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“I have to prove myself because I am a unicorn in this industry."

Featured Article

Jennifer Ransom

Business Built on Trust and Integrity

Article by Amy Birdsong Golden

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

“Not one person thinks I am the owner when they first meet me on a job site,” says Jennifer Ransom, owner and president of The Ransomed Group, a general and specialty contractor in Memphis.

But that doesn’t bother her. She is used to it, and sometimes it works to her advantage.

“I have to prove myself because I am a unicorn in this industry,” Jennifer says. “I am never given the benefit of the doubt. I don’t just have to prove that I belong. I have to outperform. But I love what I do. And I know my work will resonate.”

Jennifer became a Memphian, by way of Colorado, completing her undergraduate work at the University of Memphis and then taking the MCAT. She was headed to medical school when she made a pivot to healthcare management and hospital administration, completing graduate degrees at the University of Virginia and Harvard business school. She consulted in healthcare for a bit, while making time to raise her young boys. Then she embarked on an unconventional career change. Something she had always wanted to do.

Construction was a familiar path. Jennifer grew up on job sites with her father, a custom home builder in Colorado. After getting her general contracting license in 2016, she began working towards the commercial and industrial side of the business. Since then, her firm has completed recent projects for Gold Strike Casino, Renasant Convention Center, FedEx, IndigoAg and many others.  

While working alongside the Army Corps of Engineers in 2020, she was tapped to apply for a federal program, an 8(a) designation. Her small business is able to partner with large federal contractors. It’s a training program that allows for joint ventures with existing contractors, leveraging business infrastructure and knowledge. It certainly does not ‘level the playing field,’ but instead is a robust training program for business development, education and access.

“I don’t have to be an expert in everything. I just need the right people and relationships that are built on trust and integrity.”  

Jennifer was recently appointed by Governor Bill Lee to serve on the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Board for Licensing Contractors. She serves as Chairman of the Board for the Tennessee Builders Education Foundation, a non-profit organization whose objective is to expose high school students and young adults to careers in the construction trades.

Jennifer values her employees and partners the most. “It is such a blessing to be able to employ so many people and change the trajectory of people’s lives," she says. “As women, we are nurturers. We care.”

While the projects, people and initiatives at the firm keep her consumed, she is ever focused on the future of the Ransomed Group. She heeds the advice of her business coach, “Don’t get so busy that you forget to work on your business, not just in your business.” 

  • This single mother makes it all work thanks to her secret power: multi-tasking
  • “I have to prove myself because I am a unicorn in this industry."