The founders of a San Luis Obispo construction firm are the best small business leaders in California, according to the Small Business Administration.
The federal agency recognized Jared Malapit, Erik Wright and Karl Vaillancourt, principals at Precision Construction Services in San Luis Obispo, as part of its celebration of National Small Business Week, which begins April 30 and ends May 6.
Award categories focus on contributions to the community, exporting, investment companies and people within small businesses, according to a news release from Small Business Administration.
“Our 2023 State Small Business Persons of the Year have given their all to achieve their American dream — to own and build a strong, resilient business; create jobs; increase competition and innovation and power America’s historic economic recovery,” SBA Head Administrator Isabella Guzman announced in the release.
It’s the first time a business from the Fresno District has won the best in state title in 40 years, according to Michalene Busico, marketing manager for Precision Construction.
Precision Construction, which was founded in 2013, has been involved in a number of projects spanning the country, from California to Pennsylvania.
Wright, Malapit and Vaillancourt will receive the state award May 1 in Washington, D.C. The Small Business Administration’s national best small business award will also be announced at the ceremony.
SLO-based construction firm helped build SpaceX projects
Wright said he and his partners, who met while rock climbing, created Precision Construction in 2013 because they all felt the construction industry was not going in a direction they wanted.
“We all had a similar gripe, if you will, with the industry that we were not seeing a progressive mentality that was working towards solving a lot of these issues that construction has.” Wright said.
Precision Construction started as a consulting company, working with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and real estate companies to start projects.
Then, in 2016, Precision Construction helped build a rocket landing facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base for SpaceX.
The San Luis Obispo company then helped SpaceX build a hyperloop, an airless tube in which pods can travel at roughly the speed of sound, Wright said in a presentation five years ago.
“We never found the silver bullets, a magic piece of technology from another industry,” Wright said. “We just found a clever way to say, ‘Hey, we can we can make this happen through XYZ.’ ”
What’s up next for Precision Construction?
The Small Business Administration award isn’t the first time Precision Construction has been recognized for its contributions.
The business was ranked No. 266 in Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing businesses in the United States, boasting a three-year growth of 2,027%.
Precision Construction was also given the Spirit of Small Business Award by the Small Business Administration and Pacific Coast Times in 2022.
According to Wright, the company has plans to expand revenue on the Central Coast and hire more diverse employees in the near future.
It currently has about 50 employees, and there are no plans to move out of San Luis Obispo, Wright said.
Later this year, Precision will be featured in an episode of the PBS show “Viewpoint,” to talk about modern construction, according to Busico.
Meanwhile, Wright said the company is keeping its eyes on the future and how best to keep moving forward.
“We’re gonna keep growing and improving and every day we’re getting better,” Wright said. “This (award) is just for what we’ve already accomplished, but that doesn’t have anything to do with what we still need to, what we still want to do, in front of us.”
Associated tales from San Luis Obispo Tribune
Elizabeth Wilson is a journalism sophomore at Cal Poly. At The Tribune, she covers breaking information and common task.