Minority-owned business manages bond labor-compliance program

Editor’s note: This profile is part of an occasional series on minority or women-owned companies that do business with HISD. The district’s minimum M/WBE goal levels are 20 percent for all levels of purchasing and construction, and 25 percent for professional services. In the 2007 bond program, that commitment reached nearly 34 percent. In the 2012 program, the contracts awarded to date reflect a nearly 51 percent M/WBE commitment.

Headquarters: Houston

Number of employees: 3

Years in business: 3

Answering the questions: Darryl Samuels, Founder and CEO of D. Samuels & Associates, LLC

Q. What is the primary purpose of your business?

A. D. Samuels & Associates is a construction management firm that manages projects, builds subcontractor capacity and develops a workforce.

Q. What is your education and business background?

A. I have 20-plus years of construction and business consulting experience working with small and minority construction contractors and suppliers. Some of my accomplishments include coordinating the repair of 48 houses with City of Houston Emergency Repair Program funds. I have also coordinated million-dollar contracts, bonding and financing for Houston Minority Business Development Center, University of Texas Bonding & Technical Assistance Program, and M.D. Anderson HUB Advisory Services. I also served as the first executive director for the National Association of Minority Contractors-Greater Houston Chapter, building the organization to 130 active members at its peak. 

Q. Why did you start this particular business?

A. I fell in love with the construction management process. I like building, both the labor and the management sides of the industry. I helped countless small and minority businesses secure bonding, financing and construction contracts for years and decided to do it for myself. Construction is a contact business where relationships matter. Having spent years nurturing relationships with business owners and associations, it just seemed natural to make that transition from business consultant to contractor to construction management business owner, knowing that I had national, regional and local contacts in place. 

Q. What has been the biggest or most interesting challenge to overcome as a business owner?

A. Getting over the fear of the unknown. Understanding how processes work, accepting things as they are. Building trust with people, along with a large amount of patience, helps me over this hurdle. 

Q. Tell us about the contract you have been awarded to do business with HISD and what it entails?

A. My firm is responsible for operating the district’s 2012 Bond Labor Compliance Program. Our focus is to ensure construction workers are paid prevailing wages timely and classified correctly on bond-funded projects. 

Q. How did the district’s Business Assistance program help you before and after you were awarded a contract?

A. The business assistance team listened to my suggestions and actually implemented my recommendations before I was awarded a contract. They helped formulate my plan, introduced decision-makers, contacted me when applicable RFPs (Request for Proposals) were released, and followed up. After being awarded, the department has done an excellent job ensuring we have the proper resources in place for successful program implementation.     

Q. How do you feel about doing business with HISD, and how will your company make a difference for HISD?

A. We want to be a part of building the best schools in the city. Labor compliance ensures construction companies are constructing the best buildings money can buy, guaranteeing our children have a safe, productive learning environment. 

Q. What advice would you give M/WBE firms seeking to do business with HISD?

A.  Keep the faith, keep believing in your dreams, and work toward it.