WT Stevens Construction, a construction management and services firm based in Flint, Mich., is the only black-owned company to be awarded a service contract to replace contaminated water pipes across the city.
The Network Journal reports that WT Stevens is “one of just four companies recently contracted—under a court order—to replace more than 18,000 lead corroded pipes.”
The family-owned company was founded by W.T. Stevens in the late 1990s. When Stevens died in 2002, Rhonda Grayer and her seven siblings joined together and began the work of continuing his legacy.
According to the Hub Flint, “the company has hired about 20 staff, ranging from clerical and general laborers to plumbers and machine operators. Among the added personnel are ex-offenders and youth, two segments of Flint’s population the company recognizes for unique training and experience needs.”
“[My father] trained many people. ... This is the biggest project we’ve done,” Grayer said. “I will tell you that it is really exciting, and the most important part of it is the opportunity to employ people who may not have had other opportunities.”
Rhonda Grayer’s husband, former NBA player Jeff Grayer, serves as project manager and shared that the project is important on several levels.
“This is a major project that will ensure public safety and start rebuilding trust between the city and the community ... something that has been missing awhile,” he said in an interview with the Network Journal.
Grayer said the target is to have all 18,000 lead-corroded residential pipes replaced by December 2019, with 6,000 replaced by the end of the year.