P/Strada, is a woman veteran-owned business, which began operating in 2001, that specializes in structure and processes which assist organizations and individuals in achieving higher potential and greater success in their current environment. Teaching people and organizations to optimize their existing skill base - before they undertake organizational development processes such as training and personnel changes is P/Strada’s philosophy for success.
“Right now, especially in today’s difficult economy, we are teaching companies to embrace their current employees,” Patrice W. Manuel, owner and Executive Director of P/Strada explained. “Everything used to be about ROI, but it’s really about the value someone brings to the table. We teach companies how to maximize the people they have instead of just getting new people.”
Patrice Manuel is a retired military officer with over 20 years’ experience in project management and organizational development. Ms. Manuel is a certified Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute, holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, a Master’s degree in Science Administration and is currently ABD for a Ph.D. in Organizational Management and Leadership Development.
Back in 2001, Ms. Manuel, a single mother at the time, started her business in her home, in a basement office by herself and with only a concept of the business she wanted to open. She faced many challenges as she started, including using her personal finances to fund her dream.
“It was difficult trying to balance the time requirements of starting a new business with the time needed to raise my child”, said Ms. Manuel. “As a single employee, I started networking and marketing my company. The lesson that I learned was if you have a dream, pursue it. The reality is it takes work and time to get your company off the ground.”
As opportunities presented themselves, Ms. Manuel has taken her company into many areas. Telecommunications is one of P/Strada’s newest specialties, providing design, implementation and testing services. P/Strada also provides acquisition management, from large-volume furniture purchases and other commodities as well as staff augmentation, primarily for various government agencies (i.e., Homeland Security, Army, GSA, etc.).
P/Strada is a recent graduate of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development program. Ms. Manuel credits much of her company’s success to the opportunities the 8(a) program afforded her. While a client in the 8(a) program, Ms. Manuel obtained 33 contracts, totaling over $17,000,000 in contract support.
“It is important to certify your business based on social economic status. It may be the determining factor in the selection process for winning a contract. And you have to be qualified and capable of performing,” said Ms. Manuel.
P/Strada and Ms. Manuel are always willing to help new business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. She routinely speaks to small business owners about both the benefits of SBA programs and services as well about starting and operating your own business. And she finds the time to help her fellow veterans by participating in the SBA Boot-to-Business program at military installations. She enjoys sharing her experiences and encouraging the dreams of veterans looking to join the business community as owners. She continues to professionally grow and to participate in outreach to the general business community as well. Ms. Manuel has recently co-written a book with two highly acclaimed professionals, Steve Ervin and William McVey, “Talking Like Leaders, Communication in the Workplace,” a book that is designed to help communication between management and employees.