Congratulations to these top-tier members of the business community for their long-standing contributions to our islands.
In the current economic climate, companies on Guam and in the Northern Mariana Islands are proud to show their success and longevity in serving the people of our islands. Guam Business Magazine presents a handful of outstanding companies that are doing business in Micronesia celebrating important milestones in 2022. Through inspiration and dedication, each of them has managed to stay on course in a region that has seen more than its fair share of challenges for decades.
These leaders in their fields have ensured quality and reliability to consumers and businesses alike and have given back to the communities in which they do business, setting an example for others to follow. Guam Business is privileged to honor these companies’ milestones and brings readers a special Corporate Anniversaries feature with a closer look at their endeavors.
Black Construction Corporation
65 years of accomplishment and dedication
The Black companies were started in Hawaii in 1926 by Mr. E.E. Black. He was referred to by many in the industry as Johnny Black in the early days. Black Construction was eventually borne from the visions and opportunities in the Pacific post-World War II.
In late 1956, Black ventured to Guam as a member of a joint venture to construct housing at Andersen Air Force Base and eventually registered as a Guam corporation in June 1958.
A seasoned team leads Black Construction – Leonard K. Kaae, senior vice president and general manager; Mark J. Mamczarz, vice president of finance. John M. McSweeney, vice president of estimating and business development; Donald J. McCann, vice president of operations; and Dean E. Bates, vice president of engineering. The group has grown today to almost 1,200 employees, comprised of 279 staff and 912 craft employees.
Kaae says, “There are many factors that could describe the success of the Black Group of Companies, but one that truly epitomizes a resounding response is the ‘can do spirit.’ The industry in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s lacked a true subcontracting community, forcing general contractors to execute most of the scope of work required on almost every project.”
The needs were wide, he says. “This included site development, structural concrete, architectural finishes to plumbing, HVAC systems, fire protection and most electrical systems.”
The group’s insistence on rising to the challenge gave it a lead and reputation in the construction industry that continues to 2023.
“Black’s ability to execute all of these disciplines illustrate the company’s unwavering commitment to its clients over the years,” Kaae says. “The slogan ‘On Track with Black’ was coned as a result of this inherent spirit once a person becomes part of the Black Family.”
As part of that attitude from start to finish, Kaae says, “Black is committed to our clients in providing the best quality of construction in a safe productive work environment for all members of the construction team, while ensuring the project schedule is met.
Every member of the Black Family is a top priority, he says.
“Black is committed to providing its employees gainful employment in a safe working environment.”
Those aims have brought the group tangible returns employees appreciate. “Our reputation as a leader in the construction industry speaks for itself. One of the strongest assets of Black is the core value of family. Most of our employees are long-term members of the Black Family.”
The construction industry never stops development. Black Construction is at the forefront of development of a sustainable local workforce, has an ongoing commitment to training and education and is engaging in new construction technologies for Guam and the islands.
Kaae says the group’s commitment to Guam is solid and enduring. “As the largest general contractor on Guam, Black is committed to Guam’s present and future economic and strategic growth in the region. We anticipate being a part of Guam’s history over the next 65 years.”
35 years of supporting Guam businesses and the island’s workforce
When Maureen Newman first launched Guam Temps (at the time named Executive Typing & Employment Services) in 1988 it was to fill a specific need – to assist prospective employers and job seekers to find each other.
The business thrived and became a labor of love for Newman as it grew to serve a wider range of employers that includes Fortune 500 companies in Guam and diverse clients. As word spread, people looking for jobs that met their skill set also beat a path to the Guam Temps office in the East-West Center in Tamuning.
Newman says, “Our strengths are definitely our reputation and unique service. As a staffing business, there’s always a need for our services, and we are grateful not only for our clients but the job seekers we are able to assist in finding employment opportunities.”
Guam Temps offers placement of temporary, contract, temp-to-perm, and direct hire positions. Each of these services includes recruiting – with employee background and qualification checks, payroll for temporary and contract employees, required tax filings with government agencies and recordkeeping.
Service charges are on a case-by-case basis, but free to employees.
In 1991 when circumstances dictated that Newman return to the U.S. mainland – to Seattle, she was certain that the business needed to continue. And severing close ties to the island of Guam and its people was unthinkable.
“But we had great faith in our office staff,” she said. “It was a risk, and it has broken all of our expectations.”
Today, the executive management team continues with Newman as founder and vice president, Jenynne Guzman as president and general manager, and Christie Uncangco, as board secretary and recruiting account manager. Other employees round out what is a close-knit Guam team of five.
Guzman joined Guam Temps in 2015 as an executive assistant, progressing in 2016 to office manager, and to general manager in 2021. She was named president and majority owner in 2022, cementing her ties and career with the business.
She says there is no doubt the market has changed. “We are in a Worker’s Labor Market, meaning job seekers have the upper hand when it comes to where they apply their skills and abilities. Despite a large number of layoffs, we’re seeing that candidates are paring down their options and being selective,” Guzman says.
But wages and promotions are not the number one factor employees seek, she says. “They are now looking for positive working conditions, interesting work, and flexibility.”
Through that understanding of “the new normal,” Guam Temps was able to staff more than 150 contract employees for the DanDan Solar Field Project in Malojloj from 2016 to 2018 and was instrumental in operations from start to finish.
Newman visits periodically – most recently to celebrate with the team and be recognized by the Guam Chamber of Commerce for 35 years of doing business in Guam.
Both Newman and Guzman are grateful for the constant support and demand for their services that have continued for 35 years. “As a small company, providing a unique service, we are fortunate and blessed to have worked so closely with the island these many years,” they say.