There will always be firsts as long as there is change, and Shawni Davis of Luminary Electrical Contractor, LLC is proving that by being the first black woman LGBT-owned MWBE Certified Master Licensed electrical contractor in Syracuse, NY. Luminary performs both commercial and industrial electrical work and brings 15 years of electrical experience to the field.
Luminary’s mission, per the website at luminarysyr.com, explains how the concept of inspiration behind the word Luminary relates to “creating a company that highlights the abilities and skill-sets of people from diverse communities in this industry. We are here to be a beacon of inspiration to others, that we can succeed and excel in spaces that we are not typically represented.”
Shawni goes on to describe how “Being in a white, male dominated industry motivated me to create the ultimate representation people like me need to see, and that representation is in the form of ownership.”
Shawni reached out to the NY SBDC regional office at Onondaga Community College in October of 2020 for basic start-up information. She was assigned to Senior Business Advisor Frank Cetera who talked her through a review of start-up mechanics and logistics, business planning, and developing a cash flow budget using a provided template.
As the start-up progressed, Shawni returned to speak with Frank about MWBE certification in January 2021. Frank discussed the process and provided direction, which Shawni then ran with to gain her certification. In August of 2021, Frank continued working with Shawni on developing an updated business plan, analyzing financial statements, and a basic audit review of website as she worked to submit an application for line of credit financing. Shawni says, "starting a business is expensive, SBDC offering services free of charge was extremely helpful; I especially appreciate the help I received with financial projections which assisted tremendously in Luminary obtaining a small business loan."
With initial success comes an increased opportunity to shine Luminary's light of inspiration. Shawni recently participated on a panel discussion with other black leaders in the Syracuse community as part of the “From First to Next” event presented by the United Way of CNY. Shawni joined the other panelists in reflecting on their personal journey to reach a milestone, and what it will take to help the next generation of Black leaders to continue to blaze new trails in Central New York and beyond.
Luminary Electrical Contractor LLC is a member of the National Electric Contractors Association, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In December of 2021 celebrated both City of Syracuse MWBE Certification awarded and being the very first Woman owned contractor to sign a contract with Home Headquarters, Inc.
Visit the Luminary Electrical Contractor, LLC website Today: www.luminarysyr.com
Article published in the CNY Business Journal on April 22, 2022
Frank Cetera is an Advanced Certified Business Advisor at the Small Business Development Center located at Onondaga Community College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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