Jose Aviles: Building a dream in America

Looking back to the day some ten years ago when his job as an electrician was cut in an economic crunch, Jose Aviles says, "Maybe it was a good thing." He created his own company, Aviles Construction, and tackled entrepreneurship with the same zeal with which he had mastered a series of trades. Today the company has 15-18 employees.

Jose moved here from Puerto Rico in 1970. He decided to study electronics, working at first with a dictionary in front of him to translate every word in the tetbook. He joined electricians Local 38. "I became a journeyman, and I kept studying." Jose got a general radio-telephone license, then learned plumbing and heating.

He started his own business, working solo at first, doing complete remodeling, modernizations, and rehabs of single and double dwellings. "I think the key to my success," Jose says, "was that I had all three licenses—electrical, heating, and plumbing. I didn't have to wait for a subcontractor to be available, so I could get the jobs done a lot faster. Plus, the customers didn't have to chase down a subcontractor when they had questions— I had all the answers for them, and they loved it."

Eventually, Jose added employees and did rehabs of buildings for the Cleveland Housing Network. About three years ago, as the market shifted, he began to look for another niche; today his company does a lot of insulation.

"Sometimes I join forces with big companies, especially on electrical work, to satisy the contract's minority requirement. So far I have been working under the wing of big contractors," says Jose, who is now in the process of getting bonded. Aviles Construction has done electrical work for the state, such as the reformatories at Grafton and Mansfield, and for the City, such as the East Side Market.

Jose has two pieces of advice for minority companies which are looking for contracts, "Most importantly, be sure you have a quality product. Don't rely just on minority status. Secondly, be persistant. There are a lot of forms to fill out-it can take 12-16 hours to fill out the information for a single certificate." says Jose. "In addition, there are a lot of people to see. It's important to get to the main person offering the contract, to find out what big companies are bidding, who lets the contract out, and who is the primary contractor on the job."

Jose also points out that he estimates very carefully in order to get jobs for the lowest amount at which he can make a profit.

For the first six years, Jose's entire life was the business. "Six a.m. to midnight, including Saturdays and some Sundays." Now he works only until seven p.m. and tries to get away at least twice a year for his new passion, scuba diving.

Jose is active in the Hispanic community. He serves on the Board of th Hispanic Business Association and on the Board of the Spanish-American Committee, a social service agency which helps Hispanics get housing and jobs.

In, 1991 he was named Minority Entrepeneur of the Year by the City of Cleveland, and Aviles Construction was named Business of the Year by the Hispanic Business Association.

Jose is on a new COSE committee, the Minority Involvement Committee, which was created to help minorities start businesses, be profitable, and get recognition as businesspeople. He believes that minority owners need to be connected and involved in the community.

by Florence Mustric circa 1993

7011 Clark Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44102-5316 | (216) 939-1084

Copyright © 2011 Aviles Construction Company, Inc. All rights reserved. SITE DESIGN BY LUTJEN DESIGN LABS -