Marvella Steel Placers is a Black and female-owned, family-oriented business that provides high-quality rebar and concrete installation for customers across California. Marvella Steel Placers was founded by Jacqueline Pruitt in 2016 and ever since, her business has successfully worked on numerous projects including Destination Crenshaw, Purple Line 3, and Sign Fountain – just to name a few.
Before joining the ironwork industry, Jacqueline was a drug and alcohol counselor. Her career in the construction industry was inspired by a friend of hers, a carpenter who told her that she makes $60 an hour.
“I asked her where do I sign up and I found myself at a pre-apprenticeship learning about careers in different trades,” she emphasized.
Jacqueline graduated from Skanska’s (a world leading project development and construction group) Small Business Boot Camp Program in 2015. The boot camp is an eight-week program with small, minority, women and veteran owned firms to learn various aspects of working on different public works projects with Skanska. The goal is to help small businesses grow so they can participate in construction contracts in Los Angeles.
The name, Marvella Steel Placers, is a combination of a very significant person in Jacqueline’s life – her mother – who passed away months after she joined Ironworkers 416. She explained that her mom was very proud of her because of her fortitude to excel in non-traditional activities.
“Rebar is a steel that is placed by ironworkers,” she added. “Hence, Marvella Steel Placers was born.”
The company currently has 25 employees – 23 in the field and 2 in the office. This number fluctuates as their jobs are active and inactive and because they are signatory to Ironworkers Local 416, all of their field employees are from the union.
She describes the hiring process as “simple” for those who are already in the union. One phone call to dispatch when workers are needed and one can be working the very next day after filling out an application. If one is not in the union, Marvella Steel Pacers can sponsor them in as long as the company has a minimum of four consecutive weeks of work for them.
“We have three guys that we have sponsored that are still working for us,” Jacqueline explained. “One has journeyed out, one is an 8th period apprentice, and the other is a 5th period apprentice.”
Jacqueline is very proud of her company and all the hard work she has put in. She comes from the field and as she stated, “knows the grind” it took to be in this field of work. She has also built strong relationships with her Ironwork brothers that work with her.
“I literally built this company with my tool belt, hard hat, boots, sweat, blood and tears,” Jacqueline stated. “When said it could not be done, Marvella Steel Placers gets it done and quicker and safer than thought.”
A day at Marvella Steel Placers looks like a jobsite that needs rebar in various places.
“It may start off looking like a long day, but as one begins to work, hard and determined to get the work done, it goes by quickly,” she said. “Meeting different people from many walks of life and forming relationships with them.”
To date, there are not many Black, woman-owned rebar installation companies. Jacqueline is definitely putting women on the map being one of the few in the industry. She describes this feeling as something that is “scary and exciting.”
“Scary, because I feel like the spotlight is on me and me only,” she described. “Exciting, because I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a role model for other women, not just in construction, but all other industries and life.”
Jacqueline’s advice for those looking to start their own rebar company is to get mentorship, save money, and always be open to learn, adapt, and evolve.
She expressed that she never thought she would be where she is in life today and that her company would be where it is. She is grateful to those who spend their time mentoring and providing useful information that no other school can give.
“I am also grateful to the MEN that believed in me and took the time to help me grow and develop,” Jacqueline emphasized. “Dreams demand hustle and cannot be achieved if you sleep.”
For more information on Marvella Steel Pacers, visit https://www.marvellasteelplacers.com/.