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ARC Alternative & Renewable Construction

An interview with Lonnie Coplen
ARC Founder + President

Describe your business and its mission/values.

ARC is an infrastructure program management and implementation company founded by two women, Lonnie Coplen and Widney Brown, who have wide-ranging experience in infrastructure applications and development.

  • Program and construction management
  • International civil and human rights
  • Institutional, residential and commercial infrastructure

ARC’s mission is to enable fundamental and equitable access and opportunity for all by deploying “independence technologies” deliberately at two scales: the local scale, and the infrastructure network scale

ARC explores and embraces infrastructure development that delivers services faster and cheaper to more people in a more ecologically respectful manner. Examples include distributed energy networks that are locally and regionally deployed using design-build delivery, integrated project delivery, and agile management strategies.

We believe that technology must be deployed in ways that empower individuals, families and communities.

The way in which projects are organized and implemented makes a difference:

  • Team compositions that leverage diverse perspectives and expressions will yield more resilient solutions
  • Management that favors both collaboration and accountability will yield greater innovation and productivity

Why did you decide to create your business?
Both of us have worked in a variety of positions and companies. We felt like we were ready to build a company that was outcome-driven and based on best practices, with inclusive and innovative management practices.

Do you have any specific policies in place that benefit the LGBT Community?
We actively provide opportunities to people who may be overlooked because of some element of their identity, including sexual orientation or gender identity.

Do you have any specific policies in place regarding workplace equality?
Having worked extensively on criminalization and incarceration in the U.S. we are committed to not being part of a system that creates barriers to second chances for people who have been criminalized.

Why did you decide to join the GGBA?
GGBA is a terrific organization for networking with like-minded professionals.

How has the GGBA helped your business so far?
GGBA has provided significant exposure and highlighted our profile in positive ways. We are also specifically pleased that GGBA gave us the opportunity to work with Gina Grahame to strengthen our presentation skills.

What has been your biggest reward during your journey as an entrepreneur?
We delight in being able to offer opportunities for people to work on truly ground-breaking projects.

And your biggest disappointment?
Biggest challenge: waiting for the sweat equity to turn into actual equity.

What’s the more important lesson you learnt being an entrepreneur?
The greatest lesson has been the value of effective communication – with colleagues, clients, partners and others. Learning how to talk and listen effectively is ongoing and everlasting.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
Be very deliberate taking care of yourself. Don’t wait.