Donor Spotlight: Osvaldo Barbosa

Osvaldo Barbosa is the President and Co-Founder of Progressive Electric. As the youngest of seven, Osvaldo lived in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury soon after his family moved from Cape Verde. Osvaldo credits his large family for his work ethic from his early start working summers and weekends with his brother-in-law, an electrician. A teen at the time, he gained valuable experience, and more importantly, he learned what it means to be reliable.

After graduating from Boston Latin School, Osvaldo attended Northeastern University and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. Osvaldo returned to work with his brother-in-law due to the limited jobs available after he graduated from college. He and one of his cousins worked with property management by day and construction jobs at night. When the recession hit and construction jobs slowed down, Osvaldo partnered with one of his cousins, and they started Progressive Electric.

Osvaldo shared with us the vital role of economic development corporations (EDCs) as community partners in the revitalization of neighborhoods.

Is there anything in particular that you’d want people to know about you or Progressive Electric that they might not be aware of or might be surprised to know?

We believe that being part of the community goes beyond contracts with organizations or companies and that our work also impacts the lives of the individuals and families served by our partners like Dorchester Bay.

How were you first involved with Dorchester Bay?

We built up a reputation of reliability through word of mouth, and a maintenance staff who needed help with electrical issues at one of the Dorchester Bay properties asked us for help. From that one job, our long-standing relationship with Dorchester Bay began.

What aspects of Dorchester Bay’s mission motivated you to go beyond a business partnership to directly support our work?

As we got to know Dorchester Bay over time, we saw how they produce results as an organization. They meet with partners, discuss the plans, then the plans come to fruition. We have worked on buildings which Dorchester Bay took over and watched the incredible transformation as a product of their skillful planning and dedication to produce results that improve the community. Dorchester Bay has done it so well over many years and continues to get stronger, which is good to see for an organization that is doing so much in Uphams Corner and surrounding neighborhoods in Dorchester.

Why are community development and organizations like Dorchester Bay an important resource to the communities they serve?

The work is real. Dorchester Bay makes an impact that is beyond what you read; you can see it. In a dense city with many conflicting interests, an organization like Dorchester Bay takes everyone’s viewpoints and considers it with their plans to provide better opportunities within the community.