Demetria Bivens always keeps her eye on the ball.
Growing up in East Texas as one of eight children being raised by a single mother, she learned early the value of hard work.
“My mother was a strong-willed woman and she taught us that you had to work for the things you want,” said Bivens, 54. “If we needed a uniform for the band or for cheerleading, we had to work to get the money to buy it.”
Bivens started working at age 13. As a teen, she focused on becoming a nurse, but shortly after starting nursing school, she realized nursing was not for her.
She quit college and eventually took a clerical job that mostly involved copying documents for government agencies and businesses. In this position, she seized upon an idea to simplify the ominous task of copying and mailing 18 cartons of documents to an out-of-state attorney.
She offered to take advantage of emerging technology in the mid-1990s and scan the documents, put them on a CD and send just the CD to him.
From that experience, Bivens built a successful document management business with clients that included Xerox, EDS, Lockheed-Martin, Nokia and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
She discovered she had a knack for entrepreneurship because of her uncanny ability to find an opportunity and turn it into something big.
Bivens pulled off a similar homerun recently by landing a contract for her construction consulting firm, dlb Consultants. Her firm is a woman/minority-owned business that was chosen as the coordinator of minority and women owned subcontractors for Arlington’s $250 million entertainment and restaurant development Texas Live!
Texas Live! will be an anchor of the $4 billion Arlington Stadium District, which will include a new $1 billion Texas Rangers ballpark. The Rangers and its development partner, The Cordish Companies, are partnering to build Texas Live!
Bivens’ role will involve recruiting minority and women-owned businesses, small businesses and veteran-owned businesses to be involved in the construction process.
The Cordish Companies and the Rangers have committed to a community benefit plan that will create more than 3,000 new jobs; reach a 25 percent goal for minority, women and other underserved businesses; create apprenticeships, local and diverse hiring and community event bookings.
An Arlington resident, she wasn’t thinking about the business opportunities when she went to an informational meeting about the Texas Live! project.
“I went as an Arlington resident trying to get more information,” she said.
But by the time she walked out the door, she already had a plan working in her mind about how dlb Consultants could fit into this project.
She took the time to meet the executives attending the meeting and then sent them all thank you notes the next day. She then forwarded names of architects, engineers and other professionals to be involved in the project before the RFP for the project.
At the same time, she was building relationships that resulted in her selection as coordinator for bringing on minority, women and other underserved subcontractors for the project.
She also will have direct involvement with the Community Advisory Committee that will be created for this project. That will committee will have representatives from a diverse group of organizations, including the city of Arlington, the Arlington Black and Arlington Latino chambers of commerce, Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County, Women Business Council-Southwest and many others.
Bivens already had a proven track-record for development in the construction industry.
After running her document management company for seven years, she switched gears at the end of the recession to the construction industry as it was recovering. Working as a director of development, she focused on bringing minority and women businesses into significant projects as subcontractors.
By 2014, she struck out on her again with dlb Consultants, again doing what she had been for others.
Bivens says she has no doubt that she was born to be an entrepreneur.
“I really believe that I am living my purpose,” she said. “I am right where I need to be. I want to make a difference in my city and my community and set standards for increasing diversity hiring.”
She has already made her mark.
“We are thrilled to have Demetria on out development,” said Zed Smith, CEO for The Cordish Companies. “Working with local businesses is a core value of our company and Demetria’s leadership and experience, particularly with minority business enterprises has proven to be invaluable.”
Now with more than 20 years’ experience in building relationships, strategic planning and developing diversity programs and hiring tools, Bivens is sought out by other large employers to work on projects such as the redevelopment of the Statler Hilton in Dallas.
Besides her certifications to work with the diversity field, she also went through OSHA safety training to aid hiring of diversity subcontractors for government transportation and industrial projects.
She also founded the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors and serves on a wide range of other community and professional committees.
Bivens suffered a devastating loss when the eldest of her two adult sons was killed in tragic auto accident more than a year ago.
Now, in addition to all she does professionally, she and her husband, Christopher, are raising three of her grandchildren.
“They live with us,” she said. “If I have to do something on the weekends, they have to come with me.”
The couple has six grandchildren between the two of them.