Cornelius Griggs named Small Business Administration – Illinois Person of the Year

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The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois District Office has named Cornelius Griggs, owner of Chicago’s GMA Construction Group, the 2019 Illinois Small Business Person of the Year. Each year, the SBA honors small businesses and small business advocates across the country who are creating 21st-century jobs, driving innovation, and increasing America’s global competitiveness. Assistance from the SBA has helped GMA thrive. Two SBA-guaranteed loans in 2016 and 2017 allowed the company to upgrade software and office space, hire project-specific personnel, and invest in training resources to comply with industry standards. Griggs also graduated from SBA’s Emerging Leaders program in 2016, dedicating seven months to developing a strategic growth plan for his business.

Read the entire article on SBA’s website

Cornelius Griggs wins Interise’s 2019 Impact Award


Cornelius Griggs, GMA Construction Group founder and Army Commendation Medal recipient, is being recognized with the 2019 Interise Impact Award. The award recognizes alumni of the StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum who have demonstrated exceptional revenue growth, job creation, and community impact. In 2016, Griggs took Interise’s SBA Emerging Leaders course in Chicago with Dr. Adam Callery, owner of Sagesse Lumiere Small Business Coaching and Griggs’ nominator for the Interise Impact Award. He credits the experience for positioning him to think strategically about the growth of his business, and empowering him to “step out of [his] comfort zone and push the envelope of GMA.”

Watch the entire video on American Business TV’s website

NEW PROJECT AWARD: Lawndale Christian Legal Center


GMA Construction Group, along with our partner Wight Construction, is excited to announce the award of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center’s (LCLC) newest campus located in the Lawndale community. The two-story, 28,000 SF facility will include housing for underserved African American male youth who are facing financial and legal hardships before and after incarceration. The facility will also include more than 15,000 SF of new office space for current LCLC staff including attorneys, counselors, and advisors responsible for progressing LCLC’s community-based mission.

GMA President, and former Lawndale resident, Cornelius Griggs stated, “Young men who grow up on the City of Chicago’s South and West Sides face a unique challenge of being underrepresented in the legal system. LCLC is working to change that paradigm by giving these young men a second chance. I was once a young man growing up in the Lawndale community exposed to some of the downsides. I was also blessed to be able to harness my ambition to steer myself in a positive direction.”

GMA is excited to be part of this historic and impactful project. Our mission of “developing people who will transform communities” continues to guide the projects we pursue each day.

27th Annual Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel H. Burnham Award Dinner

Photo by Brittany Harthan

Photo by Brittany Harthan


GMA President, Cornelius Griggs, had the distinct pleasure of giving remarks at the 27th Annual Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Daniel Burnham Dinner. The dinner celebrates outstanding business and civic leaders. This year’s honoree was Christopher M. Crane, President and CEO of Exelon Corporation. GMA was featured in Chicago Magazine for its participation in the event. Photos from the event can be seen here. The full story on the 2018 Burnham Award Dinner from Chicago Magazine can be read here.


NEW PROJECT AWARD: A Safe Haven Veterans Studios


GMA and Joint Venture partner, Old Veteran Construction (OVC) were recently selected for the Safe Haven Veterans Studios project. This five-story 90 unit SRO will include first floor support spaces and new landscaping.

NEW PROJECT AWARD: Chicago Police and Fire Training Academy


GMA Construction Group in a Joint Venture with Bowa Construction, Berglund Construction and AECOM-Hunt is excited to announce that we have been selected to build the new $85M Police and Fire training academy on the far westside of Chicago. Cornelius Griggs, GMA’s Founder and President, was recently quoted stating “A community that has long been underserved will now see a revitalization that will spawn new businesses and positively impact community residents. As a once long time resident of the neighboring 28th and 27th wards, I am excited to see revitalization impacting all Chicago Communities.” GMA Construction Group is excited to be a part of this great project that will surely impact the community in a positive way!"

GMA wins Metra’s 2018 Emerging DBE Award


GMA was recently awarded Metra’s 2018 Emerging DBE award in recognition of significant business growth.

The award was presented during Metra’s 4th Annual On Track to Success Vendor Fair. The event recognizes and honors prime contractors, subcontractors, assist agencies, and staff members that have provided exceptional service and promote diversity and inclusion. GMA is honored to receive the award and looks forward to our continued partnership with Metra and fulfilling our mission to transform the communities in which we work.

GMA Construction Group wins James Tyree Award! Read the story on ABC 7 Chicago.

Read the full announcement from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.


Today, our President, CORNELIUS GRIGGS, accompanied by our Vice President, Erica Kirkwood, took part in the final presentations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce James Tyree Emerging Business Award. The final decision will be made this week and the winner will be announced at the Chambers June 5th annual meeting. Keep your fingers crossed for #TeamGMA........We are proud of President and the entire GMA Team for all the work they do to Transform the Communities in which we live work and play...Thank you for the opportunity Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Mesirow Financial and CBIC! Your support of emerging businesses should not go unnoticed.

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The GMA Technical Assistance Program launched its emerging businesses Boot Camp "Digging Deep" this past February. This highly specialized cohort takes an intricate look at several construction processes delivered by team lead, Cornelius Griggs.

Cornelius shares important strategies and tactics learned from his more than 15 years in the business operating as a GC and sub. Each cohort runs four-weeks and is only open to clients of the GMA Technical Assistance Program. The boot camp engages small groups so that each participant can personally benefit from his hands on guidance and insights.

The last cohort began on Tuesday, April 10. Clients interested in participating should be on the look-out for details.

Celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth with Wintrust! Leon Rogers interviews Cornelius Griggs, President of GMA Construction Group who is building up Chicago every day!



We are excited to be featured in the 2017 Fall/Winter edition of The Blue Book Network's "Who's Who in Construction". Our team is doing a fantastic job of transforming the communities in which we live work and play!