Photo of Pearl-Grace Pantaleone
Pearl-Grace Pantaleone
Sr. Communications Strategist, HDR
Photo of Saigen Harris
Saigen Harris
Project Manager, F&W Contractors
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
Fruitful Collaborations
Business development mini mentorships at AGC Annual Conference
By Pearl-Grace Pantaleone & Saigen Harris

agic is born when collaboration happens. Dialogue improves. Ideas further develop. Solutions are created. Most importantly—trust and respect are strengthened.

The foundation of business development is relationships, and positive client testimonials and referrals build firm awareness. Awareness, combined with a little bit of professional advice, allows businesses to thrive.

Associated General Contractors, or AGC, of Alaska has a great reputation for positive relationships, but additional ideas on how to elevate business are emerging, and other professional organizations can help.

For the second year in a row, AGC of Alaska has partnered with the Society of Marketing Professional Services, or SMPS, Alaska to offer free one-on-one business development, or BD, Check-Ins for AGC Annual Conference attendees. Participants can seek guidance and get reviews of their BD and marketing-related efforts.

AGC of America’s BD Forum does a similar “BD Check-Up” at the National AGC Convention. After being a part of the national initiative, Saigen Harris, vice president of AGC of Alaska’s Executive Board and a committee member of BD Forum, decided to bring the business development tool home to the 49th State.

Working with Pearl-Grace Pantaleone, former president of SMPS Alaska, the women in construction leaders worked together to recruit subject matter experts, or SMEs, around Alaska to pair up with attendees to answer questions and challenges relating to BD planning, sales, proposals, client presentations, branding, brochures, websites, social media, firm awareness, and more.

SMEs include BD and marketing directors, proposal managers, marketing coordinators, and communication specialists who are trained professionals dedicated to positive firm messaging to win work. Each expert is placed into categories of skills and interest through which they can provide mentorship.

This year, conference registrants could sign up for the free BD Check-In and select one of four categories: (1) Marketing – Proposals, (2) Marketing – Website/Social Media, (3) Marketing – Materials (Graphics), and (4) Business Development 101.

Attendees submitted materials in advance, and the SMEs met with their assigned attendee and shared ways the attendee could improve or noted areas for potential growth. These check-ins have been so successful that many have reached out for additional support and mentoring.

Some examples of completed BD Check-Ins this year include reviewing private and federal proposal submissions, discussing current website and social media campaigns, ways to improve marketing services through brochures, and many more.

Many contractors do not have in-house marketing and BD staff, so this is a great way that AGC of Alaska facilitates kick-starting mentorship and helps Alaska firms identify ways to improve their strategies to elevate their operations.

Pearl-Grace Pantaleone, Assoc. DBIA, CPSM is a storyteller with more than a decade’s experience in architecture, engineering, and construction, or A/E/C, marketing; business development; and community engagement. She is currently the senior communications strategist at HDR, the immediate past president of SMPS Alaska, and a member of The Alaska Contractor magazine editorial board.

Saigen Harris is a project manager at F&W Contractors, a member of the National AGC BD Forum, and serves as the vice president of AGC Of Alaska’s Executive Board. She founded the Construction Leadership Council in Alaska in 2014 and has spearheaded many innovative programs for the construction industry in Alaska.

Together, Harris and Pantaleone have collaborated on various events and programs since 2014 and are proud to have co-founded the AGC Annual Conference BD Check-Ins with SMPS Alaska in 2022.