Before joining the ironwork industry, Jacque was a drug and alcohol counselor. After talking with a friend who worked in construction and participating in a pre-apprenticeship program where she learned different trades—including concrete, wood and electrical work—she was introduced to rebar and fell in love with the hard work and skills required for this trade.
“There’s so much more to rebar than meets the eye. I love being in the trenches, even to this day,” explained Jacque.
She began her apprenticeship in rebar in early 2009 as an apprentice ironworker for Local 416. During this time, she was also studying for her contractor’s license. She knew once she passed her exam that she wanted to start her own company.
“While contacting different companies looking for sponsorship, some hung up on me, while others commented that women didn’t belong in the trade. That motivated me to one day start my own company that provides opportunities for women, especially women of color, to grow their careers in this industry. I’m now focused on giving back by hiring apprentices from underserved areas of Los Angeles,” said Jacque.
When deciding on the name of her company, she drew inspiration from a family member close to her heart.
“My mom, Marvella, always believed in me and my ironwork career. She knew I was going to do great things, and so when it came time to start my own company, I named it after her,” said Jacque.
Marvella Steel Placers and Skanska
Jacque was first introduced to Skanska when she worked as an apprentice ironworker on our Exposition Light Rail Transit Phase 2 project in Los Angeles. She then graduated from Skanska’s Small Business Boot Camp program in 2015.
“Our Small Business Boot Camp is an 8-week program where small, minority, women and veteran owned firms learn different aspects of working on public works projects with Skanska,” explained Teresa Maxwell, Skanska’s DBE compliance officer. “The goal of the program is to help small businesses grow so that they can participate in significant construction contracts in Los Angeles. This program is not only leading to greater DBE participation on projects, but a stronger construction industry for the local community.”
In 2016, she founded Marvella Steel Placers. Since then, Marvella Steel Placers has successfully worked on three of our projects in Los Angeles.
“Skanska has been incredibly helpful in getting me to where I am today. They have taught me so much over the past few years, especially during the bidding process. When we put a bid in for a project, we follow up with different companies to get feedback and we usually don’t receive an answer. There have been times when we’ve bid on a project for Skanska and didn’t win it, but they sat down with me and went over our bid items, explaining what worked and what didn’t,” said Jacque.
For Jacque, the biggest impact she’s felt with Skanska is through our employees.
“I appreciate the genuine relationships that I’ve experienced while working with Skanska. Transparency, leadership and support are their top priorities. They say they’re about small businesses and they absolutely follow through on that promise,” said Jacque.
Marvella Steel Placers has over 100,000 workhours on our Westside Subway Extension project in Los Angeles.
“Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of working hand in hand with Jacque and Marvella Steel Placers. It’s been satisfying to see her company and vision blossom. There’s a great feeling of satisfaction when assisting Jacque with various industry practices, like the OSHA 300 Log,” explained Skanska Senior Project Manager Geoffrey Bender. “Spending time to help DBE contractors like Marvella Steel Placers is good for the small business community and it exemplifies Skanska’s core value of ‘Be Better—Together’.”