When Ahora founder Jimmy Matta was growing up, his father would say to him “Jimmy, you’ve got to do this ahora! You can’t wait for tomorrow.” Young Jimmy took this advice to heart. Combining the grit and determination he inherited from his migrant farmworker parents from Guatemala, and a dream to create a minority-owned, union signatory contracting firm with a reputation for excellence, he opened the doors to Ahora Construction in 2016.
“My dad taught me there are three kinds of people in the world: dreamers, doers and talkers. I’m a doer. And if I dream it, I want to talk about it and then follow through with an action.” – Jimmy Matta
Before founding Ahora Construction, Jimmy was a farmworker, tradesman and celebrated labor leader. While formulating ideas for how to develop a piece of his aunt’s property on Beacon Hill in Seattle, Jimmy was struck with the idea to break out onto his own. Burien voters had just elected him as mayor to the city at the time, and with words of encouragement from a close mentor and his family resounding in his mind, Jimmy decided it was time to launch and grow his own business. Today as Ahora’s president, he applies over two decades of leadership skills he developed while working with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, the Washington Interior Exterior Systems Local Union No. 41, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Latino Civic Alliance, Art Cortez Construction and Alcantar Construction.
“There is a principle of organizing people that I learned as a tradesperson and as a union sympathizer. Educate, agitate and organize. If you educate, then you’re going to get agitated about it and then you’re going to organize.” – Jimmy Matta
Ahora Construction’s story stems from humble beginnings. We began out of the Matta’s home office where Jimmy’s Mom brought in morning coffee to the administrative staff and his aunt shared afternoon plates of mango and tajin. At the beginning we took a few residential and contract jobs before we found our niche as a commercial contractor specializing in doors and hardware, ceiling services, framing, drywall and finishes, demolition and concrete. We worked double shifts and built up the right team to grow revenues from $87,000 during our second full year in business to $3 million during our third full year open.
Through Ahora, Jimmy has helped people’s careers grow too, including his sister Eva Torres who developed the business management and bookkeeping skills to later open her own general contracting business. His son Jimmy Matta, Jr. also earned his associate’s in multi-occupational trades and bachelor’s in business management since Ahora opened, and today he works as the company’s general foreman. Jr is the youngest person to complete the carpenters apprentice 4-year program while simultaneously earning his undergrad degree.
“I love that everyone has a voice in the direction that the company moves ahead. I enjoy taking part in the mission of championing the can-do culture, diversity and developing leaders with the proper training.” – Jimmy Matta, Jr.
Today, Jimmy works beside his son Jimmy Matta, Jr., daughter Maya Matta and a tight-knit team that understands the competitive nature of the construction industry. The Ahora family, like the Mattas, is supportive, collaborative and respectful, and we acknowledge that each employee plays a critical role in making the company what it is today. For example, thanks to the expert guidance of our office manager Fiona Hope, the company successfully navigated the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic and was able to keep our staff employed. In 2020, not only did we win nearly $600,000 in COVID-relief grants and loans, we also invested in the advanced Sage 100 Contractor software, grew our administrative staff and expanded our fleet of company trucks. Today our diverse and talented team includes Ahora President, Jimmy Matta; Office Manager, Fiona Hope; Construction Manager, Eric Lara; General Foreman, Jimmy Matta, Jr.; Contract Administrator and Safety Coordinator, Autumn Stoll; Project Engineer Navath Nhan and Office Intern, Maya Matta.
“I love the work environment. Everyone is willing to help one another and make sure that we grow not only as a team but individually as well. Wherever one person can’t complete a task another will take it on.” – Maya Matta
Jimmy Matta founded Ahora Construction.
Jimmy Matta ran for and won the office of mayor to the City of Burien.
Jimmy Matta brought on General Foreman, Michael Davy and set out to grow the new company together.
Hired Office Manager
Earned $87,000 in revenues
Hired Bookkeeper and Safety Coordinator
Won Tacoma Dome job
Grew revenue from $87,000 during our second full year in business, to $3 million during our third full year open.
Won the Supplier of the Year award from Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council.
Ahora weathered the pandemic and received nearly half a million dollars in COVID-relief grans and loans which enabled us to keep our crews employed.
Our headquarters and administrative staff moved from Jimmy’s home office to a roomy office building and shop.
Invested in Sage 100 Contractor, a sophisticated accounting, project management, estimating and service management software.
Expanded our administrative team from three to seven. Fun fact: five out of seven of our sharp administrative staff began working at Ahora when they were under 25 years old!
Added new company trucks to our fleet of vehicles.
Majors projects we’ve completed: Tacoma Dome, Beecher’s Cheese, King Street Station, Children’s Hospital Odessa Brown Clinic