Mark Padula was born and raised in Delaware County, Pennsylvania and has resided and worked in Chester County for the past 20 years. Mark began his professional career in the land development field and has developed his expertise in land use and stormwater management over the past 27 years. Mark has completed both residential and commercial subdivision and land developments of all sizes. While he has worked primarily in the private sector, he has, at times, also served as a municipal review engineer. This mix of experience provides Mark with a well-balanced understanding of the needs and responsibilities of both applicants and municipalities involved in the land development process.
Over the course of his career, Mark has worked for several small to medium size engineering firms and says he has seen both “the good and the bad” when it comes to customer service. As Mark developed his reputation as an engineer, he realized many of his clients were repeat customers. In addition, he also had past clients contact him after he moved on from previous employers. Mark started thinking that he could provide clients with his own unique brand of customer services. In March of 2018, Mark came to SCORE and told his Mentor, “I think I can do this, can you help me bring the dream to life?”
In May of 2019, Mark founded Padula Engineering Company based on the premise of his unique brand of customer service, summarizing his mission on the company’s web site with the quote below,
“Get the individual attention you deserve while working with someone who will know your project inside and out.”
Padula Engineering Company follows its own unique approach with each project. The Padula team wants to learn all about the project in order to determine the best course of action for the client. Padula and his team ask questions, listen to client’s input, consider the impact each decision may have on the success of a project and then, based on their years of experience, provide clients with options to move their project forward.
But it doesn’t stop there. The next step in Padula’s approach is to set expectations by explaining the approval process and the roles of both the client and the Padula Engineering Company in executing the plan. Mark says they really do “go the extra mile” for their clients. Padula’s goal is to always provide their client with the best information to enable them to make the best choices for their project. Mark takes great pride in building long lasting relationship with his clients and earning their trust.
The Path to Success
Mark knew he wanted to create his own company and he had the technical expertise and connections to do so. At the same time, he also knew he needed guidance to learn and understand the business side of this endeavor. Fortunately, through the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Mark learned about SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties. Intrigued, Mark reached out to SCORE and in March 2018, Mark scheduled his first session with a SCORE Mentor.
Since his introduction to SCORE Chester and Delaware Counties in March 2018, Mark has worked with a wide range of mentors, co-mentors, and subject matter experts. These SCORE Volunteers included Wilson Chu, Steve Crumrine, Carl Caruso, Richard Lee, Ted Nichols, and John Hess. Mark attributes much of his success to each of these individuals as they have provided him different insights and important advice in areas of planning, marketing, funding, organization and more.
Mark affectionately refers to Steve Crumrine as his quarterback, and all his other SCORE Mentors as his “Board of Directors”. Under the leadership of Steve Crumrine, Mark attended multiple strategy sessions, often with Steve and another SCORE Mentor, on a broad range of topics. The SCORE Mentors taught Mark managerial skills, business financing, accounting and bookkeeping, as well as how to manage and retain employees and other good business practices. Steve and Ted Nichols worked through the business plan development offering suggestions and critiquing it throughout the process. As part of this review, Mark attended the SCORE Business Planning Workshop series. These workshops introduced Mark to other individuals who were on the same path as he was. Mark said the workshops “opened his eyes” to different perspectives and new ways to look at creating a business.
John Hess joined with Steve to guide Mark through the final phases of planning, the start-up phase and beyond. After many months of conducting strategy sessions and planning, attending workshops and creating a business plan, Mark was getting close to pulling the trigger. Now more than ever, Mark looked to his SCORE Mentors for the guidance and assistance he knew he needed to bring the dream to life. As banks were not likely to assist a start-up, and after much guidance from Steve and John, Mark decided to self-finance his start-up.
On May 1, 2019 Padula Engineering Company opened its doors for the first time in a small office in the Borough of West Chester. Mark hit the ground running with several client engagements and a consulting agreement with his previous employer. The business took off and finished 2019 with strong revenues for a startup. Steve and John continued to mentor Mark through the start-up. To help Mark better understand “the numbers” and accounting and financial tracking for the new company, Mentors Steve and John suggested Mark attend one of the upcoming SCORE QuickBooks sessions, which proved very helpful.
Steve, John and all the SCORE Mentors continue to make themselves available to Mark as he navigates his way through his startup. Mark has had multiple strategy sessions with Steve and John since opening the company doors, including matters involving accounting, obtaining healthcare insurance, utilizing subcontractors, hiring employees, seeking financing and other startup related issues.
Mark met with Steve and John to review First Quarter 2020 revenue growth. Padula Engineering Company currently has a healthy backlog of work and believes this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Mark recently completed negotiations to lease professional office space in consultation with Steve and John. An executive coordinator was recently hired to help Mark in the day to day operation of the business with the intent to add another full-time employee in the near future.
Padula Engineering Company is off to a great start with a growing and sustainable business. Mark said recently,
“I view SCORE very much like they are my Board of Directors, with Steve Crumrine and John Hess as Co-Chairmen. No matter what I may be thinking about, I know I can reach out to Steve and John and bounce it off of them. Before I know it, they are on it. They give me great advice and bring in SCORE Mentors with specific expertise in whatever topic we may be discussing. Knowing Steve and John are just a phone call away gives me great confidence and I know I am never in this alone. Along with their expert advice and knowledge, Steve and John share their wisdom and friendship with me. I am humbled by their kindness and hope one day I can be like Steve and John and become a SCORE Mentor.”
When asked if he had any words of wisdom for other SCORE Clients considering starting their own business, Mark offered the following:
“You don’t need to know everything.Seek out mentors and others who have experience in what you want to do. Be open to other people’s ideas. A good support system is key, SCORE was a godsend for me!
Accept and be thankful to others willing to offer you advice and assistance, and always help others. Self-motivation is critical in being your own boss, and finally, never, never, never give up!”