J. Lynda Blake,
President & Founder, NARMAN Construction Inc.
BAY STATE BANNER: Boston, MA. November 7th, 2018
NARMAN Construction, a full-service general contractor based in Boston, was formed in 2005 by company president J. Lynda Blake.
Blake grew up moving from place to place, all over the U.S., as a child with military parents. She finally settled in Boston in 1990, after attending Fisher College for accounting and business management. “I wanted to be a CPA, that was the first thing on my list, but I ventured off to the business management side of things when I got into construction,” she says.
After years specializing in construction management and running her own general contracting business, Blake has come across certain roadblocks that many other minority construction businesses run into. “I’ve noticed we try to compete for the crumbs as minority businesses, instead of coming together and sharing the major projects by pooling our resources together,” she says. More
"As a black woman-owned business, growing the company in an industry dominated by men has not been without its challenges," says Blake. But she implemented certain business strategies in order to level the playing field for minorities like her.
Less than 1 percent of the $664 million Boston awarded last year for contracts for construction and professional goods and services went to minority- or women-owned businesses, according to data released Thursday that paint a dire picture of the city’s quest for more equity in taxpayer-funded contracts.
The tallies were the first annual figures released pursuant to an ordinance that requires quarterly reporting on discretionary contracts. The contracts involve such expenses as buying paper products, construction, and landscaping projects.
“This is something entirely within the city’s control, being able to direct where our taxpayers’ dollars are going, and then being able to squeeze everything out of those dollars in aligning them with our public policy goals,” said City Councilor Michelle Wu, who cosponsored the initiative, which passed in late 2017.
Celina Barrios-Millner, the director of equity and inclusion for the city’s Office of Economic Development, acknowledged during a council hearing on Thursday that the numbers were troubling. More
“I want to make sure the [millions] the city spends ends up in the hands of people of color, and women.” Said City Councilor Kim Janey