Category Archives: Consulting

Share your story with the Consulting & Business Development Center!

This year the Consulting and Business Development Center is celebrating its 20th Anniversary!

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After two decades of serving the business community in the State of Washington, the Center has given generations of University of Washington Students the opportunity to work with hundreds of businesses, created thousands of jobs and helped generate millions of dollars in revenues. The Center has done all of this by connecting people and allowing them to have a hand in changing one another’s lives.

Now, as we celebrate 20 years of bringing learning that matters to students and creating jobs where they are needed the most, we want to hear your story!

This year leading up to our annual awards banquet we’d like to celebrate and share your stories and the difference you have made in the community through our social media (blog, website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).  Some of your stories will be featured at the celebration through the printed program, in video production, and even shared onstage!

Share your story with us today! 

Keep an eye on our website for registration information coming soon or email Megan Sevigny at sevigm@uw.edu for more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities!

Foster School and Evans School Students Gain New Perspectives on Strategic Leadership  

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Gloris Estrella – MPA ’15

The Board Fellows Program is a unique opportunity for Foster School of Business MBA students and Evans School of Public Policy and Governance MPA students to learn together as they explore the unique leadership role that comes from being a member of a board of directors. MBA and MPA students serve for nine months on a nonprofit board while participating in seminars that teach effective leadership and governance principles. Gloris Estrella – MPA ’15, reflects on her experience as a 2014-15 Board Fellow:

As a second year MPA student at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, the Board Fellows Program offered by the Consulting and Business Development Center at the Foster School of Business proved to be invaluable to my development and career. The chance to sit on a nonprofit board seemed unreachable to me as a young professional, but the Board Fellows Program brought the opportunity within my grasp. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from and participating with the board I was selected to be part of, and was able to put classroom materials into play in a local organization whose mission I felt strongly about.  It was also a fantastic opportunity to work with Foster School graduate students to make cross-sector connections in order to engage in addressing social issues in the Seattle area. 

One of my favorite memories of the program was the day we had two guest speakers: one from the public and the other from the private sector.  Their personal insight about their experiences on boards allowed me to better understand how to make a stronger impact on the board I was participating in.  It encouraged me to step up and voice my opinions and offer more of my skills on the board.  As a result, I was able to join the strategic plan subcommittee and provide a lasting impact on the future of the organization.  Because of my active and positive participation, the Board Chair and Executive Director asked me to join the board as voting member following my allotted time as a Board Fellow.  That opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the Consulting and Business Development Center and the Board Fellows Program.

Colours By Design | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Patty Maggard Prediletto, owner of Colours By Design, an interior design firm based in Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered by the Consulting & Business Development Center. This program wrapped up this May with more than 100 graduates since January of 2015.

Patty_PhotoMy name is Patty Maggard Prediletto and my business is Colours By Design.  As a sole proprietor of a home-based interior design business, I was surprised when the Consulting & Business Development Center asked me to tell the story of my company.  My initial thought was that a larger firm, due to their higher number of employees, crews, and supervisors to manage would make a better story about the impact of this program.  Then I realized just how diverse the mix of my fellow classmates was in the Business Certificate Program.  These included owners of small businesses (like mine) as well as employees from large companies.  I’ve come to realize that although we have different perspectives on business, the tools that we learned can help us all in different ways.

I may not have a staff or a board of directors, but I do have clients and subcontractors that I work with; I make decisions with and for my clients on a daily basis; and I have to brainstorm how to approach a project and how to make snap decisions to keep jobs flowing.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.  We all work on the same principles, we are here to make a profit, and I’ve realized through the BCP that companies both big and small use the same tools to accomplish these goals.

BCP teaches three major subjects: marketing, management, and finance & accounting.  Here are my takeaways that I was able to bring back to Colours By Design.

Marketing: I know my name is long, but that is part of my brand.  I was Maggard for the first 20 years of my career and built up that name recognition.  When I remarried I knew I needed to keep that name as that is my brand and how I am known.  This class has helped me to put that into focus and helped me to better understand how important identity or branding is.  I knew that branding was important but BCP showed my why.

Management: When I am dealing with a couple, many times there are differences of opinions and tastes. It is my job to bring both sides together and come to a decision that everyone is happy with.  I joke that I have a marriage counseling degree!  With this course, I now have more tools in my toolbox to help me mediate the decision-making process.

Finance & Accounting: I have written a business plan and I readily admit that I am more creative than a financial whiz.  However, I know it is a very important part of any business to have an understanding of how money flows and how to adjust to changes.

I would like to thank Domex Superfresh Growers for bringing the UW Foster School of Business to our community.  I found the instructors were very engaging and entertaining.  The teamwork exercises were fun, creative, and really helped me understand the concepts.  It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this course is for all businesses, large or small like me.

2015 Undergraduate Consulting Challenge

Big Time Brewery owner Rick McLaughlin with winning student team from South Seattle Community College – Louise Bayona, Amber Jiang, Gosay Mohammed and Aliya Zhaxylykbayeva.
Gargoyles Statuary owner Gayle Nowicki with winning student team Jeremy Santos, Anthony Li, Emmeline Vu, and Jennifer Louie.
Panache206 owner Elizabeth Morris with colleagues and winning student team Ataur Rahman, John Tran, Alan Cai, and Anthony Shen.

On Friday, May 8, the Consulting and Business Development Center hosted the Undergraduate Consulting Challenge, pairing three local small businesses – Big Time Brewery,  Gargoyles Statuary, and Panache206 with teams of students who were given a week to create a plan that would aid in the growth and development of each client.

Approximately 60 students formed teams of three or four to research and analyze the companies in order to develop recommendations to present at the competition.  For the first time, the Consulting and Business Development Center extended the invitation to compete beyond UW to business students from community colleges throughout the state. South Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College each sent four students to compete in the challenge – with the South Seattle team winning first place for their recommendations to Big Time Brewery!

Each student team presented dynamic ideas and data to the business owners and panel of  judges from event sponsors Key Bank and Target as well as professionals from  Community Sourced Capital, Crown Moving, PaintBox Labs Media Group and Project Management Institute who volunteered their time and expertise. Following the presentations, all attendees gathered in Deloitte Commons for a celebratory lunch and networking opportunity for students, business owners and professionals. After lunch the winning teams for each business were announced and each winning team member received a $200 gift card prize.

Congratulations to all involved with the 2015 spring Undergraduate Consulting Challenge!

For information about the next Consulting Challenge email: Consult1@uw.edu

Thank you to James Dennis Professional Photography

Minority Business Hall of Fame 2015

On April 21, the Consulting and Business Development Center had the honor of hosting the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum (MBHF) for the second year as MBHF inducted five new members into the prestigious Hall of Fame.

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MBHF has been acknowledging trailblazers in the area of minority businesses as honorees since 2005, and this year marked a significant step towards creating a global community when the first international honoree, Dr. Jan Neissen, was inducted into the Hall of Fame and Museum.  In his acceptance of the award, Dr. Neissen eloquently spoke about his study of American systems of minority supplier development and his efforts throughout his career at implementing the same ideals in Europe.  He cited fellow honorees Anthony Robinson and Ralph Moore as influencers in his work both through their participation in the civil rights movement in America and their continuing work as proponents of equal opportunities both in the US and internationally.

Another significant induction was the late Billy Frank Jr., member of the Nisqually Tribe, who was represented by his son, Willie Frank. Billy Frank Jr.’s life work led directly to the growth of

image14business opportunities for Native families and for tribes across the U.S. From family-owned fishing businesses to tribally-owned hatcheries and fish processing plants thousands of jobs for Native and non-Native people have been created affecting the business community both here at home in Washington state and across the nation.

This year, the honorees became more than just pictures on the wall when UW Foster undergraduates were given the opportunity to meet these trailblazers face-to-face and interact with the honorees in a special lunch panel. During this luncheon, the inductees shared about their work and their lives as well as the wisdom they had to impart to the students as they move forward with their careers.  After participating in the luncheon Lillian Mitchum, a senior at Foster studying operations and supply chain management, said, “It was encouraging to hear the stories of the honorees; where they started out, how far they have come, and how much they have accomplished during their journey.”image8

When asked about what the next generation of leaders should be focused on in moving towards diversity and equal opportunities for businesses inductee Bill Imada encouraged students to know their own background and stories and to, “share those stories with one another and engage.”

All are invited to come and share in the stories of this year’s nominees on display in the Mackenzie Hall Lobby.

 

Picatti Brothers | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Doug_PicattiDoug Picatti, Vice President of Business Development and Co-Owner of Picatti Brothers, Inc. based out of Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered in Yakima by the Consulting & Business Development Center.

I am Doug Picatti, the Vice President of Business Development and an owner of Picatti Brothers, Inc., an 86-year-old multi-company electrical and pump contracting family business in Yakima, WA.  During the Spring of 2014, I and six of my team members attended the UW Foster School’s Business Certificate Program.

First, I’d like to thank the staff and excellent educators from the UW Foster School of Business, Domex Superfresh Growers, the Kershaw family, the Educational Service District 105 and most importantly, my fellow classmates whose enthusiasm and participation made this program a success!

Picatti Brothers has 5 core values that guide our culture.  Our first is knowledge.  Our people and team must be knowledgeable to create quality solutions to exceed our customer’s goals.  Continued education is important to our success.  Expanding the capabilities of our people, our leadership team and ultimately our company is of paramount importance to us.

Picatti Brothers will be 90 years old in 2018.  We have set some very aggressive goals for this very special anniversary.  In order to meet these goals, we need to continue to learn and grow our people’s capabilities.  I was excited after learning about this program and felt this was a great opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge of our management team to effectively lead our company to the next level.

This six-week program taught techniques, skills and experiences from some of the brightest minds within the University of Washington.  The case studies were interesting, relevant and helpful.  In short, this program and its people were truly world class!

Ultimately, this class helped us learn to be better leaders.  Leadership is more than just having skills and knowledge.  Leadership coalesces the passions and purpose of people to achieve a common vision.  It is about inspiring ourselves and others to achieve a unified goal.

Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN said it well when she said “If you are inspired, if you are excited, and you are part of something, you are probably going to be successful, because you are doing what you love.”  Because of this program, we’ve made some great new leaders who will make our companies and ultimately our community successful!

Inaugural Client of the Year Award

Guest post by Michael Verchot, Director of the Consulting & Business Development Center.

Craig Dawson

For nearly 20 years the Consulting and Business Development Center has been providing student consulting services and business education programs for owners and managers of small businesses across Washington. For the first time ever, we recognized a business that has successfully used more than one of our programs to grow their profitability and their number of employees.

At our Minority Business Awards banquet earlier this month, we recognized Retail Lockbox as the inaugural recipient of our Client of the Year Award.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of this company. What started as a simple lockbox company offering one service has grown into a firm offering lockbox, merchant services, and document management services. They have private sector, public sector, and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, telecommunications, utilities, insurance, and property management industries.

When they first connected with the center their revenues were slightly more than $2 million.

Three times in the last 12 years the company has worked with student teams from the Center to develop five-year strategic plans. The owners of the company credit these five-year plans with providing the framework they’ve needed to grow their sales to close to $6 million and add more than 50 employees. They’ve also used the Center’s week-long Minority Business Executive Program to improve the strategic decision making of their top executives.

Because of how Retail Lockbox has grown by leveraging resources from the Consulting and Business Development Center they’ve become one of the most vocal advocates for the center and they’ve encouraged other businesses to become engaged in their programs.

Why a career in consulting is for me

Megan Sevigny (BA 2015) reflects on her experience as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting & Business Development Center.

At the beginning of this summer I had a small panic attack, which I am told is fairly common among incoming college seniors: I was certain I was making all the wrong life choices, and that I would be floundering helplessly after graduation. Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to wallow in my panic because I almost immediately started as a summer student consultant with the Consulting & Business Development Center. Luckily for me, my internship was the perfect tranquilizer for my panic attack because it led me to realize that not only do I want to pursue a career in consulting after college graduation, but I am being well prepared to pursue that goal with confidence.

Megan Sevigny
Student consultant Megan Sevigny (BA 2015) with Justin Christensen from RE Powell after presenting her final recommendations to the company.

In June, I contracted with a convenience store chain, an athletic club, and a distillery all from the lower Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities to perform consulting projects through the center. My clients could not have been more different, but this diversity was what made my work so exciting, educational, and enriching. I grew up in the Yakima Valley and it was especially meaningful to me to work so close to home and to see local business owners bringing their ideas and passion for what they do to the community.

I can’t even begin to explain everything I learned about financial statements, liquor manufacturing, survey design, and athletic club member personas this summer. My family and friends are just about done with me explaining to them the inner workings of convenience stores and no one wants to come grocery shopping with me anymore because I spend far too long examining different products and what branding techniques they use. I have also developed a habit of interrogating any small business owners I happen across, about their career stories, passions for what they do, and their current business inner workings.

However, all these side effects, while not the healthiest for my social life, have proven to me that consulting is absolutely the direction I want to head after graduation. Furthermore, working and learning in the real world have shown me many of my own strengths and weaknesses and have served as a guide for which areas I want to focus my attention in my final year at school. My time working with the center has been incredibly valuable to me in so many ways. I made wonderful connections, learned so much about myself and my capabilities, and found some amazing support through the center and the business owners I worked with. I am eager to continue to build on my education and experiences and to move forward towards a career in consulting.