Spotlight on Black-Owned Businesses
Hosea Jackson is proudly celebrating 1911 Construction’s 20th anniversary this year, having overseen projects including work for the Little Rock Air Force Base, the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), Amazon and Saracen Casino Resort. Looking back on his journey, he recalled the special meaning of his firm’s name.
“1911 is very significant to me. My great aunt, who was one of my favorite elders, was born in 1911, so we use that year to remember her by,” explained Jackson. “I’m also a member of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, which was founded in 1911. We came up with the name 1911 Construction because it represents the old normal. We have bidding and contracts, but we do business the old-fashioned way, by handshake.”
Jackson employs an eight-man crew for 1911’s wide range of projects, which include dirt and concrete work as well as creating storm drains for clients like Amazon and Saracen. He estimates that 95 percent of the firm’s assignments are for ARDOT.
1911 participated in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program for small disadvantaged businesses for nine years, helping pave the way for its current success by enabling the firm to get a foot in the door on government projects. The program offers a wide range of assistance to firms majority owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, particularly minorities and women.
“The biggest challenge that I find as a minority contractor is being able to get the proper funding to do the jobs,” noted Jackson. “8(a) helped us get a line of funding that really took us places.”
True to his roots, Jackson said that 1911 continues to draw strong support from his father, who taught him how to make it in construction.
“Before he became disabled, my father was on the site just about every day with me,” Jackson said. “He’s not mobile now that he’s 85 years old, but he calls every morning to see what we’re doing. I have eight brothers and one sister, and when they have time, two or three of my brothers will come down to a site to help finish a project.”
Ultimately, Jackson finds the key to his success can be found in putting in “long hours and hard work.” Seeing his projects through to successful completion provides the greatest satisfaction.
“The most rewarding part is that I love what I’m doing,” he said. “This is what I’ve been doing all my life, and I get joy out of starting a project and seeing it come to fruition from point A to B to C. I look back and see what we’ve done, and it’s also great to get paid to do something that you really like to do.”