ASU West Valley campus.

SMB Lab partners with local, sustainable facilities services company

Verde leaders explore strategic solutions for accelerating company growth.

Molly Loonam

W. P. Carey's small and medium-sized (SMB) Lab — a group of ASU faculty, business leaders, economic development professionals, Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce (SWVCC) members, and development professionals who convene periodically to focus on a specific company's concerns and brainstorm actionable solutions — recently met with the Phoenix-based sustainable facilities management service provider Verde.

"ASU students and faculty dissected our company's needs through dedicated workshops to help us develop, scale, and grow our business," says Verde CEO Paul Sarzoza. "It was an exciting opportunity."

Amber Reyna and Paul Sarzoza present at the SMB Lab

Following a presentation by Sarzoza and Chief Revenue Officer Amber Reyna featuring the company's strengths, weaknesses, and challenges, lab members brainstormed solutions to improve Verde's strategic processes and hiring and retention challenges before presenting their ideas to the lab. The discussion also included students from W. P. Carey and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Created by Gopalakrishnan Mohan, senior associate dean of faculty and director of the School of Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, and Hitendra Chaturvedi, supply chain management professor of practice, and in partnership with the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce (SWVCC), the SMB Lab met on the ASU West Valley campus to discuss Verde's business strategy. ASU undergraduate and graduate students will assist Verde in executing solutions brainstormed during the lab.

"The SMB Lab is a win-win partnership. Verde and other SMBs benefit from access to critical resources that help solve real business challenges, students gain real business experience, and the local community thrives with stable jobs and services," says Reyna. "It's a brilliant, supportive ecosystem. Our team is grateful to be a part of it."

Verde is a minority-owned company that has doubled in size nearly every year since its founding in 2019. Sustainability and social impact in and outside the organization are core Verde values. The company prioritizes strategic partnerships and giving back through financial donations, and employees are encouraged to take paid volunteer time off to give back to their community. Verde is licensed to operate in eleven states and needs to prepare for rapid growth to meet the increasing need for sustainable, green cleaning solutions.

Sarzoza and Reyna will now decide which proposed ideas and solutions to implement in Verde's business plan. SMB Lab leadership will continue to assist the company's growth through support and resources, and student teams mentored by ASU faculty and subject matter experts will begin creating and executing growth projects in the upcoming academic year.

"Participating in the SMB Lab was a remarkable and humbling experience. I couldn't believe so many smart people were there to elevate our business," says Reyna. "It was truly incredible."

Learn more about the SMB Lab.

Photo: Amber Reyna and Paul Sarzoza present at the SMB Lab.

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