For construction alumnus Andres Betancourt ’10, the buildings and structures we admire and frequent in our everyday lives are breathing monuments of human progress. “How we humans, with a mix of some concrete, steel and reinforced bar, can build such nice structures and skyrises, tunnels and roads always really intrigued me,” he says.
Betancourt has turned that fascination into a multimillion dollar company called Saferite Solutions. Both a safety company and a distributor, Saferite Solutions works with most well-known general contractors in the country, providing the necessary personal protective equipment and training to men and women on the job site. The company’s products can be found online, in-store or delivered to job sites through their mobile stores. They also offer training for workers on topics including fall protection, respiratory protection and safety as well as other topics pertinent to the industry.
The company continues to grow, says Betancourt, who is president and founder. Today it employs approximately 50 people and has three offices and five mobile stores. The idea for the company came to Betancourt in 2011 when he was balancing full-time work with a drywall contractor, helping with administrative work and training workers on safety practices. That experience made him aware of the need for a business that both offered training and provided the equipment companies needed to keep their employees safe.
“My mother and my sister were essential to our company’s growth,” says Betancourt, who is the son of Colombian immigrants. “We started from our garage and took over my old bedroom, then my mom’s living room until half of her house was full of products and we made the decision to do this full-time.”
The company has assisted projects across Florida, from the Brickell City Centre to upcoming projects like the expansion of I-4 in Orlando, the guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood and other iconic jobs throughout Florida and the United States. “There are really no boundaries. You create how far you want to go in life,” he says. “What we did is really inspirational, and now most of my family works with us. It’s a blessing because I get to see them every day.”
Betancourt credits his time as an undergrad at FIU’s Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability with giving him the knowledge required to establish, run and grow the business. “It helped me get a good grasp on what construction is really about. It gave me a well-rounded education on construction in and of itself, from the architect to the engineer to the project managers and all the different roles and positions there are in construction,” he says. “It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”