June 03, 2019
Press Releases & News

Clark Construction and Lease Crutcher Lewis Celebrate Strategic Partnership Program Graduates in Seattle

SEATTLE - Clark Construction Group and Lease Crutcher Lewis celebrated the achievement of 10 local small business leaders, the newest graduates of its Strategic Partnership Program (SPP), at a graduation and award ceremony and luncheon on Friday, May 31, 2019 at Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac, Washington. The 2018-2019 class is the 3rd to graduate in Seattle.

The SPP is an intensive, eight-month MBA-style course targeted to local small-business enterprises including minority-, women-, and veteran-owned firms. Since its inception, 850 entrepreneurs have completed the focused professional development and mentoring program nationally, which Clark offers to qualified participants at no cost. The primary goal of the SPP is to enhance the capacity of small, local contractors to contribute to large-scale, high-valued construction projects in the Puget Sound region.

“Today is the culmination of eight months of great work,” said Brett Earnest, Vice President at Clark Construction. “This is a stepping stone to building your foundation in the industry. You have embraced each other through your shared experiences and the confidence in those relationships is evident today. Together, we are ensuring our industry will realize a stronger business community through collaboration and leadership.” 

This year’s graduates include a cross section of subcontractors from trucking to general contractors, and painters to technology services.

  • Herminigildo Bella, CADD Tech
  • Robin Bryant, Nisqually Construction Services
  • Tony Cornejo, T’s Pro Painting
  • Mehdi Esfandiari, J. Keiser & Associates
  • Andrew Esfandiari, J. Keiser & Associations
  • Eugene Hardin, Quality Woodworking & Construction
  • Marivic Punsala, ROMAR7
  • Jameila Richardson, JMR Trucking
  • Frederick Thomas, DBE Construction
  • Justin Webb, Nisqually Construction Services

“The capstone presentations were really impressive,” said Gary Smith, Executive Vice President of Lease Crutcher Lewis, joint venture partner with Clark on the Washington State Convention Center Addition. “To see such energy and commitment firsthand is inspiring. This experience will provide a solid foundation for small business owners.”

“The Board of Directors from the Washington State Convention Center feel very strongly about tangible outreach to businesses representing our diverse community,” said Deryl Brown-Archie, the board’s Vice Chair. “We’re working on a nearly $2 billion project and that creates opportunity for everyone. We appreciate having partners like Clark|Lewis who understand how to make a difference in a very sincere way. Clark|Lewis’s robust program offers continued education and collaboration across the industry. Talented people need resources and mentorship and we’re excited to see how this year’s graduates have grown and we’re even more excited to see where they go from here.”

"There is a tangible benefit to local economic growth when we are able to help build small business capacity and provide opportunities for them to work alongside us on our projects.  We consider it an honor to be able to have a meaningful impact on the communities in which we work and live," said Marivic Bamba Chennault, Director of Community Engagement for Clark.

In addition to the technical and business skills acquired, participants become part of a supportive SPP network, and benefit from ongoing access to Clark's professional resources. The instructors are Clark and Lease Crutcher Lewis employees who volunteer their time to do lead these sessions. This represents incredible commitment with late nights, homework assignments, and the capstone project while managing work and family obligations.

Graduate Jamila Richardson of JMR Trucking said, “The class taught me commitment and hopefully introduced me to future partners. We run a family business and I was able to take so many things back to my staff. I am in a new state of mind.”

And graduate Marivic Punsalan of ROMAR7 said, “We are also a family business, running BIM for the AEC community. The last eight months have been wonderful. Each week I take great information back to my team of five. The program was created for small business and the instructors are so passionate about being there for us. Moving forward, it’s about creating new opportunities for ourselves. Based on what I learned, ROMAR7 is now diversifying our service offering.”  

Applications are now open for next year’s Strategic Partnership Program. The deadline is August 9, 2019 with a September start. For more information go to https://www.clarkconstruction.com/subcontractors