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Groundbreaker Profile

Indra Gutierrez—Building from the Ground Up

Indra Gutierrez headshot

From immigrant to president, Indra Gutierrez has been paving her own way since the beginning.

Indra Gutierrez is no stranger to challenge—in fact, she embraces it. After immigrating to the United States from Mexico as a child, Gutierrez has consistently set and exceeded her own goals, becoming a first-generation college graduate and after several years in the construction industry, becoming an owner and president of her own company, Gutier, she continues to make an impact in her community in Houston, Texas, as well as on other women and minorities in the industry.

I don’t take no for an answer. I want other women to see me and think, “If she did it, so can I.” I hope they can see that a person can go through so much and still be successful. That really gives me the motivation to keep going.

Indra Gutierrez headshot

Indra Gutierrez


We sat down with Gutierrez to talk about her inspiring story of overcoming obstacles and forging her own path.

What is your origin story? What made you who you are?

I am originally from Mexico and moved to the US when I was seven years old. I came here not knowing the language and was raised by a single mother. I endured a lot of challenges at a very young age, and struggled just to survive. I took care of my sister and started working when I was only thirteen years old. My challenges have made me who I am—strong and resilient. I had no one to push me, so it was up to me to make my own opportunities, and if I had not faced adversity, I don’t think I would have ended up in my current position.

What inspired you to enter the field of construction?

I never thought I would be in construction, but knew from a young age that I envisioned myself as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I didn’t know what industry I wanted to be in, but I knew which role I wanted, so every career step I took was in relation to that end goal. The moment I entered construction, I loved it, from my first position working in contracts and putting proposals together to managing subcontractors. I took the opportunity and ran with it. What really attracted me to construction was the complexity of the projects, the challenging, fast-paced environment and the fact I was learning something new every day. I thrive under pressure, and in construction I am always under pressure.  I enjoy it to this day, and look forward to what’s ahead.

What prompted you to start Gutier?

The idea of starting Gutier began as I envisioned how I could contribute to society and make an impact in the lives of others. I am motivated by giving back to the community and providing opportunities to people who would otherwise be overlooked due to lack of resources or based on their socioeconomic background. My business became an avenue to do just that—and even if I’m unable to make an impact in the entire world, I can make a change in my own community.

Indra Gutierrez standing on a construction site smiling to the camera

Describe your role at Gutier.

I oversee the company’s business operations, business development and organizational strategy. I oversee the project operations via Procore as it provides me with the visibility to know the status of each project and it allows me to make executive decisions that impact the entire organization based on the data in Procore. This is why Procore is so important—it allows me to know what is happening at the jobsite without being there since I have many other responsibilities outside of overseeing the projects.

What were some of the early challenges you faced with Gutier—especially navigating the shift from specialty to general contractor—and how did you overcome them?

One of our initial challenges was managing cash flow, since we started out as a subcontractor—we had to create cash flow around our materials and our labor up-front before we got paid, sometimes having to go several months without getting paid. Through preparation and discipline, we made it and we are now one of the fastest growing companies in our community. The goal was always to become a general contractor, however, we needed to start somewhere and build our credibility. The company has experienced growth year over year, but it certainly has been difficult—nobody knows you and you’re competing with companies that have been in the industry for many years, not to mention finding good people to work for you.

Construction has been a white, male dominated industry. As a Hispanic woman who is both a founder and president, how do you see women transforming the industry in the next decade—and what advice might you give women entering construction?

I think women are the secret to the future success of construction. From what I see in my business and my own career, women have great communication skills, pay attention to details and are great leaders, which makes them great at operations and project execution. The skills women have are very valuable to the industry—so I believe women should be empowered to lead, and I encourage men to coach and mentor women. In my own career, I made strategic, bold moves and listened to my intuition, which helped accelerate my career. I encourage women, including those working for me, to gain as much knowledge as possible, as knowledge is power. I also encourage them to take ownership and to be bold and confident. We even have a women’s group here at Gutier, where we focus on empowering the next generation of female leaders.

What does creating a diverse, inclusive culture of belonging that creates equitable opportunities in construction mean to you and your company?

As a minority myself, I consider it very important to give everyone the equal opportunity to succeed. Especially with the labor shortage in construction today, providing opportunities to people who might not have a traditional construction or engineering background is vital. Giving people the opportunity to learn about the industry is important. I think diversity creates a better dialogue and environment for everyone because you have many perspectives and personalities, providing an opportunity to learn from each other and from different cultures. This creates a successful work environment, which in turn creates a profitable business. Even though everyone comes from different backgrounds, we all have one mission in mind, which is to successfully complete a project—and that shared goal brings people together despite having nothing in common.

At Procore we use a term —“Groundbreaker”— to describe those who inspire and lead, embrace the cutting edge, and are driven to set a new standard. How do you personally define a Groundbreaker based on your experiences?

To me, being a Groundbreaker means leading from the front and facing challenges head-on to overcome them. It means being a frontrunner and doing something that’s unconventional, despite people not understanding. It means staying true to your values and creating your own path and possibilities despite adversity.

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