Clark Celebrates 10 years of Helping Increase Small Business Capacity Through its Strategic Partnership Program

July 05, 2016
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Increased opportunities await the 16 graduates of Clark’s 2015-2016 Strategic Partnership Program (SPP), a 10-month executive education program for small businesses. The owners and executives of 13 local, small, minority-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned businesses recently completed the intensive MBA-style program, now in its 10th year. 
 
Program graduates were celebrated at a June 22 graduation ceremony hosted by Clark Vice President of Purchasing and program director, Wesley Stith. The event featured congratulatory remarks from Bill Calhoun, Clark's Vice Chairman, as well as local government officials such as Jimmy Rhee, Special Secretary for the Maryland Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, and Sharon Moore Jackson, Acting Executive Director, Prince George’s County Supplier Development & Diversity Division.
 
Offered at no cost to small business owners, the Strategic Partnership Program provides comprehensive construction management and business skills training. Clark developed the program in 2006 in conjunction with Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. The curriculum consists of weekly courses, supplemented by experiential learning in the field. Clark employees and industry experts work with program participants to review the fundamentals of project management, estimating, purchasing, basic accounting and financial reporting, bonding and insurance requirements, and how to read and understand contracts. The program culminates with a capstone project requiring groups of students to develop and submit a small business proposal and present it to a panel of judges.
 
"Small businesses are a part of the fabric of our community and essential to our industry. Our commitment to building small business capacity goes beyond any single project or contracting goal," said Bill Calhoun, Vice Chairman of Clark Construction Group. "We developed the Strategic Partnership Program as a means to enhance these entrepreneurs' business acumen and increase their capacity to take on larger, more complex projects. This program is a key element in our holistic effort to support small businesses on a national scale. We are thrilled to see it reach its 10th year, and even more delighted to see the growth and development of program alumni.”
 
Beverly Thomas, President of Washington, D.C., based Regional Contracting Services, and a graduate of Clark’s inaugural SPP class, provided the graduation ceremony’s keynote address, which focused on life after the program and tips for smart growth. One of the program’s success stories, Thomas has grown Regional Contracting Services’ operations, personnel, revenue, and bonding capacity exponentially over the last 10 years. From first year revenues of approximately $260,000, the firm's annual revenues today average between $8 - $10 million. 
 
Graduates from the 2015/2016 Strategic Partnership Program join the more than 400 small business owners who have matriculated through the program since its inception. The SPP curriculum is offered in the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as in Chicago, Southern California, Northern California, and Boston. In addition, condensed versions of the program are offered at jobsites across the country.
 

Graduates of Clark’s 2015/2016 Strategic Partnership Program:

 
  • Marie Ahlgren-Stephanos, All Building Maintenance, Ashton, Md.
  • Esther Biggs, Metropolitan Home Solutions, Inc., Herndon, Va.
  • James Brent, Attention to Detail Maintenance LLC, Waldorf, Md.
  • Louise Cobbett-Witten, All Building Maintenance, Ashton, Md.
  • Daren Danzy, PMTelligence Construction Consultancy, Tyson’s Corner, Va.
  • Agnes Donaldson, Daggers Group of Companies, Smyrna, Del.
  • Janet Foots, Solarugreen, Houston, Texas
  • Elgin Gordon, Gordon Waste Management, Bladensburg, Md.
  • Bert’a Holmes, Platinum Touch Design Studio, Inc., Alexandria, Va.
  • Christine Holmes, Daggers Group of Companies, Smyrna, Del.
  • Charles Hurt, Decisive Communications Inc., Ijamsville, Md.
  • James Lee, Five Star Network Solutions, Bowie, Md.
  • Liliana Lopez, Zamora Drywall, Hyattsville, Md.
  • Ali Naim, EVCON, Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Dominik Piwowarski, EVCON, Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Darryl Presley, Prestige Development Group, Camp Springs, Md.