2020 Veteran Hero Awards
Veteran Business Owner/Entrepreneur
Organization EG Montanez Construction, Inc
I met Manny Montanez in 2018 through the US Veterans Business Alliance, where we both served on the Board of Directors. He is a decorated Vietnam Veteran, dedicated husband, father, Catholic, and veteran advocate. He most recently led the way for the County of Orange's approval of the Veteran Employment Preference Program, as well as approval of the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program. He continues to lead in mentoring veteran entrepreneurs to success. Manny Montanez, President and CEO of EG Montanez Construction, Inc., based in Trabuco Canyon, Calif., is a commercial and industrial general contractor, who focusses on delivering quality general contracting services to the federal government, military installations, universities, and public works agencies throughout California. Construction services include general contracting, HVAC, roofing, site concrete, construction management, tenant improvements, and modernization and site development. Recent projects completed by EG Montanez Construction, Inc. include laboratory renovation and flooring installation at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, student housing renovation at California State University, Northridge, and roof installation for Southern California Edison. Born in Billings, Mont., and growing up in a construction family, Montanez always dreamed of running his own construction business. But, as often is the case, life got in the way ... at least for a while. After his first year of college and at the height of the Vietnam War, Montanez enlisted in the United States Army. Graduating as Staff Sergeant from the Armor Non-Commissioned Officers Academy he received orders for Vietnam where he was a Tank Commander, Tank Section Leader assigned to Alpha Troop's 1'1 Platoon, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Montanez was severely wounded in combat operations near the Cambodian border on 8 January 1969. Montanez was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart, but it would be over a year before he could walk again. After his recovery, but still physically limited, Montanez went back to college at the University of Denver for under-graduate and Columbia for graduate school, where he studied business and finance. Montanez's career path took him into the banking/ corporate finance focused on capital equipment and business aircraft financing/leasing. He spent over twenty-one years working for MetLife Capital and its predecessor, Seattle-First National Banks, Seafirst Leasing division. But, years later, during a visit to the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., Montanez learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs was actively searching for disabled veteran owned contractors. So, in 2008, Montanez worked on his strategic business plan and launched EG Montanez Construction, Inc in April 2009. Starting a new company was difficult and there are still challenges, particularly when there is a shortage of work, but insurance, licensing, and other costs must be paid. Still, Montanez has grown EG Montanez Construction, Inc. to five employees, with an estimated annual revenue of $3-$5 million. And under Montanez's leadership, the company is very well positioned. While COVID-19 certainly affected business this year through project delays and other disruptions, the company was fortunate enough to be able to support its employees without having to take on additional debt. Montanez's success over the years has allowed him to pursue his other passions, like giving back to the community and doing volunteer work to help those less fortunate than him. He remains active and engaged with the disabled veteran community by donating his time, money, and resources to support veterans. Montanez has served on the board of the Disabled Veteran Business Alliance and was formerly the vice president of its Orange County Chapter. He is currently on the legislative committee for CalVet's Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Advisory Council, and Veteran Strong USA, www.veteranstrongusa.com with primary focus of working on veteran, especially, disabled veteran assistance in areas of housing; business; property tax legislation to California's approximately 1.8 million veterans. The organization was founded by Manny and his sister Guadalupe Barrera and is made up of volunteers, like Montanez, who help assist veterans with a variety of issues, including accessing healthcare, jobs, education, and VA benefits. Additionally, Montanez has served as a board member for the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and he has twice chaired the CHOC Walk, CHOC's largest annual fundraiser. Montanez has supported the Orangewood Children and Family Center, chairing their first ever Promise Ride to raise funds for the Orangewood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports current and former foster youth in Orange County, and, was the interim western region director and is a long time member of the Orange Coast Chapter of Legatus, an international organization of Catholic business owners, and CEO's.