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Alexis & Montae Russell

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Alexis & Montae Russell


April 14, 2022

Co-founders

Russell General Contracting

Pittsburgh

2021 Revenue: $1.45 million

Start in the industry: We started, oddly enough, when a woman drove her car into our house. We’re still not sure how it happened. Insurance company sends out contractors, they do a shoddy job, so we start experimenting on our own home. Between us, we had an architecture degree and carpentry experience, so we started experimenting. Folks saw we were doing and said, “Oh, come do mine.” We also had cousins who were real estate investors, so we started doing their flips, a house here, a house there. We didn’t know how to bid back then so we were losing money. But we learned.

Over time we started doing larger scale residential projects, mostly for investors. Then we started with nonprofit work. We did a community center, offices, and the New Granada Theater. That is a historic venue where all the jazz greats performed, including Billie Holiday. There’s a beautiful new facade and also a new build component onto that. These jobs are paid for with public money, so that was something that we had to get familiar with very quickly. It changed the way we bid. Some of them would require a prevailing wage component. We’re not a union organization, but we’d have to pay union rates and then submit certified payroll. These are all things that we learned.

Business podcast recommendation:

Your First Million

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