Editor’s note: The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is a non-financial partner of Startland News, which serves as the media partner for the Small Business Superstars program.
Fahteema Parrish built a foundation for success in Kansas City by stepping outside her comfort zone, the Parrish & Sons Construction founder said; Wednesday’s win as the KC Chamber’s Small Business of the Year topped out a historic run for the coveted Mr. K Award.
“This is just another example of what hard work looks like,” Parrish said from the awards stage, noting she was totally taken by surprise when her business was announced as the Small Business of the Year during the Chamber’s Small Business Celebration Awards Luncheon Wednesday at Marriott Muehlebach Tower.
It was the first such win for a 100-percent Black woman-owned small business.
Named for Ewing Kauffman — a legendary Kansas City entrepreneur and philanthropist — the Small Business of the Year (or Mr. K Award) signifies that the winning company has shown growth or sustainability of their business, along with strong employee relations, a record of giving back to the community, and prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Click here to read about the 2022 Mr. K Award winner: Chicken N Pickle
Parrish & Sons was named among the KC Chamber’s Top 10 Small Businesses — denoting the group of finalists for the big award — the past three consecutive years. It earned the Small Business Equity Award in 2022.
“We invest in our people and are passionate about what we believe in. We plan to provide more opportunities as we continue to grow and learn as servants of the community,” Parrish told Startland News. “This is a very humbling honor. I’m thankful that I’m on the right path to continue to make Kansas City a better place.”
Click here to read more about Parrish & Sons’ commitment to inclusion.
During a panel discussion with the Top 10 businesses in May, Parrish highlighted the importance of young people from diverse backgrounds seeing themselves represented in all spaces — including construction.
“They see us as a woman-owned company — a minority woman-owned company — in a male-dominated space,” Parrish said at the May event. “They see that, and then they’re able to envision themselves being a successor in that realm, or exploring the opportunity of being an entrepreneur in that space.”
Click here to see Parrish’s fellow 2023 finalists for Small Business of the Year.
Founded in 2015, the business specializes in site clearing, demolition grading, aggregate recycling, hauling, and water & storm services. It has been part of some of Kansas City’s most headline-grabbing construction projects in recent years, including the Meta data center in Smithville, the KC Streetcar expansion, Three Light Apartments, trail work at Avila University, and the new terminal at the Kansas City International Airport.
“In order to grow, I have to continue to step out of my comfort zone,” Parrish said in the runnup to Wednesday’s award announcement. “I have to stay hungry, humble, and smart.”
The company is now preparing to purchase land on which to build its new headquarters where Parrish & Sons will be able to house their equipment and grow their workforce, having already more than doubled its employee count.
The Chamber also awarded its specialty awards during Wednesday’s luncheon. Those awards and the winners include:
Emerging Small Business of the Year Award: NvisionKC
NvisionKC is an IT consulting company specializing in collaboration, process automation, analytics, and software development.
Legacy of Kansas City Award: Quantum Resource Professionals
Established in 2002, Quantum Resource Professionals offers specialist staffing solutions for school districts and healthcare organizations.
Weida Award for International Small Business of the Year: J. Rieger & Co.
J. Rieger is a Kansas City distillery founded in 1887 by Jacob Rieger, shut down by Prohibition, revived in 2014.
Small Business Equity Award: Resolve Counseling and Wellness
Resolve is a counseling and therapy practice specializing in individual therapy services for adults, couples, teens, and children.