Polk & Associates Construction: Building A Business With A Legacy That Lasts

Meet Reggie and Tanora Polk, NBIC graduates and the power couple behind Polk & Associates Construction in Nashville, Tennessee. Established in 2011, the firm gained momentum quickly in new construction, tenant improvements, real estate development, facilities maintenance, and civil development. However, after several years in business Reggie felt he lacked the necessary tools for substantial and long term growth.

Reggie says, “Our biggest obstacle in starting our company was the lack of “know how” & availability to financing. We are a first-generation construction company, and I did not have anyone show me how to start and grow the company. I took the skillsets I obtained from previous employers along with my passion for learning, to lay the foundation for Polk & Associates Construction.” Reggie and Tanora also had to navigate the unique challenges that come with owning a business as a couple. Tanora told us what she’s learned in the process and what she would pass on to other couple’s aspiring to succeed in business together. “Setting the right expectations of what is expected of each other is a must. Your respect for each other has to start at home so disrespect doesn’t end up in the work environment. You will also want to have weekly meetings or business dates over lunch to discuss any internal issues and to check on each other mentally and emotionally. Make each other feel valued in their position.” 

In 2017, Reggie came to NBIC, which proved instrumental in exposing Polk & Associates Construction to the industry’s core elements essential for success, sustainability, and scalability. NBIC’s programs provided essential skills such as risk mitigation, operational enhancement, and maintaining the integrity of back-office and accounting functions. Reggie says, “The NBIC program helped establish a solid foundation for our company and we are still building upon that same foundation year after year. The program exposes entrepreneurs to key components that are needed for every business that will help the company scale and create sustainability. We took hold of those principals and applied them to every area of our business. The NBIC program accelerated our growth and provided a level of support that was crucial to our success.” In addition to the technical proficiency provided, Reggie says NBIC stressed the importance of social capital, noting the entire construction industry is all about relationships and how you impact the people in your circle. He believes in the reciprocal nature of relationships, emphasizing the importance of pouring into the lives of others, knowing that it will be reciprocated. 

Due to Reggie’s focus on business development and relationship building and Tanora’s mastery of networking and business operations, this husband-wife team continues making strides both inside and outside of the Nashville community. Today, Polk & Associates Construction manages 22 dedicated employees, and has completed projects in14 states. Reggie attributes the great strides the company has made with NBIC, stating that it helped establish a solid foundation for the company, which they are still building upon year after year. Tanora says, “NBIC provided Reggie with a lot of direction and business knowledge that we did not have previously. We are still using one of the consultants that was offered through the program today.” 

Since joining the NBIC program, Polk & Associates Construction has grown exponentially, allowing them to offer new positions such as project managers, superintendents, administration, and more. Reggie speaks to one of their most recent joint ventures, the new Titan’s stadium, “Regarding our Joint Venture, Tennessee Builders Alliance (TBA), Polk & Associates Construction has partnered with Tuner Construction, AECOM Hunt, and ICF Builders to pursue the new Titans Stadium. Collectively, our team has more than 55 years of NFL stadium construction experience and a long history of building iconic sports facilities. Turner and AECOM Hunt have successfully worked on 17 of the 30 most recently completed NFL stadium projects. Our entity was awarded the project in August 2023. The new stadium will be built on the east side of the current stadium campus, along Nashville’s East Bank. Features of the building include: a circular translucent roof; exterior porches with panoramic views of Nashville; improved sightlines for all spectators through a range of diverse seating experiences; and a 12,000 square foot community space available for use year-round. TBA will oversee the preconstruction and construction management services in the development and construction of the stadium and will also select trade contractors to work on the project.” 

Winners of the 2023 Nashville Black Chamber’s “Business of the Year” award, the future is bright for Reggie and Tanora Polk. Reggie says there are several companies and individuals who have played a role in their overall journey and they are extremely grateful for NBIC’s employees who didn’t just tell him what needed to change, but actually helped him make the changes. Staying coachable, open to constructive criticism, and passionate about continuous learning are a few pieces of advice Reggie offers fellow entrepreneurs. Tanora tells us how she stays motivated during stressful times, “Keeping the end goal in mind. If I know I need to reach a certain destination to make my business successful, I will ride out difficult circumstances, because I know where I am going or where I am trying to get to.” 

Working with NBIC has helped propel Polk & Associates to becoming leaders in their industry. This success story is a testament to the power of continuous learning, strategic planning, and the pursuit of excellence. Ready to embrace the future with enthusiasm and success with newfound confidence and skills? Jumpstart your entrepreneurial goals and take the Biz Quiz now!

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Abigail DaSilva
Abigail DaSilva is the marketing coordinator at NBIC, channeling her passion and creativity to support the organization’s mission of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs. A proud graduate of Tennessee State University, Abigail holds a degree in design, which fuels her artistic sensibilities and impeccable eye for aesthetics. Before joining NBIC, Abigail embarked on her own entrepreneurial journey alongside her brother, where she spearheaded the sales and marketing efforts of their own venture. This experience honed her skills in strategic promotion, customer engagement, and marketing media. Abigail has played a crucial role in the company, transforming their media marketing strategies, specifically towards a more video-driven approach. Recognizing the power of visual storytelling, she has created compelling content and innovative campaigns that have amplified NBIC’s reach and engagement, strengthening their online presence and impact. Outside of her professional endeavors, Abigail is an avid art buff, frequently visiting museums and exploring immersive experiences that combine technology and creativity. She also has a deep love for travel, shopping, and anything that allows her to utilize her creative mind. With her unwavering commitment and broad range of experience, Abigail is a valuable asset to NBIC. She remains eager to push boundaries, elevate engagement, and empower entrepreneurs through her exceptional marketing expertise.
Anne-Marie Tanner
Anne-Marie Tanner is the Programs Coordinator at NBIC. With a Master’s degree in strategic marketing from Midway University and a Bachelor’s degree in design from University of Kentucky, she brings a unique blend of business experience and creativity to her work. Prior to joining NBIC in March of 2023, Anne-Marie worked as a small business and startup consultant, where she gained valuable experience in guiding entrepreneurs through the challenges and opportunities of launching and growing their businesses. Her expertise in strategic planning and her ability to quickly grasp new concepts makes her a strong asset to the NBIC team. As the Programs Coordinator at NBIC, Anne-Marie manages multiple components, including Foundations, E-Myth, Framework, and Groundwork. Anne-Marie values collaboration and strives to align her work with the vision and expectations of her colleagues. Beyond her professional career, Anne-Marie has a wide range of hobbies and passions. She is an accomplished Olympic weight-lifter. Additionally, with her husband, she started a medical clinic in Martin, TN, a brewery and events center in Paris, TN, and an airbnb property. Their goal is not only to build successful businesses, but also to provide economic stability and job opportunities to as many people as possible. With her extensive background in business, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her commitment to personal growth, Anne-Marie Tanner is an extremely valuable asset to NBIC. Her diverse skill set and positive mindset make her a catalyst for success, both for herself and the new businesses she assists.
Saturnie Antoine
Saturnie Antoine has been a part of NBIC since November 2021, serving as the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and has obtained a professional certification in coaching skills. With a diverse background in corporate work spanning over 15 years, Saturnie has worked in various sectors. As the R.I.S.E. UP Program Manager, Saturnie oversees the entire program. Her responsibilities include structuring the curriculum, sourcing speakers, and organizing the launch campaign. Additionally, Saturnie provides personalized professional coaching to the program participants, offering guidance and support to help them scale their businesses to $1 million plus level. Since the commencement of the program in March 2023, under Saturnie’s leadership, R.I.S.E. UP has witnessed numerous accomplishments and successes. Additionally, the program’s focus on emotional intelligence has helped participants navigate internal challenges and overcome obstacles inhibiting their growth. Outside of work, Saturnie values personal time spent with her family and loved ones. Her true passion lies in her role as a professional coach, where she finds fulfillment in assisting women on their journey towards personal and professional growth. Saturnie’s commitment to her clients and her extensive experience, coupled with her excellent coaching skills, allows her to provide comprehensive support to program participants, enabling them to achieve their goals and reach new heights. Under Saturnie’s leadership, the R.I.S.E. UP Program continues to flourish and make a lasting impact on the lives of female entrepreneurs.
Leroy Cunningham
Leroy Cunningham currently occupies the role of Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC. He holds a major degree in Business Administration from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, along with minor degrees in Accounting and Economics. Leroy’s prior engagement with business development consulting brings great strength to the NBIC team. He has worked at three of the largest market capitalization companies in the world – Emerson Electric, General Electric, and Berkshire Hathaway. In his current role as the Community and Capacity Building Manager at NBIC, Leroy wears many hats. One of his primary objectives at NBIC is to increase the number of small minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses qualified to undertake contracts from prime contractors and government entities. By fostering relationships with community partners and engaging with prime contractors and government entities, Leroy works tirelessly to bridge the gap and provide opportunities for these businesses to flourish. Additionally, Leroy dedicates his time to consulting with business owners, providing them with valuable insights and guidance. By helping businesses at their current stage and empowering them to reach their goals, Leroy greatly contributes to the growth and success of NBIC’s clients. Outside of work, Leroy indulges in his love for reading, sports, and travel. With his vast knowledge, dedication, and passion for community empowerment, Leroy is committed to making a meaningful impact at NBIC. His wealth of certifications and global business experience lends a unique perspective and expertise to NBIC’s initiatives, which will undoubtedly drive the organization forward.
Octavia Wilson-Simmons
Octavia Wilson-Simmons is the Special Project Coordinator at NBIC. With a background as a tank storage broker, Octavia acted as a vital liaison between storage terminals and cargo owners, facilitating contracts for the transportation and storage of products. Prior to NBIC, she also worked as a chemical operator at a chemical company, further enhancing her expertise in the industry. Joining NBIC in early 2022, Octavia initially served as an assistant to Angela before transitioning to her current position as a Special Project Coordinator. In this role, Octavia plays a crucial part in various projects, including MNAA and Elevate 615. She also provides invaluable support to the team, assisting with grants and streamlining processes to ensure efficient collaboration and coordination. Outside of her professional endeavors, Octavia is extremely family-oriented and cherishes family outings and spending quality time with her loved ones. Octavia is also a dedicated DIY enthusiast and seeks to immerse herself in various projects. Octavia embraces the opportunity to collaborate with the NBIC team, support Angela, and contribute to the company’s mission. Having witnessed the growth of businesses firsthand gives Octavia special insight into the entrepreneurial world and the hard work that goes into operating and expanding your business. With her extensive background in the oil industry and her unwavering dedication to assisting others, Octavia continues to make a positive impact within NBIC, among her peers, and within the entrepreneurial community as a whole.