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An American Dream: Elizabeth Velez, A Trailblazer In Construction Business

Elizabeth Velez, a Latina pioneer in construction. Photo credit:

Elizabeth Velez, a Latina pioneer in construction. Photo credit:

Elizabeth Velez grew up among beams and scaffoldings. One of seven girls, as a little kid she would tag along with dad on all kinds of construction sites — the very first projects of the emporium that is now the Velez Organization, founded in 1972.
“If I stayed home, I’d have to clean up or take care of my younger sisters,” said Velez, 48. “But I really enjoyed going because it was always to different places such as schools and hospitals, community places that impact so many lives.”
Today, Velez is not only a leader in the New York City’s construction industry, but is known to be a mentor to women and minorities.
Having completed close to a billion dollars’ worth of construction, Velez says it was a proposal she wrote while she was still an undergrad at Hofstra University School of Business in the 80s, that launched her career.
The idea was to partner with Katherine S. Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit organization for the city’s business leaders, established by David Rockefeller in 1979.
“It was a new concept program to turn neighborhood builders/contractors into big developers,” she told Fox News Latino. “My proposal was picked, my father’s company was chosen for the pilot,” she recalled. “I never looked back.”
Velez was barely 20 years old.
She said this experience as a young, inexperienced entrepreneur made her value mentorship above all else and led her to become a dedicated mentor to others.
“I saw at a tender age the need for people to look out for one another. My dad instilled in me the mindset to always bring others along,” Velez said.
She also encourages women to see construction as a pathway for a career.
“I’m such a proponent of the field. It’s actually perfect for…
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