The American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona (AICCAz) recently named Patrick D. Dallas, project manager/managing member and co-founder of Red Mountain Engineering, LLC, Native American Entrepreneur of the Year for 2009.
That’s a pretty big step for a company that opened its doors in 2008.
It all started when Dallas was a high school student, just finishing his senior year. His uncle, a civil engineering designer, suggested Dallas come and visit his office. “Although I was visiting, I probably bugged my uncle with all my enquiries,” he remembered. That was when he fell in love with the art of engineering. From that day forward, Dallas’ whole career has involved engineering.
After graduating from high school, Dallas took an unpaid summer internship at his uncle’s business to get hands-on experience. “I didn’t even care that I wasn’t getting paid,” Dallas said with a laugh. “I was just there for the experience.” But the company eventually did put him on the payroll.
Dallas started working as a draftsman; at that time, he said, there was no computer-aided design (CAD). He had to draw lines, letters and everything by hand. Now, he said, “It is all computerized.”
Working for the engineering company and going to school, Dallas soon started dreaming of owning his own business. His experience and drive would eventually make that dream come true.
Today, Red Mountain Engineering, LLC is a full-service civil engineering and land surveying firm based in Tempe. Dallas received valuable assistance to form the company. Friends helped him choose and register the Limited Liability Company (LLC) structure for his business, and Community member and business owner Margaret Rodriguez assisted him with landing the firm’s first job. Dallas said, “Margaret Rodriguez with Au’ Authum Ki, Inc. and Anna Lee from Pima Awards were very supportive; they guided and mentored me.” He said they deserve credit for helping his business become what it is today: Red Mountain Engineering has bloomed from a three-man staff to 14 employees.
The company has helped to design and plan various projects, including car dealerships, apartment complexes, business parks and commercial/retail developments. The SRPMIC, Navajo Nation and Tohono O’odham Nation count Red Mountain Engineering, LLC as a preferred vendor. Dallas said, “The biggest project that I am proud to have been part of is the new spring training facility.”
Dallas said that it was when he received the call about his Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona that he truly realized his success. “It dawned on me that I made it,” he said. “I have wanted to do this ever since I was a kid. It is more exciting to go to work, because this is something I’ve always wanted to do.” Dallas hopes one day to be able to hire many qualified Native Americans to work at Red Mountain Engineering.
The AICCAz was founded in 1995 to provide a forum for American Indian entrepreneurs to promote their business, for corporations to connect with American Indian businesses, to act as a liaison on tribal economic development issues, and to offer the best in resources, training and networking for the American Indian business. For more information, visit www.aiccaz.org.