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Sandy Young: Growing Her Business with the Port of Seattle

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Sandy Young owns the only 8(a), woman-owned civil engineering, landscape architecture, planning, and construction firm west of the Mississippi. “My late husband and I started the company in 2007. We were both in public sector jobs in Idaho. I was a land-use planner. He was a landscape architect. And we decided to do something for ourselves.”

How did you get started?

The company started as a landscape architecture firm. We called it Verdis since that means green. In the early days, the company subcontracted all its engineering jobs. Now, our headquarters is in Coeur d’Alene, and we specialize in industrial, commercial, and institutional construction.

What drew you to the Port of Seattle?

I have 20 employees, and I work in 13 states, but I like Washington. I wanted to get work with the Port. It had fascinating projects, and I knew the Port promotes small business and minority and women-owned firms (MWBEs). I wanted to know more.

Did you attend a PortGen workshop?

Yes, and everyone was energized and motivated. Workshop leaders were very encouraging. I especially liked the connection with Lawrence, Mian, and Tina. They were all so easy to talk to, approachable, and helpful. Most important, attending the workshop helped me get work. I used what I learned in the workshop to do business with the Port. I bid on a small works construction project and won the contract! Attending PortGen workshops was part of my plan to grow the company. The workshops are encouraging for someone just starting out. They can be helpful to all businesses.

You’ve finished a contract or two with the Port, what’s next?

I am continuing to work with the Port. Verdis has a Port-wide on-call project for roof repair and fall protection. We maintain the guard rails to keep anyone from falling in the water or off a roof. The work is exciting, and the projects are diverse.

What advice would you give other small businesses?

Go big or go home. You get out what you put in.

Portrait of Sandy Young, owner of Reach Verdis, while hiking.JPG

What does the future look like for Verdis?

I want to grow my business as much as possible, and I want to be of service. Who wants to do the same old thing every day? We have contracts in four national parks, and we have gained an excellent reputation for restoring historic buildings. We get to help build America.

Learn more about Verdis.

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