Washington – Journey Steel, a certified minority and women-owned construction company based in Cincinnati, was recognized at an award ceremony last Tuesday for its rapid growth and involvement in the community. It was ranked 19 in the top 100 Fastest-Growing Inner City Businesses by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and featured in Fortune Magazine’s Inner City 100.
Journey Steel’s story is one of perseverance, determination, unparalleled commitment to success in the face of adversity and giving back to the community. The President and co-founder of Journey Steel Barbara Smith’s journey wasn’t always easy as a woman in the construction industry. Despite being one of the more qualified engineering professionals in the industry with an excellent education and track record, Barbara was constantly overlooked for promotions and leadership opportunities. In the face of adversity, she embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and built her own steel erection construction company with her business partner Tom Garten. Today, Journey Steel is a thriving business and one of the fastest-growing inner city companies with a 386 percent five-year growth rate.
Journey Steel gives back to the community helping urban youth break the chain of chronic poverty. The company works with inner city community colleges and high schools to help underprivileged students realize their dreams. Journey Steel’s non-profit arm Journey Soaring Impact, launched a vocational program to train inner city youth for lucrative careers in the construction industry. The vocational program works in collaboration with the Iron Workers (IW) Local 44 in Cincinnati to introduce students to the ironworking trade. “Local 44 and the Iron Workers International have been instrumental in getting this program up and running,” said Vice President of Journey Steel Tom Garten. With a strong commitment to hiring underprivileged, Journey Steel’s vocational program invests 10 percent of all profits in community impact programs.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for our business success and work we do here in Cincinnati,” said Ms. Smith. “Challenges I faced along my own journey in the construction industry made giving back and making a positive impact in the community one of my passions. I wanted to be the agent of change that needs to happen.”
Journey Steel’s success story is a true testament to what perseverance and undying commitment to excellence can achieve. Journey Steel’s success is inspiring in an industry that seeks to recruit and retain talent every day. Staying true to its tagline, “we build and support dreams,” Journey Steel along with the Ironworkers lead the way, not just in construction excellence, but also in diversity and giving back to the community.