Sandy Springs couple makes a commitment to future engineers

Sandy Springs residents Guiomar Obregón and Carlos Sánchez, founders of the P2K construction company, returned to Georgia Tech on April 11 to see a classroom dedicated to their company.

It was historic for Georgia Tech as it’s the first classroom dedicated to a Hispanic business. It represents the commitment the couple and their company have made to create opportunities for the next generation of civil engineers at Georgia Tech.

Obregón told Reporter Newspapers that she came to Georgia Tech from Colombia to go to the engineering school. She earned a master’s in engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA.

Years later, her husband and partner, Carlos  Sánchez, was working in construction when some general contractors suggested that he start a company as a lot of work was available for certified minority businesses. That was the start of P2K.

It took awhile for them to get the business ready. Obregón took classes through the Small Business Administration, learning how to do things like accounting, arranging insurance and bonding for the company, before they started bidding on projects.

“One day we were the low bidder on one of the projects, so the general contractor said, ‘Hey, you bid this project. Now you have to get ready and do it,’” she said.

After that, they kept building up the company, hiring employees and eventually buying their own equipment. The company began with an office in their home, but after a couple of years they opened an office in Chamblee.

Five years ago, the couple and their company reconnected with Tech.

“Initially when we were in business, we were just trying to get organized and do our thing. But then over time, many employees would ask me ‘How can I go to Tech? I want to attend Georgia Tech, it is a good school’,” she said.

The couple had started an internship program, bringing civil engineering students from Colombia to get one year of experience working at P2K. After learning how work is done in the United States, they’d return to Colombia.

“Five years ago, we created a fellowship program so those interns had the opportunity to attend Georgia Tech,” she said.

The fellowship provided them with a financial incentive to attend the school.

But the couple wanted to do more as the School of Civil Engineering was close to her heart, Obregón said.

The scholarship program they created and now the classroom dedication are ways they can help future generations of civil engineers, she said.

“We want to see more Hispanics pursuing civil engineering at Tech and more women in engineering,” she said.

The company wants to take advantage of those new civil engineers to hire them so P2K can grow and have access to workers who know the latest technologies.

Most visitors to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport should be familiar with the work of P2K. “We have been known for one of our expertise is to prepare the runways and the taxiways at the Atlanta airport, one of the busiest airports in the world,” Obregón said.

They’ve also completed maintenance work on Georgia’s interstate highways.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.