After tragedy came opportunity for Jackie Prezzy White.
The president and CEO of Tri-State Transit, LLC, experienced the lowest of lows when her husband died in an accidental drowning in 2008. The mother of three had just begun to chart a course toward becoming a successful businesswoman when her world turned upside down. But nine years later White, with trust in her faith and the support of her family, reached and surpassed her goal of growing a successful transportation business.
White attributes a lot of her success to the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program at Charleston International Airport. After competing for a contract in 2013 to provide transportation for the hundreds of construction workers at the airport, Austin|Hitt, the project’s construction manager, selected White’s company for the job. Then they encouraged and helped her earn a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification from the S. C. Department of Transportation. The certification is intended to help small businesses owned by women and minorities compete more effectively for contracts by giving them skills and resources small businesses typically don’t have access to.
“I was not familiar with the certification or the process, so Austin|Hitt offered to help me,” White said. “I am very grateful that they were willing to help. Because of the TRIP project I have been blessed to grow my company over the last three years.”
Tri-State Transit was established in February 2013 as a faith-based business specializing in construction transportation, logistics and distribution. For the last eight years White has also owned DJ's Transportation, LLC By Jackie and Jackie's Bus Services, LLC.
“I started with three vans and now I have a fleet. On this project I started with one independent contractor driver and it has grown to 10 drivers,” she said.
At the height of the airport construction project, White’s team of drivers would transport 500 plus people around the airport campus. Drivers would log more than 2,500 miles a month going to and from construction sites at the airport.
“What I am most proud of is to have been part of an awesome team with the terminal redevelopment project and to have been able to help provide jobs for others,” White said. “It gives me great pride to be able to say I was a part of the TRIP project. It was a great experience. What it taught me as a business owner is to never stop being persistent and consistent; and also, to remember something I always like to say by faith: “I can and I will, watch me.”