June 30, 2021

Small Business Spotlight on Anco Iron & Construction’s Nick Colina

Small businesses are critical to our industry and in the delivery of our projects nationwide. In honor of Pride Month, Clark is spotlighting one of our project partners who, through their work and leadership, is helping shape the built landscape and the success of our company and industry.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

My name is Nick Colina and I currently serve as the administrator of operations for Anco Iron & Construction Inc. In this role, I help oversee the company’s day-to-day operations.

Tell us a little bit about your company.

Founded in 1969, Anco Iron & Construction is a third-generation minority steel supplier that fabricates and installs structural steel and miscellaneous metals on projects throughout the Bay Area. 

Throughout our history, we have worked on some of the city’s most notable structures including the San Francisco War Memorial, Candlestick Park, the Ferry Building, and Chase Center.

The company was established by my grandfather William and his brother Tony who left their hometown of Veracruz, Mexico, and moved to San Francisco in the 1950s, armed with construction skills and a dream. After building a hand-rail for a neighbor, word spread that they did good work. After many small jobs in residential homes, Anco grew and moved into commercial construction as well.

In the 1990s, my father Hector joined the company. Today, Anco is owned by my father and run by him, me, and my two sisters, Jenifer and Dani.

When did you first start at the company?

Growing up, I always kept an open mind about my career path but knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could celebrate my entrepreneurial spirit.

In the 1990s, after my grandfather and great uncle had retired, my father was left carrying Anco alone. On top of this, the company was weathering diminishing sales and weathering the effects of the Great Recession. 

My two sisters and I decided to join the company to help my father create what we have today. We were determined to put our collective skills together to make it through the rough times and continue our family legacy.

What did you do to revitalize the company?

We just stuck to our core values. We have an unofficial motto of “work hard and be good to people along the way.”

We also focused on diversifying our pipeline, expanding our marketing efforts, and taking advantage of small business training programs, including Clark’s Strategic Partnership Program.

The turning point for us was winning a contract to supply steel and perform structural beam fabrication on the Chase Center project. We needed a good job with a good client to help us get out of the recession, and the Chase Center project did just that.

Anco currently manages anywhere from 20 to 50 projects per year. Since 2013, our annual sales have jumped from $250,000 in 2013 to $4.5 million in 2020.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

For me, building up the people and businesses in the San Francisco community is just as important as building the physical buildings in the Bay Area.

I currently serve on the board of directors for the National Association of Minority Contractors Northern California Chapter (NAMC), a nonprofit organization that helps minority contractors win contracts and grow their businesses, and am one of the Board of Directors for the new San Francisco Latino & Black Builders Association.

I am also a founding member of BuildOUT California, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group that I helped form to strengthen the construction industry through diversity and inclusion.

In the spirit of Pride Month, we are highlighting the LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in our community. What are the unique opportunities and challenges that have been presented to you in the LGBTQ+ business community?  

Contractors are often reluctant to step out. Part of the mission of BuildOUT California is to show the business case for why it is good to step forward and self-identify, and the value of having a diverse project team.

It’s extremely important for me to be visible within the construction industry so that individuals who are part of the LGBTQ+ community feel empowered and know they can be successful.

What excites you about the future?

I am excited to continue to grow Anco, strengthen the small business community through advocacy, and help inspire the next generation of LGBTQ+ professionals in construction.