Liseth Velez: Woman and Military Veteran CEO Talks About Her First Win and the Future!
In the new episode of Making a Giant, Liseth J. Velez talks about her first win and the future of her company in the government marketplace!
Liseth J. Velez came from Columbia to the United States when she was seven years old.
Growing up, she knew that she wanted to be in the military, so she joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in high school.
She then started her career in the United States (US) Army as a truck driver and then transitioned as an HVAC Technician in the U.S. Air Force.
Then, while still working in a liquor distributor company, she founded L.J.V. Development, a general contracting and construction management company providing construction services solutions company to state, federal, medical, and commercial markets.
After forming her company, Velez immediately started winning small projects in the private sector, as well as in the government marketplace.
“I had already invested all this because I literally, with LJV, it’s not just a company, it’s trying to build a culture, it’s trying to build a vision…. We’re really trying to just do things above and beyond.”
LEARNING ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT MARKETPLACE
Before quitting her job at a liquor distributor company, Velez was already working with L.J.V. Development in 2018.
“Again, I was finding as much information as I could and just… like talking to everybody and understanding, like everybody’s perspective because a lot of us immigrants, we don’t know if anything we’ve got to take care of our parents, so you have to just make, with what you have.”
She was already learning about the whole SBA process and was already getting certifications.
Then, she also started watching govcon videos on Youtube. That’s where she stumbled upon our GovCon Giants videos and decided to do the free and the premium course.
Meanwhile, she decided to leave corporate America and focus on her business. She started taking the 7(j) Program once it was opened for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
“There gets to a point, and you’re gonna know what point, like you’re gonna feel it because your workload is just too much and you just can’t wear things anymore. We’re gonna have to just do it. Just jump.”
WINNING HER FIRST CONTRACT
After sending several sources sought responses and making her capability statement better, Velez ran into a fencing job worth $25,000 from the Corps of Engineers.
She then went to LinkedIn to look for companies providing the same services and compared the estimates of different companies.
Afterwards, she put the quote together and on May 7, 2020, she won the contract.
When LJV Development already executed the fencing job, Velez made sure that everything was ready. She has a safety director who was an ISO 9000 auditor, as well as other experts who could help her in managing her business.
Although they made a little mistake, they were still able to solve the problem and ended the job within the specific time frame.
“When you do your homework and when you’re ready, then you’re ready…. One of the things that I’ve seen in so many companies, I’m not gonna say which ones, but you got to be proactive in life. You have to stay ready.”
Currently, LJV Development is in the process of negotiating a small project with the Veteran Affairs. They are also doing a state job in Connecticut and some private stuff.
Velez is also continuously learning and is also renewing herself in learning more how she could grow her business while taking advantage of different government programs for small businesses.
ADVICE FOR OTHER BUSINESSES
1. Agencies want companies they can trust.
Same as hiring employees and experts who are willing to do their job, the government also wants companies that can provide the best products or services for the contract.
“Agencies are looking for people they can trust and that are willing to, that are gonna do what they say they’re gonna do.”
2. Building a business takes a lot of risks.
As a business owner, you need to learn how to navigate the marketplace. You have to advocate for yourself while understanding the rules that govern you and other decision-makers.
With this, you need to look at your life and your situation. See if it makes sense.
Most importantly, understand that building a business takes time and a lot of risks. Are you willing to go through all of these?
“Have an open mind, and see what you have and what you want, and then go from there.”
3. Learn from your experiences.
Not all opportunities equate huge returns. However, it does provide experiences that you can use towards your next opportunity.
“Let’s diagnose the situation, and then go from there, and see how we can do it better.”
If you want to learn more how Liseth J. Velez won her first contract, then be sure to click the resources below.
You can also visit the GovCon Giant website or the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!
Woman/ Veteran/ Ceo Talks about her First Win and the Future!