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Taking on a new construction project is a big deal.
Thank goodness you found us.


  • We believe that detail in service and relationships matter. We strive to provide our clients with a finish product that surpasses their expectations in value, quality, and service.
  • We have earned the trust and loyalty of our clients by never losing sight of our clients needs and ultimate goals, starting from project conception; thru project completion.
  • We extend and share to our clients our entire true and tested network of public/private resources and relationships available to us to simplify, assist, and overcome obstacles that often face our clients.
  • We love collaboration! Our strength is our ability to understand our clients building needs and build team collaborations so that the project sets itself on the right track from the onset.
  • As such, BLACKWOOD GROUP will not put its name on a product that it cannot be proud of. As a result, our clients benefit from our intense attention to detail, our extensive construction and development experience, our focus on our relationships, and our passion to take pride in everything we create.


Jose A. Duarte, P.E., LEED AP – Principal

Jose is the founding partner of Blackwood Group LLC. As a lifelong Chicagoan, earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, a Master of Science of Project Management from Northwestern University, and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois.
He has over twenty-three years’ experience in engineering, program management, and construction management. Jose’s technical background, along with his hands-on management expertise provides his clients with precise guidance throughout the development and construction process.
Jose’s professional and public interests include serving as:
• City of Chicago Building Department – Board of Appeals 2015 – Present
• HACIA Board Member 2013 – Present
• Co-Chair – Scholarship Foundation of Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA)
• Board Vice President – Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) 2013-2016
• Board Treasurer 2012-2013 – Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA)
• LEED Accredited Professional from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

Rafael Hernandez – Principal

Mr. Hernandez is a strategic partner, committed to his clients’ success. He has over 30 years’ experience in construction / program management as a project executive for large, successful infrastructure and capital programs. He served as Executive Director of HACIA and Commissioner of the Department of Construction and Permits with the City of Chicago. Mr. Hernandez holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Illinois – Chicago, and a Certificate in Executive Management for Design and Construction from Northwestern University. His past experience includes:
• The Resurrection Project/La Casa Student Housing, Chicago, Illinois
Affordable, 6-story, 27,000 sf student housing project with separate 5,000 sf, single-story Student Resource Center. Winner of the 2012 Driehaus Award for Design Excellence; 2012 HACIA Project of the Year.
• The Resurrection Project/Neighborhood Stabilization Project, Chicago, Illinois
41 Units of Affordable Housing in the Back of The Yards Neighborhood consisting of rehabilitation and new construction. 2014 Driehaus Outstanding Non-for-Profit Real Estate Project
• The Resurrection Project/Immigration Center, Chicago, Illinois
2500 SF interior renovation and buildout of TRP’s Immigration Services Office.
• St. Anthony Hospital Little Village Clinic, Chicago, Illinois
Phased renovation of operating outpatient clinic with dialysis, radiology, dental, rehab, and occupational health services. 2013 HACIA Project of the Year.
• UNO Veterans Memorial School Campus, Chicago, Illinois
LEED-Gold, award-winning design/build charter school campus with two elementary schools and one high school. $44 million. 2010 HACIA Project of the Year

Jorge Hernandez – Director of Site Operations
Jorge has a strong depth of field experience in his 20 plus years in construction as both a tradesman, and as past owner of his own concrete construction company. As a member of Blackwood, he has lead field operations for both renovations and new construction projects.
Jorge is involved in every aspect of field operations and on-site labor management. His ongoing commitment to excellence ensures that Blackwood’s end product is always a priority. Jorge is naturally commitment to customer service that always lends itself to great relationships with our clients, employees, suppliers, tradesmen, and tradeswomen.

Ana Torres, MSc, BSc – Project Manager
Ana holds a bachelor degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Navarra in Spain and a Master of Science in Project and Enterprise Management from University College London in the United Kingdom. She has previous construction and project management internship experience in Guatemala, United States and UK. These experiences have allowed her to obtain a vast knowledge on a variety of construction methods and processes, great communication skills with both English and Spanish speakers and outstanding project management and organizational skills. Her dedication and passion for construction make her a great team member during all stages of projects.


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