H&H Bridge — Joplin, MO

  • Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

Rhonda Hill, owner of H&H Bridge, had never had an interest in construction. However, when her son, Harley, bought a drilling company right out of high school, her support brought them both right in the middle of opportunities for a new career.

Hill co-signed her son’s loan in 2013 with the promise that if he didn’t pay it off in a few years that he would sell the business and go to college. Harley worked 24/7 to pay it off in under a year, but once tax season rolled around, he needed his mom’s help again. Hill worked to organize his records and finances and encouraged his work for two years. In 2015, Harley approached her with a new venture: “He said, ‘Mom, I want you to quit your job and come work for me,’” Hill laughed.

Despite not knowing anything about construction or running her own business, Hill accepted. She quit her office manager job and purchased a bridge-building company, now known as H&H Bridge. The mother-son team thrived with Harley working with on-site construction management and Hill focusing on the business and financial side of things.

While trying to get organized, she discovered an accounting software called QuickBooks, but she had trouble figuring it out. Professionals who specialize in QuickBooks support were running up a major bill, and Hill found they weren’t helping her get anywhere. She was familiar with the Small Business Administration (SBA) from a previous job, and they connected her to the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Missouri Southern State University campus. From there, she was introduced to business consultant Lisa Robinson.

Hill quickly learned that she could count on Robinson with anything. She helped with putting finances in order with QuickBooks and taught Hill to do everything herself. Robinson also showed her how to figure out taxes and was a mediator between Hill and her accountant. When Hill had to transfer her data within QuickBooks from the desktop app to online, Robinson helped her through the long process. Hill now has a strong relationship with banking and is considering joining the Chamber of Commerce.

“Lisa is the reason I’m where I’m at. She’s helped me in every aspect to figure out everything I need.” Hill said.

Another way the SBDC has assisted Hill and her business is by introducing her to Allen Waldo, a procurement specialist with the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). He was able to walk her through the process of getting her Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification in the state of Missouri and gave her the contact information to apply for certification in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Currently, Waldo is helping Hill develop a capability statement as well as a company website, which will help grow H&H Bridge’s outreach.

In the five years since Hill officially teamed up with her son to create H&H Bridge, the duo went from having nothing to owning $6 million in equipment. They started by finding jobs on the MoDOT website, but now people know who they are and are reaching out to them. They’ve had issues arise with paperwork and hardened concrete, but Hill and her son have been able to overcome any situation, whether on-site or in the office. Hill has also had to learn how to deal with federal regulations, but with support from Robinson and Waldo, as well as her certifications and experience, she has come out on top and doubled the company’s profit four out of five years.

Both the SBDC and PTAC have been there for Hill and her son, and they have big plans for the future. “I could not have made it without [them]. They’ve made a huge impact on me and my ability to succeed,” said Hill.

Looking forward, H&H Bridge hopes to get enough jobs so that they can maintain a steady, full-time crew of the workers they already love. Everything else, Hill wants to just stay the same. “God has blessed us immensely,” she said. “And now I know how to build a bridge!”

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