The Small Business Administration San Diego District Office presented its 2023 Small Business Week Awards winners on May 9. Based in National City, Amerivet Contracting earned the Small Business Persons of the Year. Marine veteran Drew Simpson entered the construction industry as a foreman, operator, and manager before founding Amerivet in 2017. Simpson, president, and his partners Keith Arnold, vice president, and Ryan Tisinger, director of Business Development operate Amerivet, an all-inclusive commercial and industrial construction firm that became fully operational in October 2019. It now has 88 employees and has increased the company’s revenues by 4,000%, anticipating doubling again in the next two years.
The Amerivet team received guidance and assistance from various SBA programs and resource partners to help them start and grow, such as SBA’s Boots to Business Reboot, Monterey PTAC, California SBDCs, including the North San Diego SBDC, and most recently they received an SBA 7A Loan to purchase Amerivet’s main office, in National City. Additional California offices are in Ridgecrest, and Yreka, and their California storage yards are in Bakersfield, Riverside, Paso Robles, and Lindsay.
As Amerivet Contracting continues to grow, Simpson is dedicated to giving back to the community in several ways. As a veteran, he is focused on hiring other veterans as they transition to the private sector by offering training and professional development. The company also contributes to a variety of causes such as Toys for Tots, Christmas Meals for veterans, sponsors sports teams, and school events, as well as donating time and equipment for disaster recovery situations, and more.
Ryan Tisinger said Amerivet holds certifications as a disabled veteran, a business enterprise in California, a minority business enterprise, and a disadvantaged business enterprise.
“The Small Business Development Center, and Cheryl Brown and her team, we have worked with them for about three years,” he said. “They helped us get those certifications and understand what those certifications can be used for. How to market our company to our target customers which are large construction prime contractors, state and federal government, and local municipalities.”
Tisinger said the company has had much success since implementing its new business model in 2019, when they met with the SBDC.
“During that time, we grew from the three of us and one employee to now, this month 88 employees,” he said.
Tisinger said what makes Amerivet unique is that it performs many different functions.
Site preparation and construction support services, mobile disaster support services, basecamps and basecamp support, distribution sales of construction materials and aggregate, equipment rental, heavy equipment operators, demolition and degrading, temporary and permanent fending, portable toilets, restroom and shower trailers, septic pumping, Super 10’s and high side trucking, water trucks, street sweeping, shuttle buses, event trailers, electric UTV sales and rentals, light towers, generators, message board, forklifts and reach forks, event and disaster tents, temporary staffing, streamlined procurement services, and more.
“Another division of our company is Disaster & Response,” he said. “We do a lot of base camps, evacuation sites. We own enough equipment to set up a small city for a temporary period of time.”
Tisinger said with Simpson being a veteran, one of the first employees they hired was a former Marine who served with Simpson.
“Probably the first five to ten hires we made were all veterans,” he said. “That has truly been the core to our success of the company. I would estimate that we have around 20 veterans that work for us, many with a disability rating. It is just a very solid group of individuals that have a really strong work ethic, and that has propelled much of our success.”
Tisinger said Amerivet wants to be extremely good community partners.
“On the disaster emergency side, we have donated trailers to Team Rubicon for some of their operations, a very good veteran organization that helps out with disaster and emergency relief all over the world,” he said. “Every year we donate to Toys for Tots based out of our office in Yreka, Calif. We also provide Christmas meals for homeless veterans. Here locally we sponsor many sports teams, school events, many monetary donations, scholarship money. This past Thanksgiving, we provided 56 passenger buses to take 200 Marines to Thanksgiving dinner. These were all brand-new Marines who were spending their first Thanksgiving away from home. Anything we can help with, we definitely try to. Our motto is essentially, ‘The answer is always yes.’ We want to help facilitate some sort of value wherever we can.”
Tisinger said this company is successful due to a few entities in San Diego.
“It is obviously a great place to live, and it is also a great place to own a business,” he said. “There are many entrepreneurs, there are incredible people, networks, and resources for business owners to tap into. I am always surprised at how many people do not know about the SBDC, the Small Business Administration, the different programs the SBA has, to provide assistance to really steer you in the right direction for business development. I encourage everybody to go meet with the SBDC, meet with a local SBA representative and find out what those resources are. There is the Permanent Technical Assistance Center, which is super helpful. The SBA has, particularly for veterans, its Boots to Business program provides educational content and direction for opportunities for veterans to own a business, launch a business, and why that is important.”
Tisinger said one company in particular, Turner Construction, has helped Amerivet tremendously locally.
“They host a program for small businesses, the Turner School for Business Management. A sixteen-week course targeted for disabled veteran business owners, women owned businesses, disadvantaged businesses.” he said. “They teach you how to be an ideal subcontractor to large construction primes. That program is unique and incredibly valuable. Following that we did the Mentor Protégé program for a year with Turner, which really helped us dial in our safety program. When you have somebody like Turner who just opens their door to provide you with mentorship, it proved invaluable for us, and that just does not exist in many other places.”
Tisinger said Amerivet just landed a project with the Padres, replacing 27,000 seats at Petco Park.
“The Padres were very excited to learn about our company. That we are veteran owned and employ many veterans,” he said. “That is the other thing about San Diego, being so veteran friendly, surrounded by military, military families, and military communities. So, there are many organizations that want to help veteran owned businesses.”