Local business owner credits mom, military for success
- Written by Cheryl "CJ" Johnson
A Kingwood business owner’s construction company is thriving, despite the challenges of the economy. Gamaliel “Gama” Vera owns Gama Custom Builders and specialized in custom remodeling of exclusive and elegant country clubs. He is currently remodeling a portion of Kingwood Country Club, one of several projects the firm has been hired to do across the state for ClubCorp USA, Inc. “While the economy has certainly been a hurdle, we have kept the company moving forward. We are in our seventh year of business and each year has been better than the last,” Vera said. “We work within the client’s price range, and do an excellent job of providing top materials, responsive service and affordability. “Some construction firms have trouble meeting deadlines; we rarely miss a deadline. I take pride in finishing jobs before their deadlines but, more importantly, within the original budget. I have a great team of contractors - professionals who really enjoy the construction projects. That makes all the difference. “ Gama personally supervises each project and spends a lot of time driving across the state. “I am definitely seeing a lot of Texas these days,” he said. Vera grew up in McAllen, after becoming a naturalized, and proud, U.S. citizen, His American pride quickly translated into serving his new country when he joined the military after graduation, serving first as a Army Reservist and then as a Navy Seabee. He credits the military with giving him the discipline, education and leadership skills which he says now serve him well professionally and personally. “I feel that the military is the key, a powerful tool for young men and women in providing confidence and leadership skills to succeed personally and financially in life,” said Vera. “All young people should spend at least three years serving their country. It will help them mature, while building patriotism and love of country.” Vera and his family moved to Kingwood in 2003 because they had found a meaningful church home and because of the excellent schools. “We also really loved all the green space - the trees and parks are so nice,” he said. Although the Veras have subsequently divorced, they remain amicable and fully committed to parenting their 13-year-old daughter, Brandy, who attends Kingwood Middle School and is a dancer and student at Stacey’s Dance Studio. He is a proud father, complimenting both her energetic attitude and talents. “She does more before 9 a.m. than I do all day. She works very hard at both school and is an amazing and beautiful dancer,” he offered. “Kids now are so over scheduled but somehow they can handle it. It is a competitive world, and we as parents have to prepare them to succeed.” Vera took advantage of the opportunities offered in the military, studying as many different programs as possible. The Army provided the chance for him to study carpentry, air conditioning services and plumbing, He also excelled in electrical courses. After leaving the military, Vera moved to Houston and got a job in 1993 working for Ryland Homes. About 10 years later, Vera, by then a Kingwood resident, ventured into business ownership, forming Gama Custom Builders, Inc. in 2005. Vera gives a lot of credit to his friend and fellow church member, Jeff Whitt, who provided Vera’s first opportunity to undertake commercial remodeling, by recommending him to ClubCorp. “Gama has boundless energy and a terrific attitude,” says Mark Phillips, another friend. “He gets up every day with such a positive, can-do spirit. He is a great man, father and friend.” Today, Gama Custom Builders is a million-dollar operation, both busy and growing. Gama is currently handling several renovation projects for Club Corp. In addition to the renovation work for Kingwood Country Club, he has projects at Hearthstone Country Club and Bay Oaks Country Club in Houston. Other current projects include remodeling Stonebridge Ranch Country Club and Stonebridge Country Club, two sister clubs in McKinney, Texas, and several other clubs throughout Texas. He has also completed renovations to the Tour 18 Club, a subsidiary of the Arnold Palmer Group. Vera’s love for America has inspired him to think of public service, He has political aspirations and hopes to run for office some day. “It is crucial that everyone take an active interest in their country. I have a good business sense and am a great example of the American dream. I became a citizen to make a better life. I did not do this by expecting handouts and help; I looked for opportunity, and took advantage of the education and mentoring available in the military. Today, I have created a solid business and want to keep American strong. We must create jobs and productive citizens. “I want to be an example to other Hispanics, by being a successful business owner and community leader, by helping fellow Hispanics, and all Americans, find ways to preserve and honor our American ways.” Vera also gives his mother much of the credit for the man he is today. “My mom is an amazing woman. She was a single mother who raised four children, all of whom turned out to be productive and decent citizens.” “She is one of the biggest reasons I am successful and I hope to pass that on to Brandy,” he said. Vera appreciates the sacrifices of single mothers, working through his church to help neighbors and friends in similar situations. He also volunteers at Family Time and The Door. “I have been blessed with the many opportunities that have come my way. I have a great daughter and a thriving business. I enjoy what I do and am proud to be a contributing member of the Kingwood-Humble community and of my country,” Vera said. Gama Vera Gama Custom Builders 1036 First Street East Suite B Humble, TX 77338 281-914-7283 Photo: (Top) Gama Vera standing outside of his Gama Custom Builders office in Humble. (Bottom) Gama Vera and Kingwood Country Club General Manager Patrick Pettit going over blueprints for a phase of the renovation project awarded to Gama Custom Builders. Photos by Cheryl “CJ” Johnson.