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Carrie Jokiel of ChemTrack

Woman-Owned Small Business Spotlight: ChemTrack

Welcome to the second edition of our woman-owned small business spotlight series. This edition highlights ChemTrack, an environmental engineering, remediation services, and construction company. The company’s President, Carrie Jokiel, shares her story and advice for other woman-owned small businesses.

Can you provide a brief overview of what ChemTrack does?

ChemTrack is an 8(a) Alaskan Woman-Owned Small Business, specializing in environmental engineering, remediation services, and construction. We combine geological, chemical, hydrological, and engineering expertise with a broad understanding of regulatory and risk frameworks to solve environmental assessment and regulatory compliance problems for our clients. ChemTrack tailors innovative methods and concepts to individual problems and provides environmental solutions, especially as they apply to arctic and subarctic conditions in Alaska.

What inspired you to start ChemTrack?

I’m a born and raised Alaskan woman and second-generation “ChemTrackian.” My mother grew up in bush Alaska, our remote areas, as my grandparents were teachers in the villages. My dad emigrated here from Germany to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks back in the ‘60s. He fell in love with my mom and the spirit of Alaska. Being raised with that same spirit led me to becoming partners with my father and eventually becoming majority owner. We both share the entrepreneurial spirit that comes from the beauty and opportunities this great State has to offer.

That combination of respect and entrepreneurship has created a workforce culture that truly enjoys what we do to prevent negative environmental impacts, restore our remote areas to their original pristine conditions, and work together with our clients that share our passion for the State of Alaska.

What is your proudest moment for ChemTrack?

This summer season is already kicking off to be my proudest moment. I feel like we have arrived.  We have worked incredibly hard to be prepared to have a good season and I see the fruit of that labor happening. We were coming off a tough, stressful season last year, and the resilience my team has shown along with the can-do spirit, has been incredible to witness.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome with ChemTrack?

We had a project go sideways two seasons ago that had a ripple effect into last year’s season as well.  It stressed our company at every level; it pulled my focus away from our strategic plan into survival mode; it affected the crew involved on the project, from the project manager to each laborer.  Amazingly, it also bonded us together. We were all in the trenches together, backs against a wall, and we survived. I wouldn’t wish tough days on any business owner, but the grit my crew showed and what we learned from our challenge has made us a much better company and now, we are poised to thrive.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

Listen to the nudges you feel when leading. Realize you are a master of your trade and how you lead may seem unique to the mainstream we are often surrounded by. Know that your intuitiveness matters, and is at its core, how YOU run your company. Basically, you know what you’re doing – keep crushin’ it.

Do you have any suggestions on resources that women-owned small businesses should use?

To keep up on what our government is doing to help women-owned small businesses, get involved in Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).  If starting out, get to know your PTAC office.  If a federal contractor, get to know your local SBA office personnel.  If you’re a federal contractor and can budget it, use a service like FEDMINE to track and monitor RFPs, competitors, and contracts. Good luck!

To learn more about ChemTrack, visit their website at http://chemtrack.net/.

4 Certification Programs for Women-Owned Small Businesses

In one of our most recent blog posts, we highlighted some of the ways to better market your company as a women-owned small business. One of these ways was to know the women-owned small business (WOSB) program inside and out and to look into becoming WOSB certified.

What does it mean to be WOSB certified?

In order to be eligible for the WOSB Contracting Program, in which you compete for federal contracts that are set aside for your diverse status, you need to be a certified WOSB – either through self-certification or through third-party certification. This lets the government verify that you are what you say you are: a women-owned small business. Here are four different certification programs for you to choose from seeking third-party certification.

Certification Programs

1. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Also known as WBENC, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. Becoming WOSB-certified through WBENC has a variety of benefits, including opportunities to network and pursue business deals, scholarship and award opportunities, and a variety of ways to promote your business. View all the benefits here.

2. The National Women Business Owners Corporation

Also known as NWBOC, the National Women Business Owners Corporation became the first organization to create a national certification program for women-owned businesses more than 20 years ago. The benefits of becoming WOSB-certified through NWBOC include a mentoring program, trainings and webinars, and award opportunities. View all the benefits here.

3. The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Also known as USWCC, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce helps women start and build successful businesses and careers. The organization is an authorized 3rd party certifier for the federal WOSB and EDWOSB programs. The benefits of becoming WOSB-certified through USWCC include access to conferences and summits throughout the year.

4. The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Also known as EPHCC, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce offers several Federal small business certifications for any business that would like to become a supplier for the U.S. Government. Business development specialists assess your business and help you with the certification process.

Interested in self-certification? No worries. Check out this preparation checklist from the Small Business Administration to kick-start your self-certification process.

Becoming certified as a WOSB can help you stand out among your competition and can result in federal contracts set aside for your diverse status. Take it from us – JetCo Federal is a WBENC certified company. Though the certification program may require some paperwork, it pays off in the long run by helping further differentiate your company. By using one of these four third-party certification programs, you’ll be on your way better marketing your company as a WOSB.