Teamwork makes the dream work. It is a motto that Brandon and Ciera Thomas live by – and it is leading to a brighter future for them, their children and their community.
The Thomases own and operate C’s & B’s Contractor Services (formerly MoHauling), a small and emerging business that specializes in construction site clean-up and haul away, lawn care and handyman services.
“It’s about more to us than becoming financially rich; it’s about enriching our community and the people in our community,” Ciera says.
Based in north Omaha, C’s & B’s Contractor Services has “rock bottom” as its foundation. Brandon, was, “depressed and broke,” and needed a paycheck.
“My daughter was just born, and I’m thinking, ‘What am I going to do for her?’” Brandon says. “I wanted to be part of the community again.”
Encouraged by Omaha gang specialist Chevist Johnson, Brandon attended an Empowerment 360 meeting and started earning money by doing small haul-away jobs and some landscaping.
“My wife, she really encouraged me,” Brandon says. “She got out there with me and started cutting grass, moving trees and painting. She kept us afloat, and she still keeps us afloat – above afloat. We’re doing pretty alright.”
Teamwork makes the dream work.
The Thomases’ determination – coupled with a willingness to use the resources available to them – has helped their company grow. The Greater Omaha Chamber’s Winsley Durand, executive director of the REACH initiative, began working with Brandon and Ciera about three years ago and introduced them to REACH last fall.
“Winsley is one of our teammates,” Ciera says. “He literally made dreams come true.”
Through their work with Winsley and the REACH program, Brandon and Ciera have been able to receive financing and education that has helped them gain a variety of contracts and work with some major construction firms, including Kiewit.
“Winsley mentored us through the whole thing,” Brandon says.
Ciera adds, “We’re doing great with that contract. Superintendents love us out there. I hope Kiewit keeps us going and with their publicity, other big contractors will pick us up.”
Recognized by the Better Business Bureau and Empowerment 360, C’s & B’s Contractor Services spreads its success around. The Thomases employee people in their community who may otherwise have a hard time finding work – from ex-convicts to those simply struggling to get by. And, they are using their success to ensure a brighter future for their children, including their three-year-old daughter who is in the Omaha Public School District. They know that having stable job opportunities, through their own determination and collaboration with organizations such as REACH, creates a more stable environment for their children.
“Your kids are your star pupils. Those are the one you want to groom. You lead them; they’ll lead the rest of the kids,” Ciera says.
REACH, says Winsley Durand, “offers economic stability for our participants and their families. They have work and aren’t moving which means more stability for the kids. Often times, children in families below the poverty line move locations and schools, which negatively impacts their academic performance and growth.”
Ciera continues, “Our children work for us, but I also want them to understand the importance of going to school. As long as they have the support they need, the guidance and motivation, that’s what going to help them build their own empires. One of our daughters, you can ask her what she wants to be, she says she wants to be a business owner. I told my kids, ‘I need an engineer, an architect, an accountant, a business manager…’”
Teamwork makes the dream work.
“It’s a team. At the end of the day, it’s all about being a team,” Ciera says.