Tevin Wade grew up—as he puts it—“not having much.” He and his four siblings were raised by a single mother who worked in real estate, and the family moved around a lot, from north Baton Rouge to the Gardere, Fairfields and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods.
But he learned something from his mother’s driven and persistent work ethic that Wade says he would eventually pick up as he launched his own career.
Wade began working for Sun Electrical in 2008, and he received his electrical certification in 2011. He later became a project coordinator with ISC Constructors while also earning his associate degree in construction management from BRCC.
At 25 years old, Wade secured his state contractor’s license under his limited liability company, Core Electrical Contractors. He left ISC just after the August 2016 flood, when he was getting calls for residential work and decided it was time to go out on his own.
Since then, Core Electrical has grown, with a fluctuating staff of 10 to 15 employees, working both residential and commercial jobs around Baton Rouge. But Wade wants to move into industrial work and one day become a household name in the industry.
There are challenges, though, that come with being a young, African American man trying to make a name for himself in an industry dominated by well-established companies.
And the two biggest challenges go hand in hand: 1) Getting a foot in the door with general contractors for opportunities to work on big projects and 2) access to enough capital to handle those projects.
To combat the issues Wade faces, in early May, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and city officials at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber announced, along with nonprofit MetroMorphosis, the launch of a public-private partnership to assist women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses with contracting opportunities.
Wade spoke at the press conference as one of the minority-owned companies that will participate. The partnership, he said, could help businesses like his bridge the gap with larger contractors and build relationships.
“This helps us scale our business,” Wade told the small crowd, “and when it helps us scale, it helps us hire people from the community where I’m from.”
Read the full Business Report feature about Wade, and the public-private partnership.