M/WBE Spotlight: Strum Contracting Co.
Image source: Strum Contracting Company website
Teaera and Dee Dee Strum, CEO and Special Projects Manager, respectively, are two leaders at Strum Contracting Company Inc (SCC). SCC is a Baltimore-based welding and fabrication construction firm, so you might not immediately see the connections between SCC and Karp Strategies, beyond both working in the offshore wind industry. But dig a bit deeper, and you’ll learn that Dee Dee Strum previously had a career as an entrepreneur committed to housing and community development. This calling has clearly shaped SCC’s ethos. Dig even further and you’ll realize–this is more than just a small welding business—this is a family committed to finding opportunities to grow as a business and give back to their community in the process.
James E. Strum founded Strum Contracting Company Inc (SCC) in 1987. He completed a four-year sheet metal apprenticeship program and started as the sole proprietor. By the early 2000s, he had hired a handful of employees and completed a range of projects, from excavation support to bridge remediation. In 2013, Teaera Strum, James’s daughter, joined the firm as co-CEO. Teaera had recently completed an MBA and was eager to use her degree to help grow her father’s business. Bolstered by her father’s name and strong reputation, as well as her aunt Dee Dee’s business prowess, Teaera grew the business to about 35 employees and a 12,000 square foot facility.
Teaera’s persistence and curiosity led SCC to pursue work in the offshore wind (OSW) industry. Moving back to the Baltimore-Washington area after her Master’s degree, Teaera stayed abreast of public policy, read the news daily, and took an active role as a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women–an organization focused on public policy. When a friend at another Black-owned welding company brought up proposed offshore wind legislation back in 2014, Teaera knew this was an opportunity for SCC. She immediately emailed Dee Dee summaries of the bill, researched how the industry would help employ people and support the state’s economy, and even provided an oral testimony supporting Maryland moving forward with OSW opportunities.
What has SCC’s success looked like so far? Providing careers and growth opportunities for their employees. The federal government often discusses the importance of certificate programs and the trades to re-energize the middle class; SCC is doing precisely that on a small scale. They work with community development organizations to provide training and jobs to the unemployed and underemployed. Today, Dee Dee and Teaera can both rattle off a list of employees who have gained new certifications and advanced through the ranks, thanks to the culture of growth at SCC.
Teaera and Dee Dee are optimistic about the opportunities that offshore wind can bring to their community and the country, but they are also realistic. The industry is still new in the United States, though they hope to see it expand and cement itself. If it does, SCC is ready to support via professional services (a role they’ve played in Louisiana, where a client needed an expert welder for oversight), port enhancements, welders on the ground in Baltimore, or even providing small-scale structural components.
Are you interested in working with SCC? Email the team at email@example.com.