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Risheem Eli Muhammad

“I'm 40 years old. Born and raised in Houston. I attended a high school for the engineering profession, which is Booker T. Washington High School in north Houston. I attended Grambling State University, Savannah State University, and the University of Houston. And then to the military. I served in the US Air Force, special ops, from 2000 to 2001. I had a little accident that kind of ended my career. I am a disabled vet now.
 
I found out about SER just going through the Texas Workforce Commission. On the street they were saying ‘hey this organization is one that does workforce initiatives if you're trying to get into the construction trade industry.’  
 
I was working as a FEMA Inspector and a College Professor at the time. I was looking for a change and trying to put everything together to build a business. I was kind of caught in that gray area.
 
I ended up meeting [SER Direct of Training and Development] Chris Pratt. He was giving a weatherization construction course. When I was in the course I started to have some ideas. Chris kind of sparked some interest in terms of what the industry looked like and what we could do in the industry. I told him that I'm very interested as an entrepreneur because at that time I was trying to find my way into the industry. 
 
[At SER] I took NCCER [Core Construction] and OSHA trainings. And I took that training and built a business around it. That's how you got EDS Technologies today based on that training and the spark of the idea through SER.
 
By 2011 I started designing and developing the company and we rolled into process phase. I got married to Janelle Mohammed in 2008 but then in 2013 she was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer and passed away. That put me into a homeless veteran status.  
 
I went to so many social services through the VA and pretty much what they had to offer and I saw some areas of improvement. I saw a need to have a more robust training for vets. 
 
And so we've fashioned [EDS Technologies] to be able to support small businesses and US Vets who had a specialized skill who just needed an opportunity to be cross-trained or to add to the skills that they need to get employed or further their education or going into entrepreneurship. We've been diligently building the team, and I now have 10 people that work with me.
 
I see [EDS Technologies] being a national brand pretty much in every city offering special trades construction training based on the niche market. My goal is to train as many vets as I possibly can. And get them into what we call the triple E, which is education, entrepreneurship, or employment. We want to get them there. I served in the US Air Force so it is a passion of mine to do so. And I think it's a duty of mine to do so.”
 
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Parts of this story came from Risheem's feature in Houston Matters.