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ASU expertise tapped to help small companies

June 18, 2010

Construction and construction-related companies are learning how to strengthen their businesses through a collaboration of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Alliance for Construction Excellence, the professional development and industry education affiliate of the Del E. Web School of Construction at Arizona State University.

The alliance has created three courses for ADOT’s Academy for the Development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.

It’s geared for start-up and mid-level "disadvantaged business enterprises" that have established themselves as viable companies but are seeking to grow their businesses through building in-house technical expertise, pursuing larger contracting opportunities, or transitioning from the role of subcontractor to prime contractor.

The academy program works to ensure small companies, including those owned by women and minorities, are provided a level playing field on which to compete for federally funded projects.

Thomas Schleifer, assistant research professor at ASU, developed the courses and is teaching some of them this summer.

His courses focus on leadership and entrepreneurial skills, accounting, management and business-planning methods, strategic planning, asset management, negotiating skills, communications and other subjects that new business owners need to learn to become successful.

Schleifer is the author of the "Construction Contractor’s Survival Guide." He has worked for four decades as a construction industry and management consultant.

Through his economic and market research, he has developed strategies to help the industry respond to market-cycle challenges.

The Del E. Webb School of Construction is a part of the School for Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.