Michael Baines, BGI owner and Managing Principal, has provided outreach and consulting services within the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an advocate that has shaped, written and enforced public policy regarding WBE and MBE participation. Baines served as the consultant for the African American Chamber of Commerce to improve the Workforce Development Training program.
Baines worked in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco and together they collaborated on developing training programs for Caltrans. In addition. Baines partnered with Oakland Unified School District to create the workforce development program in which he served as an advisor for the implementation of WBE/MBE policies.
As a construction specialist, he initiated and wrote policies and procedures for the City of Oakland quick pay program. Baines is a founding member of the Bay Area Black Contractors Association and serves as an advisor to the East Bay Small Business Council.
Elizabeth Norris is co-owner of Baines Group, Inc., where she leads the operations of the company.
Elizabeth and her partner Michael Baines started BGI in 2007. However, Elizabeth didn’t begin to work in the business until the last quarter in 2008, when the construction industry and the company were in a downturn and suffering. Elizabeth had some challenges ahead of her since construction companies were abandoning projects or going out of business. She also had no experience in the construction industry. Her background was in corporate sales and management. Also, she had to adapt to a male-dominated industry.
Elizabeth led the company in a restructure and changed BGI’s business model to focus on the sectors of Hospitals, Transportation, and Education.
Elizabeth researched new business to build a pipeline, responded to RFP’s, and procured positions on winning teams. Soon, their pipeline for new business was brimming over. That was one of the first lessons she learned about running a small business. “CashFlow.” However, with creativity and ingenuity, they survived that challenge. Elizabeth also created and implemented a new division of Construction Management which now thrives as BGI’s most profitable business unit.
Today BGI is a General Contractor partner on several Hope 6 and other “Affordable Housing” Development projects located throughout Southeast San Francisco. Her vision continues to lead the operations of BGI.
Elizabeth believes there will always be new challenges and obstacles in business; the key for her is to build a good team around you with a mix of creativity, adaptability, experience, persons who take pride in their work, who want to learn and grow and finally…risk-takers.