LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E F E A T U R I N G
BARBA R A
THE SHARK TANK STAR DISCUSSES INCREDIBLE CLIMB FROM WAITRESS TO MILLIONAIRE PLUS
“LE E D”I N G TH E WAY BANK PRESIDENT KEN LAROE DREAMS OF GREENER LAKE COUNTY
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24/7 Emergency Response State Licensed & Insured 352-343-2707 4072 North Highway 19A, Mount Dora
NG MI N! O C OO for S nter ed
Ce vanc uring Ad ufact n Ma
Lake Tech offers short-term, affordable career & technical education in Accounting Operations / Administrative Office Specialist / AC Refrigeration & Heating Technology / Auto Collision Repair & Refinishing Auto Service Tech / Culinary Arts / Diesel / Digital Design / Machining / Pharmacy Tech & more. Lake Tech also offers day, evening & online GED classes & Adult ESOL at various locations throughout Lake County.
2001 Kurt Street, Eustis, FL 32726 / (352) 589-2250 / www.laketech.org Lake Technical College is a public, postsecondary institution that is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation, and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation & School Improvement. Financial Aid may be available to those who qualify. Many programs are approved for VA. Lake Tech is an equal opportunity institution.
4 LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E.COM
C O N T E N T S LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E
/// 2 0 1 5 S E C O N D Q U A R T E R
F E AT U R I N G ‹‹‹
Real estate mogul turned TV star Barbara Corcoran used rejection as a springboard to success
MADE IN LAKE
CITY OF INDUSTRY
Local entrepreneurs share home-grown products with the world Commerce park near County Road 470 and Florida Turnpike about to get busy Lake Tech preparing for high-tech businesses county leaders trying to lure
D E PA R T M E N T S 7 8 9 12
FROM THE CEO EDITOR’S LETTER THE BUZZ ADVISORY BOARD
TECHNOLOGY FREE SOFTWARE /// LAROE LEEDS LAKE COUNTY /// INCENTIVES TO GO GREEN /// SOLAR ON SALE /// TALKING TECH
LEADERSHIP MANAGERS AND LEADERS /// IN THE IMAGE OF ATTICUS LAYOFF PAYOFF
SALES & MARKETING EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA /// DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SALES AND MARKETING
FINANCE DAVE RAMSEY /// BANK TRENDS /// CLARK HOWARD SOUTH LAKE IS HOPPING
HUMAN RESOURCES TAKE THIS JOB AND LOVE IT /// YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
ON THE C OV ER BARBARA CORCORAN’S ON TOP OF THE WORLD AFTER 23 JOBS IN 22 YEARS. PHOTO DAVID MOSER
5 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E
AT YOUR SERVICE
F E AT U R I N G
BA RBA R A
COR COR AN
THE SHARK TANK STAR DISCUSSES INCREDIBLE CLIMB FROM WAITRESS TO MILLIONAIRE PLUS
“ L E E D ” I N G T H E WAY BANK PRESIDENT KEN LAROE DREAMS OF GREENER LAKE COUNTY
THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING EXCITING HAPPENING AT AKERS MEDIA PUBLISHING The magazines of Akers Publishing – Healthy Living, Lake & Sumter Style, Style/The Villages Edition and Lake Business Magazine – set the standard by focusing on the communities in which they serve. Each magazine provides up-to-date, entertaining and thought-provoking content that thoroughly represents the people and places that make these communities special. CREATIVE In 2012, Akers launched a full-service advertising agency which has already been recognized nationally by the American Advertising Federation (AdFed) with multiple Addy awards. Our strategy is simple: provide big market agency quality with local convenience and attitude.
OF STYLE WOMEN BUSINESS to get the job done right These ladies work hard May 2014
What’s in a name?
• Branding • Advertising • Graphic Design
For nearly 40 years, Lake ENT & FPS has been setting the standard for compassion, technology and artistry in patient care for ear, nose, throat and facial plastic surgery. LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR “GALLERY” OF SERVICES INSIDE.
yoga? What’s SUP with paddleboard
SOS SKIN CARE irritations
Fight back against summer skin
IF THE SHOE FITS
AND MONEY KIDS Allowance and other helpful tips
Putting best foot forward to help
Dig up the root cause of your anxiety
TIGHTEN THE SKIN YOU’RE IN
No away around it, investing entails
ME, MOM & DEMENTIA
Is your skin sagging and losing elasticity?
A mother and daughter bond in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.
Who needs theme parks when Lake County has the great outdoors? So, unplug the children, pack up the SUV and discover your own local sunsational adventure.
TTHINGS HINGS YYOU OU SSHOULD HOULD KKNOW NOW
Barggains, ffreebies Bargains, reebbies rright ight ooutside utside yo your our ddoor oor
SSTILL TILL BBEAUTIFUL EAUTIFUL
… after after all all tthese hese ttears ears
HHAVE AVE YOU YOU TIPPED TIPPED A TIRE TIRE TODAY? TODAY?
RRope ope cclimbing, limbing, trac tractor ctor ttire ire ttipping ippping aand nd cchin-ups, hin-ups, oh my my! y!
• Broadcast media • Interactive media • PR and Promotions
• Media placement • Custom Publishing
STUDIO The old adage holds that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Our philosophy is 1,000 words is merely a good starting point. At Akers Studio, we produce priceless images that inspire words like magniﬁcent, stunning, breathtaking and perfect. And we do so for every client, whether they need a quick passport photo or a 60-minute documentary. • Portraits • Events
• Architectural • Videography • Commercial
• In-studio • On-location
AKERS APPS! Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living online magazine app for your mobile device. For the best in enhanced magazine entertainment, join us online for the media experience of a lifetime.
S H OW YOU R LOVE
Become a fan of Lake Business Magazine, Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living by friending us on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or visiting our YouTube channel. You can sign up for our email list at www.lakebusinessmagazine.com
Creativity at its peak.
FROM THE CEO
BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS t is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce you to Lake Business Magazine, Lake County’s ﬁrst publication dedicated solely to the business community. As you may know, Akers Media already blankets central Florida with awardwinning local publications Lake County’s Healthy Living, Lake and Sumter Style, Villages Style and Welcome to Lake. So why add another publication? The answer is simple. There is a need not being served within Lake County. Sure, we periodically touch on important business topics in our other magazines, but there is not a publication dedicated to educating, informing, and connecting our business community. As a publisher, I take my responsibility very seriously. It is my job and my team’s job to provide the most up-to-date, accurate and relevant information. That’s why we assembled a powerhouse of local business owners and community leaders to serve as advisors for Lake Business Magazine. Each of these business leaders was either handpicked or came highly recommended. We’re proud to introduce our expert advisors in this issue and tell you about their ﬁelds of expertise. We will rely on them as we collect content for each issue, we will discuss editorial topics with them, and we will get their feedback to ensure we stay true to the mission of this much-needed, one-of-a-kind magazine. LBM magazine serves as a resource for local business owners, managers, CEOs and civic leaders. It oﬀers pertinent information regarding the state of our economy, economic development, management, leadership, business updates, local business features, ﬁnance information, human resource tools, and so much more. We are not just limiting these resources to our print publication. LakeBusinessMagazine.com will provide continuous updates on what is happening in the business community, educational items and even job postings. All local. It is our hope that you and other esteemed members of the Lake County business community embrace this magazine as a viable resource that informs and helps grow your business. We will rely on your input to continually improve each and every issue. Please provide us feedback, on anything that you would like to see in an upcoming issue.
KENDRA AKERS CEO firstname.lastname@example.org 7 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
E D ITO R ’S L E TTE R
PUBLISHER | KENDRA AKERS email@example.com VICE PRESIDENT | DOUG AKERS firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER | JAMIE EZRA MARK email@example.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER | SABRINA CICERI firstname.lastname@example.org
FUTURE LOOKS GREAT IN LAKE hat an exciting time to live in Lake County! Clermont and Mount Dora are ﬂourishing, visitors are ﬂocking to Seaplane City, Fruitland Park is getting a modern makeover (courtesy of The Villages) and Clermont just added a fabulous boathouse to solidify its reputation as the place to train and play. Visionary leaders are sprucing up streets, parks and downtowns… and attracting new businesses and industries through incentives. Most importantly, the decision makers in individual communities are working together in a one-for-all, all-for-one entrepreneurial spirit. Once-sleepy Lake County has a can-do attitude, a bold, brash alter ego as a hotbed of business and industry. So many positive signs exist: • The county’s labor force grew by 4,400 jobs (a 3.4 percent increase) from December 2013 to December 2014; • Lake recently opened a new Economic Growth Department; • HVAC duct-manufacturing company QuietFlex nearly doubled its plant with a $1.5 million expansion (26 more jobs); • Lake County’s Business Opportunity Centers are oﬀering free classes to help small businesses grow and improve; • Orlando concrete product company Coreslab recently relocated to the County Road 470 commerce park (that’s 55-110 jobs);
EXECUTIVE EDITOR | GARY CORSAIR email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JAMES COMBS | KATIE LEWIS | JAMIE ROBINSON GEORGE MAKRAUER | JOHN SOTOMAYOR
And Akers Media Group is part of the success story. We more than tripled our work space when we moved into the Leesburg Opera House, our staﬀ has grown by 25 percent since this time in 2014, we’re expanding into the event-hosting and we’ve added two magazines. This is the perfect time to launch Lake Business Magazine. There’s a lot of news to report, but that’s only part of our mission. We are devoted to helping spur the growth with content speciﬁcally designed for businesses and industry in Lake County.
CREATIVE DIRECTOR | STEVE CODRARO firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR | JOE DELEON email@example.com ART DIRECTOR | LORI BALES firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGNER | JOSH CLARK email@example.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER | RHEYA TANNER firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION DIRECTOR | MICHAEL GAULIN email@example.com PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW GAULIN AND SHUTTERSTOCK
VP OF SALES AND MARKETING | TIM MCRAE firstname.lastname@example.org SR ACCOUNT REP | MIKE STEGALL email@example.com ACCOUNT REP | HEIDI RESSLER firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNT REP | DAVID COTÉ email@example.com AKERS MEDIA IS A PROUD MEMBER OF
FLORIDA MAGAZINE ASSOCIATION
LAKE EUSTIS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
LEESBURG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
TAVARES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
SUMTER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
SOUTH LAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
AMERICAN ADVERTISING ASSOCIATION
74 AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
Lake Business Magazine, Second Quarter 2015. Published by Akers Media, 108 5th Street, Leesburg, FL 34748.
GARY CORSAIR EXECUTIVE EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org
All editorial contents copyright 2015 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake Business Magazine is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Special Advertising Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.
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T H E
/// N EWS A N D N OTE S FR OM A R OU N D TH E C OU NTY
B U Z Z
S U C C E S S C A N B E TA U G H T Lake County’s Business Opportunity Centers are oﬀering the following courses (hosted by experts with the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF) at Lake-Sumter State College’s Leesburg campus: ››› May 14: “Business Plan Writing Made Easy” ››› May 21: “Finance for Business” ››› June 4: “Marketing for Business” ››› June 11: “Social Media for Business” The following courses are being oﬀered in May and June at Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus in Clermont: ››› May 21: “Business Plan Writing Made Easy” ››› May 28: “Finance for Business” ››› June 11: “Marketing for Business” ››› June 18: “Social Media for Business” The seminars are free of charge for companies based in Lake County. For more information, call Cesar Gomez at 352.429.2581
19 C I TATI ON S W E R E I S S U E D F O R T E XT I N G W H I LE D R I VI N G I N LA K E C O U N T Y L A ST Y E A R .
CITR US TOWE R OWN E R G R EG H O M A N I S H AV I N G H I S 226-FOOT CLE R MONT TOU R I ST AT T R A C T I O N PA I N T E D AT A COST OF
$80,000 9 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z R UGG I E WE LCOM E S Z I N KI L TAVARES – Robert G. Zinkil, who has an extensive background in finance, has joined Ruggie Wealth Management as chief operating officer. Zinkil worked for Flagstar Bank, CNL Realty & Development and Universal American Corp. (where he directed operation finances for the managed provider) prior to joining Ruggie Wealth Management, where he will assist Founder and CEO Thomas H. Ruggie with financial and operational oversight. Ruggie has offices in Tavares, Park and The Villages.
A S ITE TO S E E Lake County’s Economic Development and Tourism Department recently launched a new tourism website, visitlakeﬂ.com. The website was developed in-house using advanced web technologies. It oﬀers area descriptions, attractions and popular events by region; an interactive map allowing users to search for attractions by proximity and category; suggested itineraries and My Trip Planner; and a calendar that lists local events. CAR B E RY J OI N S N ORTH AM E R I CAN CLERMONT – Ryan Carbery has been named managing escrow oﬃcer at the North American Title Co. branch in Clermont. Carbery is an attorney with 10 years experience in the real estate industry as an escrow closer and previously as a real estate agent. Carbery most recently was with O’Kelley & Sorohan Attorneys at Law in Maitland, where he served as a closing attorney.
AM SCOT OK WITH EUSTIS EUSTIS – Amscot Financial, a provider of consumer-oriented ﬁnancial services, recently opened its newest branch at 17195 Highway 441 in Eustis. WOR D: OPE N YO U R W I N D O W S LEESBURG — The Lake County Library System is oﬀering these free computer instruction classes at the Leesburg Public Library: ›› Getting Started with Microsoft Windows 8, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. April 30 ›› Microsoft Word 2013, Part 1, 10:30 a.m.-1p.m. May 19 ›› Microsoft Word 2013, Part 2, 10:30 a.m-1p.m. May 26
underwent a $1.5 million expansion. The Texas-based company expanded its facility in Groveland from 65,000 to 120,000 square feet, adding six major pieces of equipment and hiring 25 additional employees.
FEELING STEIN LADY LAKE – Stein Mart is coming to the Lady Lake Crossing shopping plaza on Highway 441 in Lady Lake. The department store announced the opening of 11 new stores this year. The Lady Lake store is expected to open this fall.
S E N ATO R A L A N HAYS ( R - U M AT I L L A ) WA NT S T H E STAT E TO S PE N D $ 2 0 M I L L I O N TO CLEA N U P L A K E A P OPK A . T WO -T H I R D S O F T H E L A K E I S I N O RA N G E CO U N T Y, T H E OT H E R T H I R D I S I N LA K E.
J O S H TA K E S O N :
A N A D M IT TE D LY A S K E W P O I N T- O F-VI E W F R O M TH E M I N D O F I LLUSTR ATO R J O S H C L A R K
For more information, call 352.728.9790 BREATH OF FRESH AIR GROVELAND – HVAC duct-manufacturing company QuietFlex recently
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CaptiveAire B U S I N E S S: N ATI O N ’S LEAD I N G MA N U FACTU R E R O F C O M M E R C IA L K ITC H E N VE N TI L ATI O N E Q U I P M E N T E M PLOYE E S: 9 5 0 SA LE S : $2 2 4 M I LLI O N (2 0 0 8 ) H EA D QUA R TE R S : RALE I G H, N O RTH CA R O L I N A ( B E GA N I N 1 976 ) MA N U FACTU R I N G P LA NT: G R OVE L A N D ( O P E N E D I N 2 0 1 3 )
Q& A with Bob Luddy, president and founder of CaptiveAire Q: Please tell me about the manufacturing facility in Groveland. BL: “Groveland has approximately 60 employees. It is our newest plant, and services the South — Georgia, Alabama, Florida — and exports, which include the Caribbean, South and Central America. The plant began with about 45 employees and has grown approximately in the past 18 months since we started production. We anticipate continued robust growth in the Groveland market as sales grow.” Q: What road to success you have taken? BL: “I think the keys were that we were able to provide a high quality product, drive down cost, which allowed us to gain market share, and over time [we] learned how to master the management challenges of running a national business.”
Q: What is the company mission and brand? BL: “Our brand is about quality and value. Somewhere around 20 years ago, we began to place a CaptiveAire label on our hoods that was large and bright red. People became more and more familiar with our product. And over time, CaptiveAire became the standard of the commercial kitchen ventilation industry. We do some advertising, but our brand is really related to service, quality and innovation. The market perceives those values, and we are the preferred choice for many of the users for these products.” Q: Tell us about your loyal customer base. BL: “They include customers like Darden in Orlando, which is Olive Garden and a host of other restaurants. We also service Golden Corrals, most of the variety of grocery stores; and we are also in the institutional market — pretty much we service every market where commercial cooking is used.”
Q: What are some of those challenges? BL: “Well, the big challenge is running operations decentralized far from the home oﬃce. Finding the right personnel. Developing a culture of individuals that value growth, innovation and sustainable performance. Thankfully, we have been able to recruit top-quality individuals who understand the philosophy of the company and have driven us into an important position with the HVAC market.”
11 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
A DV I S O RYB OAR D
TH E H EART OF OU R MAGAZ I N E
We conceived, planned, wrote, edited, photographed, designed and delivered Lake Business Magazine, but the heart of this publication is a group of astute, hard-working business leaders. The thoughts, ideals, philosophies and triedand-true practices in this issue come from an incredibly talented group of business leaders who make up our advisory board. Our magazine staﬀ is just the conduit to get business people talking, sharing ideas, helping each other grow and improve. Our ﬁrst Advisory Board meeting was nothing short of incredible — a true think tank of talented and accomplished businessmen and businesswomen who are dedicated and knowledgeable. To see the energy of that meeting, go online to www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I5poWu4ixg We sincerely thank our Advisory Board members for taking time out of their busy schedules to guide us. Introducing the heart of Lake Business Magazine:
Jessica Flinn When it comes to success, Jessy Flinn has all the right ingredients. She serves as owner and executive chef of Gourmet Today, which opened in 2011. Gourmet Today is a full-service catering company that offers meal delivery, private chef services and cooking classes. Jessy’s passion in life is food, and she strives to uphold her company’s motto, “Rare service, Well done.”
Joe Shipes Mount Dora High School graduate Joe Shipes worked in retail management and sales marketing before earning his real estate broker’s license. In 1995, he became chief executive officer of The Leesburg Partnership, where he spearheads improvement projects and organizes events. Joe lives in Umatilla with his wife and two children.
Lou Buigas Lou Buigas is owner of B-Green Construction and Management, Hoity-Toity Mercantile and Green Art Gallery. She is also owner and managing partner of the Tavares WaterFront Entertainment District Group, a marketing company that formulates innovative ideas to reinvest funds back into the downtown waterfront.
Barbara Gaines Barbara Gaines, owner of Sense of Etiquette, holds certifications in corporate and children’s etiquette from the American School of Protocol in Atlanta. Sense of Etiquette assists individuals, groups, corporate, government and educational institutions to enhance the confidence of children, teens and adults to present a confident and courteous image.
Bryan Rudolph Bryan Rudolph has 25+ years of broadcast television and video post-production experience. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Bryan has served as a videographer/ producer/director for several TV stations. He started his company, Video Doc Productions, in 1991. Today the company is a trusted audio-video and technology resource center.
Ally Liu Ally and her husband Harry opened Azure Water in 2013 in Leesburg. She attended Webster University. The Stewarts and their company are active in community affairs and recently made a donation to CannedWater4Kids, a program that provides clean water for children in Africa. Azure Water relocated to Leesburg from Hudson.
Carolyn Maimone Lake County native Carolyn Maimome is executive director of the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter. Carolyn studied Business Management and Information Technology at Lake Sumter State College. A turning point in her career occurred in 2006 when she was promoted to be large project manager for a large distribution company.
Daniel D. Whitehouse Daniel D. Whitehouse entered the legal profession after years managing Information Technology (IT) infrastructures for large companies. Whitehouse holds degrees from Webster University and Stetson University College of Law. He is a member of The Florida Bar, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Lake County Bar Association.
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ADVI S O RYB OAR D
Lanny Husebo Lanny Husebo is president of Husebo Marketing. Founded in 1962, the agency is celebrating its 53rd year specializing in medical, financial, and industrial business through traditional and social media. Company highlights include coordinating the opening of LRMC, designing the first Lake County tourism campaign, and being part of the Vac-Tron team for over 20 years.
Michelle Harris Michelle Harris is the Community Service Representative of the Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA), a special purpose government that acquires, owns, improves and operates water and wastewater utilities. Michelle brings 20 years of experience to the eight counties she serves. She earned a BS degree in Business Management from Liberty University.
Miranda Burrowes Native Floridian Miranda Burrowes is Public Relations Specialist for the City of Eustis. She earned her PR degree at the University of South Florida and began her career at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. Next, she served as assistant director of development for the Foundation for Seminole State College.
Nan Cobb Classic Tents and Events owner and native Floridian Nan Cobb has lived in Lake County for 25+ years. She is member of multiple chambers of commerce and is second vice president of the Eustis Historical Museum. A florist by trade, her passion is turning an art into unique décor.
Nancy Muenzmay Nancy Muenzmay is the presidents and co-owner of Striking Effects Promotions, a 20-year-old company specializing in embroidery, engraving and promotional products. She also currently is the Director of Incubator Programs Lake Sumter State College. Her work history includes roles such as elementary school teacher and senior financial analyst.
Ray San Fratello San Fratello has been the South Lake Chamber of Commerce president for 11+ years. The Clermont resident attended Erie County Technical Institute and Buffalo State University. Before coming to Florida, Ray served as president of the Genesee County (New York) Chamber of Commerce. He’s married with three children.
Robert L. Chandler IV As Director of Lake County’s Economic Growth Department, Robert oversees Planning & Community Design, Building Services, Economic Development and Tourism. Robert has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Davidson College, and a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of Florida. Robert and his wife have two daughters.
Susan Ellis Lake County native Susan Ellis founded Hound Dogg Entertainment, a company that provides event planning, stage and lighting for concerts, and local and national musicians to local venues. Susan studied business marketing at Lake-Sumter State College. Hound Dogg has provided entertainment for street festivals, arts and crafts shows, and holiday events.
Mary Rhodes Mary Rhodes has helped people achieve home ownership since 1984, including 20 years with The Mortgage Firm, Inc. She opened the company’s Lake County branch in 2011. Mary finds financing for homebuyers through the Federal Housing Association, Veterans Affairs, USDA and jumbo mortgages. She also does refinancing and reverse mortgages.
Kress Muenzmay Kress Muenzmay is vice president and co-owner of Striking Effects Promotions, a 20-year-old company specializing in embroidery, engraving and promotional products. His business career spans 45+ years. He served as mayor and commissioner for the City of Eustis, and currently serves on the Florida Hospital Waterman Foundation board of directors.
13 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
T H E
L B M
I N T E R V I E W
MAKIN’ WAVE Barbara Corcoran, Shark Tank’s tough talking millionaire is a softie. S TO RY G A RY C O R S A I R
/// P H O T O I L L U S T R A T I O N J O S H C L A R K U S I N G O R I G I N A L P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y D A V I D M O S E R
his shark was once a guppy. Barbara Corcoran spent a good chunk of her adulthood swimming in circles, never dreaming she could navigate an ocean teeming with predators. “I didn’t have conﬁdence then,” said the real estate mogul whose fame—and wealth—has skyrocketed in the three years since she joined the cast of ABC’s hit reality show “Shark Tank.” Funny thing, conﬁdence. It’s easy to summon on occasion, but keeping it
out and wearing it like skin, that’s a formidable challenge. It took Barbara the guppy 22 years to don the sharkskin of self-assurance. “Now I know I should have opened my mouth at all those jobs and said, ‘Why don’t we do this?’ and ‘Why don’t we do that?’ I didn’t because I was the lowly worker. You don’t do that. People don’t listen or look at you that way. More importantly, I didn’t look at myself that way. You gain your conﬁdence by having success.”
The future shark’s conﬁdence peeked out when a suave man in a tailored suit walked into the Fort Lee Diner where Barbara poured coﬀee and served eggs and burgers. Long-dormant self-assurance grew when she moved in with Ramon and became his real estate partner. Barbara’s conﬁdence became a coat of maille when Ramon dumped her and announced plans to marry her secretary. “I went from a somebody to a nobody. But Ramon
did me a big favor. He told me, ‘You’ll never succeed without me,’” Barbara recalled. “He gave me an insurance policy for success by insulting me.” Barbara began Corcoran Group with seven salespeople. Today, her company boasts 47 oﬃces, nearly 2,200 brokers and has annual sales of $11.7 billion. And Barbara is a television star on “Shark Tank,” which averages 7.9 million viewers on ABC. She’s never been more in demand, but she recently made time to speak with
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ES 15 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
Lake Business Magazine. Here’s what she had to say:
you want to booze; you’ve been in the seat all day.”
LBM: You’re usually pretty succinct and direct on Shark Tank. Is that by design? BC: “Honestly, I don’t say enough. I should say more, but I like to cut to the chase and move on. I don’t have a great deal of patience.” LBM: How often do you tape Shark Tank? BC: “It varies. I tape half the episodes only. The dates jump around, but roughly
LBM: How do you deal with all the testosterone on the Shark Tank set? BC: “Cuban and O’Leary, I don’t mind. I love those boys. It’s Robert [Herjavec] that’s annoying—always hitting on the girls. He’s a chatty Cathy, no doubt.” LBM: Are you surprised by Shark Tank’s popularity? BC: “It took my local
more me, and couldn’t pull it oﬀ, honestly. And I’m embarrassed to admit that. I’m always myself in a new situation, but I was intimidated. I was used to performing on TV and ignoring the audience. That I’d gotten comfortable with. I was the real estate expert, being asked my opinion. Now I’m competing for the ﬂoor, and my voice is smaller than all the sharks, including Lori’s. If you were to actually sit on the
diﬀerence. We’re not in the same boat. He’s in the billionaire boat, we’re in the millionaire boat. We’ve got the paddle, he’s got the outboard. No, he’s got the yacht, and he blows by us as we’re rowing.” LBM: You had 23 jobs before you made it big. How did you feel when you ﬁnally arrived? BC: “The ﬁrst year I made a mini proﬁt, I was satisﬁed. It really doesn’t make a meaningful diﬀerence if
“A N D T H E I DEA OF A M I LLI ONAI R E C OM P ETI N G W ITH A B I LLION AI R E a week in June and a week in September. A week at a time or seven to nine days at a time.” LBM: You seem to be having a lot of fun. BC: “I have a good time for the ﬁrst two thirds of the day. The last third of the day I’m thinking, ‘Gee I wonder if the sun is still going to be out when I get out,’—which it never is, by the way. I’m also sitting there thinking, ‘God, how am I going to get out of going out with the guys tonight? I’d rather have a massage.’ They go out all the time. You have to. It’s like being in a foxhole together all day. The pressure, being there all day, it looks easy, but it really ain’t. You want to go out;
notoriety and turned it into the longest trips at the airport from the security gate to the plane. Because people love the show. The most I ever heard at the airport before Shark Tank came along was, ‘Aren’t you the real estate lady?’ because I constantly used to do the real estate gigs on the “Today” show. And I thought that was enormous notoriety until ‘Shark Tank’ hit and started getting traction.” LBM: What’s it like matching wits with the other Shark Tank millionaires? BC: “For the ﬁrst three years on the show, I constantly self-talked myself into trying to be
set, I would say nearly two thirds of what I’m saying is, ‘Excuse me, but … but…’ Do you know how tiring it is to be repeatedly cut oﬀ for a 10-hour tape day? A killer. And you know what it did to my conﬁdence? Kaputed it.” LBM: How could you be intimidated? You’re a millionaire just like the other sharks. BC: “First of all, we are millionaires, but Mark Cuban is a billionaire. And the idea of a millionaire competing with a billionaire is, well, it’s a remarkable diﬀerence. You don’t realize that at home. You see a bunch of rich people with money to spend, but let me tell you, there’s a big
you have a lot of money. It gives you more options, but it doesn’t guarantee you have more fun. It doesn’t guarantee you better relationships. If anything, money complicates relationships. I found that out when I sold my business. When you’re scrapping like everyone else, you’re equal. All of the sudden, people see you in a diﬀerent category and it complicates relationships. Everybody had a $10,000 problem the minute I sold my business. Relatives, people who claimed to know me. I don’t remember meeting them, but they said they knew me. It complicates things. Am I going to give it back? No. Because without it I
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P H OTO C O U RTE SY A B C S HA R K TAN K
Barbara seated next to Robert Herjavec on the testosterone-charged set of Shark Tank. Back row, left to right: Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban and Daymond John.
I S, W E LL , I T’S A R E MAR K AB LE D I F F E R E N C E” can’t be in the ‘Shark Tank’ having all that fun.” LBM: Where would you be without Shark Tank? BC: “What would I be doing? I’d still be doing my real estate reports. There’s nothing wrong with those. It’s not as proﬁtable as ‘Shark Tank,’ but it keeps you moving forward.” LBM: You sound like you could almost be happy back at the Fort Lee Diner, waitressing. BC: “I could be happy being a waitress at the Fort Lee Diner, but let me tell you, the problem is, the minute I got behind that counter today, I’d know I should be running the place.”
LBM: What percentage of your Shark Tank investments paid off? BC: “Most of my entrepreneurs underperform. Sixty-ﬁve percent basically bite the dust. Believe me, I have enough people hung upside down on my wall— my entrepreneurs from ‘Shark Tank.’ The minute I know they’re not going to be successful, they go on their heads. They’re hanging upside down in the frames on their heads.” LBM: Tell us about the entrepreneurs whose photos are right side up BC: “My best entrepreneurs don’t listen to me. That’s the truth. They’ll listen, but they’ll do exactly what they
— BA R BA R A C O R C O R A N
choose to do. I’ve learned to identify that I’ve got myself a winner if they have the right personality to succeed, they’re sure of their footing. They’re almost overly sure. They have so many traits that lend themselves to thinking that the other guy isn’t always right. And even though I’m a partner, the fact is I’m also the other guy. I’m not them. And I respect that tremendously. They’re the ones, day in and day out working that wheel, working their business. So everything I suggest, I say, ‘Feel free to ignore it,’ so they don’t feel guilty and they don’t have to hide it from me when they go out and do whatever they please.
That’s true of every one of my top entrepreneurs.” LBM: What have you learned from being on the show? BC: “In seasons one and two, the main reason I felt many of my businesses failed was my fault. I didn’t know what I was doing. Example: Cactus Jack, season one, terriﬁc entrepreneur, terriﬁc entrepreneur. I gave him half, Kevin Harrington gave him half and I allowed him to spend the whole $300,000 on one infomercial. That’s bad judgment on my part. It really is. I didn’t know how you get a cheap buy on TV. I realize it in hindsight, after I lost the $150,000 in a 30-second commercial. 17
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Gone. Burnt up. Who’s fault was that? Mine. My misjudgment. I should have said, ‘No you’re not going to do that.’ In the early years of ‘Shark Tank,’ I bought into anyone I thought I trusted and was a great entrepreneur.” LBM: What’s easier to identify, talent or opportunity? BC: “Identifying talent. It’s like breathing me for. I just breathe it in and know it. It’s intuitive and I think you’re born with it. Opportunity is much harder. I think what makes you size up opportunity well is experience. I only was good at real estate when I walked on the ‘Shark Tank’ set for the ﬁrst time. Now I know a lot of stuﬀ.” LBM: Who, or what, is your greatest Shark Tank success story? BC: “The top, based on sheer likability and success, would be Cousins Maine Lobster. Those guys are drop-dead gorgeous, they ﬂirt with me on the phone and they are building a hugely successful business. If you’re talking sheer money— return on investment— I would say, recently, without a doubt, Grace & Lace. They deﬁnitely are my most successful company ﬁnancially. They sold a million dollars of socks in three days after being
on ‘Shark Tank.’ How do you sell a million dollars of socks in three days? They did it. But the best part of it is they mailed me a check, returning my money—my $130,000 investment—in a month after ’Shark Tank.’ That one check showed me that you could make instant money on this show.” LBM: What advice do you “It’s never a good have for entrepreneurs just starting out? time to expand. If BC: “Expand before you’re ready. You know what I you wait until you learned in business? It’s never a good time to expand. have extra monIf you wait until you have ey in your coffers extra money in your coﬀers and things are looking really and things are rosy and you analyze and looking really rosy think ‘This is a good time to push ahead,’ it’s generally and you analyze the worst time to push ahead because you’re the little guy and think ‘This is a and the big guy is going to good time to push outrun you because he’s got 10 times more money ahead,’ it’s generthan you. I’ve found the best time to move ahead is ally the worst time during the absolute worst to push ahead…” times. Because the big guy on the block is prudently — BARBARA CORCORAN protecting his money. He wants to control his money. He doesn’t want to waste it, he doesn’t want to ruin his reputation. He doesn’t want to have failure, he wants to keep his success so he can have a low proﬁle. The absolute best time to expand is when everybody’s asleep at the wheel and everyone agrees it’s a bad time to expand.”
LBM: What do you do to relax? BC: “I ride my bike when I’m in New York. I work out three mornings a week, three hours ﬂat. And that’s not to keep in shape or for my health or anything; it’s pure vanity. It’s for the camera. I would drop the workouts if I could ﬁnd a way to look good on camera without it. And what I truly, truly love to do, but don’t to do because of the workload is anything that has to do with water, the ocean. I love anything to do with the water. And I love snow skiing.” LBM: What, besides business, gets you excited? BC: “My whole life I wanted to have a terrace in the city, but when I found it, I couldn’t aﬀord it. About 15 or 16 years ago, I met a woman who had a terrace on Central Park. She showed me the apartment, and I said, ‘If you ever decide to sell it, please call me.’ And a year ago she called me. And I still couldn’t aﬀord it. [laughs] I kept my eye on it. I watched it go down, a million at a clip. I know my market. She laughed at me, but she got exactly where I priced it. I’m excited about doing a gut renovation, something I’ve been looking forward to my entire life.”
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Innovative dentist is boss of floss ince beginning his career in dentistry almost a decade ago, Dr. Tim Pruett of Lakeview Comprehensive Dentistry in Tavares has heard every reason imaginable as to why patients fail to ﬂoss. “Flossing hurts.” “It takes too long.” “Flossing makes my gums bleed.” But patients aren’t complaining any more, not since the 37-year-old dentist invented Flossolution, a wonderful new product that renders every excuse null and void. Flossolution is an innovative dual-purpose ﬂossing and brushing device that has become a game changer for not only Dr. Pruett’s patients, but for people around the world. Dr. Pruett’s amazing invention uses sonic energy
to eﬀortlessly glide the ﬂoss between teeth and features special technology to protect the gums. And the ﬂossing takes less than two minutes. He oﬀers two products — the Flossolution 500 Series and Flossolution Lite. The sonic-powered handle on the Flossolution 500 Series makes ﬂossing quick, convenient and easy. The Flossolution Lite is smaller and convenient for people who prefer a manual ﬂossing device over a powered ﬂossing device. Much has happened since the products were launched in April 2013. Dr. Pruett has been featured three times on the Home Shopping Network. In addition, customers throughout the country are purchasing the product on the company website, and the products are now being distributed in Thailand. In addition, Pictured (L to R) Dr. Tim Pruett, Heather Pruett, Tina Valbh and Sandy Valbh
the 500 Series received the prestigious National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. Dr. Pruett loves having the opportunity to make a far-reaching, positive impact on the oral health of countless people. “This is more than simply eliminating or preventing disease,” he says. “Oral health also plays a signiﬁcant role in how conﬁdent you feel about yourself. If we can help prevent disease and improve self-esteem, then all of our hard work will be completely worth it.” Dr. Pruett’s wife, Heather, serves as Flossolution’s vice president of operations. She echoed his sentiments. “We’re so excited about how far we’ve come in the last two years but even more excited about where we’re headed. We’ve built a
very strong and motivated team, and the sky’s the limit for this amazing product and company.” B I RTH OF AN I D EA
“You can clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth thoroughly with a toothbrush; however, the diﬃculty lies in cleaning the spaces between your teeth,” Dr. Pruett says. “Almost every time you eat, there are little pieces of food that get stuck between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. This is where bacterial plaque and tartar often build up and cause damage to your teeth and gums, leading to costly and time-consuming oral health problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis, and advanced gum disease.” This is what led Dr. Pruett to take matters into his own hands. He focused his 21
knowledge and experience on creating a unique product that would make ﬂossing simple and easy. “I started experimenting with diﬀerent ideas and applying some basic principles to what we already use in our oﬃce for dental hygiene. I became
focused on ultrasonic and sonic energy, ﬂoss diameter, and the average distance between proximal contact
points of teeth and gum tissue,” he says. “It was a really cool moment when the primary concepts for
what is now Flossolution hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember how exciting it was when I brought home a really rough version of the ﬁrst prototype and showed it to my wife.” For more information, visit www.ﬂossolution.com.
T H E S W E E T TA S T E OF SUCCESS Local brand, King’s Taste Bar-B-Q Sauce, gained national acclaim with out-of-this-world taste
he story is legendary. NASA astronaut and Eustis High School graduate, the late Dave Walker, enjoyed King’s Taste Bar-B-Q sauce so much that he requested it for his voyage aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in December 1992.
From that point on, the Lake County company that’s served barbecue with a distinctive mustard based sauce since the early 1950s could boast it produced an “out-of-this-world” barbecue sauce. Now that is a brand endorsement ﬁt for a king. “Fit for a King” is exactly what company founder and sauce creator Isaac Thomas had in mind
when he thought of the slogan and developed the name King’s Taste BarB-Q Sauce. The brand originated from humble beginnings. Isaac made his distinctive sauce at home until increased demand required opening a barbecue stand, according to current owner Betty Kagler, niece of Isaac’s wife Doris Thomas. So, he opened a stand at 23
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503 Palmetto Street in Eustis, steps away from his home. Isaac began the business in 1951, and the stand’s reputation for mouth-watering ribs, chicken and signature sauce quickly spread
beyond the neighborhood. In 1973, he patented his hot, spicy yellow mustardbased sauce. After Isaac died in 1982, Wilts Alexander, a former third-grade student of Doris, purchased the stand
to help her keep Doris in her mission to carry out her husband’s legacy. The retired schoolteacher used every waking moment to promote the sauce the best way she knew how — by
KING’S TASTE BAR-B-Q SAUCE WAS THE FIRST LIP-SMACKIN’ BBQ PRODUCT SOLD IN BULK OUTSIDE OF LAKE COUNTY, BUT NEWCOMERS TO THE BAR-B-Q SCENE ARE MAKING PLANS TO TAKE THEIR SAVORY CREATIONS BEYOND COUNTY BORDERS. UNCLE KENNY’S BBQ IN CLERMONT HAS PLANS TO MASS PRODUCE ITS SAUCES AND RUBS AND BARNWOOD BBQ IN EUSTIS WANTS TO SELL ITS SUCCULENT SAUCE IN STORES ACROSS THE NATION.
Astronaut david walker, a eustis high school grad, reportedly took king’s taste bar-b-q on space shuttle flight.
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driving around town, meeting with various grocery store owners, obtaining orders and making deliveries herself. Doris eventually hired a distributor, who introduced the product to southeast regional grocery chains Publix and Winn Dixie. The product went national when Albertson’s, the second largest supermarket chain in the nation at the time, picked it up. Kagler, who assisted Doris with business management for years, gained ownership of the sauce when Doris passed in 2009. For now, Kagler plans to keep things exactly as they are. Why change? In its 64th year, King’s Bar-B-Q Sauce remains a universal hit by oﬀering great taste, via three wellrespected grocery chains and a lasting endorsement, literally heard from space. MADE IN LAKE is an on-going feature. Don’t miss July’s business spotlight.
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CITY OF LEESBURG, DISTRIBUTION LINE, 12.4 KV PHASE TO PHASE
PROGRESS ENERGY DISTRIBUTION, VOLTAGE UNKNOWN
PROGRESS ENERGY TRANSMISSION LINE-230 KV-CHECK WITH PROGRESS TO CONFIRM VOLTAGE
T H E
C O R R I D O R
CITY OF I N D USTRY 470 Commerce Center has much to offer large companies S TO RY J A M E S C O M B S
nce open ﬁelds and pastureland in west Lake County may well become a busy industrial park that sparks the Central Florida economy. The 470 Commerce Center, which is owned by the City of Leesburg, is being marketed as one of the most exciting land-
/// G R A P H I C S P R O V I D E D B Y L A K E C O U N T Y
use developments in the area. And location is a big reason why. The 3,000-acre high-tech industrial and business park is situated between County Road 470 and Florida’s Turnpike. And that’s only part of the appeal. In February, Leesburg received federal approval for a foreign trade zone at Leesburg International
Airport. What’s that have to do with the 470 parcel? Businesses operating in a foreign trade zone pay reduced duties and fees on items imported from, or shipped to, international locations. And that means Lake County is even more attractive to businesses and industries looking to relocate — especially
high-tech companies that pay well. “For us, manufacturing is our No. 1 target industry,” said Adam Sumner, Lake County Economic Development and Tourism manager. “We will also focus heavily on distribution warehouse facilities. But high-wage jobs are a caveat. If we create jobs that pay well,
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1600 Cord 470 Leesburg, FL 34762
then residents of Lake County will have shorter commutes to work.” The 470 Commerce Center has plenty of room for warehouses, large production plants and huge distribution centers. One company has already made its move. Coreslab, a concrete product company, is relocating its manufacturing facility from Orlando to the 470 Commerce Center. The company has purchased 75 acres for a state-of-the-art facility that will employ at least 55 people. “With Coreslab’s announcement, and in addition to several more projects on the horizon, I look forward to continuing to work with Lake County on our shared vision for the 470 corridor,” said Leesburg Assistant City Manager Michael Rankin in a press release. “We are setting the stage for digniﬁed, sustainable employment for our Leesburg and Lake County residents.” Coreslab, which was established in 1975, supplies structural, architectural and hollow core solutions to markets in the U.S. and Canada. The company hopes to have its new site in operation by January 2016. Leesburg and county oﬃcials anticipate that Coreslab will soon have
TH E LA K E C OU N TY E C ON O M I C D EVE LOP M E N T D E PA R TM E NT H A S I D E NTI FI E D 4 S TR ATE G I C C OR R I D OR S IT I S TRY I N G TO ATTR ACT B U S I N E S S E S A N D I N D U ST R I E S TO. TH EY A R E :
• The 470 corridor at the intersection of County Road 470 and the Florida Turnpike. • Health and Wellness Way in south Lake County between Highway 27, I-4 and the Florida Turnpike.
• Minneola Interchange & Minneola CRA. Approved interchange in south Lake County not yet built. • Wolf Branch Innovation District will be along the yet-to-be-built Wekiva Parkway extension into Mount Dora.
Site Map June 29, 2007
neighbors. The site is certainly ready. Site selection company McCallum Sweeny, with assistance from Duke Energy, recently completed an extensive site readiness assessment of the 470 Commerce Center. The assessment helps prep the site for additional development and includes recommendations for target industries, in this case, aerospace, advanced materials, general machinery, homeland security and defense manufacturing, light industrial, logistics and distribution and plastics. “Through the site readiness assessment, we learned a lot about the site and gained a clear vision about what the park can ultimately be,” Sumner said. What it can be is, dare we say it, a Lake County version of Silicon Valley. For that to happen, the 470 Commerce Center needs to be “certiﬁed ready.”
Latitude: 28.755191 Longitude: -81.927237
“Being certiﬁed is a big advantage,” Sumner says. “For example, if a company wants to come in here and build an 100,000 square-foot warehouse, then the company can submit a building permit to the city and break ground in 90 days. That’s very beneﬁcial because when companies move to sites that are not certiﬁed they endure additional steps and obstacles. We’re hoping more companies will pull the trigger and come here once we’re certiﬁed.” Even a few large companies could signiﬁcantly change the proﬁle of a county that’s home to more than 300 manufacturing companies that employ 7,000 skilled workers. “Manufacturing is Lake County’s economic backbone,” Sumner said. “And this [Coreslab] is just the ﬁrst of several major manufacturers interested in the 470 Commerce Center.”
On-demand reports and maps from Business Analyst Online. Order at www.esri.com/bao or call 800-292-2224
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KEEP ON TRUCKING SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
BBT Truck Sales and Service is a name synonymous with superior quality and unparalleled service. George Clemons opened the company in south Florida in 1978. Back then, its primary focus was on refurbishing, buying and selling beverage delivery trucks. To better serve customers and meet the high volume of business, the company opened a second office in Leesburg in 1995. Due to changes in the local marketplace in recent years, the company has changed its focus and began transitioning into the future. Today, BBT has become known for its outstanding work in the truck body and trailer service industry. The company specializes in paint and body work, accident repair, welding and fabrication for medium- to heavy-duty trucks and trailers. However, the guiding principles on which the company was founded remains the same—legendary service, strict attention to detail and superior results. That’s because George’s sons, Kevin Clemons and Gordon Kennedy, are now co-owners of BBT. Their unwavering commitment to the very highest level of quality preserves a proud past and ensures an even brighter future. “Being a family-owned company provides stability,” says Gordon, who began working at BBT in 1992 after graduating from Western Michigan University. “In addition, we go above and beyond to uphold values one would expect from a family-owned business such as pride, commitment and honesty.” That’s a big reason why BBT has done work for Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Budweiser and Miller.
BBT also receives business from local municipalities such the City of Tavares, the City of Leesburg and The Villages, as well as local companies like Ro-Mac Lumber and Supply. “We’re a fleet and business-oriented company,” Gordon says. “For instance, the City of Tavares had us paint their garbage trucks and the City of Leesburg had us do work on their fleet of vehicles.”
The company has a highly trained, experienced group of technicians who can successfully handle the most difficult jobs, whether it’s welding, painting or body work. Many of them have been employed at the company for more than 20 years, which is invaluable in helping BBT provide customers with quality work in a timely manner. In addition, there’s a state-of-the-art 53-foot spray booth that will accommodate virtually any piece of equipment. BBT is also the place to go for municipalities and companies needing a medium- or heavy-duty truck. That’s because BBT has a dealer’s license and sells dump trucks, flat beds, tractors and delivery box trucks. The company can also build a truck to a customer’s exact specifications. “We built a flat bed for a concrete company,” Gordon says. “We built it from scratch so there would not have to be any modifications down the road. Nothing we do is cookie-cutter. All our work is done to order.” Customers will be delighted to know that BBT is an authorized Omaha Standard distributor. Omaha Standard was established in 1926 and is a leading manufacturer of service/utility bodies, platform bodies, and other equipment for commercial trucks. With many years of total satisfaction and proven reliability, it’s little wonder why the company has earned an outstanding reputation in the body and trailer service industry.
BBT Truck Sales and Service is located at 2990 South Street in Leesburg. For more information, please call 352.323.6284 or visit www.beveragebody.com. SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
S E D A R G P
F O R WA R D
TE C H M O V I N G
L AK E TE CH CO L L E G E E X PA N S I ON S H OWS T H AT G O O D TH I N G S HAP P E N WH E N E D U CATOR S A N D B U S I N E S S L EAD E R S WOR K HA N D I N HA N D W ITH CO U NTY A N D S TATE LEA D E R S S TO R Y K AT I E L E W I S
/// P H O T O G R A P H Y M A T T H E W G A U L I N
ig things are in the works at Lake Technical College, where $4.4 million will be spent to build the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at the Eustis campus. That’s good news for more than 300 manufacturing companies in the county according to Adam Sumner, Lake County economic development and tourism manager. “About 7 percent of Lake County residents work in manufacturing,” he said. “The county would like to see that percentage grow.” When complete, the 12,000-square-foot facility will double the size of its manufacturing program, which will allow the technical college to educate and train more students in manufacturing programs including welding, machining and fabrication.
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TE C H “The center will assist the college in meeting the growing need for a skilled workforce for manufacturing in Lake County,” said Sumner. “Lake County is good at building stuﬀ, and we want to continue that legacy through the Center for Advanced Manufacturing.” During the 2013-14 school year, more than 3,000 students were enrolled in courses at Lake Tech, according
to published college materials. That number will grow with the new expansion. Meeting local industry needs is top priority for the college. “The purpose of a technical college is to make sure we’re meeting the needs of business and industry in our region,” said Lake Technical College Director Dr. Diane
Culpepper. “There was a deﬁnite need in Lake County, in particular, for industry machining and manufacturing.” A core group of about 40 companies in manufacturing has helped drive the vision of what the center will be, Sumner said. The partnership among community members, county oﬃcials and the college absolutely is key to the entire project, Culpepper said. One such company is Skybolt Aeromotive Lake Technical College Director Dr. Diane Culpepper stands on rubble where a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be constructed.
Corporation in Leesburg. Debra Bowers, vice president and co-owner of Skybolt, was one of the ﬁrst to brainstorm with Culpepper about building the center. “We’re very encouraging of the idea,” Bowers said. “When Adam Sumner ﬁrst introduced me to Dr. Culpepper, we talked about the need for skilled machinists and workers and shared thoughts and ideas. We’re both passionate about meeting area needs.” Skybolt has hired Lake Tech graduates in the past, Bowers said — a trend she expects to continue. “As our company grows, we intend to take full advantage of students at Lake Tech,” she said. “It will be our No. 1 place to go to for employees, internships, etc.” If all goes according to plans, a program producing skilled workers will be used as an incentive to lure manufacturers to Lake County. “The center could prospectively bring in new manufacturing companies to the area,” Sumner said. “There is a problem nationwide ﬁnding a skilled workforce, so we want to get ahead of that. For the long term, I think the county’s future is in manufacturing because it will have a strong, positive economic impact.”
Artist rendering of the $4.2 million facility where tomorrow’s workforce will be trained.
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is testament to what can happen when educators, business leaders and politicians work together toward a common goal. “Over the past two years, thanks to the county commission, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla and state Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, we received $1.4 million in funding,” Culpepper said. “Some companies have donated equipment and we’ve been securing little donations along the way that add up. Now we just need $2.8 million more.” The increasing community interest has everyone at the school “chomping at the bit” to get started, Culpepper said. “We’re to get started particularly knowing how much our industry is anxious for us to get moving,” she said.
To get the ball rolling, the school has begun its own demolition, she said. They also have hired an architect for the project who has generated some renderings of what is in the works. “We’re currently taking out asphalt and gutting buildings,” Culpepper said. “HVAC students have had a hand taking out some old air conditioning units, and welding students will have the chance to help contractors when we start building.” Allowing the students to assist with the work will help contain some of the cost, as well as provide more hands-on training, Culpepper said. “It was a big dream because it’s expensive to build, remodel and refurbish buildings and get equipment and all that,”
“As our company grows, we intend to take full advantage of students at Lake Tech. It will be our No. 1 place to go to for employees, internships, etc.” — DEBRA BOWERS
she said. “But I feel like if you don’t dream it, it will never happen.” John Dahler, who has taught welding at the college for 10 years, said he is ecstatic to see the dream turn into reality. “It will just be such a huge beneﬁt to the students,” he said. “I will be able to teach more students in a more eﬃcient way.” Although it’s diﬃcult to say when construction will get underway, Culpepper said she is working hard to maintain public interest. “I credit everything to the fact that we have all these business industry and government people all involved with it,” she said. “We started with a dream, and we’re making progress. We’re not there yet, but we’re making progress.” The college opened the doors to its main campus in Eustis in 1968. Along with two extension campuses in Tavares and Mascotte, the college serves more than 1,000 students each year. 33
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Providing the insight and experience your business needs to succeed. For over 100 years, LassiterWare has provided the highest level of service to businesses throughout Lake County. We remain committed to: Business and personal insurance, risk management, human resources & claims advocacy Cutting-edge technology supported by some of the most experienced professionals in the field The success of thousands of local businesses that place their trust in us When you want a partner dedicated to the evolving needs of your business, the name to know is LassiterWare.
MANAGEMENT TEAM (from left): John Kern, John Bruneau, Doug Childers, Patricia Schmaltz, Ted Ostrander, Matt Ostrander and Bill Nolan
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TH E CU TTI N G E D G E OF D OI N G B U S I N E S S F A S T F A C T : F L O R I D A A V E R A G E S 3 2 0 D AY S O F S U N A N N U A L LY
T E C H N O L O G Y
LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF FREE SOFTWARE Proven way to maximize your business on a tight budget S TO RY G E O R G E M A K R AU E R
he Lake County Economic Development Department oﬀers numerous incentives to help businesses grow — rapid plan review inspections and approval; $2,500 job bonus tax refunds in enhancement areas; qualiﬁed high-skills new job $3,000 tax refunds; additional bonuses of $1,000 and $2,000 to oﬀset part of an employee’s higher salary; and sales tax credits on building materials, manufacturing machinery and equipment and on power consumption used in manufacturing Visit www.businessinlakeﬂ.com, click on “Business
Support” and ﬁnd the appropriate topic. Most incentives require little more than ﬁlling out an application. But what if your needs relate to computer software? Where do you go when you’re still trapped in Microsoft Oﬃce 2003 (or 2007 or 2010) and lack the funds to purchase up-to-date software to produce impressive documents, spreadsheets, graphs and images to make eﬀective presentations? What do you do when you can’t aﬀord programs that can make your business run more eﬃciently? There is a solution. It’s called “Open Source,”
which means “free.” Legitimately free. “Open Source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more ﬂexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in,” according to the Open Source Initiative published materials. Translation: you can download various types of “opensource” software for free. You will not be charged royalties or fees, and the source code for that software is made available to others to be freely
used, modiﬁed and shared. How do you access Open Source? Start at www. sourceforge.net or Google “Open Source programs.” You’ll ﬁnd free software for accounting, document management, report servers and much, much more. Finally, software life, liberty and the achievement of happiness will be yours from the successful pursuit of Open Source. EDITOR’S NOTE:
George Makrauer resides in The Villages and is president of the COMAD GROUP management consulting ﬁrm.
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LAROE “LEEDS” LAKE COUNTY S TO RY G A RY C O R S A I R
ou don’t have to look far for a model of a green business. In fact, there are two shining examples in Mount Dora. In 2009, First Green Bank became the ﬁrst bank in the Eastern United States with an environmental and social mission. And Mellow Mushroom recently became the only LEED certiﬁed restaurant in Central Florida. Both businesses are headed by Ken LaRoe, who lives by the philosophy, “Do the right thing.” Especially when it comes to the environment. It’s a concept LaRoe hopes will catch on.
“It doesn’t play real well in Lake County,” said LaRoe, who is president and CEO of First Green Bank. “The bank was founded in Lake County, but we have an oﬃce in Winter Park that people just ﬂood into because they see the solar panels on our roof. They tell us, ‘You’re doing the right thing and we want to bank here.’” Customers don’t know the half of it. Solar power is a small part of First Green Bank’s mission, “To do the right thing for: the environment; our people; our community; our shareholders.” Employees are awarded $1,000 annual raises for attaining LEED Green Associate and/or Accredited Professional certiﬁcation. The bank also oﬀers cash incentives and 0 percent ﬁnancing to employees who buy hybrid vehicles, in addition to providing on-site charging stations for
electric vehicles. There also are some pretty cool things happening at Mellow Mushroom. LaRoe, who is the primary owner, recently instituted composting food waste, which is donated as feed for hogs in the 4-H program. “We’re also serving organic rolls with no additives and we switch to organic whenever possible,” he said. LaRoe takes great pride in running green businesses, but he’d be happier if you joined him… and not just Monday through Friday, 8 to 5. “At home, where it’s me and Cindy, and we can do what we want to do, we’re probably on the radical end of the spectrum. We throw maybe a small bag of garbage away a month. We compost everything, recycle everything. Even to the point where if it won’t ﬁt in the curbside recycling I’ll
take it somewhere,” LaRoe said. “We have solar power, and we produce more power than we use. We dramatically conserve water to the point of craziness, probably. Our landscaping is all Florida native species. We don’t irrigate, fumigate, pesticides, fertilize, we don’t do anything like that. So our yard is always full of wildlife.” Not ready to go that far? Few people are. But imagine what a diﬀerence we could make in our community if we all adopted even a few of the practices Ken adheres to. Unfortunately, green companies aren’t made overnight. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. “I don’t think there’s a simple way to start. First, you have to have a comprehensive mindset that you want to do the right thing,” LaRoe said. “Start small – stop at Lowe’s on the way home from church and spend $150 on energy-saving bulbs. Recycle. Change the way you drive. Little things add up.” Learn more about LaRoe’s environmentally friendly bank at: www.ﬁrstgreenbank.com
WHAT I S LE E D? LEED is a certiﬁcation developed by The United States Green Building Council (USGBC). It is the industry standard. The USGBC deﬁnes LEED as: “Green building leadership. LEED is transforming the way we think about how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe. LEED certiﬁed buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.” Learn more about LEED at: www.usgbc.org
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IT PAYS TO HUG A TREE ure, we all want to save the planet, but going green is more than good for the environment; it also makes good business sense. For one, adopting green initiatives can create a buzz that could generate marketing hype and get people talking about you and your business. That could translate into new clients without you expending blood, sweat, tears or dollars. Plus, it’s easy to go green. Even small businesses can reduce, reuse and recycle or install energy-eﬃcient lighting and programmable thermostats. Want to make a bigger impact? Consider energy eﬃcient products such as tankless water heaters, non-traditional HVAC systems or solar energy panels. Yes, going green can get expensive. But incentives and tax breaks exist. Take advantage of them to modernize, aid the environment and save money in the process. Here’s an overview of programs available locally:
HVAC CHECK CHILLER/ UNITARY ENTITY Duke
Energy NUTS & BOLTS Duke oﬀers a variety of rebates for businesses that install a more eﬃcient unitary AC or water- or air-cooled chiller. They oﬀer installation incentives of up to $150 per kW reduced (up to a maximum of $75,000). Rebates range from $94 to $13,000 per system. EXAMPLE INCENTIVE An oﬃce facility replacing a 300-ton centrifugal water-cooled chiller could save $4,915 annually and earn a rebate of $1,350.
ENTITY Duke Energy
NUTS & BOLTS A green roof planted with up to 6 inches of small grasses or a garden could save you up to 20 percent of water and energy costs annually and earn you an incentive of 25 cents per square foot. The plants act as a sponge, to reduce the amount of water and pollutants that run oﬀ your roof. For more information on green roof technology, visit greenroofs.org. EXAMPLE INCENTIVE A 10,000-square-foot facility could save $2,164 in energy cost and around $600 in
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water cost annually and earn an incentive of $2,500.
››› Recycling one ton of paper saves 20 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of landﬁll space, 60 pounds of air pollutants and saves enough energy to power the average home for six months.
THERMAL ENERGY STORAGE ENTITY Duke Energy
NUTS & BOLTS A TES system will reduce the size and cost of replacement chillers and lower your energy costs by shifting most energy usage to oﬀ-peak hours. You could qualify for an incentive of up to $300 per kW of reduced cooling load at peak times. EXAMPLE INCENTIVE A 200,000 -square-foot facility installing a TES system handling 50 percent of cooling load could save $24,000 annually and earn an incentive of $60,000.
RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX INCENTIVES AND THE RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGIES (REET) GRANT MATCHING PROGRAM ENTITY The
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. NUTS & BOLTS Receive matching funds to conduct demonstration, commercialization, research, and development projects relating to renewable energy technologies and innovative technologies that signiﬁcantly increase energy eﬃciency for vehicles and commercial buildings. GREEN CERTIFICATION KNOWN AS LEED
ENTITY: The United States Green Building Council. NUTS & BOLTS: LEED-certi-
ﬁed buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants while promoting renewable,
clean energy. The state energy oﬃce and local utilities are the most common sources of incentives, rebates and technical as-
sistance available to oﬀset green building costs. Also oﬀers grants to increase the energy eﬃciency of existing buildings.
EVE RY YEAR, TH E J U N K MAI L I N D U STRY D E S T R O Y S A P P R O X I M A T E LY 1 0 0 M I L L I O N T R E E S . TH E PROD UCTION AN D D I S POSAL OF J U N K MAI L U S E S U P M OR E E N E R GY THAN 3 M I LLI ON CAR S!
T E C H N O L O G Y
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SOLAR ON SALE Converting to solar costs less than you think. Now is the time to act. S T O R Y J O H N S O T O M AY O R
n business, timing is everything. And the time is now for business owners who have been toying with the idea of converting to solar energy. Solar costs are down while fossil fuel costs are up, federal tax credit incentives are keeping the cost of initial installation down, and solar equipment made in the USA is built to last longer. Sun power has never been more attractive. Conversion to solar energy will decrease your energy costs over the long haul while minimizing your carbon footprint. And you won’t have to break the bank if you take advantage of incentives that encourage convergence.
SOLAR OR FOSSIL FUEL, WHICH COSTS LESS?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar project costs have dropped 45 percent since 2012 (primarily due to technology innovations and new inventions). Meanwhile, electricity is costing more. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that the average American retail electricity prices rose from 7.61 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2004 to 10.52 cents per kWh in September 2014. Local solar energy businessman Jack Cahill conﬁrms those assertions. “What most businesses look for is to cut down on the rapid price increase of electricity, which has gone up 40 percent in the past 10 years,” said Cahill, owner of Jack’s Solar, a solar
energy equipment supplier in Umatilla. “That will not decrease anytime soon. In 10 years, it will be even more expensive.” FEDERAL SLICE AND DICE THE INITIAL COST
You can knock 30 percent right oﬀ the top thanks to a federal tax credit established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. But don’t drag your
installation for business owners. “Depending on the project, the cost is $3 to $3.50 per watt. To install for 5,000 watts of power will cost $15,000,” said Cahill. “Thirty percent, or $4,500, is deducted by federal tax credit, leaving initial installation cost of $10,500 for the ﬁrst year only.” And the tax credit isn’t the only cost break you’ll get. Solar energy depreciates rapidly, at a rate of ﬁve to six years for tax purposes. “They can depreciate an entire system in one year. When you get down to it, it is like you are getting it for nothing, given the tax breaks,” said Cahill. PANEL PRICES PLUMMET
According to a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the price of solar panels dropped by 19 percent nationwide in 2013. And prices are expected to drop another 12 percent in 2014 according to bizjournals.com. And the bigger the job, the bigger the savings. The price
Cahill acquires his solar equipment from Solar World, an American company. Cahill feels that solar products from China or Mexico are not made to last as long. TOTAL EFFECT
All things considered, $25,000 is the average cost for a homeowner or small business owner in Florida to convert to solar. In Florida, the monthly savings of converting to solar is $139 per month. With the federal tax incentives in place, the average Floridian would save $30,000 - $39,000 over the course of 20 years. Cahill breaks down the savings with another basic example. “Let’s say they had a $200 per month electric bill – that’s $2,400 they will not spend this year. The average return is ﬁve to seven years, depending on the consumer. In that time, you have 100-percent return on your money. Then you have essentially free electricity, so long as you are in that business location.”
“ 2016, TH E TA X CR E D IT … I S U N CE R TA I N . T H E R E F O R E , T H E T I M E F OR A B U S I N E S S OW N E R TO ACT O N S O L A R CO N V E R G E N CE I S N OW.” S OU R C E : E N E R GY. G OV
feet. According to Energy. gov, the system must be in service before December 31, 2016. After Jan. 1, 2016, the tax credit falls to 10 percent. The time to act is now. That 30 percent credit translates into a signiﬁcant reduction in the initial cost of
of solar panels fell below $2 per watt in 2013 on utility-scale projects, and then fell to $1.80 per watt in 2014 — a whopping 59 percent plunge from 2010. Of course, cost varies from market to market, and from dealer to dealer.
Put another way, Cahill asked rhetorically, “Would you invest $10,000 into CDs whereby you will get all your money back in ﬁve years, followed by a return of $200 per month for life?” Of course you would. It is a no-brainer. 43
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DO YOU TALK TECH? Know your Ps and Qs … and CRMs, SEOs, and BYODs S TO RY J A M I E R O B I N S O N
iving in one of the friendliest places in the country, Lake County business owners are most likely familiar with conducting business with a smile and a handshake. However, as more small- to medium-sized businesses angle for global growth, it’s imperative to know the latest business world lingo. Here are a few acroynms you need to know if you plan to carry on a conversation with your favorite techie:
CRM: Customer Relationship Management is a system for managing a company's interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support. A CRM system helps manage customer correspondence such as promotional emails or e-newsletters. CRMs can also keep track of social interactions, visits to your website, create landing pages, etc. A few examples of such software include HubSpot, Zoho and Infusionsoft. SaaS: Software as a Service is a term made
popular by the growing trend of having cloud access and being able to work anywhere with an Internet connection. Technically speaking, it’s a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet. Using online software providers has erased the need for many of the CDs we once needed to upload software on to individual machines. This type of service allows you to use any machine, anywhere, as long as it’s a secure connection. SaaS examples include the Adobe Creative Suite and Salesforce.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization and SERPs: Search Engine Response Pages
go hand-in-hand. Most business owners are familiar with SEO, but may not be up to speed on SERPs. SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it ranks higher on search engines. SERPs are the actual results, pages that show up when you type in a query.
2FA: Two-Factor Authorization adds an
extra step to your basic log-in procedure. Without 2FA, you enter your username and password and you're done. The password is your single factor of authentication. Two-factor authorization mandates provide two separate ways to prove that you are who you say you are. Odds are that you are currently using 2FA regularly. If you’ve ever used an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) to withdraw funds, you have used 2FA. In this instance, the ﬁrst factor is possession of the card. The second factor is the four-digit pin number. Passwords are easy to hack, mainly because we are so predictable (the two most popular passwords are “password” and “123456”). Having two separate ways to authenticate yourself helps protect your data.
BYOD: Bring Your Own Device refers to
the policy of permitting employees to bring personal mobile devices (laptops, tablets and smart phones) to their workplace and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications. It’s gaining popularity around the world with some companies reporting increased productivity, but it can be dangerous. Security is iﬀy at best.
D I D YO U K N OW?
››› The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that ofﬁce buildings waste up to one-third of the energy they consume.
››› More than 75 percent of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent of it.
››› You could drive a Prius from San Francisco to New York on the lifetime savings offered by using a 24watt compact ﬂuorescent lamp instead of a 100-watt incandescent bulb.
››› Every three months, Americans toss out enough aluminum to completely rebuild the nation’s commercial airline ﬂeet.
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Y O U W A N T D O N E B E C A U S E H E W A N T S T O D O I T .” — DWIG HT D. E I S E N HOWE R
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“LEAD E R S H I P I S TH E ART OF G ETTI NG SOM EON E E LS E TO DO SOM ETH I NG
L E A D E R S H I P
MANAGERS ARE A DIME A DOZEN; LEADERS ARE HARDER TO FIND S TO RY G A RY C O R S A I R
very manager wants to believe they are a leader. “It’s hard to ﬁnd a resume stating, ‘I was only a manager, never a leader,’” says George Makrauer, a resident of The Villages and president of the COMAD GROUP management consulting ﬁrm. Truth is, most bosses are better managers than
leaders. Anyone who has punched a time clock knows that managerial acumen and leadership skills aren’t synonymous. “The diﬀerence between the two is perceived and evidenced diﬀerently,” Makrauer said. “The ‘perception’ of leadership
rests in the mind of the manager whose style is to tell others what to do; the ‘evidence’ of leadership lives in the behaviors of the business associates –subordinates, peers and superiors – who enthusiastically follow the lead of the business
professional who knows, appreciates and supports the needs of those others to succeed in their job duties and personal goals.” It’s a good deﬁnition. But hardly the only description. Here’s how some of the most successful managers and leaders in Lake and Sumter counties deﬁne leadership and management:
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“A manager does just that, manages workﬂow, projects and sometimes people, and takes charge of the daily needs by delegating the workﬂow. It is my opinion that every manager should strive to become a great leader. From this, great teamwork is achieved. A leader is someone who takes charge of the needs in their realm of responsibility with conviction, and others in the organization support it. You cannot be considered a ‘leader’ if no one will ‘follow’ you.” — SUSAN NOELL, BUSHNELL CITY MANAGER
“A manager is someone who juggles tasks and people, but a leader is someone who inspires and motivates people to successfully complete tasks. In order to lead, you must ﬁrst be willing to follow.” — LORI HUMPHREY, PROJECT MANAGER, LAKE COUNTY SHARED SERVICES NETWORK
“A leader provides the vision and motivates people to work to obtain that vision. A manager utilizes processes, systems and resources to achieve the goals that lead to accomplishing the mission and vision of the organization.”
— BRADLEY ARNOLD, SUMTER COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
“Managers administer, leaders innovate; managers control, leaders inspire trust; managers are the team players, leaders are their own person; managers do things right, leaders do the right thing and so on. I just never could discern where one left oﬀ and the other began … It eventually dawned on me that there really was no dichotomy between leadership and management. The comparison was not an either/or scenario, but instead of the notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Like most things in life, it really was more of a question of balance. The opportunity to make a diﬀerence falls between the two phrases – in our personal lives, in developing our management skills, and to lead in building better communities.”
“A great leader inspires followers to become as motivated through their own passion toward achieving goals. A great manager best utilizes the skills of their team towards accomplishing tasks with eﬃciency and positive results. Though the two roles overlap more often than not, there are key diﬀerences. Leaders are more visionary, while managers are more task oriented.” — CLAUDIA LABBÉ, PUBLIC RELATIONS CHAIR, HUMANE SOCIETY/SPCA OF SUMTER COUNTY, INC.
“First, a manager should be a leader. Some try to lead by example, some try to earn respect from others and some lead by controlling. My oﬃce uses a diﬀerent form of leadership that has made me extremely blessed. Our oﬃce has one of the best business managers in the country who has ran some top Fortune 500 companies. He had great manager skills, but our oﬃce was still lacking some leadership. It wasn’t ‘til I brought on a pastor to work with me and become my oﬃce manager. He uses Christ-like leadership. He leads by example and we are constantly training our staﬀ. Each morning we start the day oﬀ with a huddle and a prayer.” — JOHN THEECK, D.C.
“A manager tends to believe in a vertical chain
of command, while a leader knows the best way of leading is horizontally, where the leader creates a climate that stimulates creative ideas and open discussion. The best leader is the one who brings out the best in his staﬀ.” — MARK NEWHOUSE, AUTHOR AND FORMER SCHOOL TEACHER
– RAY SAN FRATELLO, PRESIDENT, SOUTH LAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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IN THE IMAGE OF ATTICUS S TO R Y K AT I E L E W I S
hen Mark Powers thinks of leadership, one name comes to mind: Atticus Finch. A paragon of honor, Finch is the courageous lawyer in Harper Lee’s classic novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” So, in 1989, when Powers founded a company oﬀering specialized business consultation unique to attorneys, he chose the name he found most suitable… And Atticus was reborn. “(Atticus Finch) stood for doing what’s right, integrity, honesty and justice — values that are important to us, and more importantly
to our clients,” said Powers, president and co-founder of Atticus, a consulting ﬁrm located in Mount Dora. “He is a character with whom they can associate.” The consulting ﬁrm specializes in coaching, support and accountability programs to individual attorneys and law ﬁrm. In short, the ﬁrm is ﬁlling a need. “Attorneys increased competition in recent years,” said Shawn McNalis, co-founder and curriculum director at Atticus. “Law schools in the United States produce about 40,000 new attorneys each year. There’s a lot of
need; attorneys work long hours, and need help with time management, decisionmaking, etc.” Tailoring the consultation to the type of industry is what makes Atticus unique from other consulting ﬁrms, she said. “Not that many people were combining coaching skills with training and consulting for professionals,” McNalis said. “We’re one of the ﬁrst ﬁrms to do that and to create a structure of accountability to help our clients implement what we teach.” The consulting ﬁrm is made up of business
professionals with various backgrounds ranging from accounting and ﬁnance to military to religion. Atticus trains and certiﬁes these professionals as practice advisers who consult with clients. The ﬁrm currently employs 14 practice advisers and three aﬃliated advisers. One soon-to-be adviser is in training, Powers said. Their goal is to help increase gross revenues and personal incomes, reduce stress and the number of hours spent in the oﬃce, develop career satisfaction and allow more time for family and personal interests.
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Before starting Atticus in 1989, Powers was chief executive oﬃcer of Criticom Monitoring Services, based in Longwood. Prior to that, he was a corporate manager at Tie Communications in Connecticut. As a former chief executive oﬃcer, Powers knows ﬁrsthand the need for speciﬁcity when it comes to business advice, and is glad to oﬀer services to those in need. “I hired a business coach very early on, not my industry, but someone
programs, instilling values such as leadership and helping the attorneys ﬁnd balance in their professional and personal lives. Cammie Hauser, a
advisers have “been there” themselves, Hauser said. “Leaders in business, in law ﬁrms or at Atticus can either accelerate growth or stiﬂe the organization,”
Powers said. “Most small businesses take on the ‘personality’ of the founders. If they are vulnerable, trusting, open, self-aware, curious and driven, the organization will reﬂect those elements. And the opposite is true. At Atticus, because we have to teach, coach and train, we have to walk the talk. Meaning we have to study, adjust, change and learn, just like our clients. We don’t ask them to do anything we wouldn’t do ourselves.”
“ L A W S C H O O L S I N T H E U N I T E D S TA T E S P R O D U C E A B O U T 4 0 , 0 0 0 N E W A T T O R N E Y S E A C H Y E A R .” — S H A W N M C N A L I S , AT T I C U S C O - F O U N D E R A N D C U R R I C U L U M D I R E C T O R
that was from a larger company and could guide me,” Powers said. “But not someone that understood my business fully, it was never there for me. To think that you could have a coach that knows your business, inside and out, specializes in nothing but your profession, and can guide and direct you through the maze of business problems—that would have been great to have. It didn’t exist then, but that is what we do for law ﬁrms now.” After 25 years in business, Atticus advisers have trained more than 10,000 attorneys through various coaching
practice adviser at Atticus for more than 10 years, said the founders emulate the company’s namesake through their profound leadership skills. “I really liked the idea of helping business owners,” she said. “And the fact that Atticus focuses on a niche really is a great business model. It’s great because Mark Powers really exempliﬁes leadership and the company beneﬁts both internally and externally because of it.” One reason Atticus has been so successful with its coaching programs is because many of the
T I P S F R O M AT T I C U S ( T H AT YO U D O N ’ T H AV E T O B E A L A W Y E R T O A P P LY )
• Most humans learn new information visually. Make sure your personal image sends a clear and professional message to your clients. • Forward online articles to referral sources with a quick email that says something like, “I saw this article and thought you might be interested.” • Block and preset your marketing time blocks on your calendar in advance. It’s easier for your marketing assistant to schedule marketing meetings and lunches. (This will only work if you consider those time slots inviolable.) • Build rapport with potential referral sources by asking how you can help develop new business for them. This will create the foundation for a healthy exchange of referrals and should inspire them to ask the same of you.
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LAYOFF PAYOFF BY JAM E S COM B S AN D GARY COR SAI R
f you’re like most bosses, you hate saying the words, “You’re ﬁred!” Then again, you probably don’t want to utter the words, “Here’s a severance check.” That’s understandable. If the person on the other side of the desk was an outstanding employee, you probably wouldn’t be ﬁring them, let alone handing them a check. On the other hand, you have a heart. The moments between “You’re ﬁred” and “Goodbye, I wish you the best of luck,” are always uncomfortable — for both parties. Severance pay obviously is a touchy subject. The ex-employee may expect it, not knowing you aren’t obligated to pay them another dime. At least that’s the reality in Florida. In most cases, you’re not obligated to pay severance.
But you may want to. The question then becomes, “How much is appropriate?” That’s your call. Some companies will pay terminated employees two weeks of their regular pay, according to the Florida Small Business website. Some governmental agencies oﬀer severance pay equaling two years worth of base salary. In some instances, rather than pay money, companies will extend health beneﬁts for a certain length of time or until the employee secures a new job. With that said, there are instances when terminated employees legally are entitled to severance pay: • When an employment contract stipulates severance; • When company policy states that employees are entitled to it; • When a company conducts a massive layoﬀ
without giving 60 days notice. This stems from a federal law known as the Worker Awareness and Retraining Notiﬁcation (WARN) Act, which requires large employers to pay severance when large layoﬀs are made without 60 days advance notice. Providing severance pay to a departing employee is a kindness, but it’s also a legal necessity in this era of lawsuits. In some cases, severance should be paid to reduce risk. In some cases, it makes sense to pay some amount of severance in exchange for a release if there is risk of a claim. Regardless of your motivation, providing severance pay is a positive and supportive gesture. And the biggest beneﬁt may be a “sort of goodwill” you create among the employees saying farewell to a co-worker. Paying severance will be positively viewed by the remaining employees who judge you
by actions. Yes, you know they are watching.
SENSIBLE SEVERANCE NO TWO COMPANIES ARE ALIKE, BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN GENERAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CALCULATING SEVERANCE PAY:
• Number of years an employee has worked for the company. Industry experts say one week pay for each year worked is a good rule of thumb. • The departing employee’s position in the company. Obviously, the higher the position, the bigger the severance. • Company size. If you’re rolling in money, you should do more than a company barely getting by. After all, the departing employee helped you make your profits.
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1. S E A R C H E N G I N E OP TI M I Z ATI ON 2. M OB I LE OP TI M I Z ATI ON 3. TA P I NTO C H A I N OF FR I E N D S 4. S E T A N D TR AC K G OA LS 5. DA S H B OA R D
S A L E S // M A R K E T I N G
G ETTI N G TH E WOR D OU T, G ETTI N G TH E D OLLAR S I N
YO U R S O CIA L M E D IA TO - D O L I ST
O Y A M
JO Y R
S A L E S // M A R K E T I N G
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hen the big three spoke, Stan Austin listened. Closely. “They tell us the explosion of the Internet and social media is moving so rapidly, a business will cease to exist within ﬁve years if they have not adopted and embraced the Internet and social media,” said Austin, area manager of the UCF College of Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center. Representatives from Apple, Google and Microsoft delivered that message at the Small Business Development Center’s annual conferences.
Austin’s takeaway: The increasing popularity of cell phones and tablet technology has pushed us socially and economically in one undeniable direction. “People now shop on the Internet, write reviews and share the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of everyday life constantly through social media,” Austin said. When Austin consults with clients, they are amazed when he shows them how much information about their business exists on the Internet – even those who don’t have a website or active social media program. “Restaurants and other small service-oriented businesses don’t think they are being reviewed or talked about via social media until I show them,” he said. Increased use of social media has added another responsibility to business owners: reputation management. Praise and
criticism are immediate online. Astute business leaders understand that the Internet is the forum they must use to respond — with words and actions. Savvy social media marketers identify the best platform to optimize goals whether they’re trying to increase brand reach, bolster sales, expand their professional network or protect and/or enhance their company’s public image. But how do you determine what the most eﬀective platform is? “Everything starts with a webpage,” Austin said. But not a throwntogether site your eighthgrade neighbor designed. Your webpage must have maximum search engine
optimization, which ensures that your business ranks high on Internet searches. “Searchers will use a various mix of words and phrases to ﬁnd content,” explains Melanie Melvin, director of client services for Akers Creative. “By placing important keywords properly in important areas on your site you allow search engines to identify and serve your page as relevant content to the topic or theme being researched.” To be successful, you must understand how Google works. A lack of knowledge of Google algorithms can get you penalized and removed from Google’s index entirely. Your webpage must also be “mobile optimized” if you want your website to come up correctly on a smartphone or tablet. That means providing less information or data on the page and more buttons to take customers to speciﬁc areas or items they are interested in. “The optimum is never
more than two clicks for the potential customer to reach the information they desire on your site,” Austin said. “If you frustrate the potential customer with your website, they just move on to the next business on the list.” And your job isn’t over after you gain a satisﬁed customer. According to Austin, the second phase of managing social media involves extending your presence rapidly and exponentially. “Once you reach a satisﬁed customer in your target market segment, they normally have many friends, friends of friends and friends of those friends who are within your target market segment too,” Austin said. Tap into that extended friend chain and spread positive news about your product, service or brand by oﬀering “friend of customers” specials. Next, set and monitor speciﬁc goals. Tracking and measuring the eﬀectiveness of what you are actually doing is critical, yet most people
HOT TI P
HOST PRIVATE HANGOUT FOR ON-AIR EVENTS Create an electronic Hangout for a sales or informative event for people to comment on. It’s best to host a live feed video on the Hangout. Announce that, for the next two hours, the Hangout will feature hot deals. Every 15 minutes, announce a new special promotion. 53
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stumble when it comes to this essential step. Industry statistics show that more than three quarters of businesses that engage in paid social media marketing cannot prove that they are making any money. “Social Media marketing is a speciﬁc tactic that focuses on improving your business visibility. Results take time, but creating a lasting foundation to attract, convert, close and delight your visitors turns strangers into loyal customers who want to do business with you,” Melvin said. The third phase involves managing social media through dashboards. Dashboards allow you to manage and work the social media outlets you choose from one platform. “This makes the process less cumbersome, time-
consuming and enables you to be much more productive,” Austin said. “You can also schedule the release of information for diﬀerent days/times of day or night, throughout the calendar year if you want to, well in advance, so you are freed up to spend time on other aspects of your business.” Finally, as you embrace the power of social media, you must ask for what you expect to receive. If you want positive references, you must ask for them. If you want to manage negative feedback, you need to provide a process to do so, and react immediately to any negative comments and correct them. Ultimately, it is up to you and within your power to monitor and protect your Internet image.
MOST COMMONLY USED BUSINESS PLATFORMS • FACEBOOK: Great for detailed promotional message (allows photos, video, testimonials) • GOOGLE +: Lets you integrate Google Search Engine, Google Adwords and Google Maps • LINKEDIN: A niche site where your company profile lives; best for recruiters and companies that place professionals • TWITTER: A niche site used for promoting events in short messages (can link photo, video) • INSTAGRAM: A niche site helpful for businesses selling boutique products (such as arts and crafts, wedding dresses and furniture)
WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING? • The process of gaining website traffic through social media sites to make your company or brand more accessible and make it visible to those with no knowledge of your business • Online content that promotes events, products, services and brands • Online content that attracts attention and encourages people to share across social networks (websites, blogs, content communities, forums and platforms), instant messages and news feeds • Online content that helps you recruit new employees, enhance brand development or introduce a new product line, there are all kinds of interesting options on social media.
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I N P RAI S E OF S OCIAL M E D I A “Facebook and Twitter are tools I use daily to keep customers aware of great oﬀers, while LinkedIn had been a huge asset in building relationships with vendors, colleagues, and customers alike.” – VINCENT NIGLIO, B US I N E SS ACCOU NT MANAG E R
Social Media is essential to my real estate Business! Real estate is about referrals from past clients, friends and family. Utilizing social media allows my contacts to always think of me when they think of real estate. They remember my posts of clients photos in front of their new homes, and when
they hear someone needing a Realtor they send them my way.”
– N ICOLE HANCOCK, LAKE S I D E FOOT
“Social media helps me get leads. I use LinkedIn to connect with a network of people I have met over the years. Over time, I have had some of my connections reach out to me and suggest leads, introduce me to people I should know, and share content that I have posted. Social media is a free tool, if used right, to reach more people than you know. Plus, it can help send traﬃc to your website. Even more so, it can get a message to a lot of people very fast and free you up to do other things with your time.”
AND ANKLE CENTER
– D AV I D C O T E , A K E R S M E D I A G R O U P
— LENA WILLIAMS
“Social meda has opened the communication doors between our practice and our patients. We often post educational guides and new treatment options available in foot health. Our patients and their friends beneﬁt and so do we by gaining new relationships. Social media is now necessary in medicine if you want to stay one foot ahead!”
TH E S ALE S & MAR K ETI N G TR A I N LE F T TH E S TAT I ON . AR E YOU ON B OA R D ? Tim Piccirillo will always have a soft spot for the telephone. He should; he used it to build a thriving talent agency in the late 1980s. “The ‘business as usual’ method of selling entertainment as an agent was with the good, old-fashioned telephone. For the next 13 years, I became good at closing customers over phone—out of necessity,” said Piccirillo, a marketing/training coach who lives in Mount Dora. Ah, the telephone — best friend of salespeople for four decades. “It was the only medium, other than face-to-face, by which to conduct business,” Piccirillo said. “I knew if a prospect called me I normally could close them 90 percent of the time. Why? Like the old adage says, ‘sales is a numbers game.’ Over the 13 years
I owned the business, I became good at phone selling simply by the sheer volume of calls I made and received in any given week.” And then the Internet came along. “When I realized email quickly was becoming the new way to communicate, I had to change gears and learn how to sell that way,” Piccirillo said. “How do you sell with the written word, though? This is where I actually started my direct marketing education. Email marketing and selling are similar to a sales letter.” Piccirillo has learned to appreciate social media. According to Piccirillo, there are four platforms every salesperson should utilize: LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter. (See story on previous page).
You’re probably already familar with those platforms. But are you using them properly? Follow these suggestions to ensure marketing success that translates into sales: • Don’t pitch and don’t sell, at least not overtly. Write about and post articles related to your particular business or industry. • Don’t post too often. Once or twice a day is enough. • Be conversational. Inform about you and your brand. • Comment on current business stories in the news. • Yes, you can share the same content on multiple sites. • Be regular. Don’t let weeks go by without posting. In fact, post daily, but not it you don’t have something worthwhile to say. 55
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A N Y O N E C A N S TA R T F R O M N O W A N D M A K E A B R A N D N E W E N D I N G .” — CAR L BAR D
MAK I N G D OLLAR S AN D S E N S E “ A LT H O U G H N O O N E C A N G O B A C K A N D M A K E A B R A N D N E W S TA R T ,
F I N A N C E
D A V E
R A M S E Y
LEADERS ARE MADE, NOT BORN wonder things didn’t fall apart right out of the gate. But now, I’m a great leader, surrounded by world-class leaders and world-class talent. This didn’t happen by chance or coincidence. LEADERS GROW
e’ve all heard the phrase “born leader.” Well, I’ve got news for you. No one is born a leader. Things like that don’t just happen. They’re the result of choices and conscious decisions. I’ve studied leadership and its underlying principles ever since I founded my company 20 years ago. To be honest, I was terrible when I started. I made so many dumb mistakes it’s a
I’m convinced that one of the reasons I’ve developed as a leader is that I’ve spent thousands of hours reading and studying. I’ve also had lots and lots of experiences — both good and bad — to reach the point I’m at today. Part of this education and learning process meant I had to realize that I didn’t know everything. It also meant I had to take time to examine my mistakes, learn from them and be humble enough to admit when I’d screwed up. Do you get what I’m saying? Leadership can be learned. Being a great
leader takes much more than just talent and desire. You have to be the kind of leader people want to follow. You have to be the one who gets the best out of those around you, and makes them passionate about their jobs. GROW YOUR TEAM INTELLIGENTLY
Great leaders also realize they are nothing without the people around them. You can have the greatest ideas and business acumen on the planet, but without an awesome team to back you up you’re going nowhere. It’s vital to take your time when adding new team members, no matter how much you need someone. It costs a lot less, both in terms of time and money, to ﬁnd the right person for the job the ﬁrst time.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Finally, make communication a top priority. The failure to communicate things in a timely, detailed manner is one of the surest ways to instill frustration and even anger in your team. Great leaders intentionally create and encourage a culture of open communication from top to bottom within their companies. And the eﬀects on morale, creativity and productivity are amazing! Don’t feel bad if you see areas for improvement in yourself after reading this. Stuﬀ like this doesn’t just occur. You’re not a born leader any more than you’re a born football player, actor or musician. You may start with a gift, but you have to make a choice to work your tail oﬀ if you want to develop that gift to its fullest potential!
“ PA S S I V I T Y I S T H E O P P O S I T E O F L E A D E R S H I P. T H E N E E D A N D T H E A B I L I T Y T O A C T A R E M I S S I N G F R O M FA I L I N G O R G A N I Z AT I O N S . I T I S T H E E N T R E L E A D E R ’ S J O B T O I N S E R T PA S S I O N A N D P A S S I O N A T E P E O P L E I N T O T H E O R G A N I Z A T I O N ’ S P R O C E S S E S A N D O U T C O M E S .” — E XCE R PT FR OM E NTR E LEAD E R S H I P: 20 YEAR S OF PRACTI CAL B U S I N E S S WI S D OM FR OM TH E TR E N CH E S B Y D A V E R A M S E Y, H O W A R D B O O K S , 2 0 1 1
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L O C A L
B A N K I N G
T R E N D
SOUTH LAKE IS HOPPING
HOOK THE KIDS Local banks are working hard to woo young spenders • TD Bank oﬃcials have millennials on the brain after a poll showed that 33 percent of people age 18-34 (millenials) used a reloadable prepaid card in the past three years, and 60 percent of millennials who don’t currently use a prepaid card would consider using one. Last month, TD Bank launched TD Connect, a new reloadable bank card that can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Any 18-year-old can walk into a TD Bank and sign up to receive a TD Connect Card if they have a Social Security number, valid form ID and a minimum deposit of $25. • Wells Fargo has launched Get College Ready, an interactive website to educate students, parents, families and high school counselors “on best practices for planning and preparing for college.” Get College Ready online provides an interface that brings overall ﬁnancial
and budgeting considerations, along with college ﬁnancing details, together in a holistic view. • FAIRWINDS Credit Union is ready to award $2,500 college scholarships to two local high school students. Applicants must be members of FAIRWINDS Credit Union and provide a letter of recommendation, SAT scores, written essay and a list of extracurricular activities. Apply online by May 8 at fairwinds.org/inside/ in-the-community/scholarships.asp • This month, SunTrust announced that it is teaming with Junior Achievement (JA) to “provide ﬁnancial education to students” through a series of events. SunTrust
volunteers are working with elementary, middle and high school students using JA’s curriculum to foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship, ﬁnancial literacy skills and experiential learning. • BB&T recently received the Innovation in Financial Education Award from Nasdaq and EverFi. BB&T was one of 25 national ﬁnancial institutions honored for “recognizing signiﬁcant eﬀorts to improve the ﬁnancial capability of young Americans.” Since 2010, BB&T has partnered with EverFi to bring a webbased ﬁnancial education program to more than 185,000 through its BB&T Financial Foundations program.
Business is booming in South Lake County, and most companies are putting proﬁts back into their enterprises. “They are targeting various training opportunities and also investing time in the virtual world of social media for advertising, public relations and promotion,” said Ray Fratello, president of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce. As a whole, the business community has embraced a branding of South Lake as the Center of Health, Wellness and Fitness in Florida. Most of the new businesses in Clermont provide services that will help the community live up to that motto. This year, the following businesses have opened or expanded: • Central Florida DreamPlex • Admire Care, LLC • Café Dupee Restaurant • Clermont Dental Group • Culver’s • TerZa Real Estate • Florida Cancer Specialists • O’Reilly Auto Parts • Ashley’s BBQ Superstore • ERA Grizzard Real Estate • Lace Services • Leland Management • Skillful Antics • Divine Belgian Chocolates • Honeybaked Ham Company & Café of Clermont • Royal Oaks Homes • My TEK Lab, Inc. • Edward Jones ofﬁce of James Perry.
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F I N A N C E
C L A R K
H O W A R D
AMERICA IS STILL THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY LBM: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE STARTING A BUSINESS? CH: “Do what you love where you see an opportunity.” LBM: HOW DO I RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITY? CH: “When you go out and about and ask yourself, ‘Why can’t I ﬁnd somebody who can do this better,’ or ‘Why is it I can’t ﬁnd one of these,’ you’re on the right track. Whenever you see something you can do better, cheaper or ﬁll a need that’s left unserved in the marketplace, that’s what you go after. If you drive around and see all these retail spaces, one after another, you wonder how any of these people made it. There are a million of these strip centers and a million of these business parks. How does anyone make it? They make it — if they make it — because they’re serving a need that’s gone unmet in the marketplace.”
LBM: WHAT’S THE NO. 1 MISTAKE NEW BUSINESSES MAKE? CH: “Growing too fast. Outrunning their cash. A lot of businesses hit a wall about 18 months in. You’re obsessed with your business when you start it. When I started my travel agency I’d go through cycles of anxiety where I’d wake up at like 4:30 or 5:30 in the morning wide-awake and couldn’t go back to sleep; I’d forget what season of the year it was because all I was thinking about was working. At some point, usually late in the ﬁrst year of your business — if you’ve made it — you start to think, ‘Wow the sky’s the limit. Now, I can do everything.’ And you have a tendency to push the business too hard. I have a very trite phrase I use for small business: ‘Unnatural growth is unnatural.’”
LBM: BUT ISN’T PUSHING THE ENVELOPE THE PATH TO SUCCESS? CH: “I went through that a couple times in my travel agencies, where I was pushing the needle too hard and grew too quickly. Then I had problems digesting that growth. Your service standards suﬀer, you lose customers, and you’re like, ‘Wait, I have more overhead, and I’m alienating my customers.’ So you have to take a breather, and say, ‘Wait, I need to slow this thing down.’” EDITOR’S NOTE: Clark Howard grew a single travel agency into a multimillion dollar business and retired before age 30 when he sold it. His second career as a consumer advocate has been even more profitable. Read more of Gary Corsair’s exclusive interview with Clark in the April edition of Healthy Living at lakehealthyliving.com
D I D YO U KNOW? SINCE THE END OF THE RECESSION (FROM MID2009 TO M I D2013), SMALL FI R M S ACCOUNTED FOR 60 PERCENT OF NEW JOBS. SMALL FIRMS IN THE 20-499 E M P L OY E E C ATE G ORY LE D J OB C R E AT I O N . — B U R EAU OF L A B O R S TA T I S T I C S
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61 2015 S E CON D QUARTE R
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62 LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E.COM
B U I L D I N G I N T H E W O R L D , B U T I F YO U D O N ’ T H AV E THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO W O R K W I T H Y O U , N O N E O F I T C O M E S T O L I F E .” — RENEE WEST
1 2015 FI R ST QUARTE R
PE OPLE MAK E TH E D I F F E R E N CE “ YO U C A N H AV E T H E B E S T S T R AT E G Y A N D T H E B E S T
H U M A N R E S O U R C E S
TAKE THIS JOB AND LOVE IT
n otherwise competent employee seems complacent and unwilling to grow. Do you replace or retain? The best solution is… hire the best people and retain them. That’s the view of Town of Lady Lake Human Resources Director Tia O’Neal, who has 14 years experience in the HR ﬁeld. Of course, that’s the simple answer. Finding topnotch employees, keeping them happy and making sure they make you happy, is tricky business. Here, O’Neal discusses the intricacies of hiring, ﬁring and training.
Q: IS IT MORE BENEFICIAL TO RETAIN OR HIRE NEW EMPLOYEES?
TO: “As an employer, our main goal is to attract and retain quality employees. Many people don’t realize how expensive it is to rehire employees. You have to factor in the cost of training, the time spent interviewing candidates and advertising costs.
Also, depending on the situation, the productivity level of the department may temporarily decrease.”
Q: IN WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN REHIRING EMPLOYEES HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT? TO: “There are some things you cannot really put numbers on. If department heads or supervisors interview candidates for two days, those are two days where they could be more productive in their own duties.”
Q: D O YOU H AVE A H IG H TU R N OV E R RATE ? TO: Fortunately, we do not. In the past few years, most of our employees who leave us do so because they’re retiring. We have longevity here. Our public works supervisor has been with us for 30 years, while our accountant has been with us for 20 years. Our town manager has also been employed with the town for 20 years and has held the
position of town manager for the past six years.”
Q: HOW IS THE TOWN OF LADY LAKE SO SUCCESSFUL IN RETAINING EMPLOYEES? TO: “For starters, we oﬀer a great beneﬁts package. We oﬀer a 4/10 work week and we pay 100 percent of the health insurance. When we attract people, I tell them
that it’s not all about the paycheck. Where else are you going to go and ﬁnd such great beneﬁts?”
Q: WHAT ELSE MAKES THE TOWN OF LADY LAKE SUCH A GREAT PLACE TO WORK? TO: “Like I mentioned before, many of our employees have been with us for a long time. Throughout the years,
64 LAKE B US I N E SS MAGAZ I N E.COM
we’ve developed wonderful working relationships. When you have people who have worked together for so long, things run like a well-oiled machine.”
ANY INSTANCES WHEN HIRING A NEW EMPLOYEE IS MORE BENEFICIAL THAN RETAINING AN EMPLOYEE?
Q: WHAT OTHER KIND OF INCENTIVES DO YOU OFFER?
TO: “There are times when a position comes open and we cannot hire
Q: ARE THERE EVER
from within. We have to look elsewhere, and sometimes you need that. It can be a very positive thing when you hire people with diﬀerent work experiences and diﬀerent life experiences. Your work population becomes more diverse, and they bring in
fresh, new perspectives. That can make the workplace interesting and fun, and employees can learn from them. Sometimes you have to rehire to ﬁnd those kinds of people.”
TO: “We also have a wellness program where participants can earn up to two days oﬀ a year. When people are happy to come to work, people don’t call in sick as much, nor do you have a high turnover rate. This helps us do our jobs more proﬁciently and economically. That’s extremely important because we’re spending taxpayers’ money and they entrust us to do our jobs as well as possible. The bottom line is happy employees help businesses thrive.”
Q: AS H U MAN R E SOU RCE DI R ECTOR, WHAT I S YOU R PH I LOSOPHY? TO: “When you have 100 people and diﬀerent personalities, conﬂict is sometimes unavoidable. However, we deal with it proactively instead of reactively. I tell employees all the time that if they have a problem to come and talk with me. I maintain an open-door policy because I want employees to have a safe, positive working environment.”
K E Y S T O R E TA I N I N G G O O D E M P L O Y E E S ( W H AT E M P L OY E E S W A N T )
• Career development opportunities and a chance to grow in their chosen field • Regular feedback on how both they and the company are doing • A chance to contribute directly to the organization and be recognized for doing so • Flexible work schedules that recognize their need for work/life balance • A good salary or wage and an opportunity to increase it over time • Benefits tailored to their individual needs
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YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR BY GARY COR SAI R
ou probably don’t want to post this on the company bulletin board. You should, however, keep this article in a locked drawer and refer to it whenever a disgruntled employee sounds oﬀ or you lose a top producer to a rival. Boss, you’re not going to like to hear this, but you’re probably not spending enough money to foster a happy workplace. “It’s expensive to have a positive company culture. It really is,” said Ken LaRoe, president of First Green Bank in Mount Dora, where the beneﬁts are “exhaustive” and the minimum salary is $30,000 (almost all tellers got raises when the policy was implemented in October). First Green Bank employees receive: • Complimentary use of a hybrid loaner vehicle for any purpose, personal or business
• 100 percent medical, dental and vision premiums paid • 401k with 100 percent employer matching up to 6 percent and no vesting period • 100 percent life insurance, AD&D, disability (short and long-term) premiums paid • Paid sabbatical for any social mission • Employer sponsored wellness beneﬁts • Reimbursement up to $500 annually of athletic competition entry fees • Complimentary healthy organic snacks and beverages • Cash incentives to purchase hybrid vehicles • 0 percent ﬁnancing on hybrid vehicles Incredible, right? And that’s not everything. You’re surely asking, “How can a business provide so many beneﬁts?” “It’s expensive,” LaRoe
TH E I D EAL PLACE TO WOR K FI R ST G R E E N BAN K
• Florida’s Best Companies to Work For, 2011, 2012, 2013 (Florida Trend Magazine) • Top 100 Companies for Working Families, 2011, 2012, 2013 (Orlando Sentinel) • Top 100 Best Places to Work, 2012 & 2013 (Outside Magazine) • Best Banks to Work For, 2013 (American Banker)
said. “But I feel like it’s a cost of doing business. I feel like we have to do it. Hopefully, it pays for itself in employee satisfaction and increased productivity.” Those areas admittedly are hard to measure, but turnover is easy to track. And it’s practically non-existent at First Green Bank. LaRoe spends very little money on advertising positions and training new employees. Instead, he spends those saved dollars on fostering a happy, vibrant atmosphere where people enjoy their jobs.
“It sounds so simple, but providing a living wage is the single most important thing you can do. It sends the message, ‘These people really care about me,’” LaRoe said. But what if you can’t increase wages or add beneﬁts? Is a positive company culture still attainable? “Do something,” LaRoe advises. “In a lot of situations, especially in the service industry, there are no beneﬁts. Regardless of what your business is, at least oﬀer paid vacation. At least help with medical beneﬁts.”
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Published on May 1, 2015
Lake Business Magazine is a niche publication with a heavy target market of business owners, CEOs, administrators, physicians, community lea...