Man working road construction.

The UAH Mentor-Protégé Program team offers broad expertise to help Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) streamline their business processes, improve bidding skills, and develop relationships with Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) prime contractors.

Our Mission

  • Assess DBE program participants’ current state of business maturity
  • Provide bid proposal training and materials
  • Assist in executing a sound project management approach on winning bids
  • Offer individual one-on-one aid to those DBEs willing and ready to improve their capabilities

College of Engineering Mentor-Protege Program Logo

The UAH Mentor Protégé Program (MPP) is designed to foster relationships between prime contractors and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in the Alabama road construction industry. The intent of the program is to provide business guidance and supportive services to minority- and women-owned businesses by connecting them to well-established prime contractors. The relationship between primes and DBEs is mutually beneficial. The mentor (prime) engages the services of the protégé (DBE) to fulfill DBE subcontracting requirements when bidding on state contracts, and the protégé learns about best practices, tools, and techniques from the mentor that will help their business mature.

Since 2010, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has administered the MPP, which is funded by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). Dr. Sampson Gholston, associate professor in the Industrial & Systems Engineering department, oversees the program. "Because most mentors and protégés in the program are project-driven organizations, the program focuses on nurturing project management maturity; namely, improving processes relative to bid preparation, technology support, teaming and collaboration, relationship development, and subcontractor monitoring.” At the end of the year-long program, DBEs will be more competitive when bidding on transportation contracts.

To date, the UAH Mentor Protégé Program has worked with over 40 businesses helping them increase their business capabilities and overall performance.

We host monthly project letting seminars throughout the program year. See our latest newsletter HERE.

Program Focus

  • Business Maturity: operating structure, back office/HR, project management tools, business planning, marketing
  • Business Technology: estimating, takeoffs, project management, accounting, and communication programs
  • Estimating & Bidding Processes
  • Relationships with Prime Contractors
  • Small Business Element (SBE) program


Want to speak with one of our experts? Tell us about your business needs and we’ll give you a call.

Reach us via the methods below.

Mentor-Protege Program Contact Form

UAH, 5000 Technology Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899
Dr. Sampson Gholston, 256.824.7310,
Ronica Ondocsin, PE, 256.824.6466,