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Forging the long-term future Featured

9:59am EDT July 22, 2002

No one would dispute the value of doing things to enhance the long-range prospects of his or her enterprise. And any business owner could easily identify some of the activities that will do just that.

Still, for a lot of entrepreneurs—and owners of mature businesses, as well—it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of running a business.

While Angela Llamas-Butler is in the critical early stages of boosting her business from a one-person shop to a dozen-plus-employee company, she isn’t ignoring some of the factors she knows will pay off for her company in the long run.

“My goal is to keep the company visible,” says Llamas-Butler.

During nearly a decade in consulting in the Pittsburgh area, Llamas-Butler saw a dearth of women in leadership roles in the technology sector. An opportunity to help redirect that course came last summer, when Portia Switzer of FORE Systems asked Butler-Llamas to assist her in establishing a Pittsburgh chapter of Women in Technology International. The membership organization seeks to increase the number of women in technology industries, including at the executive level. It also encourages women to become technology literate and young women to seek careers in science and technology. By the end of 1998, the fledgling chapter had recruited 25 members.

Also helping visibility is an internship program with local colleges and universities that brings in students to work with professionals on projects at Delta Systems Design. The arrangement gives Delta Systems Design access to a pool of talent that is highly motivated yet low-cost, and allows it to get a first-hand look at candidates for entry-level positions.

Students get valuable hands-on experience, a firsthand look at working in their chosen field, and, in some cases, a job offer at a company where they’ve already become comfortable. Two of the first three interns were hired as regular employees after completing their studies.