Black-owned businesses grow with RTD

Black-owned Contracting Services, banner

This Black History Month, we highlight how Black-owned businesses have thrived with RTD. 

One of the benefits of FasTracks, besides connecting a growing region, is contributing tremendously to the growth and business development of many small/minority/disadvantaged/women-owned businesses. Through FasTracks, RTD, in partnership with these businesses, community organizations, chambers of commerce as well as prime contractors, collaborated and successfully contributed to economic development of this region. The RTD Small Business Office within the Civil Rights Division created opportunities through its comprehensive DBE/SBE compliance monitoring programs, outreach/networking and public participation process, training, mentoring, technical assistance and many other successful and innovative initiatives.  

Small/minority/disadvantaged/women-owned businesses got meaningful work and many grew as a result of working on FasTracks projects. We will be featuring three minority business leaders and their businesses that worked on RTD’s FasTracks projects and had remarkable growth: Lachelle Harris Coffey, principal, LaChelle Coffey, LLC – Land Acquisition Services; Mowa Haile, president of Sky Blue Builders; and Marvin Thomas, CEO of Triunity Engineering & Management. 

 

LaChelle Coffey, LaChelle Coffey, LLC 

How did your business get started? 
I've worked in the right-of-way and land acquisition industry for over 20 years. After successfully completing work for RTD's Real Property Management group on the FasTracks project, I ventured out and started my own business. RTD has been instrumental in supporting me as a small business and as the immediate past president of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) organization. 
 
Tell me about your business’ relationship with RTD? 
I have contracted as an employee associated with other firms with RTD's Real Property Management team. In addition, I have worked with the Civil Rights team during my tenure as president of COMTO. RTD Civil Rights Senior Manager Zamy Silva, RTD Small Business Office Manager Alexis Serrano and RTD Civil Rights Outreach Specialist Vivian Morales of the Civil Rights Office have demonstrated great support for the small businesses in our communities. They go above and beyond what is required in their roles at RTD to personally connect with my small business and other small businesses in the community. 
 
How has this relationship helped you grow your business? 
My relationship with RTD has given my business great exposure in the community by granting me a platform as one of the few people of color in the right-of-way industry. Right of way is a very unique niche and my experience as a project manager developed me and gave me the confidence to start my own business. I continue to gain support within the organization to include a recently developed relationship and opportunities with RTD's Transit Oriented Development group. 

 

Mowa Haile, Sky Blue Builders 

How did your business get started? 
With our 13 years of savings from working in Corporate America, perseverance and passion for success! We started the business in 2007 in residential construction. As we entered the Great Recession, we transitioned our business to commercial construction in 2009. The first few years, like any startup, were rocky as we were building our systems, process and people.  

Tell me about your business’ relationship with RTD? 
We started working for RTD in 2013 with an SBE on-call contract. We also worked on the I-225 Light Rail Expansion under Kiewit and built six of the eight stations and Southeast Rail Extension under Balfour Beatty and built the three stations.  It’s been a great long-term relationship with RTD! 

How has this relationship helped you grow your business? 
Our 2013 five-year on-call contract with RTD was instrumental to our growth and capacity building. RTD gave us the opportunity to do larger projects without having to provide bonds through the Subcontractors Performance Self-Insured Program insurance program. If we would have had to provide bonds, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do larger projects that not only built our capacity and capability, but eventually helped us get the financial wherewithal to get bonding. RTD’s small business program was instrumental to our growth.    

 

Marvin Thomas, Triunity Engineering & Management 

How did your business get started?
Triunity is an infrastructure engineering and program management/construction management firm specializing in systems for rail, highway and aviation. My brother, Jonnie and I started Triunity in December 2003. At the time, Jonnie was working the RTD TREX project. We had formulated a business strategy and thought if we did not have work in three months, we’d move on to other things. Jonnie had a contract in January and I had one in February.    

Tell me about your business’ relationship with RTD?
In our 17-year history, we have never been without an RTD contract. We have grown up with RTD and developed a strong business relationship. We have had a variety of contracts with RTD in prime and subcontractor roles to include T-REX, FasTracks, Construction Management Support Services and even prime IT contracts.  

How has this relationship helped you grow your business?
We learned as a subcontractor at RTD. Our first prime contract was with RTD where we learned. We have been able to replicate the lessons we learned working RTD projects to projects across the nation.