Success Story

Executive Coaching







Located in East Point, GA, E-TEC had earned an excellent reputation as a commercial electrical contractor. However, by 2015 growth had slowed and the business was at a critical juncture.


After growing E-TEC to $800,000 in revenues by 2015, Owner BJ Thomas was feeling seriously overwhelmed. Swamped by an endless array of details and unwilling to delegate, he was quickly losing passion for his business. Employee morale was plummeting and finding quality time for family was getting tougher every day. BJ was thinking of getting out.


In early 2016, BJ enrolled in Ascent’s Executive Coaching Program. “Ascent came to my office, we talked, and I thought, ‘This program can help me,’” BJ recalled. And it did. He and Adam Cooper, President of Ascent, met twice a month for eight months. The results exceeded BJ’s expectations.



Ascent’s coaching program focuses on personal development for leaders which ultimately benefits the individual as well as the organization.

STEP 1: Hire An Administrator

It was obvious to Ascent that E-TEC needed an administrator to handle the tasks that were stealing his time. At first BJ was reluctant. “I can’t afford to add an administrator.” But through a series of exercises, Ascent showed him that he couldn’t grow without adding more resources, and it made sound financial sense.

Ascent helped BJ recruit, interview and hire the right administrator, and also recommended new operational software which further increased capacity and allowed BJ to delegate.

STEP 2: Learn to Delegate

For a hands-on manager like BJ, letting go of tasks was tough, but Ascent guided him through. They examined and determined which tasks BJ should handle and which to delegate. It wasn’t easy for BJ: “I kept thinking, ‘Can I trust anybody else with that job or task?’” Ascent’s philosophy was simple – if you train your people properly and they’re competent, leave them to it and monitor their performance.

STEP 3: Management Turnaround

With Ascent’s coaching, BJ’s management style did a 180. Previously he looked at his people simply as workers and didn’t enjoy ‘dealing’ with them and their personal problems. “Ascent taught me how to communicate with them as a leader, and showed me that we were on the same team,” he recalled.

I was absolutely overwhelmed, and the business wasn’t growing… I thought this must not be for me. I was definitely thinking of getting out.

STEP 4: Listening to His Team

Armed with a new attitude and tools for communication, BJ began listening to his team members. He quickly realized they also wanted the company to expand, but he had been the bottleneck to growth. His employees told him, “You want to do everything yourself! Let us help you.”

STEP 5: Taking Ownership

This new leadership style and operational method have produced stunning results. Both sales and profits have increased, employees are happier, morale is soaring and everybody is taking ownership. It’s a new day at E-TEC, and people who don’t buy in, don’t last long.

Book Your FREE Performance Consultation Now

Could you benefit from the advice of a construction business expert? In our 30-minute call, you will get recommendations for immediate adjustments that will improve the performance and profitability of YOUR construction company.

I was going to scale back or quit the business. Now I’m intent on doubling it.

Ascent’s Executive Coaching Program helped deliver results across the board at E-TEC:

  • Increased sales: Sales in 2016 jumped to $1.2 million after averaging between $600,000- $800,000 for several years.
  • Greater profitability: Net profits at E-TEC increased ~10% for 2016.
  • Expanded client base: BJ reported that E-TEC’s existing customer base grew by over 25%. In addition, the company is targeting major projects that BJ previously did not feel comfortable handling. For example, he recently took on a quarter million dollar Walmart remodel that he would not have considered before Ascent’s program. “I would have found all kinds of reasons and excuses to avoid this project – but no more.”
  • Improved employee morale: “Internal communications are very strong today,” said BJ. “We have open lines of communications, and there are no longer any assumptions. Everything is transparent between me and my staff.”
  • Enhanced family time: “I used to work every weekend,” BJ explained. “But that’s a rarity now.”

Closing Thoughts

Looking back on the experience, BJ Thomas says, “If anyone feels stuck in their business and doesn’t know how to move forward, Ascent’s program will help you get there, if you’re willing to do the work and take the coaching. It worked for me.”

Kendall Pittman

Human Resources & Accounting Manager

With passions for developing HR strategies and accurate financials, Kendall joins Ascent with 5+ years of hands-on experience in both disciplines. She holds a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida, and is currently pursuing secondary education & certification in the field of Human Resources. 

Kendall has provided financial support to both the private sector as well non-profit organizations. Her accounting philosophy helps leaders connect business goals to objectives through accurate records & industry best practices. Additionally, she has pursued HR opportunities that focus on employee engagement, internal growth & development, and business-level strategic planning. 

Now, Kendall is dedicated to providing an uplifting environment to help drive further growth within Ascent. 

Sarah Red

Junior Coordinator

Sarah has 10+ years of experience in commercial construction spanning across 10 different states. during this time, she has gained experience in project & field management, also specializing in Construction Technology. Having worked on projects with value ranging from $5M – $2B, she has seen the industry from many angles.  



Sarah has worked across country and built in a variety of market sectors to perform both ground up & adaptive re-use projects. Her extensive experience has equipped her with in-depth knowledge of the construction industry, focusing on best methods of scaling technology to make her clients more competitive and successful in the market. 



Sarah is passionate about encouraging our clients to improve their business strategies, and building up the construction industry as a whole. 

Jack Austin

Marketing Coordinator

Jack is a marketing and communications professional who joins Ascent following a three-year stint in the healthcare staffing industry. 


Working as a member of the Ascent marketing team, Jack performs internal marketing automation tasks, analyzes web and marketing metrics, and creates multimedia content to highlight recent success stories with Ascent clients.


Born and raised in the Metro Atlanta area, Jack graduated from the University of Georgia in 2019 with a B.A. in Journalism and a certificate in Sports Media. He then went on to earn an M.B.A. from Georgia State University in December 2022, concentrating in the areas of marketing and business analytics.

Rhonda Hudson

Construction Accountant

Rhonda has three decades of diverse Controller experience that spans various aspects of construction, including manufacturing, mechanical, electrical, flooring, and residential building contracting. Rhonda has an Associate’s Degree in Accounting and has consistently demonstrated expertise in optimizing operational efficiencies, tracking financial performance, conducting annual audits, and building a process around the monthly close process.

In addition to her accounting work, Rhonda has a broad proficiency in a wide range of accounting software platforms and has a knack for adapting to new technologies swiftly. She has facilitated smooth transitions during software migrations and provided system training to numerous companies.

Bridgit Lawhead

Marketing Project Manager

Bridgit is a Marketing Project Manager, bringing a proven track record of managing accounts and marketing for diverse industries. Prior to joining Ascent Consulting, she was a Marketing Strategist for a small marketing agency that focused on transforming financial advisors’ businesses. Working with Marketing, Sales, and Upper Management to ensure strategic performance and management of tasks to appropriate team members, Bridgit helps manage the planning, development, design, execution, monitoring, and completion of all of our client marketing projects. 
Bridgit holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication, with an emphasis in Public Relations from Valdosta State University. 

Kellie Barber

Office Manager

With a career spanning over 25 years in both the public and private sectors, Kellie stands as a seasoned professional and a valuable asset to our Ascent team. A dedicated, results-driven individual, Kellie brings a wealth of experience to the organization.

She is no stranger to the world of construction and has a comprehensive understanding from both the project management and engineering perspective.  Kellie has a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering excellence.

Nazia Hasnain

Project Coordinator

Nazia joined Ascent in the role of a project coordinator. Before joining Ascent, she served as a Web Project Coordinator.

With a rich background of 5 years of experience in the digital realm, she has been at the forefront of coordinating and managing web projects from concept to launch. With a blend of technical expertise and project management skills, she is dedicated to contributing to the success of diverse projects to ensure that projects not only meet but exceed expectations.

Gary Johnson


Gary grew up working summers from 7th grade through graduating college for a large plumbing and process piping contractor in Mobile, AL. After graduating from Auburn University with a BS in Computer Engineering, Gary spent the next 16 years working in the industrial automation industry with The Foxboro Company and the ERP software solutions space with JD Edwards.  

The 7 years with JD Edwards were primarily focused on the construction business, providing ERP software solutions to both large general contractors and large homebuilders. In 2003 Gary acquired a small residential plumbing contracting business in Pace, FL.  Over the next 17 years, Gary grew this business to three physical locations and more than 130 employees, performing commercial and residential plumbing projects in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. 

In 2020, Gary sold the business and continued to work for the company on a consulting basis for 2 more years. The unusual background, including providing construction industry ERP software solutions as well as nearly 20 years acquiring, growing, operating and ultimately selling a large subcontracting business, gives Gary a unique perspective on the operations of a construction company. Gary holds master plumbing and gas fitter licenses in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

Stephen Crawford

Junior Consultant

Stephen possesses nearly a decade of extensive financial, operational, and leadership expertise spanning diverse professional sectors, primarily centered on construction, development, and construction management. Before joining Ascent Consulting, he spent five years as a CPA at Ernst & Young. He then made significant contributions to an electrical construction company in an internal consulting capacity. Subsequently, he pursued multiple freelance roles, including a pivotal position as a Fractional Chief Transformation Officer (CTO).

Throughout his career, Stephen adeptly guided companies through various rapid growth phases, overseeing crucial financial matters, driving strategic growth initiatives, and managing back-office functions. He holds a BBA in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy from The University of Georgia.

Zachary Hickman

Project Coordinator

Zachary brings 10+ years of project management experience as an owners representative for clients and from the developer side of the business.

He began his career as an assistant project manager with a masonry subcontractor in Florida, before moving to Atlanta.

Daphene Koch


Daphene’s construction experience began working in her family’s mechanical construction company.

Next, she worked for a large EPC firm on projects in Texas and Malaysia. With over 15 years of construction industry experience on commercial and industrial projects. Her roles have included project manager, safety manager, construction services leader, and pipefitters helper.

While a professor at Purdue University in the School of Construction Management, she worked as a consultant to help construction companies improve processes, project management, workforce development to name a few. She has a BS, MS, and PhD from Purdue University and resides in Indiana.

Hakeem Slaughter

Marketing Coordinator

Hakeem is a brand designer with over 10 years of experience. He has been a freelancer for about 9 years working with many different clients and industries under the following subjects: brand design, graphic design, web design, and social media marketing.


During that time freelancing, he also worked at many companies as a graphic and web designer. As well as taught disciplines of Art and Design to students varying from middle school age to college. As mentioned, he has a “jack of all trades” range but is quite proficient at WordPress and uses that knowledge to design cutting edge websites!


Hakeem specializes in branding, design, and creativity and is bringing his talents, skills, and passion to take Ascent Consulting to a new level!

Aimee Collier

Project Coordinator

Aimee joins Ascent as a Project Coordinator supporting our Senior and Procore Consultants. With construction industry experience both in-field and back-of-house (ranging from project site coordination to contract management to software administration), she brings a holistic perspective of the day-to-day challenges faced by our clients. Her varied professional roles include software implementation and training, technical content creation and design, and coordinating across teams to bring projects to successful completion. She is excited to direct her passion for people and processes toward our customers.