CAACC add our CEO Derek Smith to its Board of Directors

The California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC) unanimously added Derek Smith to its Board of Directors, Chairman Timothy Alan Simon, Esq., announced.

Smith is the founder and  managing member of Marinship Development Interest, a California African American Minority  Business Enterprise (MBE) leading heavy building and construction innovation for civil and energy  infrastructure projects. MBE certification benefits  minority-owned entities in California by enabling  access to many business opportunities and  connections, such as prospective buyers, government agencies, and procurement  professionals. “Derek’s experience, proven leadership skills, resourcefulness, professional achievements,  finding resolutions to problems and ability to approach strategic solutions will prove useful to  CAACC’s leadership team and objectives,” Simon said. “He will be a major part of our  organization’s day-to-day operations, planning process, programs, policies, and implementation  strategies.”  

Smith joins CAACC with expertise in accessing programs that provide professional connections  and resources that help create strong bonds that strengthen small businesses. MBEs are most commonly defined as a company that is at least 51% owned and operated by  an individual who is a United States citizen and is at least 25% African American, Asian  American, Pacific Islander, Latino or Hispanic, or Native American descent, according to Fundbox.  

Fundbox – connected to over 500,000 businesses – is an embedded working capital platform  for small businesses. It is a leading provider of working capital that uses technology to help  small businesses optimize cash flow. 

Smith said he is motivated to help the largest African American, statewide-business  organization grow, expand exponentially, and raise its professional capacity and image in the  interests of CAACC’s members. He said he will operate as CAACC’s “spokesperson.”

California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC)

“I am looking forward to elevating the profile of the California African American Chamber of  Commerce not only in the state of California but throughout the country. Once we grow the  profile, CAACC’s membership will grow and mature accordingly. I look forward to getting the  chamber out there in front of some important causes and issues. With that, it will bring exposure  and ensure that people will feel confident about joining our organization,” Smith said. 

A native San Franciscan, Smith has witnessed the city’s transformation first-hand. From  shipyards, warehouses, and manufacturing plants to light rails and skyscrapers; San Francisco  has rapidly grown into a global epicenter of business and technology. A third-generation skilled  tradesman, he has benefited from an insider’s view of challenges involved in executing large  infrastructure projects throughout his entire life. His grandparents – sheet metal worker Willie  Henry Smith, Sr., and welder Bessie Inez Smith – lent their talents to the Marin Shipbuilding  Division of W.A. Bechtel Company during WWII, in Sausalito from 1942-1945. At a time when  defense industries were recruiting women to contribute to the war effort, Bessie Inez Smith was  one of the first African American women to enter the workforce and earn wages independently.  

After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California  at Berkeley in 1989, Smith earned a master’s in civil engineering from Stanford University in  1990. He began his career in the construction industry while an undergraduate, serving as a  field engineer for a large building contractor in San Francisco, working on building renovation  projects. Prior to the inception of Marinship, Smith had built a reputation for successfully  estimating costs for large building investments and managing resources for the execution of  building renovation, seismic retrofit and tenant improvement as a Plant Construction Company  estimator and project manager.  

Most recently, he addressed small, minority, and women-owned businesses and advocated for  systemic improvements to prioritize the economic development of traditionally underserved  communities at the Caltrans 2nd Annual DBE Summit. The heavy building and construction  leader serves on numerous community boards and in appointed positions, including investor  board member of a California hydrogen production company start-up, the San Francisco First  Tee (former), the Marin City Community Development Corporation Advisory Board, and  California Energy Commission's Lithium Recovery Task Force (former). Smith is also a founding  member of the Black Developers Forum, a member of the American Association of Blacks in  Energy and Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club (BESAC) at UC Berkeley and an  Alameda County Honorary Deputy Sheriff.  

About California African American Chamber of Commerce  

California’s largest statewide African American Chamber organization, CAACC’s mission is to  drive economic opportunity and wealth creation for African American businesses and connect  and harness the collective strength of our statewide network of member organizations to elevate  our fiscal health. Smith said he is motivated to help the business organization grow and expand. 

For more information, email or call (800) 791-7068. 

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