RLJ Companies to Bring Jobs, Build Homes in Haiti

Firms using technology to build structures resistant to earthquakes



RLJ Companies announced Monday that it will team up with manufacturing company Global Building Solutions to develop quick and cost-effective mass housing in Haiti following the country’s January earthquake.


The venture, which will be known as Caribbean Opportunity Holdings, is planning to build a structured insulated panel (SIP) manufacturing facility in the area near Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second-largest city.

“We know that putting a manufacturing facility in-country as opposed to shipping all of the materials…from outside will create more jobs and make it cheaper to make the houses,” said Lisa Pickrum, chief operating officer of RLJ Companies, which was founded by Robert L. Johnson. “We have found that sustainable projects that help people in the long term… only come about and are maintained when you move beyond aid into profit sharing businesses.”

Johnson also launched RLJ Development L.L.C. (No. 8 on the BE Industrial/Service list with $605.2 million in revenue) and is the creator of Black Entertainment Television.

Most buildings in Haiti are made of concrete blocks, which tend to crumble in hurricane or earthquake conditions. The SIP technology is uniquely applicable to Haiti because it is waterproof, humidity resistant, resistant to earthquakes up to magnitude 7.0, and lightweight.

Caribbean Opportunity Holdings will produce the pre-engineered and exportable building materials in Cap-Haitien, about 130 miles north of Port-au Prince, where the magnitude 7.0 earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people in January and left 1.3 million survivors homeless and living in tent camps.

“We chose [Cap-Haitien] as a place that would be able to sustain some job creation and tourism,” says Pickrum. Scores of displaced people are moving to Cap-Haitien, putting a lot of economic strain on the province.

The project will also serve Port-au-Prince since the building materials created at the plant can be shipped by barge or truck to help build infrastructure across all of Haiti.

Pickrum declined to give the cost of the facility, but estimated that it would be a multimillion dollar budget that would create 150 to 300 jobs in that location. COH will profit by selling construction and building materials to nonprofit organizations and donors. Although, the return will not be large initially, Pickrum says the increased infrastructure will pave the way for longer term tourism developments like hotels.

The two companies have a track record of constructing projects where infrastructure is scarce. GBS partnered with RLJ Companies in 2008 to build a four-star luxury resort and spa in Monrovia, Liberia, in less than 12 months. The RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas, a 78-room villa style hotel, which opened March 2009, was the first hotel construction completed in Liberia in twenty-five years.

7 Responses to RLJ Companies to Bring Jobs, Build Homes in Haiti

  1. Pingback: RLJ Companies to Bring Jobs, Build Homes in Haiti « Brand Newz

  2. Pingback: RLJ Companies to Bring Jobs, Build Homes in Haiti – BLACK ENTERPRISE « AfroTraditionalist

  3. Lakesha says:

    I love this!
    I’m new to the stock investment world and would like to know just  how i would  go about investing into RLJ for the purpose of helping Hatii as well as making a profit?

  4. Syvalia Satterfield says:

    I am from Washington, DC and I have 8 small businesses with annual revenue of 110 million today, and Bob has been a serious mentor, as I have followed his business success I have learned so much that I use in my own businesses. Diversity has been key! I love you Bob, you are an inspiration to Black businessmen.

    God Bless!

  5. I am V.Pres.of G&S Inc. I am looking for info on reconstruction of Haitis rightofways by recyling the debree,so I can put .men to work from here and there .Any help you can give me would be appreciated.Thank you

  6. Pingback: RLJ Companies to Bring Jobs, Build Homes in Haiti | The Black Man Can

  7. Pingback: Rlj companies | Kappeetc

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