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​Contact: Cesar Canizales
214-378-1859; ccanizales@dcccd.edu 

For immediate release — Jan. 11, 2016

(DALLAS) — Harry Clincy had a vision of running a successful business, but that dream took some time to take off, and it required some sacrifices as well. He ignored the warnings from people who told him he had impossible dreams and, in 2009, launched Dallas-based ACU Construction, an asphalt milling company that offers its services to local, state and federal agencies.

Clincy, a former IT business consultant, first secured a state of Texas “Historically Underutilized Business” certification and a federal “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise” certification. He then attended U.S. Small Business Administration workshops and seminars before he identified an “enormous” opportunity in highway construction. When he didn’t qualify for a loan to buy a $160,000 piece of equipment for his company, he used funds from his children’s college savings to purchase it.

The building process took time, but Clincy’s company finally gained traction in 2012 when ACU Construction was contracted to demolish asphalt roads and parking lots as part of the DART Orange Line expansion at DFW International Airport. Clincy hired 25 subcontractors for the six-month project.

Six years after launching the company, Clincy enrolled in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program after learning of its value for entrepreneurs. He received the Government Contractor of the Year award last fall from the Center for Government Contracting and the Dallas Metropolitan Small Business Development Center.

The 10,000 Small Businesses program is a national initiative that teaches entrepreneurs how to grow their companies and gain access to capital. It was brought to Dallas in May 2014 in collaboration with the Dallas County Community College District by Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor.

The program, which is now accepting applications for the summer, taught Clincy that leading with vision and values is very important in order to “build a healthy, long-lasting business.”

For Clincy, one of the biggest takeaways from the program is that “it transforms you as a leader and the way you run your business. It helps you realize opportunities that you couldn’t even fathom before.” He added, “I have learned how to effectively identify and evaluate opportunities for business growth as well as risk.”  

Clincy developed relationships with other cohort members, shared information with them and sometimes even refers friends and clients to other alumni of the program. His next dream is to take his business from subcontractor to general contractor and to hire more full- and part-time staff to manage the company’s growth.

Clincy said receiving the award serves as motivation and encouragement “to continue to use the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses growth plan to guide his business’ expansion and support the DFW community.”

ACU Construction started with only three people, including Clincy, but it has grown into a company with six full-time employees and 10 to 15 subcontractors. The number of subcontracted employees fluctuates, and Clincy said he will have to hire more of them because he has 17 projects in the pipeline. He also will use his growth plan to apply for loans and credit lines to acquire new equipment.

The company is also environmentally friendly and practices sustainability. The asphalt that is milled from the road is ground into sand-like particles and put into new asphalt mixtures, making recyclable material out of road debris that normally would end up in a landfill. This method also reduces projects’ costs, Clincy said.

Alumni in the 10,000 Small Businesses program also volunteer their time in the community.  For example, in the tornado-ravaged Garland/Rowlett area, 10KSB alumna Elizabeth Blandford (cohort 4), owner of Lizzie Bee’s Flower Shoppe, volunteered to provide flowers for the funerals of those who had died in the storms.

Applicants to the 10,000 Small Businesses program must be owners or co-owners of a business that has operated for at least two years, have at least $150,000 in revenue and employ a minimum of four people.

Participants in the program learn financing, marketing, negotiating and leadership skills. In addition, some business owners can gain access to loans and capital that may not be available to them through traditional channels. This free program is a partnership between Goldman Sachs and DCCCD.

All classes take place at the Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development, an El Centro College campus. Participants attend an orientation followed by 11 classes. They also attend networking events and develop a growth plan for their companies. The deadline to apply for the next cohort is Feb. 9, and the program starts May 13. To apply, please visit the 10,000 Small Businesses page on the DCCCD website.

For more information about the 10,000 Small Businesses program, please contact Sheryl Hardin by phone at 214-860-5948 or by email at sheryl.hardin@dcccd.edu. To contact Harry Clincy of ACU Construction, please call him at 214-282-8987 or email him at hclincy@acuconstruction.com.

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