North Carolina-based contractor UMA Geotechnical Construction announced its designation as both a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and North Carolina Historically Underutilized Business (HUB). The designations go to small businesses with 51 percent or more ownership by a veteran disabled while on active duty.

“I was delighted with the process because certification means we’ve met some very high standards,” says founder and CEO Jim DeSpain. “It makes me extremely proud to be part of this fantastic group of veterans who are running and operating businesses regardless of disability. It is my honor to be among them.”

Both designations require a rigorous application process. Companies must document legal formation, shareholder ownership, and complete financial information, as well as veteran status. The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Veterans Administration (VA) verify all documentation before bestowing the designations.

DeSpain flew tactical carrier-based jets during deployments to the Persian Gulf. He scaled back his military involvement by joining the Reserves, and retired as a Navy O-6 serving as the commanding officer of the Naval Research Laboratory Reserve Engineering Group in Washington, D.C.

UMA Geotechnical Construction Inc., a leading developer of polymer grouting techniques, works to save clients money with specialized ground engineering solutions. The UMA team, which includes experts in structural support, earth retention and soil stabilization, was among the first to use lightweight structural polymers to improve subsurface soils at depths greater than 40 feet. For more information, visit