Deana Neely, Detroit Voltage

Detroit Voltage’s Founder Deana Neely Leads Detroit’s Green Energy Sector

In its profile, Forbes indicated that Neely was in the process of launching a program guiding women through the process of starting a construction company, which she is turning into a book.

Deana Neely, the founder of Detroit Voltage, has led Detroit’s electrical contracting services sector since she received her electrical contracting license. Initially, out of fear of receiving negative bias due to the homogenous electrical contracting services industry, Neely concealed the fact that she was a Black woman. Since participating in a Google accelerator program, Neely is putting her face forward. 

As Planet Detroit reported, Neely’s business addresses a critical need: The need for Black people to enter the construction sector. To that end, Elevate, a non-profit based in Chicago, appointed Neely to lead its Detroit Clean Energy Contractor Accelerator Program. Elevate’s program aims to create a reflection of the populations in which they work, and Detroit is almost 80% Black. 

Tim Skrotzki, Elevate’s associate director of Partnerships, told Planet Detroit, “What we’re trying to do is build up a network of contractors that are located in Detroit. We want these contractors to look like they are from the community we’re working in. With Detroit being predominantly Black, 78%, we want contractors to reflect that.”

Neely briefly discussed the explosion of her business after she started Detroit Voltage in 2016, following 10 years of service at the Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department. “It took me months. But after I got that first contract, my phone literally never stopped ringing,” Neely told Planet Detroit. “Within my first six months of operating, we generated over six figures in revenue [and] became like the go-to electrical contractor in the city.”

According to the National Association of Black Women in Construction, Neely’s company has expanded; she opened a branch of her business in Houston, and Forbes recognized her company as one of the Next 1000 in 2021. In its profile, Forbes indicated that Neely was in the process of launching a program guiding women through the process of launching a construction company, which she is turning into a book. In March, Detroit Voltage signed a six-figure deal with DTE Energy, which gave her company a city contract to install electric charging stations for electric vehicles in Detroit. 

In 2023, she described the strategy behind her company’s positioning to Canvas Rebel: “As the demand for sustainability grew, we strategically positioned Detroit Voltage as a leader in supporting renewable energy projects and electric vehicle infrastructure. This decision not only aligned with our values but also tapped into a growing market trend. Our dedication to environmental responsibility not only attracted like-minded clients but also positioned us as leaders in the industry.”

Neely continued, “Throughout our journey, we’ve encountered numerous impactful moments that have played a pivotal role in our growth. These include forming a strategic partnership with our local utility provider to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, securing a position as a Google Small Business Partner, and participating in a fireside chat with the CEO of Google at the Summit of the Americas—an esteemed global event.”

Neely concluded, “I currently serve as a mentor in the Great Lakes Women’s Council MentorWe Program, where I have the privilege of imparting my insights and growth strategies as a woman business owner to other female business owners. This role allows me to contribute to the development and success of entrepreneurs in the program. I am also in the final stages of writing a book to teach women how to seamlessly launch a construction business. This remarkable journey reflects the resilience and determination required to overcome unexpected challenges and transform adversity into success.”