long Beach Post while at the same time running a consulting firm and advocating for a variety of issues affecting the greater Long Beach area. To be considered, for the award, a candidate must have been in business for at least three years, demonstrated high growth potential and job creation, and have exhibited a strong entrepreneurial mindset in growing and developing their business—all of which must contribute to positively impacting the Long Beach area. The award is presented by the Small Business Development Center, which is hosted by Long Beach City College.
Guajardo says he has a great appreciation for Long Beach and the community, and that he is grateful for what the City has done for his and other small businesses. "I am thankful for the help I received from LBCC through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program," he says. "I think the City does what it can to help small businesses."
And Guajardo notes that the help he has received will be fed back into the community. "I'm not going anywhere," he says.
For more information on El Camino Construction & Engineering Corporation, visit elcaminoconeng.com.