Beverly Bailey knows a thing or two about building things.
As a student at Riverside City College, she helped her boyfriend Scott hang patio covers on the weekends. When she turned 20, she bought and ran a small café in Chino, putting her entrepreneurial spirit to the test as she worked some of the longest days of her life. Then she earned her real estate license, making a living helping people build their dream homes.
She married Scott, and for the past 30 years they‘ve been building Stronghold Engineering, a company they started from their kitchen table that is now one of the top general contracting firms in Southern California.
A $1 million pledge to UC Riverside will help build a bright future for the university’s School of Business. The endowed gift will provide building maintenance funds for a new School of Business complex as part of a new campus hub for professional development and community engagement.
“The school is full of gratitude and we’re honored to be a friend and partner of Beverly Bailey,” said Yunzeng Wang, dean of the UCR School of Business. “Her recent expression of generosity through a $1 million commitment in support of the future business building is very exciting and will help build momentum in support of the new state-of-the-art facility.”
Bailey, whose father was in the Air Force, was born at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and moved every few years until her father retired at March Air Force Base and the Inland Empire became home.
The Baileys grew Stronghold Engineering from a home-based electrical contracting company to a full service design and construction firm that has completed more than $2.5 billion in construction projects and employs 185 people, all while raising their three children. The firm is ranked among the top 10 minority- and women-owned construction companies in the nation and was recognized by the Women’s Presidents’ Organization as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies.
Bailey’s success as president and CEO of Stronghold has garnered her top awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Inland Empire in 2000, the 2016 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, the 2020 American Heart Association Legendary Women of the Heart, 2020 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year Award and, most recently, the 2021 Construction Leader of the Year Award at the Women in Energy Leadership Summit.
As Stronghold grew, so did Bailey’s involvement with the community, including at UCR. She currently services as both a UCR Foundation trustee and chair for the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. She also served as a UC Riverside School of Business Executive Fellow, and along with Scott, established the Executive Fellows Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“The UCR Foundation is proud to have trustees like Beverly Bailey on our board,” said Brian Hawley, chair of the UCR Board of Trustees. “Her generosity of time and treasure to the School of Business is well known, and she is recognized as a philanthropic leader in our region. I’m pleased to see that this thoughtful gift will impact future generations of Highlanders.”
The family’s latest contribution, a $1 million estate gift, will help UCR realize its vision of creating a new space for academic growth, research, and economic development to flourish in the Inland Empire.
“We are taking a step of faith in believing that a new school will be built. We envision a state-of-the art facility that will feed the minds of potential hungry entrepreneurs and be a catalyst for relevant, local and international business education,” Bailey said. “The designation of this gift is to support the maintenance operations of the new school. Being in construction, I have seen facilities fall into disrepair because maintenance costs were never thought about or factored in.”
Bailey hopes the gift will inspire and others to support the business school and its students during this transformative time.
“We are very pleased to support UCR on its journey to becoming a world-class business school,” she said. “By investing locally we can see this come to fruition.”