D2D Buyer Ready Business: KC Consulting, LLC – Ken Brandon, Managing Member

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KC Consulting, LLC (KCC) is a minority-owned accounting, finance and advisory services firm located in Detroit, Michigan. The company specializes in audit readiness, accounting and finance operations, advisory services and financial systems implementation. KC Consulting also serves as a contracted Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to some of its clients. KC Consulting Managing Member, Ken Brandon, and several of the firm’s associates have experience in the consulting business in both the private and public sectors here in Detroit.

What are some of the current clients you are working with in Detroit? Notable projects?

KC Consulting serves several Detroit-based clients. We provide consulting services to one of the City of Detroit’s departments assisting its accounting staff throughout the year, and we play a significant audit readiness role at fiscal year end. We also work with Detroit Public Schools, providing accounting staffing that is specific to federal and state grants. The firm serves in a contracted CFO capacity for a non-profit entity within the metropolitan Detroit area. Lastly, for Georgetown Utilities we provide operational review and consultative services on an as-needed basis for this private sector entity.

 

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

Personally, I spent most of my professional career in the Detroit area. Having worked for and provided services to many entities in the area, the decision naturally evolved. As an employee of J. L. Hudson Company, Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and other firms working in Downtown Detroit, I chose to become a part of the fabric of this great City. Detroit is such an exciting place to have a business because there is so much going on here. Over the years I have seen the ups and downs, and now that the rebirth of the city is here it’s exciting to be a part of it; not just in Downtown, but the neighborhoods as well.

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

KC Consulting wants to provide services that make a difference with our Detroit clients; we want them to perform well financially and be a part of the city’s rebirth. Our success comes from assisting businesses to grow and receive the funds they need. My experienced team’s focus is to provide quality services to businesses all throughout the city and beyond, in the private and public sectors.

Do you participate in D2D? What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit as customers or suppliers?

KC Consulting participates in the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation D2D program – it’s very helpful. D2D allows us to have multiple opportunities to interact with other businesses. Frankly, it’s inspiring and it allows us, and all the other participating organizations, to learn, grow and challenge each other. We participated in one of the D2D professional development events that taught smaller businesses (like mine) to think big and be strategic; this has been very beneficial for my business.

We are currently working toward a model where we collaborate with other Detroit businesses on a regular basis.

Kenyetta Bridges

Business Development Manager

Buyer Ready Business Profile: US Construction Restoration and Development Concept Group – Al Foster, CEO

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US Construction Restoration and Development Concept Group is a family-owned business specializing in restoration, including fire repair, and environmental and hazmat consulting. The company was founded in 1940 in Alabama and is currently headquartered in Detroit. US Construction is also classified as a US Government Federal Inspector company. The organization’s culture is deeply rooted in education, training, mentoring and giving back to the city of Detroit.

We talked to company CEO, Al Foster.

What are some of your notable projects?

We really loved doing some projects around the city for Motor City Blight Busters; it’s so great to have a positive impact on the city. Another notable project we were involved in was Evergreen Estates, which included 400-500 units. We’ve also really enjoyed being city and government contractors on various projects throughout Detroit.

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

Right now US Construction is doing a lot of education, training and mentoring in the city. We mentor veterans, returning citizens and youth. We provide skilled construction training in addition to soft skill mentoring that people may need assistance with. We go above and beyond by giving people the right tools to obtain a GED, get a job and much more.

Our end-goal is to create jobs here in the city of Detroit. We pride ourselves in collaborating with other Detroit-based businesses to make this happen.

What is the US Construction culture all about?

For some background, I was born and raised here in Detroit. I currently sit on about a dozen boards throughout the city from the M-1 Rail committee to task force boards for veterans and returning citizens, among others. This makes me, and my company very committed to improving the community in any way we can, and our company culture reflects that dedication.

Brian Watkins

Business Development Manager

Buyer Ready Business Profile: Kenji Lemon, One Stop Property Maintenance

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One Stop Property Maintenance LLC is a Detroit-based, commercial facility maintenance company that provides turf maintenance, snow removal, pressure washing and lot striping. The vast majority of its work is in the city of Detroit, and it also provides services to companies in the tri-county area. Kenji Lemon founded the company eight years ago, and agreed to talk to us about his success.

Tell us how you used D2D and what the program means to you.

We used the D2D Buyer Honor Roll to target our marketing efforts. Our philosophy is that companies that are strong advocates for the city are compatible with our mission to hire local wherever possible. D2D is one more way to gain exposure to Detroit decision makers. We’re also a member of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, a certified minority vendor and on the Pure Michigan list.

Would you give examples of some of the companies you are working with?

We currently do power washing for Henry Ford Health System and Wayne State University. We provide all of our services to CVS Caremark, and we provide power washing and lot striping for PNC Bank.

What has landing a contract with a major buyer meant to your organization?

It has provided stability, the ability to grow to meet the needs of larger clients and exposure to other large clients.

Have you experienced an increase in business scale?

Yes, we’ve added four employees over the last two years due to the increase in business from our customers, and we’re looking for even more for next year. Our revenues have increased at least 30% over the last two years.

Where do you see your company in five years?

We’ll be expanding into new services, including pesticide applications, window cleaning, lot sweeping and of course, we’ll be adding staff to manage these new services.

Tiffini Smith
Director of Corporate Communications

 

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, D2D Program Increases $200 million in Detroit-based Spend by Key Purchasers

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What does $200 million buy? Plenty. And that’s why it is significant that in an annual survey by DEGC’s D2D Business program, a key set of purchasing organizations reported they purchased $200 million more this year than last from other Detroit-based companies. The increase represents a 31 percent increase, demonstrating D2D’s success in connecting buyers and suppliers in the city of Detroit.

The scale of the increase shows how deeply committed major Detroit purchasers are to look for quality suppliers here in Detroit. It also demonstrates that Detroit-based suppliers have a lot to offer — not just to other Detroit companies, but customers everywhere.

David O. Egner, Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative said, “One of the best tools we have for growing the economy is the purchasing power we have right here in Detroit. We’re thrilled to support D2D as they not only help employ that purchasing power, but ready the small businesses community to better take advantage of it.”

The D2D program provides services and opportunities to grow the relationships among Detroit-based businesses, including a business-to-business database, supplier workshops and other programs. When buyers and suppliers located in Detroit work together it’s a win for everyone including the city itself. Here are a few examples:

Buyer & Supplier: Detroit Lions/Ford Field & Motor City Propane

Bob Gardner, senior director of facility management, Ford Field said, “Motor City Propane is a company that is ‘homegrown’ in the city of Detroit and they always come through for us. We can always depend on them, particularly when we have large concerts and events. Our philosophy is to give back to the city of Detroit and use resources that are community/city-based. Motor City Propane inquired what we were doing with the community, and we referred them to D2D so that they can use Detroit resources and be a resource to other businesses in the city as well.”

Otis Starghill, CEO and president, Motor City Propane said, “We have been servicing Ford Field since they built the facility. We were involved with their construction phase, supplying their temporary heat and cement drying. Currently we supply gas for their lifting trucks and their vehicles that run on propane for their concerts and shows. We’ve had a great ongoing relationship and we’re thankful that they referred us to the D2D program. D2D has really come to the table with a strategy to help grow small businesses in Detroit.”

Buyer & Supplier: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan & Hanna-Neumann/Smith

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has had a relationship with the architectural firm Neumann/Smith Architecture for a number of years. In 2013, Neumann/Smith Architecture entered into a partnership with Hannah & Associates Inc., an architectural firm that is a minority and female-owned business operated by Beverly Hannah Jones, AIA. The new partnership is called Hannah-Neumann/Smith, and has offices in downtown Detroit.

BCBSM hired Hannah-Neumann/Smith to perform architectural services on a building located on its downtown Detroit campus. “Hiring Hannah-Neumann/Smith supports our core belief in supporting minority and female-owned businesses,” said Tricia Keith, BCBSM senior vice president, corporate secretary and services. “Hannah-Neumann/Smith has become a valued business partner and resource in developing our space requirements with a sense of urgency as well as innovation.”

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