February 06, 2019
Press Releases & News

Clark Construction Recognizes the Accomplishments of San Francisco Small Business Owners with “Cheers to Your Success” Event

SAN FRANCISCO – Clark recently toasted the accomplishment of graduates of its Strategic Partnership Program (SPP) during the firm’s first ever “Cheers to Your Success” happy hour and networking event at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.  The company has offered the professional development course in San Francisco since 2014.  The Strategic Partnership Program’s intensive, MBA-style curriculum is aimed at local small businesses, including minority-, women-, and veteran-owned firms. To date, 54 small business leaders from the San Francisco Bay area have completed the program. 

The Strategic Partnership Program, which is offered in six cities across the country, provides underrepresented or disadvantaged small business leaders with access to fundamental business and project management skills training to grow their capacity, and to prepare them for their next big opportunity.  Weekly evening classes focus on topics including estimating, understanding contracts, purchasing, and finance and accounting – to refine and enhance the skills that participants use to run and grow their businesses every day. Clark offers the program to small business owners at no cost. 

“We strive to give local small firms the support and training they need to take their businesses to the next level, as well as present them with opportunities on our jobsites that will enable them to grow, hire additional employees, take on more complex jobs, and be in a position to give back to the San Francisco community,” said Marivic Bamba Chennault, Director of Community Relations and Small Business Development for Clark Construction.

The event also provided valuable networking opportunities for the small business owners participating – including current SPP students.  Also attending were representatives of city agencies and community partners who have supported the program, including the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, Contract Monitoring Division, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Merriwether and Williams, and Aboriginal Blackman United (ABU). 

One of the goals of the Strategic Partnership Program is to increase the capacity of small businesses so they are qualified to contribute to large-scale construction projects in the Bay Area. San Francisco SPP participants are credited with helping to deliver some of the city’s most prominent projects, including Park Tower, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chase Center, Burke Warehouse and Animal Care and Control Facility, and UC Hastings.

Several graduates of the program offered compelling testimonies about the transformative impact the program has had on their businesses, their professional aspirations, and on their lives.  “Clark has provided me with a network of smart, phenomenal individuals who are going to transform how construction is done in San Francisco,” stated Jeanine Cotter, owner of Luminault, a solar energy solutions firm based in Potrero Hill, “This is an economy that is growing because of our inclusiveness.  When companies like Clark invest in us and amplify our skill sets so that we are prepared to succeed, that is the best kind of pairing.”  Speakers included:

  • Pete Varma, President of Intraline and President of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC)
  • Doug Parrish, President of Red Dipper, Board Member of African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Jeanine Cotter, Owner of Luminalt
  • Nick Colina, Co-Principal of Anco Construction and Board Member of NAMC
  • Ashley Rhodes, Owner of Master Painting, Member ABU
  • Ray Horne, Owner of R and I Glassworks
  • Isabelle Concio, Principal of Mission Construction
  • Charles Jones, Owner of YN&M Janitorial

Current Strategic Partnership Program participant Tana Harris, owner of Harris Hoisting, joined select alumni in sharing words of inspiration during the event. As the only African-American woman in San Francisco to own and operate a hoisting company, Harris is breaking industry barriers. She previously worked as a hoist operator on Clark’s Salesforce Tower construction site and credits the company for offering her the opportunity to develop the skills she needs to succeed as a contractor, as well as for giving her the confidence to pursue her dream of entrepreneurship.  “I am going to make you proud,” she said.

For many participants, the benefits of enrolling in the Strategic Partnership Program have included not only the essential knowledge acquired, but the robust small business support system created by Clark and its partners that continues beyond graduation.  “I still call on Clark executives for references,” stated Nick Colina, co-principal of Anco Iron & Construction, a steel and metal fabricator based in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. “They’ve helped us develop our company’s profile… their advice is gold. Clark is one of the best contractors in terms of including the community and expanding local growth.”

“We want you all to know that whether you are currently enrolled in the Strategic Partnership Program or are a graduate, the Clark team is always available. We encourage you all to reach out to us and ask questions so that we can continue to support your professional growth,” said Mike Ricker, Senior Vice President in charge of Clark’s San Francisco office.