Introducing our new webinar series: Insights from Entrepreneurs!
This 30-minute free session features successful business owners. Every third Wednesday of the month, the SBDC clients share their expertise and insights with other small business owners.
If you miss a session, head to our YouTube channel to watch the recording!
Register today and find out what successful entrepreneurs have to say!
Wednesday, August 18, 2022
Theresa Ortiz-Palsa, Principal Founder, 2b-n Contracting
My professional career has been centered in Commercial Manufacturing, Design, Production, and Construction with 20+ years in the industry wearing the hats of Drafter/Detailer, Purchasing Agent, Engineering Manager, Manager of Product Development, and Project Manager. I received an Associate of Science in Architectural CADD and a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, while also studying Engineering and Art. My career led me on ventures in supplying finished materials to lots of airports, hospitals, transit stations, universities, and more as an “office” person.
I’ve always had a hands-on approval to learning as well. I wanted to know “why” things were done for a reason. I wanted to learn how to do the task at hand myself since I’ve always learned better by doing/touching and seeing things. After learning to weld and fabricate in 2003, I made one-of-a-kind artwork and contracted my design services to local businesses when not working my 9-5 job. At first, welding was a hobby for me but soon turned into a passion and in turn, kind of an obsession. Welding stainless steel and copper became some of my favorite mediums to fabricate unique pieces. After meeting my to-be husband in 2007, we kind of melted together since he was a fabricator. Sparks flew and are still flying as we have grown our marriage, family, and business. From dumpster driving to get scrap metal that turned into pieces of art, to pushing baby strollers, to traveling internationally to meet the in-laws, our marriage has grown into our new business where we can not only professionally help others, but we can also manage our company and one-of-a-kind custom projects while raising our sons, and making really cool stuff along the way.
In 2021, I decided that I had enough of working 80+ hours a week for corporations as a project manager. My mental and physical health was suffering; my marriage was a struggle, and my children would cry to me and ask why mommy was always so stressed out and not there for them. I had been doing “side work” for so many years that I told my husband, I think I can make a business for our family and not have to work for anyone. I told him that I needed to at least try and if I failed, I’d go back to corporate doing what I’ve always done. I left my high-paying, secure job, and went to work.
In March of 2021, I took a part-time sales job on the weekends and built up my business during the week. I muddled through websites on how to start a business, and what was required and just kept going. I cashed out my small retirement fund of three thousand dollars and said that will get things going and give me some of the startup costs needed. I would clean friends’ houses and strangers’ toilets so I could pay for my business licenses and tools to do our projects. I worked 7 days a week to make things move from ground zero. Little by little, project by project, my husband and I were making it. We’d take on jobs where we didn’t know what we were fully done, but we’d watch lots of YouTube videos and figure it out. Our attention to detail and communication skills made us successful. We would receive referral after referral. Our business went from “I think we can do it” to “oh wow, we are making it”!
My career as a woman in construction has not been easy, but it has been rewarding and unique! I’ve had to work twice as hard to prove to the boy’s club that I can do the job just as well, if not better. I have been told ‘you better hurry back from having your baby in order to not lose your job here’ to ‘wow, I didn’t think ‘you’ would show up to field measure’. My career has been a lot of ups and downs; however, my determination and strengths have made me a better professional, entrepreneur, wife, mom, and friend. My successful and stressful career in construction has shaped me to know I wanted better for my two sons, and for myself!
Watch Episode 2 here.