In the early 60’s, Ray Dones, owner of Dones Electric and Joe Debro, director of the Oakland Small Business Development Center, began discussing the experiences African-American contractors faced in their attempts to be recognized as viable businessmen in their industry. They started speaking around the community, quietly organizing other contractors who experienced the same problems. Using the resources available to them, they put together the first conference of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC).

“Adversity can engulf the individual but not the group. If you are part of the group it weakens the adversity.” 

Raymond Dones, Founder


Founded in Oakland, California in 1969 by Ray Dones and Joseph Debro. NAMC is the oldest minority construction trade association in the United States. Members include more than 50 Hall of Fame members and Legacy Contractor Builders and a combined annual project capacity of over a billion dollars nationally. The association represents the interests of millions of skilled minority workers across the country. Through a network of local chapters and in collaboration with strategic and corporate partnerships, NAMC assists members with building capacity by providing access to opportunity, advocacy, and contractor development training.

NAMC is proud to be a leading voice for millions of minority trade workers and an advocate for undocumented veterans in the construction industry. Of the 160 million people employed in the United States, more than 31% (50 million) earn a living in the construction industry. Hispanics and Latinos make up 30%, or 15 million, of these workers, and African Americans represent 17% or 8.5 million workers nationally. Other minorities, totaling about 2 million, make up approximately 2% of the workforce. Together, the construction industry workforce includes 25 million minority workers.

The National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) has a strong foundational history that has established a great legacy for the organization. NAMC’s presence and voice in this industry is of even greater need today than ever before to continue the mission of providing Access (contract & resource opportunities), Advocacy (legislative impact), and Contractor Readiness (training, capacity building, and growth) for our members. The association strives to accomplish its goals in collaboration with major corporate partners, strategic alliances, and public agencies. The presence of NAMC today is a testament to its continuing legacy. The construction market is a relationship-driven industry. Business relationships must be developed; the strategies and approaches for pursuing, winning, and executing business is paramount. The future of NAMC lies in the enhancement of its Student Chapter Program as well as expanding our relationships with corporate partners to deliver the stated benefits of access, advocacy, and contractor readiness to our membership.

NAMC National 50th Anniversary video.

NAMC National 50th Anniversary: Sankofa


As a longtime Portland resident and co-founder of National Association of Minority Contractors of Oregon (NAMCO), former mayoral candidate and retail business owner James L. Posey has created a legacy of advocacy with lasting impact for minority contractors in Oregon. For more than 20 years, Posey used his experience in the trucking and asphalt paving business to voice strong support for fair practices for minority businesses within the construction industry.

After his U.S. Air Force service in Vietnam, Posey migrated to the Pacific Northwest and worked for the U.S Forestry Service in Washington State. After retiring in 1990, James looked back at his experience working with his grandfather, John Quincy Posey for the elder Posey’s garbage collection company, and started his own trucking company with a focus on the construction industry. That marked the beginning of his advocacy career in the Portland area.

The Legacy Emanuel Hospital Atrium was James’ first job, and he quickly learned that systemic racist practices put up a major barrier for independent minority truckers. Any violation could block truckers from getting the appropriate license to work independently and forced them to work with a surrogate. He conducted a study which found that while black truckers comprised less than one percent of Oregon’s truckers, they received 10 percent of the violations. The only and oldest African American trucking firm, Rock and Road (Alvin Hall) Construction, served as the surrogate for other African American truckers. Ultimately, lack of construction-related work led James to turn to the asphalt paving business.

As one of the co-founders of NAMCO, James’ advocacy expanded beyond his individual experience to other people of color. He realized that working collectively brings more power. Starting in 1996 NAMCO placed constant pressure on TriMet, joining a lawsuit to provide access to public construction projects. One of his proudest moments came when TriMet, now one of the leading supporters of minority contractors, awarded a large and substantive construction contract to an African American trucking consortium.

James considers himself more a survivor than an activist. His perseverance has earned respect and admiration from the next generation of his peers in the construction trade. Still, he says, much work remains to be done. 

(source: Prosper Portland)