Start:ME Spotlight:

The Finishing Touch

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Entrepreneur

Steven Smucker

Community

Southside

What the business does

Deck, fence, and storage shed construction

A lot of your business is focused on mentoring your employees. Can you explain a little about what mentorship you provide and why it matters to you?

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"I want to see the young men in our neighborhoods succeed."

I hire young men aged 18-30 in an apprenticeship role.� My main goals are: 1. Provide the young men with a skill that they can always utilize to provide for themselves and anyone they are responsible for. 2. Connect them with a broader business network that will give them career opportunities. 3. Mentor them in life skills that will promote a strong positive social engagement in their communitiesMy primary motivation in providing this apprenticeship is that I want to see the young men in our neighborhoods succeed.� I interacted with multiple men during my 5+ years as Facilities Director at City of Refuge and saw so much potential that was being underutilized due to poor resources, insufficient network, lack of support/mentorship and negative peer influence.� I believe an apprenticeship that combines a strong mentorship program gives these young men an excellent opportunity to flourish.� As they succeed, our neighborhoods grow and thrive.

You focus a lot of your construction on sheds. Why sheds? What do you do to make your sheds are special and high quality?

"Sheds combine several aspects of carpentry, including basic framing, siding, window and door installation and roofing."

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Sheds combine several aspects of carpentry, including basic framing, siding, window and door installation and roofing.� A young man who learns these skills has a good foundation for continued growth in the construction industry.� Rather than being confined to only one niche of the industry, he will have experience that will allow him to choose what opportunities he wants to pursue. Our sheds are built to a high standard.� We build with the mentality of craftsmen, rather than mass production.� This allows us a great degree of flexibility, which allows our customers to customize their sheds to meet their needs.� Because we are confident in our product, we have a 30 year structural warranty on every shed we build.� As a small company, we also provide a high level of customer interaction. We pride ourselves on our relational approach.

What is your major goal for the Start:ME program?

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"Refocusing and creating both a short term plan and a long term plan is giving me the confidence to continue pursing my dream "

I needed mentorship to determine where my primary short term focus needed to be to ensure I built a strong financial base.� I had over committed to the apprenticeship at the expense of financial stability, which made long term success difficult to envision.� Refocusing and creating both a short term plan and a long term plan is giving me the confidence to continue pursing my dream of combining business with social impact.� The young men who succeed will have an incredible influence far greater than I ever will.� I get excited about that.

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