Tag Archives: Consulting & Business Development Center

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.


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!

Checking in on YEOC: the January and February sessions

YEOC Session: January 2015
With their polished resumes and personalized YEOC business cards in tow, students kicked off the January 2015 session by attending the first ever YEOC Resource Fair. Program Manager Korrie Miller says that over 23 companies and non-profits (Microsoft, Foster Lavin, Girls Who Code, and YMCA to name a few) participated, interacting with students and helping them find summer jobs, internships, and even scholarships.

The remaining activities of the day focused on finance, both personal and professional. Students heard from Mentor Joshua Banks on the importance of investing and from Microsoft Finance Director Cliff Camp on the significance of the mentor-mentee relationship. Students also learned how to navigate financial aid packages and create personal budgets via the financial freedom game, led by Mentor Maria Garcia.

See photos of the January session below:Resource Fair

Intro to finance course
Cliff Clamp

YEOC students






























YEOC Session: February 2015
The focus on this month’s session was iCreate Consulting Challenge, YEOC’s annual commercial competition. Working with partner organizations the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) and Foster’s Consulting and Business Consulting Center, students were tasked with developing a marketing strategy and viral Instagram video for a burgeoning, education-focused organization. In line with YEOC’s mission to address inequities in the high-school-to-college pipeline, the group receiving consultation was the Urban Technology Center, an initiative of ULMS designed to attract underrepresented students to STEM.

After hearing Michael Verchot, the director of the Consulting and Business Development Center, discuss past consulting projects and ULMS Board Chairman Nate Miles argue the importance of resiliency, fellow ULMS Board Member Kia Franklin divulged the specific challenges facing the Urban Tech Center’s launch in Seattle. Under the guidance of Mentor Danielle McConnell (a YEOC alum herself) and the Mentors-in-Training, students separated into groups and began working on their marketing plans and videos. After only an hour and fifty minutes of preparation and feedback sessions, students then pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, their parents, and the many others in attendance. Program Manager Korrie Miller reports, “It was a packed house!”

See a few photos from the session below. Student photos and video can be seen here.

Nate Miles
iCreate presentation
iCreate judgesYEOC students





























Photo credits to YEOC mentors Emmeline Vu and Skyler Rodriguez.

This blog post is a part of a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.

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.

Consulting and Business Development Center recognizes outstanding alum

Guest post by Michael Verchot, director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.

Dan PetersonDan Peterson (MBA 1997) received the Consulting and Business Development Center’s inaugural Alumni of the Year Award in recognition of his 17 years of work with the Center. Dan’s first project with the Center was a competitive analysis for Uwajimaya. Immediately after graduation from the Foster School he became an Alumni Advisor where he guided undergraduate student consulting projects. He helped teams that worked with Four Seas Restaurant and the Theater Off Jackson in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District neighborhood. He then worked with Catfish Corner in Seattle’s Central Area, Oberto and Mutual Fish in the Rainier Valley, and Garlic Garden in Pike Place Market.

In the early days of the center, there weren’t enough student teams to meet the demand from small businesses. On multiple occasions Dan stepped in and served as a consultant on behalf of the center working with an auto detailing shop in the Central Area.

Dan and his wife Angie have also been generous donors to the Center. Every time that the Center has asked for financial support Dan and Angie have said yes. They were one of the first donors to the Center’s endowment that will sustain the student consulting projects and he continues to support the center’s effort to build a self-sustaining funding base to insure its longtime financial health and its ability to serve students and businesses in under-served communities.

We’re honored to recognize Dan as a role model for how alumni and other business people can use their business skills to simultaneously improve student learning while growing jobs in under-served community.

Consulting and Business Development Center presents Corporate Partner Award to Microsoft

minority business awardsThis post was written by Jennifer Bauermeister, Assistant Director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.

As we get ready to celebrate our center’s 20th anniversary we’ve reestablished a tradition that we started in the 1990s to recognize our corporate partners who have made a difference in our work.

We presented our 2014 Corporate Partner Award at our 2014 UW Minority Business Awards Banquet earlier this month to Microsoft.

Microsoft has been a key strategic partner in growing the Consulting and Business Development Center into a national center of excellence. As early as 2007 Fernando Hernandez, who is Microsoft’s director of supplier diversity, began helping us to develop the Minority Business Executive Program. This week-long executive education program is designed to accelerate the growth of minority-owned, women-owned, and other diverse businesses that are supply chain partners of major national and multinational corporations. Microsoft has sponsored 20 businesses to this program.

In 2008, Microsoft hosted the center’s 2nd national research conference that focused on diversity in business issues.

In 2011 Microsoft hosted the annual summit for the Billion Dollar Roundtable. The BDR is an association of 20 corporations that spend at least $1 billion annually with minority- and women-owned businesses. Fernando Hernandez, who by then was on the Center’s Board, invited me to speak at the summit.

Fast forward to this year, and we can see the results of this work as the Minority Business Executive Program drew 30 participants from seven states as well as the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. This program is just the second executive education program to be endorsed by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and is just the 3rd of its kind in the US.

Earlier this year the center became the official research partner for the Billion Dollar Roundtable where it provides data to grow the effectiveness of corporate supply chain efforts in diversity.

Microsoft has been an invaluable partner in helping us to become a national center of excellence in developing businesses in under-served communities and in advancing student careers.

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.

A consulting program grounded in experiential learning

Jacob Mager (BA 2015) reflects on his experience as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting & Business Development Center.

This summer I had an amazing opportunity to work for the Consulting and Business Development Center as part of their Summer Consulting Program. I worked with three diverse businesses in the Seattle area: Plum Bistro—a vegan restaurant, McKinnon Furniture—a custom furniture manufacturer/retailer, and the CIDBIA—a non-profit dedicated to improving the business environment in Chinatown-International District. What I loved best about working with each of my clients was the true passion and excitement each owner displayed for their business. I completed a wide variety of task ranging from designing a floor plan, to orchestrating an employee meeting, to creating a branding strategy. This Program, although not my first consulting experience, challenged me to grow and learn like never before. I picked up valuable skills needed to move into a professional consulting career, and have highlighted what I consider to be some of my most important takeaways below.

Student consultant Jacob Mager (BA 2015) with Gary Strand of McKinnon Furniture after presenting his final recommendations to the company.
Student consultant Jacob Mager (BA 2015) with Gary Strand of McKinnon Furniture after presenting his final recommendations to the company.

Communication – I wrote emails, made phone calls, and presented ideas to my clients, advisors and manager. I was pushed to communicate more frequently, and because of the professional setting, more articulately than ever before. Each time I spoke clients I was expected to convey what I had completed, my plan moving forward, and to provide solid reasoning for every decision I made. This was much different than anything I’d experienced in class before, and although challenging, led me to greatly improve my verbal and written communication skills.

Relationships – I discovered the power of building close personal relationships in a professional setting. Because clients trusted me with sensitive information and were open about their concerns and goals, I was able to more efficiently address their needs and tackle additional problem areas. Ultimately, these close relationships not only made for a more enjoyable working experience, but motivated me to significantly increase both the quality and quantity of my work.

Work Ethic – As a student, it was both inspiring and empowering to get an opportunity to impact real life businesses. In doing so, I was compelled to provide thorough, quality work, and to put in the long, sometimes stressful hours needed. By being required to deliver results under deadline, just like you would in a real consulting position, I learned that long hours aren’t as hard as they seem when you feel your work has real value.

After completing this Program, I gained valuable skills and strengthened my conviction to choose a career as a consultant. I loved the diversity of my work and the opportunity to constantly learn. Each day was filled with new challenges, and knowing that my work would have a real impact kept me highly motivated. I became a better communicator, strengthened my work ethic, and learned how to build personal relationships within a professional context. I’m extremely grateful to have had this opportunity and know that it will greatly benefit me as I move forward into a career.

Having a real impact

Gabriel Heckt (BBA 2016) reflects on his experience as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting & Business Development Center.

One of the most unique aspects of the Consulting & Business Development Center’s Summer Consulting Program, and one of the reasons I’m most grateful for having participated in it, is the amount of true creative freedom and independence that is given to  each summer consultant. When I was first reading the description for the position, which outlined a student simultaneously consulting with three small businesses and personally constructing recommendations that would really improve them, I was skeptical. Most short-term business opportunities for students that I had heard of up to that point seemed to involve repetitive grunt work without much room to manage oneself or have a real impact.

Student consultant Gabriel Heckt (BBA 2016) with client Tonyia Smith, owner of Silver Slice Bakery in Seattle.
Student consultant Gabriel Heckt (BBA 2016) with client Tonyia Smith, owner of Silver Slice Bakery in Seattle.

What I experienced this summer was widely different from that perception. As the first few days of orientation began to wrap up, I realized that each student consultant would be individually responsible for their businesses, and the strategies we would eventually present would be all our own. I had to build everything from the ground up: outlining my own projects, carrying out my own research, and forming my own recommendations. I received excellent training and ongoing support from the center and a professional consultant advisor, but ultimately the finished product that would be used by the companies would be my creation. Although this created considerable pressure to create effective recommendations that could be actually used by the companies, the reward of having a real, tangible impact on these small businesses was immense, and is another reason why this program really stands apart from others.

This summer I worked with a gluten-free bakery, a specialty hair care salon, and a clothing boutique, all with their own diverse backgrounds and challenges. I really enjoyed connecting with all of these businesses and getting to know the owners over the course of the program. Working with real people and their livelihoods required my best work to deliver solutions that really addressed the challenges outlined at the beginning. It was incredibly satisfying to hear these owners excited to put the strategies I had created into effect in order to help their businesses.

The wide range of challenges presented to me over the course of the summer pushed me to expand my knowledge of business and step outside my comfort zone. The fact that I had to simultaneously construct a public relations campaign, recreate a website, and streamline a business’s infrastructure meant I was constantly learning new skills, testing new strategies, and improving my time management by leaps and bounds.

The Summer Consulting Program was an amazing opportunity that I recommend every business student apply for. The combination of extensive responsibility, positive pressure to improve, and the tangible impact of my work really made it the most significant experience of my undergraduate business career thus far, and a key part of my journey to becoming a professional consultant.

“Is a career in consulting the right choice for me?”

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

As fall recruiting quickly approaches for full-time consulting positions, I reflect on my time as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting and Business Development Center. When I initially applied for this program, I did not know what to expect. I was not sure what my scope of responsibilities would be, how much independent work I would be doing, if a manager would be telling me what to do every day, or what I would learn from the program. What I did know is that I was interested in a career in consulting, and this program could help me confirm or deny that interest.

Faith Katsman & Mike McKinney
Student consultant Faith Katsman (BA 2015) with Mike McKinney from McKinney Glass, Inc. after presenting her final recommendations to the Yakima-based company.

This summer, I worked with three very different clients in Yakima: a restaurant, an electrical contractor, and an auto-glass professional. Working with each client was a unique and invaluable experience. One aspect of the program that could not be duplicated in a classroom was directly interacting with the clients. Interacting with each client was not only fun for me, but also helped me grow personally and professionally. Hearing positive and constructive feedback from someone you are directly working with on a day-to-day basis was very rewarding.

Working with the restaurant was especially interesting to me because I am passionate about cooking. Opening or investing in a restaurant in the future would be something I may be interested in. I was able to assist the restaurant by designing a new marketing plan to create a more loyal customer base. This afforded me the opportunity to look at the internal operations at a restaurant and some of what it takes to be successful. The owners were extremely dedicated to making sure everything was perfect, which I admired greatly. Working with them inspired me to continue to follow my dreams.

Each day throughout this internship was a challenge. I was encouraged to reach outside my comfort zones and think outside the box. Since I was given a lot of autonomy and not micro-managed, I had to stay organized and utilize excellent time-management skills to get my work done promptly, much like the real world will be. As this program comes to an end, I know without a doubt consulting is the right career choice for me. Each day at work was exciting for me, and I am sad to see it end so quickly. This internship has given me a great foundation to continue my desire to enter a career in consulting.