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Posted: July 01, 2012

Minority Businessperson of the Year finalists 2012


Nathan Martinez

NM Industrial Services

Sometimes it’s better to go small. When Nathan Martinez started NM Industrial Services out of his basement in 2004, he was a one-man shop specializing in small mechanical jobs.

"There’s more than one way to find opportunities," says Martinez, who started the construction company with $100 in his business account and $2,000 in savings. "I saw an opportunity to do procurements for the federal government, small projects under $3,000."

Small projects ranged from one day of installing control valves to two weeks of installing rooftop units for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). "The other contractors got to know me, and the next thing I know I was getting $15,000 jobs, even $30,000 jobs."

In his first year in business, Martinez’s company earned revenues of about $170,000. He saw great potential for growth, so he reinvested all the earnings back into the company and resigned himself to working even harder. "I was not working as hard as I had for other contractors," says Martinez, who worked for 27 years as a project manager and estimator.

Early growth was difficult, for the usual reasons. Banks would not extend a line of credit to a new small business, and bonding, or insurance for construction companies, was hard to get. Martinez eventually won the larger projects, built relationships with financial institutions and insurance companies, and by 2010 grew NM Industrial Services to an 80-employee company.

Then things got difficult again. "The last year or two were some tough years, but we found a way to overcome them," he says. "We went out for opportunities we saw were available at that time, smaller projects that we went after very seriously."

Today NM Industrial Services has 40 employees. Recent projects range from lab renovations at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden to replacing high-pressure, high-temperature piping at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The company is also working on cooling towers at Denver International Airport.

In 2011 the Hispanic Contractors of Colorado presented NM Industrial Services with the Subcontractor of the Year Award. Earlier this year NM Industrial Services received a 2012 SBA Administrator’s Award for Excellence.

– Nora Caley

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