Straight out of Hodgson Vo-Tech High School in Newark eight years ago, Darrick Hayman began working in building information modeling (BIM).
That involves creating virtual, 3D renderings of proposed buildings so that contractors have a better handle on the site’s plumbing, mechanical piping, electrical wiring and carpentry in addition to how things will fit in the space and how the space will look.
By June 2014, Hayman, (who’s now 26), decided he’d start his own business, called DLHcad, LLC.
It’s been a long foray into the Wilmington startup scene for Hayman: It wasn’t until last May that he landed his first big client, and through all the tumult of starting a business, he was also going to school at Delaware Technical Community College to get a more advanced understanding of the programming (he uses Autodesk’s AutoCAD, Navisworks and Revit). Hayman graduated in December.
Now things are finally starting to take off for the him: His client from last spring yielded more clients, and he’s got an office in the EDiS building on South Poplar Street right by the Christina River. Just last week, Hayman launched his company’s website.
He’s got one employee working for him now, while his brother will come on board in a couple of weeks. He’s also looking to make another hire by this summer.
If you look at the website’s “about” section, you’ll notice something unusual: All three photos are of young Black men. In an industry dominated by white men, Hayman has splashed onto the Wilmington tech scene as one of the city’s rare minority-run startups.
“It’s something that’s really noticeable in this industry, there’s not many Black men, period,” Hayman said. “It’s definitely something different.”
He’s quick to say that he doesn’t think race has played a part in his startup experience, and that he’s had the same highs and lows as anyone who starts a business in Delaware.
He said he would like to see more people of color get involved in tech, though. Hayman recently went to a user software meeting out in Las Vegas and had an eye-opening experience. Out of 500 people attending, he, his brother and one other person were the only minorities, he said.
“It’s tough,” he said, adding that the concept that technology and programming can be a viable career hasn’t been extremely popular in much of the Black community. “I don’t think they understand how rewarding a career like that can be.”
He hopes his own story will inspire young people of color to see that success in the tech field can be a reality, even if those computer programming classes in high school don’t seem particularly cool or interesting.
“You could still be successful if you’re not throwing a ball in a hoop or a football downfield,” Hayman said. “That’s not just the only way to be successful.”
And now with DLHcad, he’s got the proof.