Local business found success through Business Development Center tools at EOC Tech
When Grady and Arlene Ulm fully retired in 2014 they soon realized after a year of retirement that they were made for the working world. Instead of searching for traditional full-time positions, they decided to take it a step further and start their own business, ATAG Underground Works, LLC, located in Harrah, OK.
While researching the necessary steps on how to get started, ATAG discovered Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s Business Development Center. Through EOC Tech’s Small Business Management program, along with help from the Small Business Management Coordinator, Harold Baade, ATAG, and a few other business plan consultants, they were able put their business on the map and chart their way to success.
“The evening classes offered the scope and range we needed to put a business plan together,” Arlene said. “We were able to find the local bank that gave us the business loan for startup, an attorney to make an LLC and a CPA to advise and help us along with setting up the financial structure.”
ATAG has formed and continues to develop relationships within the community.
“Our company has become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce which helps to keep up with local events and community awareness,” Arlene said.
ATAG is an active participant in the Harrah Chamber of Commerce Women in Business events. “The Bid Assistance Coordinator, Julie Farmer, has been a tremendous help,” Arlene said. “She has helped us to become qualified as a Government Contractor.”
Through the assistance provided by the EOC Bid Assistance Coordinator, ATAG received their Woman Owned Small Business and Hubzone certifications from the Small Business Administration.
“We receive daily notices of job prospects offered by the school as well as conferences that may prove to be jobs for our business,” Arlene said.
Through EOC Tech’s Industrial Coordinator, Ron Bradshaw, the Ulms received a customized safety plan and received safety training on Excavating, OSHA 10, and CDL Prep.
“We received assistance with designing our first company logo,” Arlene said. “We also made a brochure that we hand out to potential customers.” The logo and brochure were used as part of ATAG’s marketing plan.
ATAG has been in business since November of 2015. “We have grown six to eight employees and have added additional trucks and equipment,” she said. “We also bought a larger drill, enabling us to perform bigger jobs. We are hoping to put more people to work so that they can support their family in a more comfortable manner.”
The Ulm’s have a heart for helping at-risk individuals who need a new start in life just like the Ulms created a new beginning for their life by starting ATAG.
“We have very low turnover rates,” Arlene said. “Our employees do not want to go anywhere else. They are finally back on their feet, paying their bills, and raising their kids. I would write any of them a letter of recommendation.” Above all of their time spent in class, money earned, and contracts received Grady and Arlene find the most fulfillment from the positive work environment they provide to their employees.
The Business and Industry Services Division at EOC Tech is proud to nominate ATAG Underground Works, LLC as their 2018 Partners for Progress Award recipient.
“ATAG is an example of how EOC Tech’s vision of providing excellence through education and training can help a business achieve their maximum potential,” EOC Tech Bid Assistance Program Coordinator, Julie Farmer said.