Dolores Guerrero-Davis speaks on her journey to owning and being the president of her family’s company.
By Claire Misfeldt, Photos by Jinni J
CG&S has seen four iterations of leadership, but none quite like Dolores Guerrero-Davis. The construction company’s name reflects the original structure of CG&S (Clarence Guerrero and Sons), which involved the founder and his sons doing the construction.
Guerrero-Davis has kept the legacy of CG&S alive by continuing the work her parents did for the company. In 2018, she took over as president and owner after her brother stepped down. “I trust in that which is before us,” says Guerrero-Davis. “My focus was really on legacy. My parents started our company and they gave us an amazing foundation.”
The Family Business and the Sacred Space
Her parents, Clarence and Stella Guerrero, started CG&S in 1957. Clarence led the construction projects while Stella was in charge of managing the company. In the ’90s, their son Billy Guerrero bought the company and managed it until 2018. Guerrero-Davis was the general manager while her brother ran the company, and in 1994 her husband joined the team.
One of the most valuable aspects that Guerrero-Davis upholds is reliability. Many of CG&S’ projects are home renovations, so she wants to make sure the designs are both beautiful and high quality. “We have this opportunity to work with homeowners in their sacred space, which is their home,” she says. “I think of it as this gift to be able to go in and work with the homeowner.”
The Road to Owner and President
Guerrero-Davis prepared for her role as CG&S’ owner for almost 30 years by taking an active role in her industry. She spent a lot of time networking with other local businesses to be able to make connections in the Austin area. “I just felt like the most important thing I could do is be connected to our industry with other people that are doing the same kind of work that we’re doing,” Guerrero-Davis reveals.
Part of her preparation to take over as owner of the family business included assuming many leadership positions. She was president of the local Austin National Associations of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and sat on their board. She also currently works on the Workforce Development Foundation with Austin NARI.
When Guerrero-Davis took over CG&S in 2018, she made changes in the company to adapt to Austin’s new emerging market. People started moving and buying homes in Austin after many companies moved their operations to Texas. “We really had to shift our business model to where we were still marketing and being a friend to the people who knew us,” Guerrero-Davis reveals. “At the same time [thinking], ‘How do we create new relationships? How do we attract some of the newer people?’”
Guerrero-Davis anticipates making more changes in CG&S to evolve with Austin’s ever-growing housing market. For instance, she hopes to incorporate more environmental and ecologically friendly designs into future projects. She also plans to extend her outreach to the community and be able to help in more than just construction.
Going Forward with the Past in Her Heart
In all the time she’s spent at CG&S, Guerrero-Davis has always believed in the value of her work. Because her job requires her to help remodel and redesign someone’s home, she’s always felt like the family business is important to the community. “For us, and for me, it has to matter,” she insists. “What we do has to have a purpose. It has to be bigger than the bottom line.”
With leadership and ownership changing so frequently in CG&S, Guerrero-Davis is proud to still have the company in the hands of her family. Not only has the family created a legacy of reliable services, but with her foresight Guerrero-Davis herself has contributed to the continued growth of the company by tapping into that ever-changing market.
The ability to keep the family business in the family is an amazing achievement, one that Guerrero-Davis knows her parents appreciate.
“[They] were really good about taking care of people,” she says. “They were very, very good about staying humble and being a good steward of our industry. And I feel like I’ve embodied that and that’s who I’ve become. I think they would be happy for me.”