(WGHP) — Two Triad businesses recently joined together in a historic partnership. The owners, along with local leaders, hope it’s the start of something new that will last.
CC Lamberth is the founder of C2 Contractors.
“Every piece of cabling infrastructure that allows you to talk on your telephone, or to hit enter to get to the internet, we design,” he said.
Right now C2 is wrapping up the new engineering building at North Carolina A&T State University. Peyton Fairbank is the vice president of HICAPS.
“We’re a project management firm, a construction management-focused project management firm,” Fairbank said.
HICAPS just finished the federal courthouse renovation in downtown Winston-Salem. These two competed for the city of Greensboro’s on-call construction management contract.
C2 beat HICAPS for the contract. HICAPS asked why. Assistant City Manager Kimberly Sowell explained in a recent conversation that they wanted a documented history of using Minority-Women Business Enterprises, or MWBEs. It’s part of the effort to address gaps in spending that were highlighted in a 2018 disparity study.
“A significant portion of that scoring matrix looked at your MWBE participation in five of your most recent projects,” she said.
“We felt like, ‘hey this may be an opportunity.’ So once we talked to him, congratulated him, we figured if you can’t beat him, join him, and let’s do this right,” Fairbank said.
From that came a new partnership called HICAPS-C2.
“We didn’t want it to just be for one specific program or project. I think maybe it was music to CCs ear,” Fairbank said. “But we’ve been part of many partnerships and teaming opportunities, and we’ve been a small business teamed with a large company and been the other way and those partnerships don’t last unless there’s equality in the partnership.”
C2 has a 51 percent stake.
“We’re trying to make sure all that we do… where are the shortcomings. How does HICAPS fill a need that C2 has, and how does C2 fill a need or shortcoming that perhaps HICAPS has,” Lamberth said.
“They get it. They get us,” Fairbank added. “CC brings just a whole other sphere of influence that we didn’t have and didn’t know about. And conversely, we’re doing that for him.”
Their biggest get so far is winning the contract to manage Guilford County Schools’ $300 million bond program.
“We had decided that win or lose, we’re going into this thing together,” Lamberth said.
This partnership changes the game, especially when it comes to the big picture in the city’s minority community.
“CC educates me on a daily basis on that,” Fairbank shared. “It’s an eye opener. Each time I sit with him, I see the much larger picture and impact.”
“This has very little to do with Black and white at the point of engagement because it’s really about business,” Lamberth said. “But if you can look at it and you can really understand what we’ve done, we changed the way we see each other. And we’d like everyone else to change the way you see another minority-owned firm. You know you’re no longer talking Black and white. What are you talking about? Green!”
And that’s a color we all have in common.