CEO of Santa Rosa's Sustainable Builders wins Latino Business Leadership Award
Jaime Delgado, CEO and co-founder of Santa Rosa-based Sustainable Living Builders is a 2021 winner of North Bay Business Journal's Latino Business Leadership Awards.
Education: Executive MBA, Sonoma State University
Tell us your story and that of your organization: I, along with my brother Juan Delgado, started Sustainable Living Builders as I was finishing my MBA from Sonoma State University.
My background is in clean energy finance and construction, I have a commitment to sustainability. I started a business where I merged my entrepreneurial drive and my passion with green energy and infrastructure.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
One of the biggest accomplishments has been to attend graduate school and use that gained knowledge to grow SLB to the point where we are now.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Initiating a business where my family has been able to participate and share prosperity.
What is your biggest challenge today?
One of the biggest challenges are the effects that COVID continues to have throughout the economy, which impacts everything from hiring, the supply chain, higher prices for materials and customer confidence in the economy.
What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?
There has been a tremendous amount of growth and diversification of Latino owned business. One of the greatest challenges is a lack of capital resources catered specifically available to this community in getting a business off the ground.
Words that best describe you: Persistent, optimistic and charismatic.
As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Startup capital for my first business. I partnered up with someone that shared my same vision and together with a few credit cards, all of our life savings and lot’s of patience we were able to grow a multi-million dollar business.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I think that there will be an increased interest in solar and sustainability, which not only increases savings to the client but is good for the environment.
Who was your most important mentor?
I lean on several individuals and past colleagues that I feel have different skill sets. These include Dave Ruchier, a former colleague; Kate Devine a former graduate degree school mate; Juan and Eloy Delgado my business partners and brothers.
Tell us about your community involvement: I am on the board of EcoRing, a local nonprofit that promotes sustainable tourism.
What advice would you give to a young person today?
Stay in school and obtain the highest degree possible, knowledge is powerful. It will help you become a better and well-rounded individual.
When tackling big tasks that seem impossible, compartmentalize and take it one step at a time, keep your head up and keep pushing forward.
It’s a challenging time for all but the COVID-19 virus has been especially tough on the Latino community. Tell us your experience either personally or with the group or company you work with in dealing with the economic impact of the virus.
We had been open for under a year when COVID-19 began in March of 2020. We shut down our business for a month until we figured out how to safely operate with the changes. We had to take $150K in debt to keep our business afloat. Like many others, a large portion of my family became ill with COVID includings siblings, parents and grandparents.
We were able to pivot our business offerings and adjust to the new working conditions and have been slowly gaining traction towards improving on ground lost. My family support system was the most important aspect of keeping the business open and we were able to pull out of it together.
What are the lessons of this difficult year – including the COVID-19 virus, the economic downturn and the fires – for you and how has it changed your outlook for the future?
One of the biggest lessons is that even when facing all of these challenges there are opportunities. Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Kate Devine, plant manager at M Plant. She is always looking at quietly helping others around her without any expectations in retur
Current reading: Masters of Greek thought: Platos, Socrates and Aristotles
Most want to meet: Socrates.
Stress relievers: Weight training and hiking.
Favorite hobbies: cycling and golfing