Woman in Business Maryland: Road-Building Sisters are Paving a Bright FuturePosted on
They’re branching out, breaking new ground -and adding jobs to the local economy.
With their recent acquisition of an asphalt manufacturing plant in Rockville, sisters and business partners Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis are applying their high quality standards and superior customer service to a whole new area of endeavor. The pair are co-owners of road construction company M. Luis Construction Co., Inc. Cidalia is the company’s president and Natalia, its vice president.
As of mid-April, the newly expanded business had already hired 115 new employees in 2011, says Cidalia. Its asphalt can be found on highways, arterial roads, neighbor-hoods and parking lots throughout the State of Maryland.
Living the American Dream
Founded in 1985 by Cidalia and Natalia’s parents, M. Luis Construction is the leading woman-and minority-owned construction company in the Delmarva region -and possibly the only woman-and minority-owned asphalt manufacturer on the East Coast, if not the U.S.
The company’s original focus was on concrete paving, but it has steadily expanded its offerings over the years to include a turn-key construction operation. Today, the federal government, the State of Maryland, counties, municipalities, and commercial and residential developers turn to it for all of their road construction service needs, including snow removal.
Over the years, M. Luis Construction has paved thousands of miles of roads and highways. It has completed a variety of street scape projects involving everything from asphalt and concrete paving to storm-water management to traffic signalization. Working closely with homeowners and neighborhood associations, Cidalia says, the company works hard to minimize disruption, keep neighbors informed and “ensure the project ultimately benefits the entire community.”
Indeed, the company’s reconstruction of Bethesda’s Battery Park neighborhood helped Montgomery County win its first-ever street scape award. “The neighborhood had beautiful old trees, and we actually reconfigured some of our milling machines to make sure the exhaust from our milling and grinding operations wouldn’t burn the leaves and branches,” Natalia recalls. But the project that has meant the most to Cidalia and Natalia was a relatively simple one: the restoration of the road on which the sisters grew up.
“Our family moved here from Portugal in 1979, and our parents bought a small house on Glenallen Avenue in Silver Spring,” Natalia says. “Cidalia and I built so many dreams while we were living in that house -dreams that are coming true.”
“We come from extraordinarily humble beginnings,” says Cidalia. “But my parents worked extremely hard and never gave up -my mother, Albertina, is quite an entrepreneur, and my father, Manuel, is a phenomenal artisan.”
Cidalia and Natalia took over the company in 2008 and have continued their parents’ tradition of hard work, values and perseverance. One firmly held belief: Corporate profitability and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
Looking back on the company’s early days, the sisters emphasize that America has been good to the Luis family. The State of Maryland, too, with its various programs that help women-and minority-owned businesses and ensure that “everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.”
2017 – M. Luis COO, Natalia Luis featured on Making Money with Charles Payne READ MORE
2017 – M Luis COO, Natalia Luis, Featured on Fox & Friends READ MORE
2016 – M. Luis Attends MCCC GovConNet Procurement Conference READ MORE
2016 – M. Luis Products Opens Second Asphalt Facility READ MORE
2015 – Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis Receive MCCC Small Business Leader of the Year Award READ MORE
2015 – M. Luis Participates in Special Halloween “Race for Every Child” READ MORE
2015 – M. Luis Receives Award at CRMSDC’s 34th Annual Leaders and Legends Awards READ MORE
2015 – Cidalia Luis-Akbar and 11 other Business Leaders Appointed by Leggett to Run MoCo Economic Development READ MORE
2015 – Natalia Luis Recognized by BGE as a Graduate of Focus 25 Class READ MORE
2015 – Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis to Receive Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Leader of the Year Award READ MORE
2015 – US Builder’s Review Features M. Luis Construction and Products READ MORE
2015 – FBI Washington Field Office Announces Director’s Community Leadership Award Presented to Cidalia Luis-Akbar READ MORE
2015 – Start a Career at M. Luis! READ MORE
2014 – Sisters use Kilimanjaro climb to raise money, spirits READ MORE
2014 – Huffington Post Feature – “Climbing Kilimanjaro for a Cause” READ MORE
2014 – 2014 Prémio Máxima Mulher de Negócios READ MORE
2014 – ” M Luis Participant in City of Baltimore’s Minority Development Week” READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis Recognized the by Baltimore Business Journal READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis Construction is named one of Maryland’s Top 100 MBEs READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis Supports “Millions of Healthy Babies” – The Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis Products, LLC Receives 2014 Best of Rockville Award READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis President and Vice President take part in the Global Entrepreneur Delegation to Lisbon READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis President Nominated for award by COTEC READ MORE
2014 – Children’s National Medical Center Fetal Medicine Institute Ribbon Cutting Ceremony READ MORE
2014 – New Children’s National Fetal Medicine Institute Offers Advanced Diagnostics and Patient Care READ MORE
2014 – Bill Clinton backs Anthony Brown at Potomac fundraiser: ‘I know what is in his heart’ READ MORE
2014 – President Barack Obama Visits M. Luis READ MORE
2014 – M. Luis Leadership Invited to the White House to Celebrate Successes READ MORE
2014 – One Mountain, Two Dedicated Sisters, Millions of Healthy Babies READ MORE
2014 – Cidalia Luis-Akbar named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women READ MORE
2014 – Eagle Bank 2013 Annual Report: There when it counts. READ MORE
2014 – LT. GOVERNOR BROWN HOLDS MBE ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION – Women and Minority Business Owners Share Ideas to Advance the MBE and SBR Programs READ MORE
2013 – WEBNC President’s Report – December 2013 READ MORE
2013 – 17th Annual PALCUS Leadership Awards Gala READ MORE
2013 – Noticias Magazine – “Como a família Luís conquistou Obama” READ MORE
2013 – The Washington Post: State, federal and private lending efforts help small business weather a ‘perfect storm’ READ MORE
2013 – M. Luis Executives Win Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2013 Maryland Award for Construction and Manufacturing READ MORE
2013 – Treasury Secretary Recognizes M. Luis’ Economic Contribution READ MORE
2013 – ABC Metro Washington – Building Washington Spring 2013 READ MORE
2012 – M. Luis Construction Among 16 Companies awarded GBC’s ‘Bridging the Gap” Award for Minority Owned Businesses READ MORE
2011 – Hard Hats & High Heels READ MORE
2011 – Woman in Business Maryland: Road-Building Sisters are Paving a Bright Future READ MORE
2011 – Gazette.net: Immigrant sisters take road less traveled READ MORE
2010 – Personal Drive, Wirtgen Products Help Contractor Grow In Maryland Market READ MORE