Name: David Beaver, 47
Title: CEO/Owner of Titan Facility Services, LLC
How long in business: Since 2011
Advice for other business owners: “Do market research and tap into your networks; get help from people who have experience in your particular business.”
For 15 years, David Beaver helped a number of tribes and native-owned businesses win lucrative government contracts—a sometimes lengthy and heavily regulated process that requires a deft hand. The Winnebago tribal member became so adept at it that he decided to open up his own business aimed at the the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services, and Titan Facility Services, LLC was born.
“I run a facility management company that provides janitorial, security, landscaping and maintenance to large facilities,” Beaver explains. And by “large,” he means Department-of-Defense-large. “We are only two years young and the first client we partnered with was the Department of the Air Force.”
Beaver’s years of helping other natives land government contracts eventually paid off for him with a five-year, $36 million deal to provide janitorial services for five hospitals on Air Force bases in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and North Dakota. Titan was one of eight small businesses—and the only native-owned business!—to get a piece of the overall $300 million government contract that provides housekeeping for 52 Air Force hospitals nationwide.
The other golden egg in Beaver’s basket is a contract with the U.S. Navy. Titan forged a $180,000 per month subcontracting deal to help manage the Naval Medical Center San Diego. Beaver is also hoping a large bid recently submitted to the U.S. Army will be all that it can be.
Not bad for a company that was launched in only 45 days with an undisclosed minimal investment, bankrolled by its CEO, just a little over two years ago. “We’re one of those companies that were born big,” says Beaver.
And people have taken notice. He was recently named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) at the annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) gala. “It’s great recognition for our hard work – and a testament to other Native Americans across the country that you can get anything done with a little sweat equity,” Beaver explains.
His biggest challenge? “Probably financing, because of the nontraditional, asset-based lending model we use. What’s crazy is that I have all this profit that’s not bankable. Most banks want three years of financials before they will consider loaning you any money.”
Titan Facility Services employs 103 people, with a deep bench of former federal government contracting officers, and is headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona. On a recent trip to visit his sites in Texas and New Mexico, Beaver had the opportunity to actually meet some of the people who work for Titan.
“It was great to know that I was helping them with living expenses and feeding their children. … That’s truly the best part of owning a business,” the Entrepreneur of the Year says.
Gary Davis, NCAIED’s president and CEO, who presented Beaver with his award, says: “What was most impressive about David is his understanding that it is never a one-man show. You might be the one who gets the award, but he had his whole team there with him and acknowledged them for all the things that they have done to help Titan grow.”
Lynn Armitage is also an entrepreneur and enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.