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Where are They Now: Deana Neely

Where are They Now: Deana Neely

Deana Neely, the owner of the Detroit-based electrical company Detroit Voltage, has never taken the easy way out. As a single mother who services residential, commercial, and government contracts, she has worked hard for every opportunity afforded to her. Yet, despite working in a male-dominated industry, Deana has been able to not only survive but to thrive, building a business that received accolades and recognition from companies such as DTE Energy, Essence & Google. The tech giant recently did a video shoot with Neely in which she showcased how she and her company use their products.

Things have not always been this promising for Neely, as she started from very humble beginnings. Born and raised in Detroit, she worked for local government for eight years before meeting her former husband, who was an electrician. The two fell in love quickly and after the birth of their second child, Deana decided that it made more sense for her to stay at home and help him with his business instead of continuing to pursue her own career. After working alongside him for nine years and seeing the earning potential in the electrical industry, Deana decided to become certified, and start her own business. Shortly after her husband left, leaving her to pick up the pieces for both her and her children.

Deana was given a choice: return to the workforce and sacrifice time with her children, or pursue her business full-time and continue to be present for her children in the ways in which they’d become accustomed. She decided to lean on her resources, find excellent electricians, and pursue her business, a decision that has paid off tremendously.

While in the foundational stages of her business, she would routinely spend five to six days a week networking, she eventually landed her first contract, and ultimately earned over six figures in revenue in six months. Although she works in a male-dominated industry and has at times felt the need to prove herself, she considers herself fortunate in that many want to see her succeed.

It was in her second year of business that she won not only Odyssey Media’s pitch contest but pitch contests from other sources as well. Deana made it a point to step outside of her comfort zone, which paid off not only in these financial awards but also in overall growth and opportunities for her business. She points out that even though she is not naturally comfortable with public speaking, it was her willingness to step out of her place of comfort and being taking speaking engagements that led to growth and elevation for her company. She made the conscious decision to attack her fear head-on and do it without overthinking.

Citing the men within her industry as an example, Deana points out that many of them willingly take on more than they are capable of handling using their confidence and lack of fear as their driving force. Using them as fuel, she has concluded that things do not have to be 100% perfect before a person is willing to take a leap of faith.

As for Deana’s motivation, she quickly points out that her children are her “why.” They are her driving force. Working a 9 to 5 job wouldn’t have allowed her to be present for them the way she wanted, so they were her motivation for pursuing her dream that granted her the flexibility necessary to support them and also help her community. While other contractors avoid servicing the Detroit area, Deana considers it an honor to help these underserved communities. When asked if either of her children might follow in her footsteps, she pointed out that her daughter may eventually take over the business, while her son has already been groomed by her ex-husband in the use of tools and electrical work.

Despite the volatility of the pandemic, the future is bright for Detroit Voltage. They will be featured in the aforementioned Google video showcase, were also featured in a Crain's Detroit business publication, as well as being contacted by the U.S. Embassy in the hopes of having her do a virtual event, which may include physical travel in a post-COVID-19 environment to Embassy’s all over the world. The company has also received over $60,000 in grants since the start of the pandemic; a time when other businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. Fortunately, Ms. Neely makes it a point to pass every opportunity and resource to others in her network, hoping to help others achieve success.

Currently, Detroit Voltage has WBE, WOSB, EDWOSB, DBE, Wayne County, Section 3, SBE, and DHB certifications, and a series of products that are poised to make them even more relevant in the coming years. These include LED lighting, UV germicidal lighting, and a UV germ wand that can be used to clean multiple surfaces such as desks and doors, while being portable enough to be taken on the go and used in areas with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure, such as airports. Ms. Neely says that the product is as effective as Lysol spray, without any possible toxins.

We at Odyssey Media would like to congratulate Deana Neely on her success, and for her willingness to serve both her community and those in her industry.

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