In 2006, a friend called up Broovelt Lacet asking if he could help do some cleanup work on a Sunday morning following flood damage at a Northeastern building. His friend was a supervisor at Thom S. Carlson Corp., a general contracting firm located just down the street from the university’s campus.
“I didn’t mind coming in and making a few more dollars,” recalled Lacet, who at the time was doing social work. “It was going to be only that one day to help out. But I haven’t left.”
Lacet stayed on the company’s payroll for a few months to do similar on-call maintenance work. Then he started working for Delta Glass, another Northeastern vendor, for about two-and-a-half years, until Thom S. Carlson Corp., came calling again when a supervisor role opened up. He ultimately earned that job and has since been promoted to operations manager, then to vice president, then co-owner.
Lacet—better known as “Broo”—shared part of this story on Tuesday morning, when Northeastern announced a new loan program for businesses owned by female and minority entrepreneurs.
He spoke passionately about the university’s partnership with his company. “It’s more than a partnership. I call it a relationship,” he said. Lacet noted that when President Joseph E. Aoun walks around campus and sees his company’s workers, he knows them by name. He added that Northeastern is the only organization he knows where he can just walk into a vice president’s office and say, “Hello.”
It’s more than a partnership. I call it a relationship.
—Broovelt Lacet, vice president and co-owner, Thom S. Carlson Corp.
Workers from Thom S. Carlson Corp. perform a range of services, from maintenance work in the residence halls to snow removal in the winter. Lacet said his company’s work at Northeastern provides crucial on-the-job training and experience for its employees, the majority of whom live in Boston’s neighborhoods surrounding campus. “Northeastern gives us a lot of opportunity for growth,” he said.
When Lacet became a co-owner, a staff member at Northeastern suggested that he participate in the Capacity Building Program, which Northeastern launched to help Boston-based businesses grow and build their capacity to compete for contracts from the university and other large institutions. He said the program helped him grow as a small business owner and learn critical skills and strategies in areas such as marketing and financing. He has also attended community job fairs on campus on behalf of Thom S. Carlson Corp.
This past weekend, a storm knocked out power on Northeastern’s campus amid a packed Parent and Family Weekend, and work crews sprung into action to quickly restore it. Aoun thanked all the “dedicated professionals who worked throughout the night.” Among them were eight workers from Thom S. Carlson Corp., who were called in to help.
“We got eight guys over there to get the job done,” said Lacet, noting the similarities between this job and the one that initiated his relationship with Northeastern a decade ago. “We work very well together.”