Women-owned businesses are on the rise. According the the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.1 million firms are owned by women, and 1.0 million by minorities, and have shown an 8% growth rate between 2014 and 2019. Additionally, these businesses are growing two times faster on average than all businesses nationwide, representing 42% of all businesses in the United States.
ABC Greater Houston has resources available to Minority and Women-Owned Business owners through the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the LOGIC (Ladies Operating for Growth in Construction) Committee. Both groups provide education, community, networking, and mentorship opportunities for professionals in the construction industry. Read below for some ABC Greater Houston members for their perspective on owning a business or working for a woman-owned business in the construction industry.
Angela Sherman, S&S HVAC Equipment
“After graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1986, I have spent the last three decades in the HVAC industry working as a sales engineer at multiple rep firms and companies, including Honeywell and Carrier. I have worked in the construction industry in Houston since 1990 and seen it’s many ups-and-downs over the years. In 2007, I founded S&S HVAC Equipment, the leading commercial HVAC equipment and service provider in the Greater Houston area specializing in cooling towers and related equipment. As the owner and lead sales engineer, my focus for S&S is serving owners, mechanical consulting engineers, and mechanical contractors.
Over my time in this industry, I have seen it grow. One of the first places I applied for felt the industry was not ready for women ( mid 1980’s) but within months withdrew that statement. Like anything, some personalities, do better with some customers and business partners than others. Being a female is no different – some people in past years embrace what you have done and bring to the table – as an equal or just with a different viewpoint. But others don’t want to do business with you.
I have found that to be successful you need to realize when these are not good matches for any reason and “take the high road” by respecting their decision and finding another way to do business with them. Always remembering that no matter what the issue is – politics, religion, nationality, or being the wrong sex – it is not a bad reflection of you. This is just someone’s personal opinion, one that will hopefully continue to evolve over the years. Doing the best job you can, and always taking the high road, is the only path to true success. I feel that I have recognized this in my career and found a way to be very successful personally and own a company with a solid and well known/ respected reputation among our customers and competition.”
Tara Maria Amavi, TCA/The Compliance Alliance, L.P.
“It has been said that behind every strong woman is a story that gave her no other choice and I completely agree. In celebrating my 36th year owning a safety professionals firm serving the energy, construction, and manufacturing sectors, the journey has been challenging, rewarding, adventurous, humbling, a tragedy and a triumph, and a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. TCA/The Compliance Alliance L.P. is unique in its market. Serving industries that are male-dominated and which are in very high-risk operations, accounting for a majority of workplace fatalities, it would seem a woman-owned firm would be facing a steep, vertical rock climb to get a foothold. But my experience was completely contrary. I found the men in these industries responsive to my message, that I didn’t want safety that checked the boxes, I wanted safety that saved lives. I wanted an operation that really saw these men where they lived, understood their challenges, and became a team player in making a difference. The result? In collaboration with my clients, TCA developed award winning methodologies and we were embraced by industry. I ran into men who still opened doors, including doors to new opportunities and expanding market reach. If you are a woman wondering if you should start a business in a male-dominated world, my advice to you is YES…for me, that decision has yielded no regrets.”
Chandra Stroope, Haley-Greer
“I have been very fortunate to work for a Women-Owned specialty contractor the past 16 years. I met our owner, Letitia Haley Barker, at a local ABC Women’s Forum luncheon. I knew immediately after speaking with her I wanted to join Haley-Greer and work for her. She has encouraged my continued involvement in ABC both locally and nationally. She has been a trusted mentor, boss, and friend. She has shown me that being a female in this industry does not limit you in any way and to go after any goal I set for myself both professionally or personally.”
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members nationwide. Locally, ABC Greater Houston was founded in 1969, and today serves several hundred commercial and industrial contractors, suppliers and construction associates in the Greater Houston area. Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston represents the interests of merit shop contractors and its employees in the policy making process of the government, protects and enhances the free enterprise system within the construction industry, and provides educational, marketing, and informational programs for the benefit of members and their employees.