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From Ednium: Bringing success back to Westwood, my community

Editor’s note: his is the latest installment of monthly contributions to Boardhawk from Ednium: The Alumni Collective.

Growing up in southwest Denver, I spent a lot of time outside, and my friends and I were motivated by the things we wanted to buy; first a soda at Kentucky Market then a bike, and found ways to pay for those things, like mowing lawns or picking up cans.

Little did I know that entrepreneurial spirit is what would bring me back to supporting my childhood community. I was honored to receive The Founder Award from Ednium last December celebrating the entrepreneur of the year.

I’m the owner of a stucco and masonry business here in Denver. It fills my heart with pride to see how far we have come in building a business that not only expands opportunities but also stays firmly connected to our beloved Denver roots, especially where I grew up in Westwood.

When I was young, it was the lowest ranked neighborhood in Denver for household income, home values, and the lowest funded for education.

When I left for college, I knew I wanted to do something to help my community and ensure that money stayed in the neighborhood. But what I thought would be a law degree, turned into me running the stucco business with my dad. It made sense because when I was in middle school at Kepner or at CEC Early College for high school, I took classes where I worked with my hands which gave me the skills to be confident in my abilities.

Those classes made it easier for me later when I worked with my dad in construction because I already had the skills to do and sell the work.

I’m a first-generation student in every way and something all first-generation students share is the promise we make to our parents to “be better” economically, emotionally, financially. One of the things that drives me every day is keeping that promise.

When I embarked on this journey, my vision was simple yet powerful: to lead my business to not only thrive but to also uplift the community we serve. Denver has given us so much and it deserved a business that would return its generosity by creating opportunities for the people it has shaped.

From the very beginning, we recognized the importance of maintaining a strong connection to our Denver roots. It’s what shaped my values; it’s what made me strong.  It is in this vibrant city that our dreams took shape, and it is here that we found the support and inspiration to turn those dreams into reality.

We owe our success to the community that embraced us and believed in our mission. Our commitment to expanding opportunities for anybody who seeks to grow and succeed has been the driving force behind everything we do.

We believe that every individual should have access to a respected job and a fighting chance to achieve the American dream.

Through our business, we have strived to create pathways to success, providing mentorship, training, and resources to those who seek it and want to grow. But none of this would have been possible without my family who have always allowed me to grow and flourish. In addition, the dedication and passion of every team member at our business has been instrumental in achieving our overall goals.

Together, we have overcome challenges, celebrated milestones, and made a lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals. As we move forward, we remain committed to our roots, and we will continue to listen to the needs of our community and adapt our efforts to address the ever-evolving challenges we face. True success is not measured by financial gains alone but by the positive change we bring to the lives of others.

I hire within my community as much as possible to help it grow. In fact, 75 percent of my current employees live 300 yards away from the home I grew up in.

A new hire in my business with no skill should expect to grow and develop skills quickly. It will mean long days as they develop the skills to work in this industry, but soon after they can expect a pay raise, a bonus and their first set of journeyman tools.

I impress our company values of excellence, safety, and cleanliness onto all of our employees, which has helped a lot of my employees become colleagues as they venture off to start their own businesses.

Southwest Denver and Westwood are also facing gentrification and rapid development, but when people move here, they aren’t sending their kids to our schools or supporting our local businesses. I want to change that. My goal is to have southwest Denver ranked first in home values, household income and school funding and ensure those living there are contributing to the neighborhood.

I am immensely grateful for this recognition from Ednium, and I hope my hard work and commitment serves as a reminder to all young people that you already have everything you need to be successful and that supporting your community ensures everyone succeeds.