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Demario (Dee) Gipson and Ed Kennedy Jr. both did a variety of construction jobs before starting their own company, Demo Dawgs Construction, in 2021.

Their accrued experience places them in a unique position as new business owners and NAMC-Oregon members.

Kennedy grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and initially came to Portland in 2008 to visit friends and skate. Like many, he ended up staying. Gipson is originally from Atlanta and moved to Portland about 10 years ago.

Gipson said he had a natural instinct for the construction field from having spent time working with his grandfather, who owned a successful construction business, Ennervision Enterprises, for decades. Realizing that his love of property development, construction and demolition was turning into a passion, Gipson realized that it was time to focus on his passion full-time.

Demo Dawgs primarily provides demolition services but also does fencing, small scale concrete work, and some hardscaping such as patio pavers. The pair said they have been fortunate to create a unique niche that is a vital part in re-imagining new spaces from existing footprints. Their long-term plan is to expand the services that Demo Dawgs offers into larger projects that emphasize an intimate construction experience.

“I like working in construction because it’s interactive, but I also enjoy running a business because of new challenges and investing time into something that be- longs to us,” Kennedy said.

Gipson said he appreciates being able to see clients excited about the outcome of Demo Dawgs’ work as well as the process of learning something new all the time. “Starting Demo Dawgs has been a dream that, while hard work, is fulfilling each day with every project,” he said.

Kennedy and Gipson said they have gained new perspective as business owners and advised other budding entrepreneurs to stay organized, have good communication, and always think about the big picture versus the short term. They also recommended maintaining positive energy and confidence in themselves and their partner or partners.

They encouraged small business owners to seek out the support and team building that comes with membership in NAMC-Oregon. “NAMC is a great re- source for our company and will help us grow and network with the community and other businesses,” Kennedy said.

“Great benefits come to those who work together, and I like that a lot,” Gipson added.