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Greencastle consultant helps managers manage

February 17, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Liz Weber spent a decade teaching U.S. embassy personnel how to make a profit in their commissaries.

The job that took her to more than 20 countries and helped her acquire the skills needed to set up her own consulting company here.

Weber, 38, worked for a private company that provided business consulting services to U.S. State Department embassies.

Embassy personnel are trained in their fields but have little or no business experience, she said. "Running an embassy commissary is like running a business," she said.

An offshoot of that job is Weber Business Services at 41 S. Antrim Way, a consulting business Weber started in her home in Washington, D.C., in 1992.

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She always wanted to her own company and the time seemed right to do it, she said.

She moved to Greencastle with her family in 1992 and moved the business to its Antrim Way offices in 1998.

Weber Business Services has two employees: Weber and her secretary.

Today her clients are closer to home, mostly within 30 miles of the Interstate 81 corridor. They are manufacturing and service companies ranging in size from as few as 30 employees to as many as 500, she said. Larger companies typically have their own employees who do what Weber does.

She also does consulting work for state, local and federal government agencies.

Weber teaches supervisors how to best treat their workers, how to avoid legal pitfalls over sexual harassment issues, how to handle team building and time management. Problem solving, leadership skills, planning and conflict resolution are other areas she deals with.

She trains workers in customer service and helps them to develop needed job skills. She also writes personnel, policy and procedure manuals and helps with company newsletters.

Many companies promote from within and that is sometimes a problem, Weber said.

"We have a tendency to promote the best widget makers, but that doesn't mean they have supervisory or leadership skills," she said.

She helps newly promoted or long-time managers be better at their jobs.

"Take an older supervisor who has to deal with a 20-something worker. He has to learn how to deal with and get along with someone with spiked hair and a ring in his nose. It's my job to get them to work together," she said.

One of her specialties is training mainline supervisors, she said.

Weber said her own experiences as a business owner help her in the consulting work. "You have to manage or own a business to be able to relate to a business owner," she said.

She hires outside consultants in areas in which her own expertise is lacking or when business demands exceed her ability to keep up, she said.

She's thinking of bringing in a partner or two to expand the business if she can find people with the right background and skills, she said.

Weber has a master's degree in business administration with an emphasis on international business management. She is an associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Management and Marketing. She also is an adjunct professor at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa.

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