Latda Vaughn and Corey Jones are the founders of Diamond Restoration, a construction firm specializing in exterior cleaning and concrete accommodations. The two met while working in very separate arenas, Corey was on the exterior cleaning industry and Latda was the controller for a national promotional products brand in Nashville.

What inspired you to start your business?

Corey: We started Diamond Restoration in 2010. I was always inspired to be an entrepreneur. After being in the exterior cleaning industry, I started venturing to understand the business and what other opportunities were available to me. I was then able to connect with Latda who was working as a controller for a successful brand in the area.

What makes Diamond Restoration different from other construction companies? 

For one, we do not have a cap on jobs we perform. A job could be $1,000 or  $1 million dollars. We pride ourselves on being very honest with each client on our capabilities and if we can or cannot take on a job size.  Partnering and teaming up with other firms to get the job done is one of our strengths. Being able to collaborate with others really helps us expand our opportunities.

Why Nashville?

Definitely the growth. It has brought more opportunity for small businesses. Now with a boom in construction, it is bringing more outside companies into Nashville. Businesses are looking to work with smaller companies, which forces people to work together in the city.

Why has NBIC been the best option for you and your business? 

I love the use of my convenient and functional office space, beneficial business development services and information that I receive along with the opportunity to network and establish peer-to-peer relationships with other small business owners. NBIC was actual pivotal in helping me develop my accounting system, which was one area I needed help. As a small business, I could not go out and hire an accounting firm. Having the opportunity to gain this insight through NBIC was priceless and has helped in the sustainability of my company.

What advice would you give to others who may be intimidated by getting into government contracting as a minority business?

I would definitely share that you can’t get good at it until you start doing it. Once you start getting involved, reaching out and going online to feel out the proper documents, you will begin to find a comfort level. Don’t let fear hold you back from an opportunity.

Is there one business resource or tip you would give to NBIC readers just starting out in their business? 

Latda: Make sure you have your books together and have a separate business account, so you are not commingling expenses.

Corey: Understand what it is that you are trying to achieve with your business. Make sure you are finding out about different programs. If there are opportunities to participate in any building block programs, make sure you are attending.

Is there one significant win you have received over the last 6 months to a year that you would be up for sharing with the NBIC community?

We will start work on a first project with Skanska on the JW Marriott. The bidding process and paperwork were a huge fete and we are now excited to showcase all that we can do.

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Ira Weiss is the co-founder of BioDtech and now serves as the company’s Board Member.

What inspired you to start your business?

We started at Scripps Clinic on the research side of things. We were a part of their startup in San Diego. One of the initial scientists approached me in 2003 wanting to do another bio tech startup. Their goal, was to save 50,000 Americans that were experiencing bacterial based diseases. They wanted us to lead the testing for endotoxins in order to develop a therapeutic drug, then license the technology. We decided not to go that route, and instead pursued the septic shock arena.  We ended up pursuing the research side in order to create a 3rd generation of synthetic peptide. Along the way, we developed our own technology, an enhancing booster which provided better quantifiable results for pharma companies during their testing process.

Why Nashville? 

We started in Nashville at NBIC and it still holds a special place in our company’s success. We are now located in Birmingham, AL.

Why was NBIC been the best option for your business? 

NBIC offers a great incubation program and has really not received the recognition it truly deserves. The incubation process really gives companies a step up to being successful. Being a part of NBIC gave us exposure to various components of how a business runs successfully, from mentorship to finding the right resources needed for your business success.

You exited your company and are now a board member, how did you handle the transition?

I had the opportunity to help start and grow a 35 million dollar business in San Diego and then launch BioDtech. Throughout my experiences, I gained a vast knowledge and resource base that I did not want to keep to myself. I wanted to help others, as I believe giving back is only the right thing to do. Once I was able to create a successful exit from BioDtech as COO and become a board member, I realized this was an ideal time to pursue creating my own advisory services.

You are now pursuing creating your own accelerator program, tell us about this new journey? 

After joining the board, I created my advisory program to help entrepreneurs address several problems, including one of the biggest – having an idea but then needing the money to perfect it. I decided to create a way for investors to have a 360 degree look at a potential venture from pre-seed, seed to the first round of capital. We also help them find resources and develop a successful pitch deck.


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