By Tonya McMurray
Incoming Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council board member Gregory L. Cody knows the value of the organization’s acclaimed HARD HAT Construction Expo. The president and CEO of GCC Enterprises Inc. credits HARD HAT with helping his company expand its commercial business.
“At one point, our contracts were 80 to 90% government business and now it’s probably about 40% government business,” Cody said. “HARD HAT assisted in that and gave us the opportunity to meet more commercial customers as well as people we could partner with.”
Cody and his wife, Carol Cody, launched a consulting firm in 1999 after leaving the military where both had served as officers. In 2002, the firm incorporated as GCC Enterprises Inc. and began building small residential projects.
Within a year, the couple joined forces with ThomCo Enterprises Inc., a Fort Walton Beach, Florida, construction firm the two had helped form with other veterans. Partnering with ThomCo Enterprises allowed GCC Enterprises to leverage the Codys’ military contacts to enter the government market.
Between 2004 and 2006, as multiple hurricanes ravaged the Gulf Coast, GCC Enterprises served as a Tier I contractor on multiple projects for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The firm was certified by the Small Business Administration as an 8(a) business, allowing it to secure Department of Defense and Department of Veteran Affairs projects in several states.
GCC Enterprises joined DFW MSDC and became a certified minority business enterprise, or MBE, soon after it incorporated. The council helped the firm grow, and the HARD HAT Expo provided a path for the company to expand its business to the commercial sector.
Through HARD HAT, DFW MSDC President and CEO Margo J. Posey and her team helped GCC Enterprises secure a mentor-
protégé relationship with one of Dallas’ largest construction firms. The initial work with that company involved various government projects throughout the country, but eventually the partnership led to commercial contracts as well, Cody said.
“The HARD HAT event gave us insight into the commercial sector here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” he said. “These relationships helped build capacity for our team to work with other firms and organizations in the DFW area.”
The company’s background in government projects was a significant advantage as it transitioned to commercial work, Cody said.
“If you can do government work, then it’s easy to do a lot of commercial work,” he said. “Government contracts are very stringent. That was a saving grace. People would say, ‘Wow, if you’ve got that much government experience, then we know you can do our work.’ You have to understand what your capabilities are and do the best job you can.
We did work with some of the larger firms and that helped increase our relationships.”
HARD HAT successes
Cody said HARD HAT continues to be good business for GCC Enterprises.
“It’s kind of like a family reunion at this point,” he said. “You see people you haven’t seen in a while. You can talk about upcoming projects. It’s an opportunity to strengthen relationships and find out what’s going on in the construction industry. It’s a chance to listen to opportunities, build relationships and increase your trade partner base.”
HARD HAT offers the opportunity not only to find new business projects, but also for the company to find subcontractors, Cody said.
“It works both up and down for us,” he said. “We get a chance to
talk to some of the larger contractors, but it’s also a time for some of the
smaller trade contractors to come by our table and get on our bid list. One of
the greatest values we see is the opportunity to meet new and upcoming
businesses that we can use as trade partners for our
Cody recommends construction firms come to HARD HAT expecting success.
“Participants should come to HARD HAT expecting to gain something important,” he said. “If you come to the event prepared and confident, you will walk away advancing your team — whether it’s through a new customer or a new opportunity.”
To learn more about GCC Enterprises, visit gccenterprise.com.
To learn more about DFW MSDC, visit dfwmsdc.com.
Gregory L. Cody HARD HAT Construction Expo GCC Enterprises Inc Carol Cody ThomCo Enterprises Inc Fort Walton Beach Florida Gulf Coast U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Small Business Administration DFW MSDC MBE Margo J. Posey Dallas’ largest construction firms Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council