Paint!!! I did it in the old days!

Ariz. students get head start on business

Mar. 2, 2006 12:00 AM

A few months ago, Toni Rothpletz didn't know anything about house painting. Now the 18-year-old Arizona State University student is giving estimates and hiring painting crews.

Rothpletz is one of 43 Arizona students, and one of six females, selected for internships by College Works Painting, which gives them real-world business and leadership experience by placing them in charge of house-painting operations.

They currently are undergoing training and soliciting work in preparation for this summer, when they will coordinate several house-painting jobs.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is teaching me good work skills and it will look good on my rsum," said Rothpletz, a sophomore business marketing major who is branch operator in Tempe for College Works Painting.

The program was started by National Services Group in 1987 and now provides internships to college students in nearly 20 states. It is one of the tougher internships to crack, with about 1,300 applicants in Arizona alone this year.

The branch operators are responsible for finding jobs, giving estimates and hiring and supervising painting crews, which are a mix of college students and experienced house painters. Inexperienced painters are trained, and the crews are insured.

Intern pay depends on how many jobs are completed, but averages $9,300, with some of the more productive ones earning more than $20,000 over a summer.

Information: or (480) 217-4369.

Road trip

The Arizona Small Business Association is hitting the road to draw attention to what it calls "second-stage growth companies."

For the uninitiated (like the Buzz was until Wednesday), such companies employ 10 to 100 people and have annual revenue of $750,000 to $100 million. There are more than 80,000 such businesses in Arizona, and according to the association, they are a critical, often-overlooked driver of the state's economy.

The association is seeking nominees for the Edward Lowe Foundation's "Companies to Watch" awards program honoring second-stage growth companies.

Tom Fraker, executive director of the association, said the road show begins today in Phoenix and wraps up two weeks later in Scottsdale.

In between, there will be visits to Show Low, Payson, Flagstaff, Yuma, Prescott, Sedona, Sierra Vista and Tucson. All of the association's sessions will be at National Bank of Arizona branches.

Not to mention . . .

. . . Opportunity knocks: TGen President Jeffrey Trent acknowledged Wednesday that Phoenix can't be San Diego when it comes to building a traditional biotech industry. "You can't be what you're not," he told a group of business leaders and scholars at Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management.

But with 28 bioscience companies in the Valley and a focus on early diagnostics and smarter treatments, the area could become known as a center for early testing for breast or prostate cancer.

One way to accomplish that, Trent said, would be to create a center for medical advances, similar to Houston's Texas Medical Center.

"We do have a unique place, unique time and unique opportunity," Trent said.

Contributor: Yvette Armendariz

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