New Cohort of Small Business Leaders Complete Clark's Strategic Partnership Program

July 5, 2023

SPP Graduation

More than 100 small business leaders across the country have completed the Strategic Partnership Program (SPP), Clark’s signature small business development program, during the 2022-2023 cycle.  

The primary goal of the SPP is to enhance the size, scale, and capacity of small, local businesses to contribute to large, high-value construction projects. The program provides intensive, months-long executive MBA-style training to small and diverse business enterprises, including minority-, women-, and veteran-owned firms. Offered at no cost to participants, more than 1,400 entrepreneurs nationwide have completed the professional development and mentoring program in its 17 years. 

"Each year, I am blown away by the tenacity of the small business leaders who complete the Strategic Partnership Program," said Jay Grauberger, executive vice president of corporate affairs at Clark Construction. "Taking on the responsibility of a rigorous program like this while also leading their respective firm is impressive. While graduations mark a completion, Clark is committed to providing resources and supporting SPP graduate firms as they grow." 

This year, 12 Nashville business leaders completed the city’s inaugural SPP class. These graduates lead companies across the spectrum of specialized trades, including painting, low voltage systems, waterproofing, and cleaning services, as well as general contracting and program management. 

 “I left the SPP with a better understanding of the full lifecycle of the construction process – from the owner to the general contractor to the trade partners and small businesses. The SPP showed me how to position my company for growth”.

- Sandra Potter, CEO of The Cleaning Leaders, a Nashville-based woman-owned business

 SPP Nashville joins seven other markets that offer the program, including Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California, and Washington, DC.

“This is an exciting time in Nashville,” said Tim Lamson, vice president and general manager of Clark’s Nashville operations. “I am proud that Clark is empowering local entrepreneurs, not only with enhanced business acumen, but also a rich network – with Clark and their fellow SPP peers – to take their companies to the next level.”

In addition to technical and business skills, participants gain ongoing access to Clark's professional resources and join an engaged network of industry peers. Program alumni take part in SPP ENCORE, Clark’s continuing education programming that connects graduates to the resources, tools, and knowledge to achieve greater economic success.

In 2021, Clark announced a pledge to award $2.5 billion in new contracts to SPP alumni over the next decade. This will help ensure SPP graduates have access to meaningful opportunities to grow their capacity and their business. The pledge, alongside the continued growth of SPP, reaffirms Clark’s longstanding commitment to fostering inclusive growth within the construction industry.