Success Story

This Black woman-owned electric company in Detroit just secured a historic 6-figure deal with utility giant DTE Energy

Get to know Deana Neely; she is the founder and CEO of Detroit Voltage, a certified Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) offering residential and commercial services. Detroit Voltage has established a strong relationship with building department officials, enabling it to cut through all of the red tape and do electrical work without challenges.

Neely launched her company after working for more than a decade as a local government employee for the Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, where she met her husband, who was a licensed electrical contractor.

After having two children with her husband, she became a stay-at-home mom — a decision she took to help her husband grow his business. She helped him succeed through the relationships she had built with contractors while working for the city.

Later, Neely decided that it was time to step out of her comfort zone to put her experience into a business venture, according to Detroit Voltage’s website.

“So I studied, I tested, I became a licensed contractor, and I started the company,” she told Crains Detroit.

Today, her company Detroit Voltage is one of Michigan’s fastest-growing woman-owned electrical contracting firms. She recently secured a historic six-figure deal with DTE Energy, the largest electric utility company in Michigan, serving 2.3 million customers, according to Black Business.

Under the current agreement, her company will install hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations for DTE Energy in Detroit.

The U.S. construction industry is still largely white and male-dominated, with only 10.6 percent of construction managers being women and 4.8 percent being Black, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Neely was at first reluctant to disclose Detroit Voltage’s status as a Black woman-owned business. “It is very much so a white male-dominated industry, and I didn’t want anyone to know that I owned the company. And so everything about it looked like a white male owned it,” Neely said to Planet Detroit.

But things changed after she participated in a Google small business accelerator, where she was urged to show her face as the owner of the business.

Today, in addition to her role as founder and CEO, she is also a member of the National Association of Black Women in Construction and the former Detroit chapter secretary.

“I attended that first meeting and literally fell in love. It was so powerful being in a room full of like-minded women,” she said. “A lot of us have some of the same issues, and just being able to kind of lean on each other and help with resources was just amazing to me. So I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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