NEW YORK - Andres Velez, known to many as Andrew, came to New York from Puerto Rico at age 8. He raised his family in Brooklyn, where his daughter Elizabeth Velez was born. She said he got his break in the construction industry by joining the carpenters union.
That is where it all started for the Velez family. In 1971, Andres Velez and his wife started a construction company, Velez Organization, in their apartment.
Just like that, Elizabeth one of seven daughters, found herself going to job sites. That was in the late 1980s. She had no idea a proposal she made would launch her career in the construction world. So it began for Elizabeth: her first project affordable housing.
About 8 years ago, the woman who slowly became a trailblazer in the construction business became president of the Velez Organization, which has completed $3 billion worth of work throughout New York City.
The Velez Organization builds schools, is modernizing and expanding the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and is working on a construction project at Columbia University.
Today, Velez is not only a leader in New York City's construction industry but is known as a mentor to women and minorities.