The Entrepreneur from Buenaventura
- Written by Jose Sueiro
Humberto Garces was sitting in a restaurant in Colombia with his father, Humberto Garces Angulo, a prominent union leader at the port of Buenaventura, when a series of shots rang out. His father was shot four times, one bullet piercing his heart, killing him instantaneously. Humberto was shot five times, leaving him immobilized and in convalescence for over a year before he could walk and become active again. During that time he was moved from town to town by family and friends fearing for his life.
Humberto was saved by human rights organizations in this country from a certain death. He spent time here after his convalescence. In 2011, with very few resources, he incorporated a construction company titled; Green Construction Services Group, based in Washington DC. Nevertheless, concerned for his mother, he would return to Colombia. During the next 5 years in Colombia he was prohibited from leaving the country, had his identity stolen and ended up spending time in jail. He would return again to the United States less than 4 years ago to build one of the most promising, young, Latino owned construction firms in the District of Columbia.
Since taking back the reins of his company again in 2017, Green has tripled its yearly revenues. Currently DC's Green Construction provides high & low voltage electrical services, installation and upkeep of HVAC and fire alarm systems, outdoor lighting, cabling and underground pipe fitting along with general services as a full contractor. The company currently has contracts with the Dept. of General Services, Dept. of Energy, Keystone Plus Construction and GALA Theatre, where they are repairing walls and installing doors, etc. in the historic Tivoli building. Recently Humberto was invited to a zoom call with PEPCO and a follow up conference with Dynamic Concepts Inc. bidding for work on installation of the 5G cable network in DC and Maryland.
Throughout these difficult times, DC Green has kept their staff and crew safe, completed 3 projects and successfully bid on almost two million dollars of new tasks from the District's Dept. of General Services. Their specialized expertise in technical, high power electrical projects has led them to be considered for more complex tasks in mega-projects such as the 5G cabling network currently being installed throughout the region.
It has been an extraordinary journey for the youthful Colombian. He has overcome daunting obstacles not only in his personal life, but on his journey to become a successful construction company owner here. As an Afro-Latino from the most diverse region of Colombia, he has faced prejudice and disdain for his talents and prevailed, mightily.
Our organization, Metro DC Hispanic Contractors Association, just recently nominated Mr. Garces for our Board of Directors. Humberto has an easy going, modest nature which suits him well when networking and building teams. He listens carefully and measures his remarks before speaking. He is always grateful for those who assist him and speaks highly and with great affection about all those who stood by him and allowed him to survive his ordeal and those who are now helping him thrive and be successful.
As a powerful union leader in Colombia's most important port, Humberto Garces learned two important things from his father; the importance of treating those around him with respect and defending the right of workers to earn a decent living and the grave, life threatening burdens of taking on a leadership position in a country where the impunity of corruption can oppress and ultimately ruin anyone who works for the collective good. Humberto continues to care and protect his people and do the best possible job for his clients. He is an outstanding example for our small business community.