President and Chief Executive Officer  
S&W Contracting of NYC Inc.  
Buffalo, N.Y.
Age: 31

Shandra Spicer is living proof that hard work pays off. At the age of 17, just out of high school, Spicer began to assist her father in the family’s construction business. Inspired by the experience of entrepreneurship, at 18 she co-founded her own construction company, S&W Contracting. Statistically, the field is dominated by white, middle-aged men, but Spicer and her business continue to thrive. “As a Black woman in this industry there’s always so many fights and challenges. But I get a high from working hard and overcoming obstacles,” says Spicer. “The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is that successful people don’t quit.”

Under her leadership since its inception in 1999, S&W has grown from first-year revenues of $29,000 into a multi-million-dollar entity that Fortune magazine named to its 2011 Inner City 100 list and to which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded the Blue Ribbon Small Business Award in 2012. Spicer oversees all functions of the business, including but not limited: to business development, sales and marketing, negotiations and customer service. In 2010, Spicer completed the University of Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs (MWEE) Program and in 2012 she completed the center’s Core program. She now mentors in the MWEE program, along with volunteering with the Star Kids Program and the M.I.C.E. Foundation, which teaches financial literacy to youth of diverse backgrounds.

  
Spicer loves the culinary arts and often can be found whipping up new creations in the kitchen. She may even explore this field as a second career, she says. She dreams of spending more time with her husband and two children. “I want to go away with my husband and children, alone, and get lost in the moment, fully enjoying the pure joy in the laughter of my children,” she muses.

Fun Facts
Dish you cook best: Everything
Favorite singer: Adele
Favorite comedian: Dave Chappelle

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