Melissa Boyd merged her personal and professional desires with those of her husband, Matt Boyd, a former construction company executive in Nevada, by forming Cheney-based MB Squared General Contractor/Builder LLC three years ago.
“I always wanted to work with him because it seemed like it was the only way to see him,” says Melissa, who ran her own business as a national food broker. “We were both gone a lot.”
The Boyds say they’re happy with the decision to trade in their high-pressured lifestyles and careers in Las Vegas to run MB Squared out of their home on the outskirts of Cheney.
MB Squared is a woman-owned contracting company operated by Melissa, who is 48. Matt, 56, is the company’s operations director. She applies her past experience as a business owner—with customer service, marketing, and sales skills—to promote MB Squared. For his part, Matt oversees operational duties, some of which include managing subcontractors and scheduling, she says.
“One of the key components of being a woman-owned business is to make sure the business would go on if something happened to him,” she says. “I have experience running my own business.”
MB Squared was incorporated in 2013 and federally certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Business the same year. Melissa Boyd says the company is specifically targeting retail and industrial projects ranging in size from $2 million to $10 million.
MB Squared hasn’t performed any federal work yet, but Melissa Boyd says she looks for opportunities each day through the government-based bidding program called SAM, System for Award Management.
The U.S. government awards projects worth $30 billion a year to women-owned small businesses, says the Federal Award Management Registration department.
MB Squared is overseeing just its second project, a $3.5 million expansion and renovation of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 111 Betz Road in Cheney. Work started last October and includes constructing a 26,000-square-foot addition, which includes three stories and 46 new guest rooms. The existing 43,000-square-foot hotel, which opened in 2007, has 72 guest rooms, she says.
The Boyds are MB Squared’s only employees. The company has used 45 subcontractors at the Holiday Inn Express expansion, which they anticipate to be completed by the end of April, almost a month ahead of schedule.
Matt Boyd says he expects to come in 10 percent under budget.
MB Squared did its first project work in Western Washington shortly after forming. His former employer in Nevada hired the company to help build a portion of a transportation facility owned by the Bellevue School District as well as another building on the Skagit Valley College campus, he says.
Matt is a former vice president of Las Vegas-based Burke Construction Group Inc. and worked for that company for almost 20 years. Meanwhile, through her food brokerage business, Melissa worked with national food manufacturers selling breakfasts and meals to school districts across the country.
The Boyds moved to Spokane from Las Vegas in 2011. Their first visit to the Inland Northwest was in 2004 when former neighbors in Nevada moved to Cheney. They now have a home and property next to those same neighbors in Cheney.
“We fell in love with the Pacific Northwest immediately,” she says.
“Matt’s from northwestern Pennsylvania and I grew up in central Illinois. When we decided to move here in 2011, we knew we were coming to a place where the people are more like us. We’re outdoor people,” she says.
Their only daughter, now studying marine biology at the University of Washington, wanted to attend college on the coast.
“This has been perfect for everybody. We’re far enough away to where she has her space, and we don’t have to live in Seattle, which is basically the same pace of living we left behind in Las Vegas,” she says.
“It’s been a great lifestyle change for us,” he says. “I don’t want to say we were out of place in Las Vegas. I worked with some great people and still keep in touch with many of them.”
“But I remember sitting in board meetings where one guy would be talking about the speed of his Corvette. And then another would start talking about all the things his Maserati could do. Then I’d chime in and tell them, ‘I have a truck strong enough to rip the axles from right underneath your cars,’” he says.
“Here, we just really feel like we’re at home,” he adds.
However, Matt Boyd acknowledges they wouldn’t be where they are now without Melissa’s vision to create the company.
“He wasn’t going to leave almost two decades of work in Las Vegas without knowing how we were going to pay our bills,” Melissa says.
Her career-change pitch to Matt was to remind him continually of the things he missed doing at a professional level when he was earlier in his career.
“She sold me on the business model, and that is we’re going to be working owners. She knew I missed driving by buildings and knowing I’d put less blood, sweat and tears into them. I missed the hands-on of being at a work site and watching the project grow,” he says.
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