Beginning of Marinship
According to our Founder and Managing Member, Derek Smith, the entrepreneurial spirit that led to the creation of Marinship Development Interest (Marinship) was born from the bold realization that building a sustainable future for California communities required taking an intersectional approach to development.
Our Founder's History
As a Stanford post-graduate holding a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, he worked his way up from Field Engineer, to Estimator, and then Project Manager for Plant Construction Company, prior to the inception of Marinship.

He brings more than 30 years of experience in building and engineering construction, civil and energy infrastructure, including construction management, real estate and affordable housing development. In addition, he is skilled in the industrial to residential conversion process.

A third-generation skilled tradesman, and native San Franciscan, the Marinship founder has benefited from an insider’s view of the unique complexities, considerations and challenges involved in executing large projects throughout his entire life.
1942 - 1945
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."

Derek Smith, Founder and Managing Member

1968 - 1987
Derek Smith’s father, Willie Henry Smith, Jr. assumed the reigns of his own father’s small San Francisco business, Willie Smith’s Fleet Service, in 1968. His company provide 18-wheel big rigs and construction trucking fleets with quality tires and repair services.

In 1973, Willie Smith, Jr. started D.D.& L. (Derek, Duane & LaSandra) Trucking, which came to be recognized as one of San Francisco’s largest minority trucking firms in the 1980s. Some of D.D&L.'s most notable projects included the hauling of thousands of cubic yards of excavated sand for the construction of San Francisco’s George R. Moscone Convention Center in 1979 and the Marriott Marquis “Jukebox” in 1987.

The influence, legacy, work ethic and business acumen of their grandparents and father led brothers Derek and Duane Smith to jointly launch DHS Trucking in 1986, with a single 10-wheeler dump truck. While Derek was an undergrad at U.C. Berkeley, the brothers teamed up to provide trucking services to their Dad’s successful business, as a sub-hauler. At this time, D.D.&L had already built a reputation as a Bay Area trucking leader.

In addition to his role as Founder and Managing Member of Marinship Development Interest, Derek Smith has served on numerous community boards and in appointed positions. He serves on the San Francisco First Tee, the Marin City Community Development Corporation Advisory Board and California Energy Commission's LithiumRecovery Task Force. He is also a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club (BESAC) at UC Berkeley.
1992 - 2005
Marinship’s offer is superior to our competitors due to the value our clients gain from the extensive pre-planning, quality assurance and quality control measures we incorporate into our workflow. Having operational history dating back 1993, Marinship has completed hundreds of public and private projects on time and under budget.

As we look to the future, we will continue serving as responsible stewards of project funds. We are committed to maintaining stellar relationships with the public and private clients who continually trust us as an extension of their public works, real estate, transportation and renewable energy infrastructure staff.

Not only does Marinship advocate for the kind of foundational improvements that prioritize economic, sociological and environmental expansion, we have continually worked to uplift California communities by focusing our recruitment efforts locally.

Since 2005 we have taken great pride in providing on-the-job training and internship opportunities to STEM students and professionals.

Our hope is that our impact can extend beyond the innovative solutions we introduce to future-proof municipalities’ and institutions’ operations, and provide a path for viable career advancement to California skilled trades professionals. As a certified small and minority-owned business, Marinship has a unique stake in strengthening access to quality of life essentials.

The naming of Marinship Development Interest, LLC was inspired by the relentless desire to honor the diverse communities that came together at the Marin Shipbuilding Division of W.A. Bechtel Company to support the US defense effort during WW2.

Derek Smith, Founder and Managing Member

In 2020, we broadened our workforce and company into the renewable energy space and thermal district energy systems. Marinship has partnered with two major international renewable energy partners and we are pursuing large renewable projects across the country.
2022 - Present
In Q2 of 2022, Marinship signed our first solar project for 15 MW’s of canopy and rooftop for a tech firm in the Silicon Valley. We also have a term sheet in place for the development of 350 MW’s of utility scale solar west of Austin, Texas.

We are dedicated to leading the charge of renewable energy infrastructure development in California and throughout the US.

In 2022, our teams are building solar, thermal, green hydrogen, renewable landfill gas recovery, tidal wave energy and EV charging infrastructure and battery storage. According to our projections, the development of clean energy assets is set to become our largest revenue sector.