Success Story - Troy Ephriam
In 2015, Troy Ephriam began environmental consulting on a part-time basis while serving as mayor of the City of Prichard. After leaving office in November of 2016, and with no job prospects at the time, he decided to make consulting a full-time business.
Troy has more than 20 years of scientific and field experience in environmental regulations, consulting and construction site management planning. But he had only toyed with the idea of running his own business.
“I always dreamed of starting my own professional company with an office, employees, equipment and establishing strong business partnerships. The problem was I didn’t know where to begin.” Also, a client had told him he would like to collaborate on future projects, and if the business, being minority-owned, was certified as a Small Disadvantaged Business because it would increase their opportunities for doing business with the government.
“I had no idea about the SDB program and started researching the Small Business Administration’s many programs for start-ups and new companies, and for me, that’s when the ‘Light came on!’”
After some early frustrations and miss-steps of attempting to get as a Small Disadvantaged Business and an Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) company, Troy decided to reach out to his local Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of South Alabama. From there he was able to obtain valuable support and business direction to streamline his company’s focus toward seeking and securing government contracts.
“I made the decision to re-invent the company’s business model and make the company scalable and marketable to more than just natural resource environmental projects. I planned to focus more on land-use development and planning projects. This business ‘pivot’ allowed me the flexibility to seek out and obtain my first federal contract opportunity in 2018 with GSA, albeit, in another state.”
What made the difference in getting a success so early? Troy credited the direction he received from his local PTAC office and Business Advisor Gerald Dunlop. “Gerald made sure he understood the nature of my business, my skill sets, and the challenges I’ll face seeking contracts. He cautioned patience because the process takes time and persistence.”
Troy said that advice paid great dividends. “In 2019, we will begin our first eco-landscape on a federal project of significance in the heart of one of the Gulf Coast region’s fastest growing downtown redevelopments located in Pensacola, Florida.”
Our business motto is “Resolving the needs of Business and Community.” Thanks to the PTAC at the University of South Alabama, we are getting our first real crack at a great opportunity that is certain to become a reagent for many more to come! Essayons!