Better by Design, LLC – Brookfield

Lois Rodriguez started Better By Design (BBD) in 2009 with her mother, Darlene Phillips. Initially, the firm offered landscaping services.

Lois Rodriguez, left, reviews project plans with Jana Weitkemper at one of the cleanup sites.

Lois Rodriguez, left, reviews project plans with Jana Weitkemper at a Sullivan County site.
Photo by Phil Leslie

Then the Great Recession hit, and the owners knew they had to diversify. So they turned to the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (MO PTAC), part of MU Extension’s Business Development Program, which guides clients through the extensive process of bidding for federal, state and local government contracts.

Residential and landscaping jobs led to bigger projects such as flood-control levies. This in turn led to such projects as retaining walls, fencing and water control structures.

As a direct result of MO PTAC help, the firm has grown from two full-time and a few part-time employees to five full-time and as many as 13 part-time workers.

Rodriguez says PTAC counselors Bill Stuby and Jana Weitkemper were instrumental in developing BBD’s ability to successfully apply for government work.

“I don’t think we’d be where we are without them,” Rodriquez explains. “It’s one of the most invaluable relationships that I have ever formed.”

Watch the video (2:25 min) and read the story on the MU Extension website.


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