The DeKalb Difference Blog

Meet Shear Structural: The 2023 Small Business ROCK STAR in DeKalb County

We have a big rock star right here in DeKalb… We’re not talking about show business, but Shear business.

Shear Structural, a local business in Chamblee, won the 2023 Small Business ROCK STAR award presented by Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Economic Developers Association.

According to the Rock Star award, Shear Structural is the only 100 percent women-owned and women-managed structural engineering firm in Georgia, having worked on 26 award-winning building projects, making it a force in the industry.

Co-founders Karen Jenkins, Holly Jeffreys and Malory Atkinson founded the firm in 2017, intentionally bringing their different perspectives to a male-dominated industry. All three women come from a different generation and have had different career paths. All three are also mothers, two of them with young children. From the beginning the company’s culture was one of flexibility and empathy; the global pandemic affirmed this business approach.  

Shear Structural’s diversity is reflected in its employees and the type of projects the firm takes on, with a focus on education, healthcare, municipal work and adaptive reuse.

In addition to their successful business model, Shear Structural is dedicated to giving back to the community. As a “Go Beyond Profit” corporate pledge participant, the company donates 10 percent of its profits back to the community every year and provides free or pro-bono projects.

The company has worked with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club in Chamblee, the Atlanta Police Foundation and the Empty Stocking Fund.

Atkinson says that Shear Structural’s success as a small business demonstrates the range of opportunities available for female entrepreneurs in any sector. “We need all kinds of diversity in the small business world. It makes all of us better,” she told the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Of the 12.3 million women-owned companies in the United States, only 1.7 percent generate $1 million or more in annual revenue, a benchmark that most new businesses strive to hit as a signal of legitimacy and success. Shear Structural hit that milestone in its first year in business. The food hall expansion at Ponce City Market and the Westside Paper redevelopment are two of the firm’s better-known adaptive reuse projects, among many others.

DeKalb County’s thriving economy provides a wealth of opportunities for businesses of all sizes and industries. Its business-friendly environment, combined with an active business support community, makes it an ideal location for entrepreneurs and established businesses looking to grow and succeed, such as Shear Structural.

We at Decide DeKalb congratulate Shear Structural on this well-deserved recognition as a 2023 Small Business ROCK STAR.

If you’d like more information on how to do business in DeKalb County, please contact us!