EPIC Awards Finalists – Minority-Owned Business of the Year


    Alternative Mechanical gives back to community

    After working together in the field for more than 25 years, six years ago Dick Ortega and Kevin Fahl started an industrial and commercial plumbing and mechanical company called Alternative Mechanical.

    Despite the struggling economy, the company continues to successfully bid on jobs while offering its 35 employees competitive wages and benefits.

    “The bidding is so tough right now that you have all you can do just to get a job,” said Ortega.

    Alternative Mechanical trains its employees on newer technologies and equipment that help keep the company competitive.

    Alternative Mechanical has completed projects in sectors such as educational and medical facilities, including the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion, as well as churches, factories, universities and colleges.

    The company, located at 1200 Jefferson Ave. SE, gives back to the community by inviting its neighbors in the inner city to cook outs that it hosts.

    “We invite the police department and the fire department to bring out their vehicles and S.W.A.T. teams and mingle with the neighbors,” said Ortega. “We’ve had hundreds of people and some have made the comment that this is some of the only food these kids have eaten all day.

    “It’s a great community event to put the fire department and police together with the neighborhood.”

    Genautis grows quickly with Management Business Solutions

    In 2008/2009, Management Business Solutions saw a 10 percent increase in sales despite the decreasing economy.

    Growth is nothing new for the professional staffing company founded by Floriza Genautis; it has been growing since its doors opened in 2006.

    “For a down economy and being in staffing, we were able to increase our sales last year,” she said. “As a startup company going into our fourth year, we’ve now posted a 50 percent increase compared to what we had last year. We’re really excited.”

    The company is the only 8(a) certified staffing firm in Grand Rapids, which allows it to work with federal contracts, but the real competitive edge that it has is its ability to motivate team members. Each employee is trained and mentored, and enters the five-year ownership track to become partial owner of the company. Management Business Solutions currently has two employees on the ownership track, one of whom started out as an intern.

    “Every single person we hire is on the ownership track. We don’t hire employees. We hire future owners,” said Genautis. “We don’t ask for financial contributions; we ask for sweat equity. We like to make sure that everyone is in a position to be owners.”

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