Eight BIPOC, growth-oriented entrepreneurs have been selected to pitch their businesses focused on innovation in the coastal and green infrastructure industries at the Water Challenge on Thursday, March 30 at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).
“These are existential issues, and New Orleans and Louisiana’s future depends on solving them,” says Andrea Chen, CEO and Co-Founder of Propeller. “The impacts of climate change and frequent storms cannot be faced alone, and the preservation of our city and region lies in the power of coming together and supporting the work and ideas of entrepreneurs on the ground.”
The environmentally-minded entrepreneurs have been selected by co-hosts Propeller and Thrive New Orleans and will present their ventures to a panel of water industry leaders from 2:00 – 3:30 pm at Gallier Hall in downtown New Orleans.
“Our goal in facilitating the 2023 Water Challenge is to build climate resilience within New Orleans and to raise up Indigenous leaders and businesses in developing solutions,” says Chuck Morse, Executive Director of Thrive New Orleans.
Meet the 2023 Water Challenge finalists:
Flourish Horticulture – Fabian Harper
Flourish Horticulture and Landscapes, is a certified DBE bio-friendly and environmentally conscious lawn, garden, and landscape construction company that uses only battery powered equipment and seeks to improve soil structure, water quality and efficiency, outdoor air quality, and increase aesthetic value.
Garden Doctors – Nathanael Scales
Garden Doctors, LLC designs, builds, and maintains commercial and residential properties and has been certified in the green industry for work related to water management and bioswale installation to create sustainable landscaping. Garden Doctors, LLC has an overall plan to spread further into the Gulf Coast regions and to expand its maintenance division.
Gravel Road – Travis Banks
Gravel Road Builders & Construction services, llc installs green infrastructure systems, such as french drains, rain gardens, planter boxes, and permeable pavers. In addition, Gravel Road provides traditional general contractor services, consulting, and program management.
ILSI Engineering – Iam Tucker
Integrated Logistical Support Engineering is a New Orleans-based civil engineering firm that is 100% minority woman owned. It is an 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA). ILSI Engineering provides civil engineering and construction management services performed by a highly motivated staff committed to excellence. ILSI Engineering was established in 1994 with the mission of providing quality engineering services for federal, state, and local clients.
JC Marks Enterprises – Jasman Marks and Chabry Marks
J & C Marks is a full service general contracting company as well as a real estate development and investment company. Some of the construction services they provide are: drywall, painting, flooring, roofing, concrete, electrical, millwork, etc. J & C Marks also service clients through real estate investments. By installing pervious concrete and green roofing, J & C Marks Enterprise can restore and treat where stormwater falls, and reduce flooding in urban areas.
Mastodonte – Arien Hall and Louisa Aballe
Mastadonte installs stormwater management and green infrastructure systems. Their services include: concrete demolition, excavation and installation of pervious systems as well as living systems. Mastadonte installs holistic systems that help mitigate localized flooding and in addition to the construction of these types of water retention systems, Mastadonte also provides project management, consultation, inspection and maintenance services. Mastadonte works toward combating the effects of climate change while prioritizing sustainable practices.
Quality First Marine – Christina Couvillion
Quality First Marine is a turn-key maritime contractor. They own and operate their own shallow
draft tugs, vessels, barges, and heavy equipment. Quality First Marine has over 65 years of shallow draft experience with diverse experience in coastal work with focus in restoration, mitigation, and emergency response. Their company is made up of local mariners, USCG licensed captains, engineers, science professionals who share a love for unique coastlines on the Gulf Coast.
Wingate Engineers – Randy Smith
Wingate’s civil/structural engineering experience includes the design, construction and management of commercial and residential facilities, utility coordination, wastewater and drainage infrastructure design, roadway design, and stormwater management. We have a strong track record of delivering projects on time and under budget without ever sacrificing the quality of our work.