by Sheree Thomas

As National Women’s History month ends, I think it is appropriate to recognize all the organizations and staff members who help women business owners like me start and grow a business.  I have worked with and attended countless events hosted by organizations like the SBA, Allegheny County Department of MWDBE, Allegheny County Airport Authority, the Diverse Business Resource Center, University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Cheyney University, Chatham University, the URA, the City of Pittsburgh, GACO, WBENC and so many others.  As I sat down to list the resources available, I became overwhelmed by the assistance offered to businesses like SB Thomas & Associates.

Each of these organizations and their staff members provide training and resources that small businesses need to be successful.  My business, SB Thomas & Associates, is a woman-owned advisory construction management company in the Pittsburgh-area.  Our business segment is male dominated with many larger-sized, second, third, or even fourth generation firms that were started during a time when women were rarely thought of as business owners let alone business owners in the construction industry.  SB Thomas is proud to be first generation and we hope to inspire the next generation. 

Over recent years, there has been an increase in the number of women-owned businesses in the construction field and I feel much of this increase is due to the existence the Minority-, Women-, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) assistance organizations.  For SB Thomas, it would have been impossible to enter and be successful in the CM industry without these organizations.  Our certifications through PA Unified Certification Program and WBENC provide us with a competitive edge that opens doors for our firm in the CM industry; however, our mission is to provide a high-level of service so that our work, not our WBE certification, is the reason our clients return.

Over the last few years, SB Thomas has been able to grow and prosper as a direct result of the existence of the organizations that support MWDBE firms and the great work of their staff members who not only go above and beyond but who encourage and motivate us to be successful.  I am grateful for the help I have received and the people I have met along the way.  Thank you. e