PHOTO: Sharon W. Reynolds, left, poses with her Women’s Business Enterprise “WBEs Who Rock” award this past June. // PHOTO VIA DEVMAR PRODUCTS, LINKED IN
By ALEXANDER HARRIS
A Brentwood resident was recognized by Minority Business Entrepreneur magazine late last month for her role running an environmentally-friendly renewable products distribution company based out of Nashville.
Sharon Reynolds, president and CEO of DevMar Products, LLC, received a “WBEs Who Rock” award
on June 19 at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s national conference in Detroit.
According to a press release, she was “honored for her advocacy of environmental initiatives,” as well as the development of new formulas for “green” cleaning and safety products.
“I was recognized for heading a company that is making a unique difference in the marketplace in the
lives of others,” Reynolds told Brentwood Home Page.
According to Reynolds, DevMar is an “up-and-coming company” that is “helping to save lives and
making an impact,” and is “poised to be a multi-million dollar company” in the next few years.
“We’re looking at growing exponentially in the next year,” Reynolds said. “And we’re projecting our
revenues to be anywhere from $30 to 60 million by the end of 2019.”
Reynolds launched DevMar — named for her two sons, Devin and DeMarco – 10 years ago in the
aftermath of the 2008 real estate market crash.
Before the 2007 downturn, Reynolds, a fifth-generation Nashvillian, had worked for 16 years as a real estate broker in Music City, and had owned her own mortgage company at age 26 prior to that.
“When the economic downturn hit, I had to really re-invent myself. But it wasn’t a hard decision to make, when I was able to think about getting into the field of commercial and janitorial cleaning products,” said Reynolds, a self-proclaimed “germaphobe.”
Reynolds said she launched her company, with the focus on sustainability, in order to help corporations become more environmentally and socially responsible.
And because of her previous professional experience, Reynolds said she had understood what her
company could do to “separate ourselves from the pack,” and provide solutions for specific needs in the corporate office environment.
Reynolds’ said her husband DeMarco Sr., the president an CEO of Reynolds & Reynolds Facility Services – a 30-year-old facilities management company – was her first customer.
And not long after, she said she landed her first major contract with the Metro Nashville Airport
Authority, which gave them a “local presence.”
“I was the first woman to have that contract in the airport’s 75-year history, and an African-American
woman to boot,” Reynolds said.
From there DevMar continued to grow and secure larger national and international contracts.
Reynolds said the company is entering their sixth year as a “prime contractor” for Core Civic – formerly Corrections Corporation of America – supplying products to 80 facilities across 27 states.
And these large contracts allowed Reynolds to begin looking at what her company could do to separate themselves from the “run-of-the-mill product distribution companies,” she said.
The next step for DevMar was to begin a partnership with the Atlanta-based Morehouse School of
Medicine research team to develop environmentally safe specialty products, such as an environmentally-safe biohazard absorbent spill kit effective against Norovirus, “a big problem” nationally and internationally, Reynolds said.
“What really makes DevMar unique and special – there are thousands of companies out there that
distribute janitorial supplies and chemicals, which are very necessary – we have to have them to keep our environment safe and free from pathogens,” Reynolds said. “But we just wanted to take it a step further and have specific products that address specific nemeses in the environment.”
Reynolds said that DevMar’s specialty products helped open up new contracts with large national
restaurant and hotel chains.
“And consequently, one thing led to another and now that spill kit is available to over 10,000 hotels
around the world,” she said.
Reynolds said she looks forward to continuing to prove herself and to grow her company in the product distribution and development field.
“It might be a male-dominated industry – but I’m never afraid of a challenge,” she said.
Reynolds has a Bachelor of Science in business management, with a focus on green and sustainable
enterprise management from Phoenix University, and will finish an MBA at Tennessee State University on August 1.