It was a love of concrete that pushed John Borges to end his climbing career with a general contractor and venture into an unfamiliar world of owning his own company. First introduced to the construction business through a temp agency, Borges recalls an immediate connection to the industry. “I started off as a laborer and it took me about eight years to go through all the ranks, including field engineering, estimating, superintendent, and project management,” says Borges. “As I was promoted, I was getting further and further away from the concrete part.” His request to head up the concrete department was denied, so he did the only logical thing one can do — he started his own company.
Coloscapes Concrete opened its doors in 2004 with $2,000 and two employees. “I think the biggest challenge for me was being naïve,” says Borges. He wanted to be more hands-on with the concrete work, but instead, found that running a business involved much more than just field work. Today, he has 45 full-time employees and the company generates $5 million in annual revenue.
Coloscapes is not the average concrete company. With a niche in concrete foundations and specialty structures, the company also offers services in design phase budgeting, selective demolition, excavation, caissons, and all aspects of formwork.
“We’ve always had a really good backlog of work,” says Borges. Coloscapes has several projects throughout the west, including an 80,000-square-foot performing arts center for the University of Wyoming and a 225,000-square-foot Cabela’s in Sidney, Neb.
Borges plans to invest in formal training — classes or hands-on — for his employees. “The industry as a whole needs to step up with that,” he says. Beyond that, Coloscapes looks to diversify by stepping outside of concrete. That’s a big leap from once only wanting to work with concrete. “The right work is better,” says Borges. “I want to create an environment where people can grow and expand, and be challenged.”