November 08, 2019
Blog

Clark Salutes Veteran-Owned Small Business Partners

Small business owners Bruce Giron, Jason Parson, and Kevin Knight may be in different lines of work, and in different parts of the country, but their stories are remarkably similar. All three men forged early careers in the US military and shared a mission to protect, honor, and serve our country during their service. Now, as small business owners, they have a new mission: to run a successful business, and support the clients, and employees, who depend on their steady leadership. All three men have gone on to serve as trusted partners on some of Clark’s most distinguished projects. As part of National Veteran-Owned Small Business Week, we salute them, and our dozens of other veteran-owned small business partners nationwide, for their commitment to our country and industry.

Bruce Giron (middle) at a small business event in Northern California. 

Bruce Giron, Giron Construction

Founded as a one-man-band in 2011, Giron Construction has quickly grown to a firm of 40. Bruce Giron, the company's founder and a former US Marine Corps colonel (ret. 2005), says construction is "a bit different" than the military, but there are shared themes: construction is much bigger than any one person; and there is a great sense of accomplishment when everyone works together toward the common goal of delivering a project.

In 2017, Giron graduated from Clark's Strategic Partnership Program – an experience that, according to him, was transformative for his business. The one-on-one interaction with Clark's professionals and the training he received allowed him to modify his business practices to better align with larger construction firms. From an opportunity standpoint, things are looking up. the mid-sized, Bay Area-based building and civil construction firm has already worked on five Clark projects, including the recently-opened Chase Center.

In the future, Giron hopes to mentor small businesses the way Clark mentored him and continue to replenish the construction industry with qualified and capable contractors. "We're only here for a moment," said Giron. "We need to grow and develop others and hand the baton to the next generation."

Jason Parson, Parson + Associates

Jason Parson (middle) with the Parson + Associates team

Jason Parson has a passion for his community and country that’s hard to miss. Parson entered the Army Reserves as a pathway to pay for college, and later joined the US Air Force Reserves upon returning home from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Those opportunities proved life-altering. His experience at war demonstrated how important infrastructure is for healthy communities and solidified Parson’s desire to make an impact in his own community back home in Kansas City. Fast forward nearly 20 years and Parson is on the path to achieving that objective. In 2007, he founded Parson + Associates, a community relations firm focused on engaging and educating the community about important projects and initiatives impacting Kansas City. Over the last 12 years, Parson and his team have worked to build trust and strong relationships in the community. That effort has enabled them to play a critical role in supporting some of Kansas City’s most transformational projects, including the New Terminal at Kansas City International Airport, where as a member of the Edgemoor/Clark team, they are helping to deliver the largest single infrastructure project in Kansas City's history.

Though a busy business owner, Parson hasn’t forgotten the experience that helped set him on his current trajectory. He and his team started Project MRE to support and give back to the men and women who served our country, just as he once did. To date, they’ve provided meals to more than 1,000 veterans in and around Kansas City. “Our company culture is built around service,” said Parson. “It’s not just what we do…it’s who we are.”

Kevin Knight (middle-left) with members of the Knight Solutions team

Kevin Knight, Knight Solutions

Ever since he was a young man, Kevin Knight dreamed of serving his country. Thirty-five years ago, he imagined himself a career serviceman in the United States Army, but a sudden injury ended his military aspirations. After launching a new career in the private sector, Knight has been able to realize his dream in a different way. After attending college and earning his MBA, he landed a position at General Motors and then at Rehau, a polymer parts manufacturer. During this time, he began market research for his own endeavors.

In 2005, he took advantage of the local housing boom and founded Knight Solutions general contracting company. Despite having little construction experience, Knight saw the revenue potential in the industry. After a few years performing various home renovations in Northern Virginia, Knight Solutions turned a corner in 2008: the company received a Patriot Express Loan through the Small Business Administration; and Knight found his niche performing maintenance at national cemeteries and institutional projects.

Fast forward 11 years and today Knight Solutions has more than 50 employees working on projects across the country. Most recently, Knight and his team have begun landscaping work at Clark’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial jobsite in Washington, DC. The memorial recognizes Eisenhower’s contributions to our nation as the 34th President and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II.

“It means everything to me to be able to hire my veteran brothers and sisters across the country,” said Knight. “Furthermore, it’s a great feeling to build and maintain facilities that allow us to highlight the bravery of military men and women in uniform.”