Columbia Business Owner Paves Way for Minority Women in Highway Construction

While working as an engineer in logistics and transportation at UPS, Evangelina Hemphill knew one day she wanted to own her own business. During a conversation with a small business owner, Hemphill discovered the shortage of certified asphalt inspectors and roadway services in the construction industry. In October of 2015, Evangelina Hemphill decided to take a leap of faith and start her own business, Hemphill Engineering Group LLC.

HEG is an inspection and consulting firm specializing in roadway construction inspection services. In 2015, Hemphill reached out to the U.S. Small Business Administration for counseling assistance to pursue her dream of owning a business.

“The SBA answered several of my questions and assisted with maneuvering through the startup process,” said Hemphill.

Hemphill still receives counseling from the SBA and the Small Business Development Center since her initial business launch. The SBA and SBDC provide free counseling and technical assistance to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and startups.

“From an industry perspective, the learning curve can be steep in understanding the needed cash flow to thrive, marketing your company, and knowing the bidding process,” said Hemphill. “Competing in a non-minority male dominated industry has also taught me valuable lessons.”

Additionally, Hemphill learned hard lessons in cash flow management and access to capital.

“If someone is thinking of starting a business, they should immediately learn and understand cash flow,” said Hemphill. “Cash flow determines if you can survive or thrive and is the life-line for any business.”

She also experienced another common issue for small business owners: finding skilled employees.

“The right employees for us are professionals with good math skills, integrity, and self-motivation,” said Hemphill. “Most importantly, they need to believe in and support our mission.”

HEG launched with Hemphill as the owner and sole employee. The firm now employs eight full-time employees with backgrounds in engineering, IT, and biology.

“I am very passionate about building my company’s legacy which values all employees and our contribution to the industry,” said Hemphill.

In addition to growing her business, Hemphill enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Jason, and children: Jason II, Jordan, and Joey. Hemphill also values the opportunities of being a STEM advocate by speaking across the country to students and helping other women business owners succeed.

To learn more about HEG, visit

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.