About Professional Business Development Group

About
Professional Business
Development Group

Learn more about the mission and people behind PBDG!

PBDG’s primary purpose is to improve business conditions in the construction industry
by increasing preparation, competitiveness, and relationships.

PBDG is a construction trade association that exists to improve the business conditions for disadvantaged, minority-, women- and service-disabled veteran-owners (DMWESBSDV or COBID certified firms) that provide direct or indirect services to the construction industry. PBDG was established in 2014 by four local minority and women COBID subcontractors who pooled talent and resources together in order to provide a conducive environment for growth and to pass down institutional knowledge to the next generation of business owners.

PBDG was also organized with the recognition that, despite years of efforts, DMWESB construction and professional services contractors in the construction industry remain greatly under-represented, which negatively impacts the productivity, efficiency, and vitality of Portland contractors and the construction industry as a whole. While we have a goal of advancing equity for all certified firms, we are especially intentional about removing the barriers and addressing the historical inequities that minorities and women have faced in the construction industry which have had negative economic and social consequences in our community.

PBDG provides advocacy for our members on issues facing them in the industry and create opportunities for certified firm members to network and connect with Partners. PBDG partners with public agencies, prime contractors and the business community, in the Portland metro area to continuously enhance the business environment for COBID certified firms in the construction and contracting community.

We welcome anyone to participate who is committed to building growth and prosperity for DMWESB and SDV firms.

Kenechi Onyeagusi
Executive Director, Professional Business Development Group (PBDG)

Kenechi has been the executive director of PBDG since 2020. She is an established business and finance professional with 12 years of experience in commercial banking working with small businesses and nonprofit organization. Core competencies include business development, relationship management, risk management and community engagement. Strong accounting background with advanced financial analysis and budgeting skills. A strategic thinker with ability to work well and communicate with diverse multicultural teams. Leadership role in economic and small business development through work with community partners, government agencies and chambers of commerce. Kenechi has served and continues to serve on the board and committees of other nonprofit organizations including Birch Community Services, Micro Enterprises Services of Oregon, Business Diversity Institute, Mercy Corps NW, Meals on Wheels, Risk Management Association of Portland and Impact NW. She currently serves on several equity and economic development focused committees serving COBID certified firms in the region.

Email: kenechi@pbdgweb.com

Irene Appel
Project Manager, Professional Business Development Group (PBDG)

Irene has been the project manager for PBDG since 2018. She has been working while obtaining her bachelor’s degree at Portland State University’s School of Business. Irene has over 7 years of experience working with small businesses, 5 of those were spent working for women or minority owned firms. Core competencies include extensive outreach efforts, detailed event and meeting coordination, DMWESB application assistance, federal grant applications, creation of proposals for public agency RFPs, content creation, customer service, and general administration support.

Irene grew up in a minority-owned landscaping company in Canby, OR. She has first-hand experience of the value and importance of industry organizations providing business support to minority-owned firms. Irene enjoys using her background knowledge and experience to help support certified firms through PBDG. Additionally, Irene graduated from Portland State University’s School of Business this year and enjoys making art, music, and spending time outdoors in the great Pacific Northwest.

Email: irene@pbdgweb.com

Faye Burch:  F M Burch and Associates

As a Policy Advisor in the Public sector, Faye’s responsibilities overlapped with Small Business and MWESB services. She always leaned toward combining her community development skills with public policy to identify resolutions to MWESB challenges and recognize their importance to our economy. Uniting with large Prime contractors committed to change the paradigm for Equity and inclusiveness for DMWESB firms has been essential to her work. Faye Burch facilitated a report on ways to improve the status of minority and women contractors. The report takes six levels of the construction world—the industry at large, trade partners and first-tier subcontractors, unions, MBE firms and technical assistance programs, agencies and owners, and general contractors—and breaks down challenges in those areas while proposing paths forward for solutions. MBE inclusion is a path for strengthening the local economy, paving a new future for the construction industry, and building capacity in our communities. Faye created a definition of Equity that defines a leveling up of MBE firms’ utilization. Equity is treating everyone the same to promote fairness; it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. Unfortunately, systemic, historic, and institutionalized discrimination means that personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnicity, education level, etc. can impact people’s ability to achieve the same potential. Thus, equity is treating everyone justly according to their circumstances and giving everyone what they need to be successful. Projects completed in 2019 include the Portland Building and the Multnomah County Central Courthouse.

James Faison:  Faison Construction

James became interested in doing this work at the age of 16 when he joined the job corps and was being trained in the trades in Tillamook. His parents were entrepreneurs, so he had an interest in following that path. That’s why he wanted to start his own company. James has done TI remodels on the lower level of Pioneer Courthouse Square with Howard S. Wright, and also formed and poured the footing support for the underground on the Terwilliger Curves project for ODOT. He also partnered with Walsh Construction and was the partner general contractor for MLK Elliott project. Faison Construction also partnered with Northwest Infrastructure and O’Neill Construction on the Cully Park Project on NE Lombard. James was also the general contractor for the North Park Blocks project owned by the City of Portland. Partnering with Howard S Wright, Faison Construction worked on the TI improvements on the 10th and Yamhill parking structure. James just finished the Roosevelt Light Rail Station in Seattle in partnership with Hoffman Construction. They also did all of the concrete work for the Multnomah Health Administration Building in NE Portland. The Light Rail Project was a defining moment for them: “It challenged us as a company but ultimately we were able to overcome obstacles and meet our goal.”

Vicqui Guevara:  Valley Growers Nursery and Landscape

Vicqui started Valley Growers because she appreciates plants and is amazed how the God-given oxygen, they generate allows us to live. By growing plants & landscaping, they aim to improve our ecological balance. Valley Growers has done 7.3 miles of full-face landscape, irrigation, wetland and mitigation planting for the TriMet PMLRT-E project. Vicqui has also done full face landscape from the ground up, extensive soil import, and irrigation installation and planting for the Edith Green Wendell & Wyatt project. They also did about 80 acres of landscape construction and irrigation for Sandy High School. Valley Growers recently completed full face landscape construction and mitigation for the Lackamas Elementary School and an eco-roof and green roof full face landscape for the Tanner Building (Lot 5). They are currently working on Grant High School and doing about 13 acres of full-face landscape and irrigation construction, consisting of lawn areas and courtyards. TriMet PMLRT-E was a benchmark for them due to the magnitude, challenges, size, subcontract amount, and duration of the project. However, they proved that they could perform large jobs successfully. “We are very proud of this project because we finished it on time, within budget, and safely.”

Nathaniel Hartley:  Professional Lath and Plaster, LLC

Nathaniel started plastering in 1980. Watching his father become an oil man from a janitor inspired an entrepreneurial mindset which is why he wanted to start his own business. Nathaniel completed twenty floors of putty coat smooth trowel plaster finish on perimeter ceilings at The Ardea Condominiums on the waterfront. He also did direct apply dryvit plaster with a sand blast finish on seven floors in the parking structure at the Port of Portland Headquarters. Professional Lath & Plaster is currently working on eighteen floors of ACT at the new Multnomah County Courthouse and also doing ACT and sound baffles at the Jefferson Station next door. They recently completed metal stud framing, drywall and drywall finishing, and ACT at the PCC Rock Creek Campus Child Development Center. Starting November 4th, they will start installing the Fellert acoustical sound plaster system at the new Concourse E at the airport. They are also installing high-end metal ceiling panels created by Armstrong and are in the process of negotiating imperial veneer smooth trowel finish plaster at Concourse E. A defining moment for him was when he started working with Hoffman Construction and PCI. That was the biggest contract he’d received which created his confidence to become successful.

Michael Martin:  Northwest Infrastructure

Growing up, Michael had always found himself in a leadership position, so starting his own business was a natural transition for him. He gained experience in the excavation industry when he saw ways to improve the overall business process and decided to do it for himself through Northwest Infrastructure. Northwest Infrastructure was the acting General Contractor on the Cully Park project where they worked on the excavation, trucking, and underground utilities. Michael has also done excavation for a temporary parking area at PCC Rock Creek and the demolition of Building 5. This project was a delicate operation because they had to leave the gymnasium intact while demolishing the surrounding L-shaped structure. Michael also worked on the Oliver Station Apartments; they demolished the Old Copper Penny building then removed underground cesspools and drywells, followed by excavation consisting of footings, slab on grade, backfilling, and site grading. They are currently working on the TriMet Bus Facility where they are demolishing and excavating the south parking lot, excavating thousands of yards of contaminated soil, installing thousands of feet of storm pipe, and demolishing the existing TriMet facility. The PCC Rock Creek Campus project was a pivotal moment for them because they assumed the role of General Contractor. This was one of their first times as a GC which presented unique challenges.

Mark Matthews: Pacificmark Construction

Mark became interested in the construction industry after his family of 21 siblings bought a schoolhouse they remodeled to accommodate their large family. The Matthews family needed a large space to grow into and this was the perfect opportunity for Mark to help create a space that they all could enjoy. During the construction phase, Mark had a mentor who taught him unique building skills that he would later apply in his professional career as a General Contractor. Mark always wanted to create a business that would make a difference in his community, and he is doing just that while serving on many diversity board organizations, as well as community organizations in the greater Portland area. Pacificmark Construction is now a well diverse company that has taken the opportunity to partner with large General Contractors in the area and grow through the mentoring process. They have successfully completed large contracts such as building the 36,000 square foot Portland Community College Student Union on the Cascade Campus, the Sellwood Bridge Condo Reconstruction, the tenant improvements at the Congress Center, the MLK Natural Grocers and the Metro Hatfield Hall Roof Replacement project. Pacificmark is embarking on a joint venture with Hoffman Construction on the new Lincoln High School with groundbreaking in early 2020. Pacificmark Construction continues to grow in diverse areas within the Federal marketplace, working with the US Forest Service and the Department of Energy, while focusing on social equity, environmental stewardship & economic prosperity within each project.

Daniel Miranda:  Just Right Heating & Cooling

A COBID-certified company (M/DBE), Just Right Heating & Cooling was founded by Daniel Miranda, a third-generation sheet metal worker. Daniel grew up in Mexico learning how to run a sheet metal company from his father. When he immigrated to the US in 1996, he swore he would never do sheet metal work again. However, in time, Daniel found himself with two Journeyman cards in the trade from the sheet metal union, eventually teaching HVAC classes at the Local 16 training center. In 2013, Daniel founded Just Right Heating & Cooling and, for the first time as a business owner, he began fabricating and installing ductwork and HVAC equipment in the Portland-Metro area. In 2017, Just Right built its own fabrication facility, greatly increasing its capacity to fabricate ductwork for large-scale commercial projects, such as the new Concourse E at PDX International Airport and the Tri-Met Powell Bus Garage. Daniel has used resourcefulness and innovative production strategies to create a fabrication shop like no other. Just Right delivers a top-notch, but less expensive, product that helps to heat and cool many public buildings in the region. Daniel values diversity and believes in his team. Together, they are building longevity and providing living wage work for several families in the area for many years to come.

Maurice Rahming:  O’Neill Construction Group

Maurice has always been interested in working with his hands. Knowing that college was not financially obtainable, construction quickly became the most viable option for his career. Originally starting as an electrical contractor, O’Neill Construction Group has expanded their operations to include general contracting, masonry, and carpentry work as well. Over the last 20 years, O’Neill Construction Group has completed many notable projects, including the art lighting and infrastructure for Tilikum Crossing, the renovation of various buildings on the PCC SE Campus including a complete remodel and seismic upgrade of the historic administration building, the new Asian Health and Service Center building, multiple affordable housing projects, multiple projects at the Portland International Airport, and the remodel for the second floor of the VA hospital. The VA hospital was a defining project for them because it was so intricate and presented many challenges; working within an occupied hospital, coordinating multiple disciplines logistically, and navigating time and space restraints. Currently, O’Neill is proud to be a part of such exciting projects as Multnomah County Courthouse (electrical and masonry work), The Argyle Apartments (electrical work), and Meyer Memorial Trust Headquarters (electrical and general contracting). We look forward to continuing to grow and diversify our client base, our subcontractor base, and our workforce.

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