LDF Recap

LDF recap from NDK

2021 was a very busy and rewarding year thanks in large part to graduating from the Leadership Development Forum (LDF) program hosted annually by the Arizona Builders Alliance (ABA).   

As described on ABA’s website, “ABA’s Leadership Development Forum (LDF) is a year-long intensive management education program that requires significant commitment on behalf of each candidate and employer. The program is limited to 30 students. It has sold out annually since being introduced in 1993. The annual, in-depth course focuses on management skills, leadership, and public speaking. The program has received both state and national awards and has graduated more than 800 constructors over the past 25 years.” 

The program covers a range of topics from “Finance in Construction” and “Work/Life Balance” to “Public Speaking.” One of the best parts of this program is the incredible instructors that are brought in to teach the classes. An example of one we’ve had was Dr. Tom Schleifer, ASU professor and author of “Construction Contractors’ Survival Guide,” who taught what he learned from failed contractors. Other speakers included John Murdough, CPA with Henry Horne, who is one of the original founders of this class, and they taught us about construction in finance in a way that is easy to understand. Danielle Feroleto, Owner and President of Small Giants as well as a case study judge for the program, showed us the art of how to tell a story while presenting. 

To qualify for this prestigious program, the following criteria must be met: 

  • Must have a minimum of eight years of construction experience or have participated in the Emerging Leaders Forum program with at least six years of construction experience   
  • Submit the application 
  • Produce a two-minute video explaining why you should be selected for the program   
  • Be nominated by your company’s C-level management (with the time commitment, it is imperative that your company understands and supports you during this program. I am very thankful that K2 and my fellow coworkers gave me the opportunity to take the time needed). 
  • Be willing to attend 100% of the LDF meetings once a month 
  • Actively participate in the group’s community service project  

By having this stringent application process, the Arizona Builders Alliance is ensuring a strong group of leaders from the Arizona job market and the same level of dedication among peers, which facilitates a successful and unified experience.  

One rewarding aspect of the commitment to the program is the community service project built together over the course of the year. Our class selected Advocacy, Support & Assistance (ASA) Now, which is an organization located in East Mesa, AZ that helps foster kids and families. Our group was able to build a horse arena with a tack shed, so they can bring in horses for equine therapy; construct a raised garden bed, run power and lighting to the basketball courts; and we will soon be constructing a new pergola shade structure with outdoor seating.   

There were many parts of this class that helped me grow tremendously, but the most impactful part was presenting our LDF case study portion. We were split into teams of six and given a case study to roleplay as employees seeking to buy out the original owner.  

The presentation needed to include: 

  • A financial plan 
  • Explanation of our culture  
  • What we believed to be the best solution for the owner 

The comradery of my teammates and the class in general made this program successful and rewarding. We stepped out of our comfort zones and were able to grow professionally. I am thankful for my hours spent in the LDF program. My relationships with others in the industry have been strengthened, my leadership skills have been sharpened, and I have learned a tremendous amount from my peers and all the wonderful experts that shared their knowledge with us. I highly recommend anyone starting in their career to join the association and become involved!