Gerber Ortiz ’17

1. What was your major/minor and when did you graduate?

I graduated in 2017 with a degree in Business Administration.

2. What is your current position (title, company, location)?  Can you describe a typical day?

Currently I am the CEO and founder of GO Masonry. We are located in Northern Virginia and we operate in both DC and Virginia. My company designs and installs outdoor spaces. On a typical day, I supervise my 20 employees at job sites and then go to quotes. Currently, we provide services for artificial grass, patios, driveways, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor lighting, 3D renderings, retaining walls, permeable applications, and etc.

3. How did your major prepare you for your current job?

My major provided me with a business background to form my business. I started GO Masonry during my sophomore year of college. I would drive back to Northern Virginia every single weekend to look at quotes and provide a schedule for my guys during the week. As a college student, I wasn’t paying rent or utilities, so I was able to minimize my risk while being a full time student. Our IG is @GOMasonry

4. How did you become interested in your field?

When I was a kid, my father used to take me to work to teach me the trade. I always had the idea of starting my own business, but I never had the confidence to start one. When I was a freshman, my grades were terrible and I lost my financial aid. For my sophomore year, I needed to come up with $15,000 to pay off my semester to continue in school, instead of losing hope, I worked hard and landed enough projects to pay off my tuition. From then on, GO Masonry was born.

Now my goal is to turn GO Masonry into a multi-million dollar business and then start my second business in 2021.

5. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

When I graduated UMW and dedicated my full attention to GO Masonry, I received two career advice and those were to never give up prematurely when a hard situation arises, and to also remember that wealth takes time to create. The faster you create a business, the higher risk you run into not being able to scale the business properly.

6. Was there a professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you or helped you when you were at UMW?

Yes of course. I had three professors who had an impact with my time at UMW. Professor Majid, Professor Oxford, and Professor Hubbard had positive impacts in my life while I attended UMW. I was able to receive feedback for my business ideas before implementing them in my business.

7. What’s your fondest memory of UMW?

Playing Call of Duty with my friends during the weekend nights after coming back from landing projects in nova was fun.

8. Are there any special accomplishments you’ve achieved after college that you’d like to share?

At age 24,  my company GO Masonry made over $1 million dollars in sales, I sold and managed every single project that year. At age 25, we will do over $1.2 million in sales. We are scaling to do over $2 million in sales in 2021. I have also gained valuable connections in my network.

I also grew GO Masonry from having three employees into having twenty employees. We were also offered the opportunity to work at the White house, but we were too overbooked to accept it. On a personal level, I now own my own house and have my dream dog, a Doberman puppy!

9. How would your family or friends describe you in seven words or less?

Crazy ambitious, thoughtful, born leader, and considerate.

10. In one sentence, what advice would you give current business students? 

Have fun now, but always focus on your end goal and constantly remind yourself what steps you need to reach that end goal. Confidence can take you a long way, but in order to be confident, you need to work hard and learn as much as possible in your trade.