Business spotlight – Eagle Specialties, LLC
DETROIT, Michigan, March 10, 2022 – For as long as she can remember Taryn Sulkes has always had one foot in the world of entrepreneurism, spending time early in her childhood growing up alongside her father’s window, door and awning business. “Yeah, I first learned to ride my bike out on that shop floor,” laughs Sulkes. Soon it was Taryn’s turn to answer opportunity’s knock. “We had a network of trusted business advisors in southeast Michigan that we worked with,” remarks Sulkes. With the prospect of ample work for construction subcontractors/suppliers posed to hit Detroit with the approval of the construction of the new Little Caesars Arena, Sulkes and her advisors saw mounting opportunity, fit for a woman-led, Native American owned distribution subcontracting business. The door was now open for Sulkes, and with the addition of 3 partner investors, Eagle Specialties, LLC was born in March 2014, beginning as a sub for Christman Constructors and Barton Malow on the new District Detroit arena.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2002, Taryn earned a wealth of experience in Sales and Marketing through her work in the tourism and hospitality industries. But it was her work as a marketing consultant for the construction supplier/subcontractor market that allowed her to gain valuable experience with contracting, including navigating bonding and working on contracts with the federal government. “We worked through some of the difficulties in the bonding process, and were able to navigate registration for DUNS and SAM, which was instrumental in growing our capacity,” reiterates Sulkes.
Through her network of contractors and suppliers/subcontractors she was able to secure contracts with a number of large construction projects in Michigan. “We’ve worked a lot in the automotive industry, particularly with General Motors and FCA (now Stellantis), but we had to prove our company belonged as a reputable supplier first,” recalls Sulkes. Continuing to leverage those early models of seeking long-term, network-driven construction projects, Eagle Specialties, LLC holds contracts on the Gordie Howe International Bridge and Michigan Central Station both currently under construction.
Eagle Specialties, LLC provides a line of goods in divisions 10, 11, & 12 as a construction specialties supplier/subcontractor. From bathroom stall partitions, paper towel dispensers, and industrial lockers, to fire safety equipment and industrial window treatments, Eagle Specialties, LLC carries a specific niche product line from suppliers all across the United States. Installation services are also offered for construction projects in the Great Lakes Region. It continues to be a learning experience remarks Sulkes, with the humble beginnings of the original 143 square foot shop to the 2017 move to the 9,000 sq. foot former auto part store where they’re now located on Fenkell Street in Detroit. “We hope to reinvest into the space and make some changes to the façade as well as a number of other upgrades,” says Sulkes. Despite any disadvantages and challenges along the way, Eagle Specialties, LLC continues on an upward trajectory after 8 years in business.
Sulkes’ knowledge of the construction specialties market combined with her experiences doing business as a diversity supplier has earned her business a rock-solid reputation and a number of accolades over the past few years. In 2017, as President and CEO of Eagle Specialties, LLC, she bought out two of her partners, truly making Eagle a family-owned business. In that same year she grabbed the attention of the National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) Detroit Chapter, winning the 2017 Distinguished New Constructor Award, and again winning the President’s Choice Award in 2018. Since then, Sulkes and Eagle have continued to receive accolades throughout the years.
“I didn’t do all of this on my own; our team, my husband, and daughter have all been very supportive of our efforts over the past 8 plus years,” Sulkes is quick to point out. Leveraging her support networks has led Eagle Specialties, LLC to WBENC certification, MBE and SBE certifications. She currently serves as a board member on the Michigan Diversity Supplier Council and the Sault Tribe Business Alliance. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) aren’t just buzz words to me,” remarks Sulkes.
Like many of our clients, Taryn echoed the sentiment that business success is predicated on exploring every avenue of support available. Eagle Specialties, LLC was fortunate to operate in an essential industry during the onset of the pandemic. “There were a number of nightmare stories circulating the construction supplies market, but we didn’t experience many shortages working mainly with U.S. manufacturers,” offers Sulkes. Eagle did experience several challenges in bidding, with pricing fluctuations and changing priories. Collaboration has been a key component in Eagle’s ability to overcome the odds and build forward.
Taryn Sulkes thanks Sault Tribe Thrive for its support and tireless efforts serving the Sault Tribe business community. “Many of the connections are paying off already,” says Sulkes. Her efforts with the STBA are helping to shape tribal business to tribal business collaborations, and “helping each other is what it’s all about,” remarks Sulkes. Sault Tribe Thrive would like to thank Taryn for taking the time to share her tribal business journey with us. In addition, we would like to thank her for her on-going volunteer support with the Sault Tribe Business Alliance. Register today for the 2022 Tribal Business Conference hosted by the STBA and PMBC coming to Kewadin Sault Convention Center August 12, and be sure to connect with Eagle Specialties, LLC while you’re there!
If you would like more information on how to connect your tribal business with other tribal businesses, contact the STBA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to them on Facebook or LinkedIn. For more of the latest tribal business news, check out our blog at www.saulttribethrive.com/news-and-insights/, or give us a follow or like on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. Chi miigwech for reading!