Charles Olivo started Stonefield Engineering and Design at the age of 29 from the basement of his home, in January of 2010. At the time, he and his wife had two daughters under the age of five and a son on the way.
Today, he was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2016 New Jersey Small Business Person of the Year. “National Small Business Week (May 1-7) gives us the stage to recognize the outstanding achievements of small business owners like Charles Olivo,”said SBA’s New Jersey District Director Al Titone. “Six years ago it started with an idea in the basement of his home; today he is leading a team of 40 professional engineers and planners that generate in excess of $4 million in annual sales.”
According to Titone, Olivo was nominated for the award by JPMorgan Chase Bank and was selected for the award based on criteria that include: Staying Power (a substantial history of an established business); Growth in Number of Employees; Increase in Sales; Financial Strength of the Company; Innovativeness of Product or Service Offered; Response to Adversity and Contributions to Aid Community Oriented Projects.
“When I started the company, I envisioned an engineering and design firm that would empower and create young engineers and designers who had a strong sense of community,” said Olivo.
In order to keep up with the company’s rapid growth, Olivo turned to the SBA and JPMorgan Chase Bank New Jersey Business Banking office in 2015. Through both the SBA’s 7(a) Guarantee and 504 programs and the professional guidance of the New Jersey Business Banking team, Charles was able to purchase and renovate two historic buildings that became available in his hometown of Rutherford. The buildings were restored to their original architectural form and features. Both spaces were ideal for the company’s current needs and future expansion.
In addition to those projects, Olivo is currently working with Gregory Mader, VP-Business Relationship Manager and Jose Colon, VP-Specialty Finance Officer of the JPMChase Bank New Jersey Business Banking team on a second SBA 504 loan for the acquisition and renovation of a third building.
Today the company provides its customers with engineering and design services that include site/civil, traffic signal design, traffic impact study, expert testimony, roadway improvement construction plans, GIS mapping, and land use/urban planning.
“Much of our work is part of private and public sector land development projects,” said Olivo. “Projects can range from a single-family home to a large-scale mixed use project that requires the attention of skilled engineers and designers.”
“Over the years, the profile for a small business owner hasn’t really changed all that much,” said Titone. “I think you will find that small business owners like Charles Olivo are passionate about what they do; willing to take a risk; have the ability to be innovative; are a bit freewheeling; yet under control; all the ingredients that I feel are necessary to achieve a high level of growth and success.”
According to Olivo, the average age of the company’s employees is 26-27 years old, compared to the industry standard that is considerably older. “I like to say that we are a forward-thinking, progressive and an aggressive company,” said Olivo. “We continue to push back against the norms of engineering and design.”
Olivo is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and believes in giving back to his community. The company works with local soup kitchens and shelters, and continues to sponsor many local sports teams.
According to Titone, Olivo competed for the National Small Business Person of the Year Award. He was honored and recognized at a Washington, D.C. ceremony early this morning where SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced that Brooke McDonnell and Helen Russell of Equator Coffee and Teas, San Rafael, CA were SBA’s 2016 National Small Business Persons of the Year.
On Tuesday evening he will also be honored at a Small Business Week reception hosted by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey at the Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen.Related Articles: