CEO Spotlight: George Karmo – Tucker, Young, Jackson, Tull, Inc.

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Tucker, Young, Jackson, Tull, Inc. (TYJT) is a consulting engineering business with a staff of about 60 people who provide comprehensive environmental and civil engineering services in four practice areas: water, wastewater, infrastructure and environmental compliance. TYJT was founded in Detroit in 1984 and is headquartered in the Ford Building downtown, with additional offices in Baltimore and Cleveland. George Y. Karmo, P.E., has been with TYJT for 20 years and has served as its president for 10 years.

Tell me about your work in the city of Detroit

I think we’ve worked with just about every department in the city of Detroit. We’ve handled civil and electrical engineering work on the RiverWalk, and streetscapes in Greektown and along Woodward. We’ve also done engineering design for water main replacements, water leak detection and audits, and water and wastewater treatment plant design for the Detroit Water Department. And we’ve done ADA ramp design and traffic signal control work.

Describe your most recent projects

Over the last couple of years, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with Kimely-Horn, a national aviation firm, on runway construction at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. We’ve done a lot of utilities work at the airport, but we didn’t have experience in runway construction. It was an opportunity for us to be mentored and trained by Kimley-Horn to perform design work and get experience in runway construction.

Recently, we’ve met with members of DEGC and MEDC on a storm water management project. We’re working to find solutions to reduce the discharge of storm water from areas where businesses operate, thus saving them money and in the process reducing the burden on the Detroit sewer system.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit?

We want to come up with solutions for businesses that will enable them to stay and grow in the city of Detroit, just as we’ve been able to grow here.

Detroit Future City Unveils 2014 Priorities

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Detroit Future City (DFC) is an organization helping to revitalize the city of Detroit by implementing innovative ideas from the framework for redevelopment it published last year. Since then DEGC has assisted DFC in the hiring of urban planners and other staffers to help its efforts. When former Mayor and City Council Member Ken Cockrel Jr. started in January 2014 as executive director, it was a great addition to the DFC team.

“Working with our partners in the community over the last 10 months, we have been able to identify five key priorities from the DFC Strategic Framework,” says Cockrel. “The areas of focus we have selected are critical to the long-term viability of our city and must be addressed first.”

On February 20 DFC announced those five key priorities for 2014.

1. Economic Growth Priority – Employing more Detroiters
2. Land Use Priority – Fulfilling regulatory reform
3. City Systems Priority – Renewing systems strategically and with innovative ideas
4. Neighborhoods Priority – Stabilizing neighborhoods
5. Land and Building Assets – Transforming vacant land into an innovative open space networks

Read DFC’s full release about its priorities on the website www.detroitfuturecity.com.
DFC made its announcement from its new permanent address at 2900 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 2. Be on the lookout this year for more news from DFC as it continues to launch projects aligned with those five priorities.

Malik Goodwin
VP Project Management

Jobs and the Downtown Events Center District

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One of the primary missions of DEGC is the creation of jobs for Detroit residents, so it naturally is an important consideration in the development of a transformational events center district in Downtown Detroit.

In the concession management agreement (CMA) Detroit Economic Growth Corporation negotiated on behalf of the Downtown Development Authority, Olympia Development agreed to hire Detroit residents as 51% of its construction workforce. That translates to more than 4,000 Detroit jobs as the event center is being built. Olympia also agreed to significant efforts to hire locally to operate the center. For instance, it will “maximize opportunities” to hire Detroit residents and Detroit-based businesses as suppliers. Olympia pledged to provide development and training opportunities and use local Detroit-based workforce training programs for referrals or targeted hiring. And finally, Olympia agreed to review its efforts in these areas with the DDA.

By a majority vote of elected officials, the Detroit City Council decided that those and other community benefit commitments that Olympia Development did make were sufficient, and that the City had adequate measures in place to enforce them. In a good collaboration all parties make concessions to get the deal done, and now it is done.

Furthermore, the jobs created by the event center are important, but are only a portion of the benefits of the total transformation that the Council has approved. As the $200 million of private development proceeds around the center, it will bring in more construction, businesses, and residents in a thriving community that will generate many more opportunities for Detroiters as well. That’s a good trade for $2.9 million in land that is the only asset the City of Detroit had to commit to this deal.

Our negotiations delivered the essentials for a project that will transform Downtown, generate jobs and tax revenues that will benefit the entire city, and make Detroit a must-see destination for fans of sports and entertainment. And we did it by meeting every requirement of the law and the highest ethical standards.

George W. Jackson, Jr.
President and CEO

Contractor Spotlight: Lorenzo Walker- 3.L.K. Construction

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3.L.K. Construction was founded in Detroit, Michigan 16 years ago by the company’s president and sole owner, Lorenzo Walker. The company provides commercial general contracting, construction management and self-performs painting and carpentry services. Currently, 3.L.K. Construction has 20 employees whose responsibilities vary from primarily office functions to field operations. Through the pursuit of various projects, 3.L.K. Construction has established its presence throughout the state of Michigan and the Midwestern United States. It is committed to helping their customers in a holistic fashion and rendering a multitude of services through the creative use of its resources. As a result, 3.L.K. Construction has been able to create a singular focus for its customers.

What are some of the current projects you are working on in Detroit?

We recently finished the interior renovation/expansion of the M1 Office building for Bedrock Real Estate Services. Many of our projects spanning the last three years have been let by government entities. Much of this work included tenant-in-place capital improvements and renovations. Our endeavors have enhanced the functionality of our customers’ workspaces and contributed to job creation at various locations. Our previous clients include several federal government entities, Detroit Public Schools, Detroit Building Authority, City of Detroit, Chrysler Corporation, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center, Greektown Casino and Hotel, and MGM Grand Casino and Hotel. Fortunately, we have been afforded an opportunity to work on various projects throughout the city for a multitude of customers.

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

I am proud to be a native Detroiter! I chose Detroit as the headquarters because I have always been optimistic about the greatness that is destined for the city. There have obviously been some very difficult times in recent years, but I am committed to contributing to its resurgence. I believe the worst is over and our past experiences and resilience can contribute to the rebirth of this town.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?

Our long term goal is to leave a permanent mark on the redevelopment of Detroit through our personal projects and partnerships developed in our business undertakings. Through these undertakings, I believe the youth in the city of Detroit can be provided new opportunities. I believe through collaborative efforts, contractors can create a new set of possibilities that haven’t been available to young Detroiters in the past. Ultimately, I would like to see positive changes continue and increase exponentially in the city of Detroit.

What is the 3.L.K. culture all about?

The culture at 3.L.K. Construction is driven by managerial modesty with a focus on company teamwork. We strive to hire employees who have high moral and ethical standards, demonstrate loyalty, possess leadership qualities and exude positive attitudes. In order to ensure everyone’s voice is heard, we conduct regular feedback/brainstorming sessions to assess employee and customer perception. We embrace an open door policy! Our leaders are readily available to anyone with comments, concerns or questions, employees and customers alike. We are committed to working with any customer or contractor, large and small, if the betterment of the community is held as a consensual goal. We understand our commitment to excellence has contributed to our prior successes and our core values will continue to drive our future projects.

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager

Belle Isle Park is the new place for business

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Belle Isle Park is generating a lot of interest these days and most recently, more than 225 people representing 100 companies – including 66 headquartered in the city of Detroit – turned out to learn how to become a Belle Isle Park contractor.

The free half-day seminar, “Selling to the State Parks and the State of Michigan,” was held February 21 at the Belle Isle Casino and sponsored by The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in partnership with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the D2D program of DEGC.

Speakers from the state organizations explained how businesses bid on construction and capital outlay contracts; the ins and outs of Request for Proposal (RFP) documents; and how contracts are written to authorize private business operations on state land.

“The seminar was very effective in giving business owners an in-depth look at the opportunities to do business with the new management of Belle Isle, and the new processes they’ll need to follow,” said Richard King, region director, Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He plans to share the seminar information with SBDC clients.

“The good thing is, everything that is required for Belle Isle is required for all state parks, so Detroit business owners will have prospects well beyond just Belle Isle,” King added.

Attendees were able to network and meet the new Belle Isle staff, as well as learn what new projects are forthcoming to improve the infrastructure and overall visitor experience on the island.

On March 18th and 25th, D2D will host its two-day “Supplier Capacity Building Series” of interactive trainings for Detroit-based construction firms looking to grow their business. Participants will learn the concepts and skills they’ll need to meet increased procurement demands and win contracts. For more information, visit http://d2dbusiness.org/supplier-development-calendar/

Brian Watkins
Business Development Manager