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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 a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up in the Uptown neighborhood and the Portage Park neighborhood for most of his early life. Jose attended the Illinois Institute
of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in

Early in his career, Jose practiced both structural engineering and mechanical engineering as a design engineer.  In 1999, Jose became a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois. While working full time, Jose pursued his graduate studies and received Master of Science of Project Management from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University in two years.  Upon graduating in 2001, Jose pivoted from engineering to construction management as he subsequently worked as a project manager for a national project and construction management firm in downtown Chicago. Subsequently Jose worked for a Chicago developer from

2001 to 2007 managing midrise, mixed-use developments.

In 2007, Jose founded Blackwood Group LLC. Over the years, Blackwood has served hundreds of clients in the private sector space and has managed $90M+ since its

Jose served on the Board of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) as Executive Vice President, and now serves as Board Treasurer for We all Code, a non-for-profit organization providing free computer coding and programming classes to the inner-city youth of Chicago.


Rafael Hernandez – Principal

Mr. Hernandez is a strategic partner, committed to his clients’ success. He has extensive 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. Some Rafael’s past and upcoming projects include:

·       The Resurrection Project/La Casa Student Housing, Chicago, Illinois

·      UNO Veterans Memorial School Campus, Chicago, Illinois 

·       St. Anthony Clinic

·       United Yards – Invest Southwest Initiative

·       Lasalle Reimagined


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.



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