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    (10/19/2007) Interest in Program Increasing as Small Contractors Learn the Tricks of the Trade

    NEW HAVEN- In May of this year, Raymond Lewis and Karl Frederick, proprietors of Caribbean Masonry, were reading an article in the New Haven Register about the City’s new Mentor/Protégé School Construction Program aimed at helping small contractors build their business. Lewis and Frederick felt they wanted more for their business and needed some guidance to be able to compete for larger projectors and realize their dreams.

    Caribbean Masonry is a small, minority-owned and operated contractor based in New Haven. When Lewis and Frederick learned of this mentoring opportunity they dialed the phone number listed in the article and reached Lil Snyder, supervisor of the program.

    “I was thrilled to hear from them,” said Snyder. “This is exactly what the program is all about, giving small contractors the opportunity to learn from larger contractors so that they can grow and prosper. We had a great match earlier this year with the AAIS Corporation and Allen’s Asbestos. Our new match between Caribbean Masonry and their mentors at CT Mason is ideal. They’re working together, checking-in with us weekly and demonstrating that this relationship has benefits for both parties.”

    Snyder quickly began working to identify a site where Caribbean Masonry could be matched as a subcontractor to a larger and more experienced firm that would also serve as their mentor. CT Mason Contractors was handling a significant amount of work on the site of the new Troup School and took Lewis and Frederick’s team under their wing. “This program is a really valuable resource that the City of New Haven offers. As a small business, we need this kind of help from established companies. The City affords us the opportunity to work with them, learn from them,” said Fredrick. “This speaks volumes for us of the City’s commitment to helping small businesses succeed. We definitely recommend that other contractors participate in this program because the companies the City matches us with are successful have been around and really know what they’re doing.”

    The city’s Small Business Initiative (SBI) announced the launch of the Mentor/Protégé School Construction Program in May of this year. This program is aimed at helping to guide small contractors into growing their businesses and learning the skills and strategies necessary to successfully navigate and comply with the bid system. The program is also an opportunity for larger companies to teach small contractors the essentials of how to estimate the cost of a project, what forms to fill out when working on a city contract, how to properly complete paperwork, how to put together an effective payroll system and much more.

    “Our involvement in the SBI Mentor Program with Caribbean Masonry thus far has been positive. They are hardworking craftsmen who are interested in growing their company, but need to acquire the administrative and managerial skills needed to deal with contractors on larger scale projects,” said John Civitillo, Project Manager of Hartford-based CT Mason Contractors. “We have been in the same situation and it's rewarding to be able to use our experience to help people who are eager to learn and appreciative of the assistance.”

    SBI has set a new goal of making one match in every trade represented at every school in the citywide construction program moving forward. Snyder hopes to engage more small contractors through this program and invites interested parties to contact her office at 203-946-6550 or to email her at lsnyder@newhavenct.net.


    Caribbean Masonry and CT Mason are available Monday-Friday at the Troup School construction site (managed by Fusco). For photo availability please contact Lil Snyder at 203-946-6550.

    Contact Name: Jessica Mayorga

    Contact Email: jmayorga@newhavenct.net

    Contact Phone: 203-946-7660

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