Science Park “Graduates” Small Contractors
by Allan Appel | Jul 31, 2012 8:43 am
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development
A restaurant, a householder, and a church combined owe Charles Federick and his electrical company $52,000. Fortunately for his business, a training program he just finished taught him the discipline to moderate the impulses of his “soft heart.”
On Monday evening Federick and 13 other small contractors received certificates marking their completion of seven weeks of business basics including accounting, job costing, estimating, and obtaining credit and bonding.
With the support of the city and Science Park Development Corporation, the New Haven Regional Contractors Alliance brought the course free to solo or small electricians, painters, lead and asbestos removers who aspire to grow and take advantage of the construction opportunities in town.
The “graduation” followed by pizza and good cheer took place at the Alliance’s offices at 5 Science Park.
Federick’s company, CF Electrical, is based in Waterbury and has two employees. His aim is to expand to six and become a model minority contractor, he said. He has taken courses before on specific business-related subjects; he praised the lesson of discipline taught by professional accountants, estimators, and bond experts that the Alliance brought in to create its first business basics course.
Federick’s tablemate at the graduation was Magda Ferrer, who runs Gem’s Carpentry based in Meriden. Her company was one of two in the Alliance’s graduating that were among small contractors winning a total of $1.2 million in the renovation of Higher One’s new headquarters at Science Park.
The Alliance had a role in bringing the projects and the small contractors together. In the process of that work and previous more focused workshops on green demolition and environmental training, project director Walter Esdaile said, he noticed many of the small contractors could use some business basics.
So the workshop was born. It is the first comprehensive and basic business training offered to up and running small companies, said Lil Snyder, who runs the city Economic Development Department’s Small Business Initiative, which oversees the Alliance.
“Without this knowledge, I was doomed to fail,” said another graduate, Allison Diehl-Wilhite. She took the green demolition training conducted by the Alliance . She formed her J & A Lead Abatement and Home Improvement Company, based in East Haven.
She said that the biggest takeaway for her were the lessons on bidding, how to anticipate labor costs, and the accounting seminar.
After the certificates were handed out, and just before the slices of pizza followed, another graduate Martha Dilone, asked, “Can you do this class in Spanish?” Dilone lives in the Hill. She bases her Intercept Recovery & Protection Agency there, too. If the course could be offered in Spanish, she said, she has many friends who would sign up.
Snyder said the idea sounded good and promised to look into it.
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