Patricia Bonilla was following the American dream when she started a company in her garage in 2007. The Hispanic woman-owned small business based in Palmetto Bay provides a broad range of construction management and general contracting services.
Eight years later that business, Lunacon Construction Group, has grown to the point that it now has 40 employees and has government contracts from such well-established clients as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Air Force, NASA and U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lunacon’s revenue jumped approximately 70 percent in 2015. It has done so well that American Express OPEN, the small business division of the financial services company, named it the 2015 Government Contractor of the Year.
Bonilla, Lunacon’s president and CEO, said that Lunacon was able to grow in the midst of the recession because of the opportunities that the government offered. Since then, the company has grown tremendously and expanded beyond Florida into Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Puerto Rico.
She explained how her background led her to that choice of business.
“I’m a civil engineer with a master’s in construction management,” Bonilla said. “We started in the recession and locally there was not a lot of work, so we went out to look for work with the federal government. With the government we have gone to six states and we continue to work for them year after year doing repeat work. What we do for them is basically renovation and new construction.”
Bonilla said that she is very pleased by the award and appreciates the acknowledgment of their efforts.
“The award reiterates the commitment that they have, and it’s good to be recognized,” Bonilla said. “We’ve worked very hard. American Express shows a commitment to contractors who work for the federal government. They try to open markets and train people, especially young companies.”
When asked what advice she would give to others thinking about embarking in a new business, she was clear about what’s needed.
“You have to understand the technical aspects of the business very well,” Bonilla said. “You have to understand it yourself, not rely on somebody else to do it. You have to follow your entrepreneurial desires with courage and perseverance and work really hard.”
For information on Lunacon, visit www.lunaconcorp.com. Information on the American Express OPEN for Government Contracting (OGC) Awards program can be found at www.openforum.com/governmentcontracting.