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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Midtown Studio





KSU College of Continuing and Professional Education

KSU College of Continuing and Professional Education

KSU’s Jennifer Henderson

KSU's College of Continuing and Professional Education

Melissa Amaviska and David Drake

KSU College of Continuing and Professional Education

Jennifer Henderson, program manager at KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education. She handles the following certificate programs: Paralegal, Human Resources, Personal Financial Planner, Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis, Payroll and Professional Investigator.

Melissa Amavisca knew from an early eage she wanted to enter the healthcare fiels. After graduationg Harrison High School, she enrolled at KSU and began working on her undergraduate degree core studies. The original plan was to enter KSU’s renowned WellStar School of Nursing, but after several years of applying to no avail, Melissa began to explore other options and considered the continuing education route. Amavisca has taken the Certified Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician and EKG Technician healthcare programs at KSU’s Continuing Education. After completing each certificate training course, she passed the state and national exams for each program and acquired a CPCT (Certified Patient Care Technician) certification. Amavisca currently works in the ER at WellStar Paulding Hospital.

David Drake is the founder and CMO for reOneSpot.com, LLC. He re-did his corporate site as the final project in class.  reOneSpot is a turn-key, cloud-based, enterprise solution for real estate brokers, agents and their clients. His business streamlines and automates the entire real estate transaction workflow from lead management, client management, all the way though the closing, including financial management and commission calculations for each transaction.

City of Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling

City of Kennesaw

Derek Easterling

City of Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling

I had the opportunity to meet City of Kennesaw Mayor, Derek Easterling, at the 2016 Cobb County Library Foundation Gala.  The mayor began his current term in January of 2016.  And it was immediately clear he brings an authentic, obvious passion about his city, and the growth it is experiencing both economically and in population.

Kennesaw has been recognized for numerous awards including:

  • Personal finance website WalletHub which produces research reports and surveys ranking “best” and “worst” on varying topics, ranked the nation’s best small cities (the 1,268 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000) across five key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health, 4) Quality of Life and 5) Safety. Then overall scores were calculated based on the weighted average of 30 relevant metrics. Cities were grouped in percentiles, so a 90th percentile represents the top 10% percent of small cities in America. Kennesaw ranked in the 91st percentile and was the highest ranked small city in Georgia!

Derek talked about the variety of developments and improvements around the city that make it such a desirable place to locate a business and to live, as well as partnerships they are looking to forge to continue and indeed, accelerate the city’s progress.

Flawless Execution

Flawless Execution

Jim “Murph” Murphy

Flawless Execution

On this week’s episode I sat down with founder of Afterburner Inc., Jim “Murph” Murphy stopped by to talk about their innovative Flawless Execution strategy for leadership and sales growth.  Murph has a unique and powerful mix of leadership skills in both the military and business worlds. After initially spending a couple of years in sales after college, successfully helping his company significantly increase their sales, he happened to meet an Air Force pilot who made a big impression on him.

He joined the U.S. Air Force where he learned to fly the F-15, ultimately logging over 1,200 hours as an instructor pilot in the F-15 and accumulated over 3,200 hours of flight time in other high-performance aircraft. As the 116th Fighter Wing’s Chief of Training for the Georgia Air National Guard, Murph’s job was to keep 42 combat-trained fighter pilots ready to deploy worldwide within 72 hours. He also flew missions to Central America, Asia, Central Europe and the Middle East as a Flight Leader.

Before his service in the U.S. Air Force, Murph had a successful career in imaging equipment sales, where he helped increase his company’s sales by 500%. Years later, he became Director of Sales for a small paint company. The concepts he developed and utilized in business and the U.S. Air Force would become known as Flawless Execution. By applying Flawless Execution’s continuous cycle of planning, briefing, executing, and debriefing, he increased his new employer’s sales from $5 million to $52 million per year.

It was clear that any business or organization could benefit from these same concepts, so Murph launched Afterburner Incorporated in early 1996.

Today, the Afterburner team shares their story and their Flawless Execution approach to improving leadership, team cohesion, and sales to executives at over 200 events per year.

Special Guest:

Jim “Murph” Murphy, CEO/Founder, Afterburner Inc.  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  google-plus-logo-red-265px  linkedin_small1  youtube logo

Afterburner

 

Spectrum Science

 Spectrum Science

Amanda Sellers

Spectrum Science

This week I sat down with Executive Vice President of Spectrum Science’s recently-opened Atlanta office, Amanda Sellers.  Amanda has been with the Washington DC-based communications firm for over 11 years and has been focused on communications strategy throughout her professional career.

Amanda came by to talk about how award-winning Spectrum Science focuses their work primarily on health and science aspects of their clients’ businesses, typically consumer products companies, pharma, medical technology, and research organizations.  With a team comprised of experts from a variety of backgrounds such as health and science, of course, and communications/journalism, they are uniquely qualified to help these organizations highlight the value of their products or research findings to distinguish them in the marketplace and achieve greater customer loyalty and appreciation for their quality.

We talked about the fact that the firm is able to handle new product launches and introductions of innovations to existing product lines, as well as effectively managing public relations communications during crisis or negative events around a client’s products.  And they have filled these roles for numerous well-known enterprises.

Amanda explained that Spectrum Science is accustomed to collaborating with an enterprise’s marketing team, R&D, and any external creative/ad agencies to be able to effectively craft and tell the company’s story.  A full-service firm, the company is able to produce the full gamut of media formats needed, along with expertise necessary to distribute/amplify the message across the intended target audiences.

The team at Spectrum Science has been the recipient of numerous awards for their work, including Sabre Awards, and The Holmes Report 2016 Healthcare Agency of the Year.  As their announcement of The Holmes Report award states, “Our independent agency has grown tremendously in the last two years – we’ve opened offices in New York and Atlanta, won significant new business, and welcomed some of the PR industry’s most respected senior communications counselors to make their home at Spectrum. The “One Spectrum” ideology drives the agency’s culture, bringing together the best talent and expertise regardless of geography to deliver the best thinking for clients. We operate as one firm across all offices, sharing teams and resources, with a single P&L.”

Special Guest:

Amanda Sellers, EVP, Spectrum Science facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small

Spectrum Science

 

AGLCC, Occasional Occasions, TP Corporate Lodging, Lab Monkey

AGLCC

Jack Kinley, Carlton Brown, Tim Miller

AGLCC, Occasional Occasions, TP Corporate Lodging, Lab Monkey

3rd Tuesday means the AGLCC is with us in studio.  Co-hosts, Emma Foulkes and Bruce Logue sat down with Occasional Occasions’ Carlton Brown, TP Corporate Lodging’s Tim Miller, and President of Lab Monkey and new AGLCC President, Jack Kinley.

Emma shared some upcoming events hosted by AGLCC, including the Procurement Expo held 5/23, where entrepreneurs can learn about the procurement process around supplier diversity that, should they obtain certification as LGBTBE’s, can truly help them grow through those supplier relationships.

Carlton Brown has been providing catering services for over 24 years in the Atlanta area.  He learned how to cook when he was in his 20’s coming out of the military.  He decided to go to culinary school to learn while working in corporate jobs.  He explained he was pulled into the catering business somewhat by accident, when a friend asked if he would prepare some food for a party.  He was called with inquiries about providing catering services by guests who had attended the event.

From there his business continued to grow by word of mouth and he ultimately decided to leave the corporate world to be a full time caterer running his own business.  We talked about how he enjoys the way the catering business flows over the challenges of having a brick and mortar restaurant.  Carlton also explained how he had to learn how to market his business and the value of networking, which was aided greatly through his involvement with the AGLCC.

TP Corporate Lodging was founded when Tim Miller purchased the firm and ultimately changed the name after having worked with the company for a number of years.  He explained the name was inspired by his childhood goal of having a chain of “TP Inn’s”, named after his name, Timothy Paul.  He worked in the hotel business for a period of time and learned of the challenges and stresses around it before going to work in the corporate housing space, where he found he enjoyed the business model.

The company provides executives and other individuals/families who need a nice, furnished home for a period of time that exceeds what a hotel’s cost would reasonably bear.  Tim explained that they have housing options that span the range of upper-middle to high end apartment residences, both in-town and in the suburbs, depending on the needs of the clients.

He talked about the fact that this type of housing is frequently utilized by the movie industry, giving him the opportunity to have provided residences for several well-known celebrities.  Tim is also an AGLCC member and shared the fact that  his experience as a member has also provided relationships that have helped his business grow.

Jack Kinley founded Lab Monkey, a creative consultancy, helping to craft and share a business’s story effectively, primarily with their internal clients across large enterprises.   The name was a college nickname he earned in college, working all-nighters in the computer lab.  He enjoyed the free-spirited, creative environment of his experience in college working on various projects and thought it would be a name that was both interesting as well as representing the dynamic of his firm.

The company hires high-level executives who are still interested in working.  They leverage their experience and credibility to serve the needs of their clients (typically businesses with 1000 employees or more) to effectively identify and share their stories with the employees who work for them to increase engagement and buy-in with the brand.

Jack is also the incoming President for AGLCC and explained his involvement with advancing the AGLCC’s ability to increase awareness of the organization to the community.  Having gotten to work so closely with the executives through the process, which was actually done through an engagement with Lab Monkey, he was inspired to become part of the leadership team himself.

Special Guests:

Carlton Brown, Owner, Occasional Occasions By Carlton  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  

AGLCC

Tim Miller, President/Owner, TP Corporate Lodging  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3

AGLCC

Jack Kinley, Founder/CEO, Lab Monkey  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  google-plus-logo-red-265px  facebook_logo_small3  

AGLCC

Emma Foulkes, Managing Partner, Foulkes & Steele Wealth Management  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small

AGLCC

Bruce Logue, Managing Partner, The Corbel Group at Keller Williams  linkedin_small1

AGLCC

Cyber Security

cyber security

David Katz

cyber security

Brian Mikes

Cyber Security

Breaches to enterprise data and information are making news with troubling regularity these days.  Businesses of all sizes need to be aware of their security status, plans for handling breaches if they occur, and how to mitigate the risk of exposure for the company if it happens.  I talked to two experts on the subject, David Katz, partner with Nelson, Mullins, Riley, and Scarborough, and Brian Mikes, VP with Marsh USA, a highly-regarded insurance company that has expertise in cyber security.

David and Brian shared information on the importance of having a plan of action in place for businesses large and small, for the necessary steps to take in the case of an actual breach of an enterprise’s network or data.  They emphasized how vital it is to have such a plan in place well in advance of problems occurring.  Given the variations in legal requirements for how to handle information breaches when they occur it is essential that the enterprise secures the expertise of a legal consultant familiar with the various laws affecting such data breaches.

Brian explained some of the nuances of risk reduction and policies designed to protect the business in the event data breaches do occur.  We also got into the steps to take if it is discovered that a company’s network or data has been compromised.

David and Brian discussed some of the typical areas of weakness they discover when engaging businesses to evaluate their cyber security plan, policies, and procedures.  With the extent of the internet of things, devices connected to the internet via networks, and vendor portals, there are a host of points of entry for hackers and other bad guys looking to engage in nefarious activities by penetrating an enterprise’s network.

Special Guests:

David Katz, Partner, Nelson, Riley, Scarborough, and Mullins  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  feed logo

cyber security

Brian Mikes, Vice President/Advisor, Marsh USA  linkedin_small1  youtube logo  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small

cyber security 

AGLCC

AGLCC

Dan Dunlop, Vickie Irwin, Dillard Jones

AGLCC

It’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, which means I’ve got Emma Foulkes and Bruce Logue of Atlanta Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) in the studio.  We featured Dillard Jones, of The Concierge Guy, Dan Dunlop of Dunlop Productions, and Vickie Irwin, Diversity Manager for Georgia Power.  We talked about their respective businesses, value of being a member of the AGLCC, and why it makes sense to get your small business certified as a LGBT Business Enterprise.

Check back soon for more information!

Special Guests:

Emma Foulkes, Managing Partner, Commonwealth Business & Retirement Services  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small

AGLCC

  • BA, Information Systems, University of Phoenix–San Diego
  • Executive Program in Financial Planning, University of Georgia
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle/NAIFA – Top Female Financial Advisor in Atlanta, 2013 & 2014
  • Advocacy Chair, Financial Planning Association of Georgia

Bruce Logue, Managing Partner, The Corbel Group at Keller Williams  linkedin_small1

AGLCC

  • Previous Fulfillment Account Manager, Palm Coast Data
  • Former Methods/Procedures Training Manager, AT&T/CitiBank Universal Card Services
  • Previous Graphic Designer, Westinghouse Electric Company
  • Active volunteer, Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption

Dillard Jones, Founder, The Concierge Guy 

AGLCC

Vickie Irwin, Diversity Manager, Georgia Power Company 

AGLCC

Dan Dunlop, Founder, Dunlop Productions 

AGLCC

Cobb County Chamber of Commerce

cobb county

Cobb County Chamber of Commerce

I am pleased to launch a monthly episode featuring the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and businesses serving the Cobb County business ecosystem.  Cobb CC’s Event Manager, Ashley Warner, joined me in the studio and brought with her several cool entrepreneurs, several of them members of the chamber.

Jeff Curtis, of OfficeZilla, came by to talk about how their office supply company combines a personal, relationship-driven focus through their service representatives, with a helpful ecommerce platform through which they conduct their business.

OfficeZilla was founded in 2012 with the belief that the Office Supplies industry was ready for a fun,
flexible and customer-obsessed way of doing business.  In fact, OfficeZilla was founded by some of the
original founders of Cold Stone Creamery, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Inc 500 company Flip Flop Shops!

He explained that the “big box” stores only account for ~30% of the office supply market, something I found surprising.  Given the remaining potential client base out there, the OfficeZilla folks engage their customers and help them optimize their office supply  procurement process to be as efficient and lean as can be to maximize the client’s business.

Georgia Crafted was started by Erin Zwigart and her husband after a growing desire to have a business of their own.  After having spent ~13 years working for a marketing firm, she was ready for something new.  Erin shared how she and her husband had had numerous conversations about the fact they wanted to start a business but could not decide how they wanted to go about it.

She explained that after a particularly long evening of discussion (and a beverage or two) ~three years ago, they decided they would start a company that focused on selling products from Georgia-based companies.  Some digging revealed there were no significant competitors in that niche and so Georgia Crafted was born.

Their ecommerce site provides custom gift baskets and items, all manufactured in Georgia.  Erin introduced us to one of her suppliers, Austin and Hunter Johnson, who founded Sinclair’s Sauce, makers of a variety of condiment sauces from homemade recipes Austin developed.

Austin, a recent University of Georgia graduate, began getting into cooking to impress the ladies. (much like my own inspiration that led to me being a foodie)  Austin shared how he began experimenting with creating sauces to serve with food he was preparing.  As he shared them with people around the dorm, he was getting more and more requests for more.

He ultimately found a cold packing company and began to have it produced in bulk.  Austin recruited his younger brother, a junior at Chamblee Charter High School, Hunter, to become Brand Ambassador.  While the young men are able to sell a good amount of their product via channels such as Georgia Crafted, they are focusing their efforts on forming relationships with condiment makers and the food industry to provide their sauces as licensed products there.

Cobb County

Austin and Hunter Johnson

Beth Summers heads business development for Roam–Galleria, an innovative work space that places emphasis on the look and feel of their shared office facilities and conference rooms.  The founders, having done much of their telecommuting at previous jobs in coffee shops, decided they wanted to create a comfortable, visually-inviting space that offered a feel along those lines.

The company has four Atlanta area locations and offers a range of options for the small business or executives who work remotely but want to have access to an office space, meeting room, or conference space.  They provide reception and access to all amenities one would expect in a well-appointed office.

Special Guests:

Ashley Warner, Events Manager, Cobb County Chamber of Commerce  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  youtube logo  WP logo

cobb county

Jeff Curtis, Principal, OfficeZilla  Facebook  Pinterest  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1

cobb county

Erin Zwigart, Founder, Georgia Crafted  twitter_logo_small  Pinterest-logo  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)

cobb county

Austin Johnson, Founder, Sinclair’s Sauce

cobb county

Hunter Johnson, Brand Ambassador, Sinclair’s Sauce

cobb county

Beth Summers, Director of Corporate Sales,  Roam–Galleria  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)  youtube logo

cobb county

Businesses With Integrity

integrity

Bo Wilkins and Steve Hunter

Businesses With Integrity

I continued our series with Life University’s Dr. Gilles LaMarche, focusing on business leaders with integrity.  The series is a lead-in to Life University’s Life Talks World Congress event coming up May 12-13.  The 2 day event will be featuring numerous subject matter experts on relationships, personal and professional, and various aspects of our lives where we can improve how we experience others and how they experience us.  Last year’s event was very popular with its attendees, with many proclaiming it to have made significant impact on their lives for having gone.

Gilles introduced us to Chuck Papandrea, of Life Leadership (unrelated to Life University).  His firm works with businesses seeking to increase morale, productivity, and customer satisfaction through improved communication and leadership.  He has seen his small- to mid-sized business clients experience major turn-arounds in morale and employee retention, coupled with growing revenues as employees begin to truly personalize their work and the company.

integrity

Chuck Papandrea and Dr. Gilles LaMarche

Bo Wilkins of SoundRiver advisors works with business owners and entrepreneurs to help them plan and execute transition of their business through successful sales or migration to heirs/family.  He talked about how challenging it can be for a busy owner to effectively manage the business and coordinate what is a multi-person team who needs to be evaluating and in some cases modifying elements of the business’s financial plan and execution.

Bo explained how important it is to begin planning for a transition 3-5+ years ahead of an anticipated move to sell or transfer the company, as it can take that long to have all elements lined out that affect sale value and pay-outs, viability of the business after the owner moves aside, etc.

He introduced us to Steve Hunter, of Greene, Holcomb, and Fisher.  With offices in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle and Atlanta, is an investment banking firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, private placements and financial advisory services for the middle market.

At Greene Holcomb Fisher, experience from nationally prominent investment banks and leading law firms is blended with senior-level attention and entrepreneurial ingenuity to deliver creative services to high quality companies.  The firm’s investment bankers specialize in the Consumer, Food & Agribusiness, Healthcare, Industrial Products & Services, Business & Education Services, Technology and Energy & Infrastructure sectors.  Greene Holcomb Fisher provides global reach through Clairfield International.  For more information, please visit www.ghf.net and www.clairfield.com.

J Cornelius of Nine Labs stopped by to talk about how his company helps companies insure they are effectively projecting their brand across digital platforms such as website and social media, and mobile devices.  The company also provides consulting services that seek to clearly identify the client’s true customer base such that messaging will be appropriate to meet the needs of that customer, who is often not who the business initially thought they were.

With a complement of experts in branding, digital media, and web design, J’s team at Nine Labs help companies to know the time and revenue invested in their website and branding is actually achieving the desired goal and allowing it to create the ROI that should come with such efforts.

Sabetay Palatchi, of Just Military Loans shared information about their service, providing active duty and military veterans with access to needed capital through small loans and other options.  He talked about some of the challenges military personnel face getting access to loans such as frequently moving and/or being deployed, which occasionally results in negative credit events.  Just Military Loans is able to work with military personnel with a personalized approach that helps them re-establish their good credit and take care of personal business in need of funds.

Special Guests:

Dr. Gilles LaMarche, DC, VP of Professional Relations at Life University  youtube logo linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  facebook_logo_small3  smugmug LOGO

Life University

Chuck Papandrea, Member, Life Leadership  youtube logo  twitter_logo_small  Pinterest-logo  linkedin_small1  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)  google-plus-logo-red-265px  facebook_logo_small3  

integrity

Bo Wilkins, Partner, SoundRiver Advisors  Linkedin    

SoundRiver Advisors

Steve Hunter, Managing Director, Greene, Holcomb, Fisher  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small

integrity

J Cornelius / Nine Labs Linkedin Twitter

integrity

Sabetay Palatchi, Partner, Just Military Loans  linkedin_small1  

integrity