Our monthly series on the construction people in the news targets the chief executive officer of loss-making internet portal Asite. Here he tells us how he plans to make it pay
This is a key year for Tom Dengenis, chief executive of Asite. His aim in the long term is to make his firm the first choice internet portal for the British construction industry. In the short term, he has to simply make a profit – and time is running out.

In 2002, Dengenis set himself a target of revamping Asite's business strategy so it could move into profit by the end of last year. He admits he is at least three months behind schedule, but insists that success is within his grasp. "We are now at the point of a chrysalis, at the point of transformation," he says. "We have spent 18 months transforming a business that was not effective at getting where it wanted to be."

In May 2002, Dengenis left project collaboration provider Bidcom and joined Asite as its chief operations officer. When he arrived, Asite was in trouble. Part of the problem was that it was simply reselling other providers' solutions, so it could not tailor the products for its customers, and it was competing with its own suppliers: "Asite was delivering technology solutions without having technology as part of its capabilities," he says.

Together with the managing director at the time, Alastair Mellon, Dengenis worked out a new strategy. "Our targets were to have our own software and to offer an integrated platform of services."

At the end of 2002, Mellon left Asite to return to the construction industry as a project manager and Dengenis became chief executive with a £5.5m loss on a turnover of £1.6m to contend with.

Today, things are looking up.

He put his strategy into action by boosting the number of technology experts employed at Asite from three to 25. The company has launched its own project collaboration software, which is being adopted by several large contractors, and the industry seems impressed: Laing O'Rourke has even taken a 15% stake in the business.

Asite has also formed an alliance with German collaboration provider AEC that will help the company enter markets in Germany, Switzerland and Australia.

Will the strategy work in time to keep Asite trading? Dengenis is naturally, aggressively confident. We'll let you know whether he was right to be so in a couple of months.

Up the ladder

Age 42
Academic history Degree in Construction Engineering Technology from Montana University
Career history 1984 Construction manager at Spaulding & Slye Construction in Boston
1988 President and chief executive of The Dengenis Company, a small projects construction contractor and commercial property management company
1992 Commissioner at Massachusetts Department of Labour and Industries
1993 Associate commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Highways
1996 Senior manager at KMPG in Boston
2000 Chief executive of Bidcom
2002 Chief operations officer of Asite
2003 Chief executive officer of Asite

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