After Tana Harris completed her service with the National Guard, she wasn’t sure what was next for her in life. When a friend suggested that she look into construction work, she decided to give it a try and fell in love with the industry. In 1988, Tana joined the Local 3 union as an operating engineer. She received training on a wide range of equipment, from pavers and dozers to cranes.
With decades of experience under her belt, Tana founded Harris Hoisting in 2015. The business is a certified Woman / Minority Business Enterprise (WMBE) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) based in San Francisco. To keep construction sites orderly and safe, large vertical projects need trained professionals to move material and personnel as the project develops. Harris Hoisting provides on-site lift and hoisting services with union operators through each project’s completion. Some of their completed projects include Park Tower/Facebook (Webcor), Chase Center (Clark), China Basin MB6W (Cahill), 49 Van Ness (Pankow), MacArthur Transit Village (Build Group), and San Francisco Crime Lab.
To get her business started, Tana worked with the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. The center’s business trainer introduced her to Karla de Leon, Chief Credit Officer at Main Street Launch. Tana and Karla kept up a conversation as the business grew. “Karla has been great to work with. She tells me exactly what we need, talking me through every step of the process. When I wasn’t ready [for a loan] last year, she helped me get to where I needed to be.” Then the pandemic hit, and business revenue decreased as multiple construction projects were delayed or canceled. In need of working capital, Tana felt comfortable turning to Main Street to help her navigate the different financing options available.
Main Street Launch funded Harris Hoisting with a $40,000 partially forgivable loan in partnership with the Port of San Francisco and a $100,000 loan through the California Rebuilding Fund. With this funding, Harris Hoisting was able to accomplish a longtime goal and purchase its first piece of equipment: a 19-ton boom truck. “This was a wonderful achievement because we had always dreamed of getting our own equipment,” Tana says. “Financing is always a factor for small businesses, so to have these types of programs out there to help us is really great.”
Going forward, Tana is excited to be able to hire more employees and introduce more people to construction. She is especially passionate about recruiting more women into the industry. Tana believes that construction work is extremely rewarding, both in terms of the personal satisfaction of seeing a job through to completion as well as the financial compensation available in the industry. “The future is bright!” she says. “We’re excited about where we are and the accomplishments we’ve had so far. We’re thankful to Main Street, Renaissance, and the general contractors that have given us an opportunity to actually make this happen.”