Sometimes life’s journeys can bring you home. For Leacia Brilliant, who learned about the highs and lows of the construction industry through her dad’s experience, getting her degree and working elsewhere clarified her options.
Eventually, Leacia found her way into the construction industry through a marketing and project management job with a site utility contractor. By the end of 2006, she and her dad decided to start their own company so they could have better control of their hours, their pay and project work. Brazos Builders (named after a Texas river near their ancestral roots) was born, starting with a business plan and part-time development until they could officially launch the company fulltime in 2007.
Their timing was tough with the oncoming recession, but Leacia navigated it successfully by marketing the firm as a traditional general contractor and subcontractor specializing in finish work. Starting with two employees to 18 today, and from $1,200 projects to over $1,000,000 now, Brazos Builders has developed an outstanding reputation in both roles which became their unique selling proposition. “We are now the go-to entity for big contractors looking for subs because of our flexibility,” said Leacia. “It gets us a lot of repeat business, especially after working on large projects like the VA hospital.”
During the company’s growth, Leacia needed flexible funding to refinance business debt and provide cash flow when project payments were delayed. As a new business in a boom and bust industry, she couldn’t get a bank loan. Through her boot camp training at Mi Casa Women’s Business Center, she was referred to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) where she received a loan and line of credit to meet the company’s needs.
“What I liked about CEF was its flexibility to think outside the box, to give Brazos the ability to grow and expand,” recalls Leacia. “We didn’t get an automatic ‘no.’ CEF figured it out.”
Now celebrating Brazos’ 10th anniversary, Leacia and her dad are still growing the company by focusing on smart growth. This involves being more selective about the projects they pursue, like bidding on federal contracts as a woman-owned business, and those with ADA requirements. “We do quality work for a fair price and have a phenomenal workers comp safety record,” Leacia remarked. “As long as we learn something new each day, we’ll be in business for the long haul.”