Monica Starks started her business in Detroit doing lead abatement, and has grown GS Group LLC since then to be the parent company of three businesses: Green Solutions Environmental Services, Myleadingtraining.com and Star Construction & Development. Among them, the three firms provide lead-related and other environmental and construction services and certified training in lead abatement.
What made you decide to have your headquarters in Detroit?
Personally, I’m from Chicago, which is a very hard market to break into for small businesses. Detroit always interested me because it’s a city that has so much growth; I’m thrilled to have our headquarters here. We purchased an office building, now known as CDG Preferred Properties in the city. We love being in Detroit.
How does having your headquarters in Detroit add to your success?
It’s been great to have a Detroit-based businesses doing work for and in Detroit. In fact, our largest client is the City of Detroit. We do a lot of environmental work for the Planning and Development Department – housing services division. We started out doing lead abatement, which was very gratifying to be able to ensure Detroit homes’ safety for residents. We also do work for the City’s planning and development team prior to demolitions regarding asbestos testing, in addition to the Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments. We take pride in making the community a better place and it certainly adds to our success.
What projects do you have going on that you are proud of?
Two of our bigger projects take place at the Letterkenny Army Depot and Fort Bragg. At the Letterkenny Army Depot so far we’ve completed lightning risk assessment. At Fort Bragg we’ve done asbestos surveys among other environmental testing.
How do you want to impact Detroit in the future?
Here at GS Group we really enjoy meeting the talent of our City through our training program, called Myleadtraining.com. It’s a pleasure providing training to those who are without work in a trade that can really change their life. Most go on to be successful at other companies after training, but on a few occasions we’ve hired some wonderful candidates.
What is your company culture?
For us, accuracy in reporting is very important. We truly value integrity and timeliness in getting projects completed on time, which comes from our construction background.
What do you find most exciting about the changing face of Detroit?
I used to walk along the Riverfront and look around the city and think ‘Detroit has such a rich history, this is a city that can’t go away’ – and it’s not going away. My GS Group partners C. Denise Griffith and Kathrine Davis and I feel that it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of Detroit’s resurgence.
What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit as customers or suppliers?
EKS Services, a Detroit-based company that we work with, participated in the D2D program with us. Our companies were selected as a member of the first D2D Capacity Building Cohort, and since the class the GS Group has experienced a significant amount of growth. This program allowed us to look at our company in a different manner and evaluate how we can increase our business by working with other Detroit businesses. As a result we’ve reached out to Rock Ventures and DTE to pursue partnerships.
When you can connect with another Detroit business, what benefits can that bring?
It’s great to work with other Detroit businesses because it creates a strong economic state. This allows us to have a strong foundation in knowing companies that offer services that differ from ours so we can collaborate and have a platform to benefit the city of Detroit.
Tiffini D. Smith