Cadena Contracting Inc.*

City: North Little Rock
Category: Category I (1-25 Employees)
Year: 2008

Jacquelynn Cadena found herself on a slippery career slope in 1999. She was holding down a full-time office management job and working part-time to help a boyfriend's drywall crew bid and invoice jobs.

Her interest in the construction profession led her to read up on the subject and educate herself by talking with experienced people. By April 2000, Cadena had taken a second mortgage on her home, gotten her Arkansas contractor's license and incorporated for business.

"I had to quit working for someone else and do this full time," she said.

That boyfriend from 10 years ago, Leonardo Perez, is now her husband, and he continues work as a subcontractor.

Cadena Contracting expanded from installing drywall to include framing and painting. The company added commercial work to its residential business in 2001.

The firm also is a general contractor, overseeing five motel projects now under construction around central Arkansas. Revenue surpassed $10 million in 2008.

"We're looking at doubling that this year," Cadena said. "We're fortunate in that we're still busy."

Cadena especially enjoys building small, affordable houses for investors, nonprofits and families who work for the company.

The company recently finished the infrastructure on the Villages of San Luis, a 100-lot subdivision it is developing in the Morgan-Maumelle area in northwest Pulaski County.

No matter the dollar value of the job, Cadena is an active player in seeing a project through.

"I do the bidding and meet with the owner," she said. "I’m very hands-on with my business. I'm a 100 percent woman-owned [business]."

Cadena credits the success of the firm to mentors helping her along the way and a wonderful 15-member staff who perseveres through thick and thin.

Cadena Contracting was recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in 2006 and 2007 by Inc. and one of the top specialty contractors in 2008 by South Central Construction.

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