For Cameron Kilcup, family, community, and company values are inseparable. A third-generation family business owner, Cameron owns and operates Facility Build, an Albuquerque-based design build contracting firm. Through Facility Build, the Kilcup family has literally helped build the foundation of Albuquerque’s community even though the family, and company, have Midwestern roots.
It all began in Minnesota with a painting company started by Cameron’s grandfather. But just after World War II, a variety of new regulations spurred business demand for asbestos abatement and removal. Recognizing the opportunity, Cameron’s grandfather moved the company to the southwest and began contracting for abatement and growing his family. Down the road, Cameron’s father eventually started working for the family business, seeing additional opportunities in contracting services, he eventually started doing needed work for complete design-build contracting solutions. While the family business grew and thrived, Cameron had dreams of his own.
Growing up, Cameron thought Albuquerque was too small. So after high school he left for college at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado and stayed for almost ten years. While Cameron loved Colorado, he realized how special the culture in New Mexico was, and he missed the tight knit community he once thought was too small. After a decade, Cameron knew it was time to go home. Unlike his adolescent self, as an adult, Cameron could final see the unsurpassed business and community support, not to mention the beautiful landscapes and of course the weather. “New Mexico has soul – Ft. Collins is a great place, but it lacks any long-term culture or history.”
Like many local entrepreneurs, Cameron was inspired to get back to his roots in Albuquerque after living in other cities. Like many people from New Mexico have found, the grass isn’t always greener. “I have spent a long time traveling the United States and have not found another place like it,” said Cameron.
Cameron acknowledges that while there are unique challenges in New Mexico, there is also unique support. “It’s harder than ever to start a business in this country, but New Mexico has a wonderful community of young business leaders who share a vision that involves mutual encouragement.” As Cameron describes it, Albuquerque’s business community has a cooperative nature, “We’re always looking out for each other; one success is a group success.” The outlook for this community really hit home when Cameron encouraged a college friend to move to Albuquerque during a time he was seeking a new career. He watched with satisfaction as his friend established key network connections and quickly moved up the corporate ladder in less than two years. The community and the city had come through.
Thinking back on his path back to Albuquerque, Cameron still finds it rewarding to be an active part of the business community. “There are untapped opportunities here that often times get overlooked in favor of larger cities like Denver. But in these big cities, your business will always be a small fish.” Asked what he’d say to anyone thinking about starting a business in New Mexico, Cameron says, “Starting a business is never a cake walk. It’s a roller coaster, but that’s the fun of it – it’s the ride of business.”
“We have a rich heritage here in New Mexico, my family tree includes Geronimo and Cortez,” Cameron says, reflecting on his family and the state, “I feel part of the ancestry here, and I am excited about exploring my roots and giving back to others.” And even though he felt compelled to travel the world when he was younger, “having done that I realized no matter where I went in the world, the soul and energy here in New Mexico was a part of me the whole time.”