Minority-owned asphalt company ‘paves the way’ for a stable future

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — There’s a minority-owned asphalt company in Rochester that’s helping its workers pave the way to a safe, stable future.

Clinton Downing is the owner of C. Downing Enterprises LLC. He oversees a team of eight skilled trade workers—seven of which are people of color—who specialize in masonry and pouring concrete.

Downing explained to News10NBC’s Emily Putnam the challenges he sometimes faces when it comes to booking larger construction jobs in the area.

"Minority companies find a hard time like with working capital and different things like that…to get some of the bigger projects,” Downing said.

One of their current projects is the City of Rochester’s Streetscape revitalization project near the Genesee River. If you’ve driven down East Main Street downtown recently, you probably noticed the abundance of orange traffic cones and curbside equipment—that’s all part of this project.

"The work that we’re doing is to upgrade the look and try and make the waterway a lot better,” Downing said.

They’re also laying the groundwork for change. With violent crime still on the rise (and 24 homicides in the City of Rochester so far in 2022). Downing explained that working in a skilled trade like construction can offer an alternative path for young people.

"There’s opportunity out here,” Downing said. “The young people, you know, with the violence that’s going on in the city…I think it’s a lot to do with economics."

Downing and one of his employees, Tyron Holley, both pointed out that skilled trade work comes with steady union benefits and competitive pay.

"I try to tell younger guys that this is a good way to go, join a union, get a skill,” said Holley. “You’ll always have a job doing this. You know, you won’t be out here in the streets, you won’t be running around, you won’t be getting in… only thing you’ll be worried about is taking care of home and getting your job done."

C. Downing Enterprises LLC is looking to grow slowly and steadily.

"I just want the community to know that violence isn’t always the way,” Downing said. “There’s a lot of work to be done here in the city, a lot of construction work going on. Seek out the opportunity to get a skilled trade."