Washington Business Report - June 1, 2014

Turning family business public is tough challenge

Willy Walker is a Washingtonian who was born into a successful family, but wanted to earn his own stripes rather than jump right into the family business. Walker, 47, grew up in D.C., but took his Harvard MBA to South America, where he managed a start-up airline in Argentina, and then Teletech - where he rose through the ranks to president of its European and Latin American divisions.

Starting a family brought him back to Washington, and Walker tells Rebecca Cooper in their one-on-one interview that it was a surprise even to him that he is working at Walker & Dunlop, the tenth largest commercial real estate lender in the country.

What makes a great place to work?

The founder of Your Part-Time Controller, LLC credits word of mouth for the exponential growth in his accounting business.

Referrals led more and more clients to Eric Fraint's door. And the tiny company with a catchy name specializing in accounting for non-profits grew from Washington to Philadelphia to New York City.

But employees talk, too. And being voted one of the best places to work four years running by Washington Business Journal is proof positive that this small company is treating its employees well. Fraint explains what his employees love about their job in this week's small business spotlight.

Talk on the street

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Virginia commuters: Metro's silver line. This week's round table discussion focuses on transportation with journalist Martin Di Caro and infrastructure specialist Dan Papiernik.

Di Caro explains that the biggest concerns surrounding the silver line plans are in regards to construction deadlines.

Papiernik, associate vice president and Mid-Atlantic toll services leader for HNTB Corporation, is the nation's top consultant to toll authorities. He says the express lanes currently under construction on the I-95 near Fredericksburg are expected to be complete by early 2015. He says the learning curve for drivers unaware of how express lanes work has caused some usage delays on the current 495 express lanes.

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