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Slade Land Use: Construction services from the ground up

In 2006, L’Tryce Slade needed a job – so she created one. With a background in urban planning and a legal degree, she founded licensed general contracting firm Slade Land Use, Environmental, and Transportation Planning. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, the company specializes in geotechnical services, construction material testing, environmental services, and urban planning. We caught up with L’Tryce to learn more about what led her to found Slade Land Use, and what has surprised her the most about owning her own business. What inspired you to start your business? I needed a job. I was already on sites working on projects and wanted to be able to have longer duration projects. Some of the larger firms I worked with said if you get your license we’ll team with you, so that’s what encouraged me to pursue it. But was it that easy? No. I thought they would be regularly teaming with me, which wasn’t the case. It did help me a lot but as far as teaming with people on a regular basis – that’s not what happened. I still had to compete and build those relationships. I think I am one of the few women that own a construction material testing laboratory in the country. My nickname is actually “the dirt lady.” I know of two other ladies in the industry, but that is it. So that’s really unique. What do you love most about what you do? Hiring people to empower themselves so they are able to control their own destiny. I hire a lot of people that are in impoverished situations and I help them attain certifications that allow them to make more money and elevate themselves into the middle class. What’s been your biggest surprise of owning your own business? The amount of work it takes and the number of hours. It’s been really, really challenging for me, the commitment. It’s a huge undertaking, I had no idea. There are a lot of variables and things you don’t have control over, and the relationship-building can take years. No one really understands the intangible ingredients of running…

Tech startup Handstand balances risk with a measured approach

A lifelong athlete, Tiffany Orli Hakimianpour struggled to squeeze workouts into her busy schedule after graduating college and entering the workforce. After a frustrating experience at her gym, Tiffany decided that there had to be a better way for people to stay fit. This inspired her to create Handstand, an app that Tiffany describes as a gym that fits into the palm of your hand. Handstand users are able to schedule on-demand, in-person sessions with a trainer at a location convenient for them. Users also have access to online workouts and meal plans through the app. Today, the company employs 14 people in Santa Monica, California, and roughly 8,000 trainers throughout the United States book clients using the app. We asked Tiffany to share more about her journey creating Handstand and what she has planned for the future of her business. When did you start your business, and what inspired you to do so? I started it in 2015 after going through the ancient process of finding a personal trainer. I just saw so many problems with it. It was inconsistent, super expensive, and not flexible. It lacked choices. I had to purchase a minimum number of sessions and I couldn’t choose the trainer. It wasn’t customizable and it wasn’t priced well. That inspired me to start Handstand. How do you find the trainers you partner with? Trainers apply on our Handstand trainer team app by uploading their bio, experience, and training certifications. They also need to upload a quick video or have a phone call with us to explain why they love what they do, and take a personality test. It’s a long onboarding process because it’s super important that the trainer is encouraging and positive. What do you love most about what you do? I love the feedback from all the clients and the trainers. We just love helping people reach their highest potential. What’s been your biggest surprise owning and running Handstand? How much I love to work. It’s so stimulating that we get to chart our own course and do all these things. I get to…

Peak Clean Energy: Helping communities go green with renewable energy

Ilan Caplan and Chris McCall have a combined 35 years of experience in the clean energy industry. The two co-founded Peak Clean Energy in Louisville, Colorado, in 2017 to channel their financial and technical expertise toward helping a variety of community stakeholders and businesses, including landowners, municipalities, and commercial and industrial consumers. We recently chatted with Ilan to learn more about Peak Clean Energy, what he loves most about what he does, and how he protects his business against risk. What exactly does Peak Clean Energy do? We develop utility-scale wind projects in targeted markets in the United States. Essentially, we put the deals together, which includes leasing land, obtaining permits, conducting environmental studies, obtaining the transmission for the power rights, and finding a buyer for the electricity. These are large infrastructure projects so they take anywhere from three to five years to develop, so there’s a lot of logistics and planning. We just closed on our first project in March, which was earlier than anticipated, so things are off to a good start. What do you love most about what you do? Primarily, the team. We previously worked together and felt that we could provide quality projects for the industry. This was a good opportunity for us to come back and build on that prior experience. What’s been your biggest surprise of owning your own business? The biggest surprise is the highs and lows within the company are much more personal since we are partners and more invested in our performance. This is compounded by the fact that we are a small team, yet we still need to execute on the same number of functions one would see in a large company. As a result, we’re constantly looking for ways to be efficient in implementing our business plan, but also keep our business functions going. How would you like your business to change in the next five years? We need to ensure that we stay current on the technological advances within our sector. Renewables has seen significant improvements in technology efficiencies with the traditional sources of wind and solar,…

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