As a graduate of the first Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses – Greater Philadelphia class, Michael A. Brown has positioned his company for significant growth.
Brown is the president and founder of Environmental Construction Services, Inc., a Philadelphia-based energy management and mechanical contracting management firm.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million program that seeks to unlock the growth and job creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through access to business education, financial capital and business support services.
“Initially I went into the Goldman Sachs program just to get the access to capital, but what I really got out of the program was everything from operations, to how to run my company to getting a clear vision for my organization,” said Brown.
Since he has an master of business administration, Brown questioned whether the program would be a right fit for him.
“The one thing that I’ve learned is that my MBA taught me how to run someone else’s business, and this program absolutely taught me how to run my own business, really focus on being an entrepreneur and getting to the next stage of my progression,” he said.
Brown said the 10,000 Small Business program really helped him focus on individual opportunities for his business. Since he signed on, his business has gone from four to 12 employees.
Brown is one of 23 entrepreneurs who graduated from the inaugural Greater Philadelphia class on Sept. 7 during a ceremony held at Community College of Philadelphia.
He joins a diverse group of business leaders who spent 14 weeks at CCP studying a business and management curriculum designed by Babson College and customized by CCP faculty. The curriculum covered accounting, human resources, negotiation and marketing. Program participants also received one-on-one business advising and advice from Goldman Sachs professionals.
Interim CCP president Judith Gay said the first class is already lengthening the ladders of opportunity across Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“As small businesses grow, there are more jobs for our college graduates, greater security for working families and new vitality for neighborhoods. Our college is pleased to be a part of this collaborative approach to economic development,” Gay said in a release.
For Brown, creating a growth plan for his firm turned out to be a key aspect of the program. The growth plan covered everything from meeting a need in the marketplace, to how to sell your value to that market and how to pitch banking institutions for funding.
“Our goal is to be the top mechanical and energy management firm in Philadelphia in five years, with $30 million in revenues. That’s my growth aspiration and I think I have a clear path now on how I’m going to get there.”
Brown founded Environmental Construction Services in 2010. By 2012, the firm had grown to $1 million in revenues. The company has formed a joint venture with Pro-Tech Energy Solution, titled Element Mechanical Services.
“Since I’ve been in the Goldman program, we were able to really get control of our joint venture and our sales went soaring,” said Brown, who noted the firm is on track to net upwards of $4 million.
The company has a patent for an air distribution system that reduces energy consumption by turning off air and lightening, generating a 30 percent energy reduction.
The portfolio of Environmental Construction Services includes projects for Pennsylvania Convention Center, Lincoln Financial Field, Hollywood Casino Penn National and Lancaster Convention Center to name a few. The firm is currently working on a project at the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Brown was working for one of the largest manufacturers of HVAC products when the economic downturn hit and he founded Environmental Construction Services in 2010.
Brown says his company’s success has been boosted by joining industry organizations such as the Association of Energy Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
“That helped me develop my name in the industry and then eventually be able to vet the right people to be able to come work for my company and that what helped make us successful,” Brown added.
The 10,000 Small Business program is based on the view that greater access to a combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth for small businesses. The program is operating fully at nine sites including Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City and six capital-only states including Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.
Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation are committing $20 million to the program in the Greater Philadelphia area. Goldman Sachs is a full-service global banking and investment firm.
“The small business owners who are graduating are strengthening the Philadelphia economy by the jobs they’re creating and the revenues that their revenues that their businesses are generating,” said Nicole Pullen Ross, Mid-Atlantic Regional Head of Goldman Sachs.
“We are pleased to work with our local partners in this program as we continue to strengthen our long standing commitment to the Philadelphia region.”
Through the initiative, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and Community First Fund originate loans to participating businesses.
“We are delighted to bring 10,000 Small Business – Greater Philadelphia to a region that is rich in history, talent and creative energy,” Mayor Michael Nutter said in a release.
“Small businesses spur economic growth in our neighborhoods, supply our fastest growing industries and generate new ideas. Philadelphia is a great fit for this initiative because of our continuing emphasis on business growth and job development.”
Applications for 10,000 Small Businesses are being accepted on a rolling basis at CCP, with those who apply by Oct. 21 considered for the program beginning in January. The program is open to residents of the Philadelphia region.
For application information visit www.ccp.edu/10KSB.