|Barbara became one of the youngest female train operators for Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) at a time when men completely dominated the field. “I developed an affinity for transportation, interacting with people, providing quality service, and working confidently with male colleagues,” she explains. She later started her own business as a celebrity make-up artist for the film industry in Los Angeles. “I’ve gained considerable professional acumen through running my own business, learning to identify and address the individual needs of a variety of clients, and discovering what it takes to stand out from the crowd and shine in Los Angeles’ competitive environment.”
In 2016, Barbara moved back to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, with Arnold joining her last year, and the two decided to combine their respective professional skills and experience in launching their own business. “We were very much encouraged by the proactive outreach and support for small businesses being spearheaded by a number of entities in Los Angeles, like the Women’s Business Center” remarks Barbara.
By pounding the pavement and knocking on doors to find resources and opportunities, fine-tuning their business administration skills, getting certified by LA Metro as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE), and continuing to network, Barbara and Arnold were positioning themselves for success. “We made cold calls, enrolled in classes and events offered by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services, METRO, LAWA, and Primes, networked with and handed out business cards to people at every event,” points out Barbara,
Barbara and Arnold’s golden opportunity came when Swinerton Construction emailed Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services asking for a referral to any professional street sweepers, indicating that they had a project for which no surety bond would be required. Since Barbold Enterprises had already been participating in the Contractor Development Assistance Program, Barbara and Arnold were immediately put in contact with Swinerton Construction, submitted a bid shortly thereafter, and were awarded their first public works subcontract, for $250,000, with Swinerton Construction. Barbara and Arnold attribute the swift progress they’ve made since launching their company to their ongoing networking, taking the time to learn about their clients’ needs, challenges and concerns, and the wellspring of support and mentorship they’ve received from the Los Angeles construction and public sector community. We are excited that Barbara will be part of the agenda for the event, with her expertise she can bring out from the bankers attending how to support small businesses in their journey to certification and doing business with the government.