University of South Florida


Members of the mentor protege program surround President Law.

USF and Skanska expand free program to mentor and help grow diverse local businesses

Building on the first-year success of an innovative mentoring program designed to support diverse-owned small businesses in the Tampa Bay region, the University of South Florida, in partnership with Skanska, is expanding the program to include more local companies in 2022. 

The mentor-protégé program provides businesses with training, development and partnership opportunities to help them grow their capacity and become more effective with competitive bidding processes. 

The free, 10-week program coordinated through USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity provides guidance on a variety of subjects, such as environmental health and safety, field management, as well as marketing and business development.

This year’s cohort consists of 12 businesses:

  • BSM Rescreen and Repairs LLC
  • Cablelytics LLC
  • Carter Companies LLC
  • Chosen Industries, LLC
  • Citrus Roll Off Dumpster, LLC
  • Essential Janitorial Solutions
  • Lenox Millennial Cleaning LLC
  • Mary Butler, LLC
  • MJ Renovation Group dba MJ Renovation
  • Optional Solutions, LLC
  • Pinder Construction & Construction Management Services LLC
  • Smiley's Restoration & Painting Services, LLC

“USF is thrilled to partner with Skanska again for the second year of the mentor-protégé program. Participants receive a wealth of information and resources, which better positions them for success with a wide range of projects across the construction industry,” said Terrie Daniel, USF Office of Supplier Diversity assistant vice president.  “This program is an important part of USF’s overall commitment to supplier diversity, which continues to grow and result in more partnerships with small, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses in the Tampa Bay region.”

Participants in last year's program say they benefitted greatly from the business expertise provided by USF faculty and staff, along with Skanska and other industry professionals. Upon completion, participants also receive a construction mentor from Skanska and a graduate student mentor from USF’s Muma College of Business.

“Our team at Skanska is extremely pleased with the results from the inaugural cohort that participated in the mentor-protégé program,” said Tracy Hunt, senior vice president at Skanska USA. “The participating small and diverse businesses were able to receive training and guidance to scale their operations and become more successful in the bidding process for construction work. As we welcome the next cohort, we look forward to continuing to mentor local businesses while fostering diversity within the construction industry and helping to strengthen Tampa Bay’s business community.”

Diverse firms are selected based on recommendations from community partners, which include the Hillsborough County NAACP, Prospera, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Florida, Inclusive St. Pete and the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce. To qualify, companies must be in the construction industry and in business for at least one year.

This year’s program officially kicks off with the first session on Aug. 25. 

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