Sponsor banner

Everyday Heroes: Guiomar Obregón

Guiomar Obregón is used to being the only woman in the room. It’s a challenge she’s embraced since taking up civil engineering studies in Colombia, her home country.

But the Sandy Springs resident had a strong role model. Her mother was also a civil engineer who inspired Obregón to follow her love of math into the field and who pushed her to earn a master’s at Georgia Tech—where, in the early ‘90s, she was one of just a few women in the program.

With her mother’s encouragement, Obregón also earned a Tech MBA and a finance master’s from Georgia State, and has put her degrees to good use as the co-founder of Precision 2000, a construction company focused on governmental civil engineering projects.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Guiomar Obregón

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Guiomar Obregón

Since its inception in 1998, the firm, which she started with husband Carlos Sánchez, has grown to 80 employees overseeing infrastructure and transportation-related jobs such as roads, intersections, sidewalks and concrete paving and repairs. But Obregón still is a woman in a man’s industry.

“After so long being immersed in a male-dominated field, I’m used to it,” she said. “But it has been changing. We’re now seeing more women interested in construction and engineering, thanks to the push for diversity and inclusion.”

Obregón has been part of that push by creating opportunities to inspire women and minorities to enter the industry. In the last year, she has spoken to Latino students in area high schools who are interested in construction careers and invited several into the company’s apprenticeship program. In 2017, she created the Precision 2000 Fellowship to provide financial support to Colombian engineers who want to pursue a master’s at Tech. Sixteen years ago, she developed a mentorship program for civil engineering students from the Colombian School of Engineering, where she and her husband earned undergrad degrees. To date, the program has helped more than 30 engineers and has expanded to the National University of Colombia in Bogota.

This year, Obregón launched a scholarship program at Tech for Hispanics or women “to create more civil engineers who look like me,” she said. In April, the school named a classroom after her company.

In 2012, she co-founded the Georgia Hispanic Construction Association to promote mentorship, support and advocacy. Today, the organization has about 300 members across the metro area.

“When I came to the U.S., I didn’t have a network or a mentor who said, ‘This is how to do this’ or ‘try that,’” she said. “We went through creating the business without that network, and the best way to help others is to provide a place to find answers. That’s been my way of helping others. It’s been so rewarding to see the companies that have been created that can now partner with us in joint ventures. It’s exciting to see the growth in the community.”

Obregón’s efforts were lauded in 2017 by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Association that presented her with its Inspiration Award. The honors have bolstered her belief in the value of a strong support network outside of work as well.

“Juggling family and having a business has been a challenge, as it is for any professional woman,” she said. “I have had a lot of support from my husband, my mom and my brothers as well. Having a network of support can help you get through everything.”

HOW TO HELP

For more information on Precision 2000, visit https://precision2k.com/home/.

To learn more about the Precision 2000 Inc Fellowship at Georgia Tech, visit https://precision2k.com/our-company/social-responsibility/fellowship-program/.


WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER: A SPECIAL PROJECT

This place we call home is filled with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Their selfless acts make this region so special – and they bring out the best in all of us. With the holidays upon us, we wanted to share their inspiring stories, celebrate their accomplishments, and offer ways that you can help.

Just as the 55 people we’re profiling can’t do it alone, nor can we. That’s why we worked closely with our partners to bring you this collection of uplifting stories.

We hope they leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the busy new year that lies ahead. We hope they make you feel more connected to your community or to your neighbors.

And maybe, just maybe, they will motivate you to come up with your own small way to make a big difference in the lives of others.

About the Author