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Maryland Women's Heritage Center

Journey Steel by Barb Smith

Washington - Journey Steel, a certified minority and womenowned construction company based in Cincinnati ranked 21 in the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City's (ICIC) Top 100 Fastest- Growing Inner City Businesses.

Journey Steel's story is one of perseverance, determination and giving back to the community. President of Journey Steel Barb Smith embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and established the self-performing steel fabrication and erection company with longtime friend Tom Garten after a tough journey as a woman in the construction industry. Journey Steel is one of the fastest-growing inner city companies with a 511 percent growth rate in the past five years.

Journey Steel gives back to the community by helping urban youth break the chain of chronic poverty. The company works with inner city community colleges and high schools to help underprivileged students realize their dreams. Journey Steel's non-profit arm Journey Soaring Impact, launched a vocational program to train "at-risk" inner city youth for lucrative careers in the construction industry. The vocational program works in collaboration with the Iron Workers (IW) Local 44 in Cincinnati to introduce students to the ironworking trade. Journey Steel's vocational program invests 10 percent of all profits in community impact programs.

"The bottom line is important but doing what you can to change the world for the better is also important," said Tom. Recently, the company introduced its first female program graduate, Kamara Cobd to the 4-year apprenticeship program at the IW Local 44. Kamara aspires to start her own construction company someday in the future and she consideres Barbara her mentor.

"Challenges I faced along the way in the construction industry made giving back and making a positive impact in the community my passion," said Barb. "I wanted to be that agent of positive change,"

True to its tagline "we build and support dreams," Journey Steel continues to give back. The company is in the process of building a partnership with a DC-based foundation helping low-income families become homeowners to its vocational program.

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Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) is a partnership designed to identify and expand work opportunities for ironworkers and their employers. IMPACT offers its ironworker members and partner contractors a wide range of training and resources to maintain their competitive edge in the industry.

Barb Smith

Better Business Bureau - A rating

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