Submitted by LJV Development, LLC
In January of 2020, LJV Development had only been in business for less than two years when the pandemic began. The country was just weeks away from reaching maximum lockdown when founder and CEO, Liseth Velez, decided to bet on herself and quit her position as a market manager for Cincoro Tequila to follow her calling and build a successful construction company.
As the sole owner of LJV, Liseth felt ready to take on whatever challenge came her way. In the years leading up to going “all in” and founding her own company, she had been examining the marketplace and working on her strategy that would give rise to the type of successful construction company she envisioned.
Liseth believes that success happens when people put their differences aside and focus on the task at hand. She says, “It’s taken a lot of praying, patience, and dedication to be where we are today.” After years of focusing primarily on the federal market, Liseth decided to expand LJV’s services to the commercial and higher education sectors, which has proven to be the best pivot the organization has made to date.
Last year, LJV’s principal customer was The Grossman Companies, which awarded contracts to LJV ranging from simple renovations to a complete build out of Hedi’s Furniture in Wellesley, Mass. Most recently, LJV won its first higher education contract from Wellesley College to transform an ATM vestibule into an all-gender bathroom. And in spring 2022, the company will complete its first restaurant, Cilantro Kitchen, managed and led by the owners of 3 Islas Group.
In as much as the company has experienced success, Liseth and LJV have also had to work through numerous challenges stemming from COVID-19, namely having to adopt additional protocols in order to adapt its business practices to operate in a COVID compliant manner as well as find workarounds to contend with both labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. “I cannot say that the journey has been easy, but I am a firm believer that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. So I know that everything that has happened has only made us a stronger and better organization, which is something we strive for in everything we do,” Liseth says.
The LJV team as a whole understands they wouldn’t be where they are today without advocates of small businesses. The support and guidance of business accelerators are key to the company’s success because they opened avenues to resources that reach far and wide. This kind of network building is essential especially for those who have been historically marginalized and do not have access to the capital that is required to help any small businesses thrive. Liseth is intensely aware of the fact that lack of information and access to education exacerbates this issue. This has led her and the company to pledge 95% of all donations to be directed to educational purposes.
“For me it has been all about working together towards a better future, not just for ourselves but for generations to come. If I can leave things better than the way I found them, then I’ve already reached success,” she adds.