Our Story


 

Understanding GMA’s path for the future begins with knowing where we have been.

 
 
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Humble Beginnings

GMA’s corporate vision is rooted in the experiences of its founder, Cornelius Griggs. Raised in the City’s toughest west side neighborhoods, his unconventional childhood included exposure to homelessness, domestic violence, and drug addiction.



Important Mentors and Organizations

Positive relationships with his grandfather, a military man, and participation in community organizations enabled him to overcome adversity and uncomfortable circumstances, while also fostering his interest in math, science, technology, and the military.


Education and Military Service

He attended Chicago State University and honorably served our country during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His dedication and determination earned him the Army
Commendation Medal.


Establishing the Mission

Establishing GMA in 2009, Cornelius defined GMA’s overarching mission: Developing people that will transform communities—a call to do good for all types of underserved communities.



Building the Business

As his experience resonated with clients looking to do the same, the firm in its infancy was awarded several important community-based projects such as the Bloom Township Food Pantry. Other early areas of focus included affordable housing and early
childhood education.

Giving Back

Cornelius’ gratitude for the organizations and mentors that impacted his life propelled him to place high value on mentorship and education. Today, GMA continues that legacy with participation in several non-profit organizations including the TRIO Program that assists low-income and first-generation students through the education system.


Continued Service

In 2019, GMA was awarded its first federal project, the C-17 Flight Simulator Facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a Veteran-Owned Small Business, GMA is focused on expanding its portfolio of federal work through a business program dedicated to serving the federal government.


Looking to the Future

Today, GMA lives the mission through mentorship of our employees as well as providing job and training opportunities for members of the communities in which we work. We seek work that improves quality of life for underserved communities, increases operational efficiency for the federal government, and provides sustainability for future generations.

GMA By The Numbers


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where we work


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Leadership


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CORNELIUS GRIGGS, PRESIDENT and CEO

As President of GMA Construction Group, Cornelius provides executive level oversight on matters related to business development, estimating, risk management, marketing, human capital management, finance, safety, quality assurance and quality control. Cornelius has extensive experience working in multiple forms of construction delivery systems including Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, CM at Risk and Public Private Partnerships. Cornelius is directly responsible for construction operations across the company for both our public and private business units.

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JOHN ADAMS, VICE PRESIDENT

As Vice President of GMA Construction Group, John provides executive level oversight in our Affordable Housing and Healthcare markets. He's directly responsible for operations across both business units including preconstruction efforts to support new business development and field operations and coordination. John also works closely with the President assisting with matters related to business development, estimating, risk management, marketing, human capital management, finance, safety, quality assurance and quality control. John has over 20 years of industry leading experience.

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ERICA KIRKWOOD, VICE PRESIDENT and GENERAL COUNSEL

As Vice President and General Counsel of GMA Construction Group, Erica provides executive-level oversight on matters related to contract review and negotiation, insurance and bond review, compliance with government regulations and reporting at the local, state, and federal levels, and human resource management. Erica also leads our corporate administrative efforts in the areas of MBE/WBE, 8A, Veteran-Owned Small Business, and disadvantaged business compliance. Erica provides close counsel to the President to ensure the company is operating ethically and in compliance with all governmental regulations. 

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WENDY JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTING and FINANCE

As Director of Accounting and Finance at GMA Construction Group, Wendy is responsible for preparation of the operating budgets, overseeing financial reporting, and payroll. Additionally, Wendy manages and monitors the financial performance of all GMA projects. Wendy Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in accounting. She has spent her entire career in the AEC industry, and she has extensive managerial experience. Prior to joining GMA, Wendy served as the Chief Financial Officer for American Waterproofing, Inc. Regional Controller-Midwest for AECOM Tishman, and Senior Business Group Accountant for The Walsh Group.