Woman Works SBA 8(a) Program To Build Her Dream Construction Company


[ Article was originally posted on www.sba.gov ]

Ms. Arlene Dotzler founded North Coast Construction in 1997. As a woman-owned sole proprietorship in what is often thought to be a male-dominated industry, Ms. Dotzler soon found the going tough in all aspects of the business. It was particularly difficult to acquire and maintain a significant volume of construction contracts to reach that point of critical mass needed to carry a business through potential economic downturns.

Then Ms. Dotzler heard about the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Minority Business Development Program. Also referred to as the 8(a) Program, it is intended to help socially and economically disadvantaged business owners compete in the Federal Procurement Marketplace. The SBA’s 8(a) program assists these firms in gaining equal access to the resources necessary to develop their business and thereby, improve their ability to compete on an equal basis in the mainstream of the economy. Seeking that so called “equal playing field”, Arlene Dotzler contacted the Los Angeles District Office of the SBA. She applied to the 8(a) program and was certified into it in early 2001.

Upon certification, Ms. Dotzler was assigned a Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS) to work with her and to serve as an advocate. The BOS is completely facile in all aspects of the program and possesses a sound understanding of business management and the principles of financial analysis, and in turn draws upon these skill sets to shepherd the participating company through the program and enlighten the participant as to how to optimize participation.

The essence of SBA 8 (a) is a “self-development” program. The participant must take the initiative to avail herself of the various components of the program that can add value to the business. In short, the business owner must “work the program.” This often involves having one-on-one consultations with the BOS, participating in SBA- hosted training and LOS ANGELES PRESS OFFICE workshops, and taking the necessary steps to acquire the appropriate bonding (which can be guaranteed by SBA) to foster revenue growth.

Arlene Dotzler personifies the epitome of initiative. Since her 8(a) certification in January 2001 she has utilized the full menu of 8(a) services. She immediately attended the SBA’s Lead Point Seminar to receive 7(j) technical assistance in the form of a one week session on strategic management and effective business operations. While this was a substantial amount of time for a small business owner to invest in training, it paid outstanding dividends. Arlene Dotzler, not only sponged up the knowledge, but applied it to the operations of her business and in the process successfully changed her company into a winning entity.

Over a 2 year period she tripled North Coast Construction’s total revenues, and grew her 8(a) revenue to a point where 50% of total company sales are 8(a). Her bonding capacity
increased three and one half times. Credit lines available to fund projects grew exponentially. Equally remarkable is the community economic development that sprang from the growth of her business. Over the 24 month that Ms. Dotzler has been in the 8(a) program she has doubled her payroll and created an additional 6 new jobs.

Los Angeles District Office Director, Alberto G. Alvarado praised Arlene Dotzler stating, “Ms. Dotzler showed her tenacity in accelerating through the program. She took nothing for granted, thereby exposing her company to the full gamut of program deliverable and the concomitant rewards. She truly exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship.”

North Coast Construction operates out of Santa Barbara County and can be reached using the following contact information:
     216 West Walnut
     Lompoc, CA 93436
     (805) 735-4175
     (805) 740-1727 Fax.
     arlened@impulse.net (link sends e-mail)

For more information on the SBA’s Programs And Services please call:

  • Armida Brother at (818) 552-3233 for 8(a) Program.
  • Barbara Madel at (818) 552-3314 for SBA Loan Programs
  • Fernando Olivares at (818) 552-3256 for information in Spanish
  • Or visit the SBA’s user friendly web site at www.sba.gov.

Back To News

SBE Northeast

Louisiana Business JournalArchive