Lonnie Green, owner of Cardinal Construction LLC, is not just a general contractor; he’s a visionary entrepreneur and trailblazer with a passion for creating opportunities in his community.
Green recently shared his journey from beginning a career in real estate during the pandemic to pivoting his focus as the owner of a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified construction company that specializes in construction management. Cardinal Construction is also MBE-certified in demolition and concrete construction.
“When we started, concrete was our focus,” Green explained. After a thorough market assessment, we strategically developed a plan that served a need that our local market was calling for. We’re MBE certified through the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Office of Supplier Diversity for Delaware. Construction management is our niche, and it adds value to our partnerships with commercial firms.”
The MBE certification allows Cardinal Construction to contribute to public and private projects with minority participation goals, creating value for prime contractors. “For construction businesses looking to participate in MBE programs, it’s not always a requirement,” Green stressed. “But it can be a strategic advantage, especially when working on state-funded projects with diversity goals.”
Cardinal Construction’s current projects include commercial concrete and demolition projects. Cardinal currently possesses executed letters of intent to manage the construction of a cultural center, mixed-use development, and a community center in the Mid-Shore region. Green says he aims to partner with larger firms to see these multimillion-dollar projects through, combining new construction with renovations.
For Green, working in Talbot County is personal. “It’s my roots,” he says “I grew up in Doverbrook Apartments, and I understand the value of seeking a better life.”
“As my business grows and we take on more projects, I can create opportunities for people I’ve known for most of my life,” he continues. “It’s my community and being able to give back is essential.”
It’s also about being a catalyst for positive change and a role model for his two daughters. Brooklyn, a freshman at Easton High School is a regular volunteer for Waterfowl Festival. “I want my legacy of leaning in, pivoting when needed, and giving back to resonate strongly with her,” Green says. “I lead by example.”
Green delivers on building this legacy through his work helping others in need, including serving as a longtime volunteer with Meals on Wheels, and as a member of the Rotary Club of Easton, Maryland, where he launched a countywide food drive and reboot of Operation Christmas Spirit two years ago.
“I often deliver meals to the grandparents of people I grew up with,” says Green. “Service is in my heart, and Cardinal Construction will always be a part of not only providing jobs but also giving back to the communities we serve.”
Despite the challenges faced by minority businesses, Green is resilient and believes in staying prepared. “No one owes you anything. You have to manifest it. It’s about being ready when the opportunities come,” he says.
Green notes that access to capital oftentimes can be a significant hurdle for minority businesses. “Learning to be bankable is crucial,” he says. “Seeking out and establishing your network can help you succeed.” Your “network” will determine your “net worth.”
Green says minority businesses can connect with resources by building a web of connections with organizations like the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board, the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, and local chapters of civic organizations like Rotary International. Attending business fairs and mixers, he says, can give you face-to-face time with decision-makers, and help build resilience in your business.
His advice to aspiring minority entrepreneurs is simple yet profound: “Work hard. Build relationships. Reputation is everything. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
Lonnie Green’s story is one of determination, community impact, and a commitment to creating a legacy of opportunities in Talbot County. Through Cardinal Construction, he’s not just building structures; he’s building dreams and paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse business landscape in his community.
Learn more about Cardinal Construction at www.cardinalbuilds.com or call 443-521-0716.
About Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism
The Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s mission is to enhance and promote a business-friendly environment for current and prospective enterprises and to advocate for policies that support and strengthen the economic vitality of Talbot County. The department’s vision for Talbot County is built on the principles of strong communities, empowered businesses, and innovative solutions.
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