DETROIT – Jim Foucher, a vice president and co-founder of RBV Contracting, was a little surprised when I got a call from the Small Business Administration and was told SBA Administrator Linda McMahon wanted to visit his job site in downtown Detroit as part of her national tour of small businesses.
McMahon, a former Republican Senate candidate from Connecticut and the former CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment, came to eyeball RBV’s biggest contract to date, a $5 million infrastructure development at the RBV’s Brush Park City Modern development site as part of the SBA Ignite Tour.
“She was on tour nationwide visiting small businesses,” Foucher said. “We worked with the SBA to get loans for our equipment when we first started.”
RBV, a minority owned-business, does civil engineering work, including storm sewers, site work, tree clearing, paving and more. He said about 60 percent of the work RBV does is in Detroit, and the remainder around the state. When the company started in 2011, it only had seven employees. Now it is up to 31, and growing, Foucher said.
Foucher and his business partner, Rudy Villarreal, had worked together in government civil engineering in Oakland County until the great recession of a decade ago. Both decided to strike out on their own in 2011 when the economy slowly turned around.
Housing projects, grew into work on the Q-Line trolley system in Detroit, Ford Field, Comerica Park and Bedrock Detroit, Gilbert’s real estate company. That lead to the Orleans Landing job, just two blocks from the new Little Ceasar’s Arena, where the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons will be playing this fall.
“We couldn’t have done this without the help of the SBA and those loans,” Foucher said. “So we were happy to meet with Administrator McMahon and thank her.”