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Wenaha Group co-owner Rob Quaempts balances life, work, play

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Articles - October 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013


1013 LWP Downtime
Rob Quaempts, co-owner, Wenaha Group
// Photo by Adam Wickham

Rob Quaempts, 40, is the co-owner of Wenaha Group, a construction firm and certified Indian-owned business in Pendleton. Quaempts is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and formerly served as the public works director for the CTUIR. His tribal administration role gave him experience working with nontribal government agencies, which he now utilizes in his position at Wenaha Group. Even though the company is only 3 years old, Wenaha recently became the lead on a project with TriMet and will be providing project-management services for several small facility design and construction projects. The TriMet contract is unique in that the prime contractor and all subcontractors are 100% minority owned.

Family first

"I’m a dad. I have five children, ages 7, 14, 17, 19 and 21: two girls and three boys. We like to follow them around to all their sports. They play football, wrestling and kickball. Our oldest is in the Navy, stationed in Washington right now. My wife, Fenya, and I recently went on a vacation, just the two of us, to the Puget Sound to celebrate our first anniversary. We went crabbing and had a lot of fun just being together.”


“I enjoy hunting and fishing. I grew up helping my dad hunt and fish and learning from him. In 2010 my dad and I went to Northern Alberta on a moose hunt together. It was one of his bucket-list items, so who better to go with than his son? When I get a chance, I hunt all over Northeast Oregon for deer or elk; I’ve even hunted mountain goat. I like going fishing anywhere along the Columbia River.”

Native son

“I’ve been reading Fools Crow by author James Welch. He’s a distant relative of mine. I also enjoy reading books by Craig Lesley, an Eastern Oregon author. I consider myself kind of a history buff and like learning all that I can about our state, especially about Northeast Oregon. I love this state because of its diversity, from the beaches to the rain forests to the beauty of Eastern Oregon.”

Different folks

“What I like best about my job is the people and diversity. We have focused on a few items that have been a foundation for our core values. We do our very best to promote other small businesses with not only business diversity but also workforce diversity. We have been somewhat successful working with clients and businesses to really stretch the opportunities to support diversification.”

Local roots

“Coming from a rural part of the state and working with many clients that are from smaller communities, we recognize the importance of keeping as many of the resources of a project as local as possible. We understand the effects that a construction project can have on local gas stations, hotels and eateries, and we do our best to keep the funds where they started from.”


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