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Technology takes to the sky in CSRA

UAV technology offers a range of commercial, emergency applications

Justin Sellers directs one of his Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) near his home in North Augusta. UAVs are a growing trend in technology for their ability to take aerial photos and for their emergency response potential. Photo by Gary Kauffman

Technology will help stop credit card fraud By Gary Kauffman You’ll soon have credit cards that will look like a chip off the old block, but they will change how consumers and businesses will use them. No longer will a swipe of the card be enough. The new cards will be embedded with electronic chips that will be inserted into a card reader. The chip will generate its own random identification number for that transaction while it is in the machine. Joe Howard of Worldpay, one of the world’s largest credit card processors, said the changes are coming because of the increased access to information. Howard was in Augusta recently to speak at a seminar hosted by the Small Business Development Center.

The people with the biggest targets on their backs are small businesses “When credit cards started the only people who were suspected of stealing were the employees because they were the only point of access,” he said. “Now the point of access is anywhere.” Cards with magnetic stripes are easy to duplicate, he said, while it is virtually See CARD FRAUD, page 2

By Gary Kauffman Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…a UAV? Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) will be more frequent sights in the skies in the coming years, and one of the pioneers in the Augusta area is Justin Sellers of Sellers Imaging. The UAVs are often called drones, although Sellers said the term drone is more commonly used for military, or weaponized, UAVs. His UAVs are armed only with cameras. The UAVs look like a high-tech remote controlled toy and they are fun to fly. But they are anything but toys. Sellers already uses them for agriculture, real estate and emergency services, and sees applications in the future in land surveying and health care. Although Sellers Imaging has been in business for only three months, Sellers is hardly a novice in the field. He worked for six years as an instructor for the Department of Defense, teaching various branches of the military and other government agencies how to fly UAVs. “I was deployed to Afghanistan five times,” he said. “My wife and I decided we were tired of me leaving and getting shot at.” He runs the business from his home in North Augusta, although it is only the second business there. See UAV TECHNOLOGY, page 4

D-Day: Businesses will become liable for credit card fraud Oct. 1 October 1 is D-Day in the credit card world, but if all goes well in your business, it should never affect you. On that day, a new law goes into effect that shifts the responsibility of credit card fraud from the credit card company to the business that took the fraudulent card. If you don’t take any bad credit cards you don’t have to worry about it, of course. If you do, it could be quite expensive. Joe Howard of Worldpay, one of the world’s largest credit card processors, said that the average fine is $60,000 for taking a fraudulent card. That’s bad enough, but your business could also be prohibited from accepting credit cards during the investigation into the fraud, which usually takes a minimum of six months. The good news is that new technology is

coming that will help protect you and your customers from stolen or fake credit cards. It just won’t arrive by Oct. 1. On the way are credit and debit cards, called EMV cards, that are embedded with chips that will make them harder to duplicate and will make transactions more secure (see Technology will help stop credit card fraud). Howard said that the new law only covers transactions that take place with the card present. Credit card payments taken over the phone or internet do not fall under the new regulations. One way businesses can help protect themselves is to become compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. See D-DAY, page 2

The new credit card processors will “trap” the card during the entire transaction rather than swiping it.

CARD FRAUD continued from page 1 impossible to clone the new chip technology. The chips will be present in both credit and debit cards. In addition to processing by direct contact, new cards – referred to as EMV cards (EMV is an acronym for Euro, Mastercard, Visa) – will also be near-field capable, meaning they can be tapped on the processing machine instead of inserted. They will also be available digitally on mobile devices, which will also have near-field capabilities. While all the new technology sounds wonderful, there is a glitch. Although some of the new cards have already been sent to consumers, few merchants in the United States have installed the new processors they need to read the cards. Most areas of the world already have at least 75 percent of their merchants set up to accept the new cards, although a smaller percentage has the cards. “The U.S. is a little backwards,” Howard said. “We have a lot of EMV cards but most of the point-of-sale places do not have the terminals they need.” It’s not surprising, then, that the United States experiences more credit card fraud ($7.1 billion in 2013) than the rest of the


continued from page 1 These standards were created through a collaborative effort between the major credit card issuers. New standards for PCI compliance, version 3.0, were instituted in January. After a business becomes PCI compliant, it must renew that compliance every year. A business can be penalized for not being PCI compliant, either financially or by reducing their ability to accept cards. PCI compliance lessens a chance of a breach in credit card security and can also be a mitigating factor if a breach occurs. “If you’re PCI compliant and there is a breach, you’re not as liable,” Howard said.

2 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

world combined ($6.8 billion in 2013). Howard said that part of the reason it has taken the United States longer to catch up to the new technology is that until now it has cost more to install the new systems than was lost through fraud. But now that the cost of fraud is exceeding the cost of the new systems, action is being taken. Some of the bigger companies, like Walmart and Target, already have the new card readers installed. But it isn’t those giants that are most susceptible to credit card fraud. “The people with the biggest targets on their backs are small businesses,” Howard said. He explained that since smaller businesses often have unsecured wi-fi networks, a thief can sit in a car in the parking lot and electronically steal credit card information. All of this is important because on Oct. 1 federal laws change to make businesses, rather than credit card companies, liable for the fraudulent use of cards (see D-Day: Businesses will become liable for fraud on page 1). Although a business will have to purchase new card processors, Howard said the changes should not affect the amount a business pays for credit card processing.

The best defense is to invest some time in learning about the new law and the processes. “Take time to educate yourself better on the security piece of this,” Howard advised. To learn more about the changes in credit card laws, visit these websites. • • • EMV-Overview.pdf

Publisher’s Notes Neil Gordon

No Nerd Zone

Use of technology spans across many types of businesses This issue is dedicated to Technology. We promise you are entering a “no nerd word” zone. Augusta is routinely ranked as one of the fastest growing communities for technology jobs, with several companies having re-located due to the new Cyber Command Center at Fort Gordon.

Our cover story by Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman introduces you to a new kind of technology, operated by a man who honed his craft of operating drones during life-and-death situations in Afghanistan. His company now provides video and data for commercial business and emergency services throughout the area. If you’ll turn to our special Technology section starting on Page 35, you’ll get to know leaders of four of the largest IT firms in the CSRA – EDTS, IntelliSystems, CMA and Premier Networx – and respect their drive to grow their respective companies by staying on top of the latest trends to help area companies operate more efficiently. Advanced Technology provides some similar services as the aforementioned four and has a unique partnership with AT&T as you’ll learn in their advertorial. Technology is also changing rapidly in the office equipment, audio visual and digital marketing spaces. We revisit Pollock Company just af-

ter their 50th Anniversary and just after unveiling new 3-D printers. Aiken Augusta Audio will support your company boardroom and your home man-cave without losing a beat! Their advertorials and “if you can dream it, we can build it” list of services are featured as well. Blended into the profiles and advertorials you’ll also find a glimpse of just how connected we’ll all be to the Internet by the year 2020. Our Business Person Of The Month is “one of our own,” columnist Charles Kelly, who is president of Computer Exchange. He, along with partner John Luther and new managing partner Zach Lewallen, celebrate 20 years in business at Computer Exchange. We thought our selection of him this month was fitting due to our technology theme. You’ve probably heard of the term “STEM” quite a bit in the last year. Many local schools are focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Millie Huff ’s story on Page


Water Park........................ 6 Star Eyes CSRA............... 22 Generation Gap............ 30

After long search, water park plans to call North Augusta home.

Former NFL player Jerome Bettis is considering the CSRA for his new business.

Buzz Bits....................12,13 Business Openings...22,23

Knowing distinct styles of four generations in the workforce can lead to more harmonious teamwork.

56 hones in on how these schools are preparing children at an increasingly younger age for what is poised to be an exploding area of employment in the near future. In addition to these articles, you’ll also find both Kelly and Kauffman, in separate columns, reminiscing about how technology has changed over the years. Kelly talks about the importance of staying up to date on technology to be a business leader, while Kauffman warns against letting technology become a taskmaster instead of a tool. You are now exiting the “no nerd word” zone.

Neil Gordon is president of Buzz on Biz, LLC and produces a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning, a daily radio show on WRDW 1630 AM, a daily website and a weekly email business newsletter in addition to Buzz on Biz, the CSRA’s only monthly business publication.

Connected Things......... 38

Lots of things other than computers are now connected to the internet and that will continue to increase.

Education............ 56 Business Events............ 32 STEM Local schools work hard on STEM curricula to prepare students for future jobs.

Social Buzz............... 61-71

Privacy Protection......... 16 Staying aware and properly using privacy settings can keep your social media accounts free of unwanted viewers.

Businessperson of the Month: Charles Kelly.... 24 The president of Computer Exchange has tweaked his business repeatedly to keep it vital and growing for 20 years.

Partridge Inn Joins Up... 19 Chamber Plans Events... 28

Partridge Inn makes it official and joins Hilton’s Curio line of eclectic inns.


The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce has a variety of events on tap.

Charles Kelly: The last 20 years of technology have been a wild ride....................................6 Gary Kauffman: Are we using technology or is it using us?.......................................................8 Mike Herrington: Life insurance can take care of you and your business.............................8 Kelsey Morrow: Waning attention spans mean your message has to be quick.............. 10 Mark Alison: Seconds count when vying for attention at a trade show............................. 10 Tim Dalton: When selling a business, deal structure is key to what you get.................... 12 Russell Head: New guidelines issued about who is, isn’t an employee.............................. 14 Eddie Kennedy: Three value disciplines place businesses among the leaders................ 16 Jeb Blount: Coaching takes sales staff beyond mere head knowledge............................. 18 Pam Hanson: Technology gives new life to old concept of bartering................................. 18 Jeff Asselin: Quick, catchy subject lines will get you more email opens............................ 20 Christine Hall: Exchanging properties can defer capital gains taxes................................... 20

Technology................35-47 Read about nine businesses who are among the leaders in area technology.

Laurel and Hardy.......... 61 The Oliver Hardy Festival in Harlem Oct. 3 celebrates local comedy legend and his sidekick.

Barry Paschal: Marketers, Pinterest conspire to empty dad’s pockets................................ 26 Susan O’Keefe: Sandwich City offers simple fare but a quality experience...................... 52 Brian Hendricks: Veterans gain skills at college, give experience to others ..................... 54 Steve Swanson: Have a plan in place when considering a job change.............................. 56 Ben Casella: Reviewer starts season early with two dark brews............................................ 62 Samantha Taylor: A look at a couple of shows celebrating the gridiron............................ 62 Margaret Centers: Climbing to top of Machu Picchu highlights trip to Peru................... 64 Marin Rose: Supporting the arts has many benefits for businesses.................................... 64 Jonathan Karow: Tara Scheyer passes on her love of music to children............................ 66 Nora Blithe: No one can afford to reward house work what it’s worth............................... 70 McKenna Hydrick: A simple shampoo keeps a dog’s skin clean and healthy.................. 70

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


UAV TECHNOLOGY continued from page 1 His wife, Hilary, has run her Cakes That Awe business from their home for about a year. Sellers’ UAVs have gained some attention locally in the past few months because he’s been asked to help in search-and-rescue operations. In one such operation in the Graniteville area, Sellers’ UAV searched a 60-acre area in 15 minutes. “One of the bloodhound guys said it would have taken about 20 people and two hours to search that area (on foot),” Sellers said. Sellers controls the UAV from his “cockpit on the ground,” a TV screen that shows what the UAV is seeing and a laptop computer with hundreds of controls. The UAVs can range up to two miles away, but Sellers keeps them in his line of sight. His largest unit can fly a little over half an hour on one battery charge. The smaller unit has about 10 minutes of flying time per battery. Emergency and commercial applications Because of the quick response time and the ability to get into tight areas, UAVs are attracting the attention of police and fire departments. Sellers even has had officials from coastal communities ask about a UAV that can carry a life preserver to a compromised swimmer to keep him afloat until the life guard can reach him. The UAV technology can also be vital in a hazardous materials spill, such as the one in Graniteville 10 years ago. He can attach a sensor to a UAV that can tell how much of a chemical remains in the air, adding to the knowledge and safety of a hazmat team. A surprising application for his work has been in the real estate market. “In real estate it’s common for a realtor to take a couple of pictures with an iPhone and put up a horrible-looking slide show,” Sellers said. “I can come to a site, take full motion video inside and out (with a traditional video camera) and aerial, then I put together a three-minute video.” Sellers owns more than 140 real estate websites. He bought them on a whim because “I was really bored while I was in Afghanistan.”

One of Sellers’ UAVs showing the camera mounted below it. Photo by Gary Kauffman

UAVs also have applications in agriculture. Sellers can fly one of his UAVs with a sensor over a farm field and pinpoint an area, or even a specific plant, that is not getting enough nutrients or water. Lower cost than helicopters Sellers said companies – especially emergency response teams – are seeing the value in what UAVs offer over traditional helicopter flights. “Ultimately, we’re doing two things: We’re saving money and we’re reducing risk,” Sellers said. He said that when a helicopter goes down, it can have devastating results, often with the loss of life. “But if an unmanned aircraft goes down, what happens? You have to replace parts and you’re good to go,” he said. Maintaining a helicopter is also costly, often in the range of $1,000 an hour. Sellers’ UAVs require maintenance after about 250 hours, at a cost of around $500. “For the cost of maintaining one helicopter you can buy 10 of my search-and-rescue platforms,” Sellers added. Since the commercial applications of UAVs are so new, few regulations exist for it. The FAA has issued some guidelines that

Sellers follows voluntarily, such as not flying above 400 feet. Although his largest UAV can top out at about 10,000 feet, Sellers said he has no need to be higher than about 40 feet above the tree tops. Before doing any of his commercial flights, Sellers said he contacts the air traffic controllers in the area as well as the medevac units to let them know where he’ll be flying and how high. Regulations, legal issues still in limbo There have also been concerns about invasion of privacy with UAVs, but Sellers said all rules that apply to regular aircraft

apply to UAVs. “The legal view of invasion of privacy is that if it’s outside your home, it’s not private,” Sellers said. “In my opinion, it’s no different having my UAV flying over your home than a police helicopter flying over.” Still, Sellers notifies people when he plans to fly over their homes. He said most homeowners are fine with it, but he is sensitive to those who want him to not fly over. “I’m not going to fly over your house if you don’t want me to,” he said. The FAA, Congress and other government agencies are still working on creating regulations for the UAVs. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has asked Sellers to review pending legislation and give advice on the pros and cons of it. Sellers said he knows of two other UAV imaging companies in the CSRA, although none has been in business longer than his three months. “I expect it to be like the dotcom bubble,” he said. “A lot of companies will start up but only a few of the quality companies will remain.” One future application for UAVs is in the health care industry. Sellers said there are UAVs that can carry a defibrillator that can reach a scene up to 10 minutes before emergency personnel – minutes that are often the difference in saving a life. “That’ll be happening in the next five to 10 years,” Sellers said. “Sooner, if I have anything to say about it.”

THE CSRA’S ONLY MONTHLY BUSINESS MAGAZINE The Buzz on Biz mission is to act as an inspirational tool for those in the workplace and those who are entrepreneurs, and to provide useful, practical information to increase their companies’ bottom lines. To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $36 to cover postage to the address below. Publisher Neil R. Gordon Editor in Chief Gary Kauffman/803-341-5830 Sales Manager Neil R. Gordon/706-589-6727 Sales Janine Garropy/803-480-2800 Design Gary Kauffman Photography Gary Kauffman

Writers Millie Huff, Kelsey Morrow, Susan O’Keefe Calendar Coordinator Kelsey Morrow Distribution Janine Garropy, Ken Brown , Anne Marie Patterson Submit Information

Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Buzz on Biz LLC or its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only.

For more information, visit us at or like us on Facebook Sellers can monitor in real time what the UAV’s camera is seeing.

4 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

3740 Executive Center Drive, #300, Martinez, GA 30907

Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Tech Charles Kelly

Riding the Tiger

Last 20 years of technology changes have been a wild ride We business owners crave predictability and stability because these allow us to plan for the future and work at a steady, profitable pace. The last 20 years have been almost completely unpredictable at best and totally chaotic at worst, depending on your industry. Think back 20 years to how you ran your business and even conducted your lives. If you transported someone from 1995 to 2015, they wouldn’t even be able to carry on a conversation, much less understand the business landscape. Here’s what that might sound like... “Hey, Bill, scan that document, upload it to Drop Box and text me when the webinar starts.” (Blank stare from Bill) “Bill! Get the new hire signed up for that hybrid class, make sure his certs are up to date and Facebook me about the LAN party.” (Bill manages a stutter.) “Hey, Bill! I got mine on Groupon!” (Bill is very confused and thinks Groupon sounds vaguely naughty) “Hey, Bill, I’m headed to a Bush for President rally! Meet me there later! Use your phone to Mapquest it! Oh and text me a pic of that valve when the 3D printer finishes it, Google it, Pin it, Vine me, Whisper it, Snapchat me and Yak it! Gibberish, Gibberish, Gibberish. The only thing Bill understands is that Bush is running for president, so it must still be the ‘90s...things have really changed. So, we have seen enormous change but most of us can converse in 2015 language because we lived through the changes. But consider the things that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Here’s the short list: Google, Youtube, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, Pin-

terest, Snapchat, Vine, Whisper, Yak, Uber, Airbnb, Ebay, DSL, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, streaming, data mining, online banking. Neither did the iPod, iPhone, iPad, tablet or phablet, crowd sourcing, flash mobs, kickstarter, citizen journalism and body cams. How has technology changed business and life in the last 20 years? You might as well ask how the automobile changed transportation or how the airplane changed travel and war. I believe that the technological changes we have seen in the last 20 years are only the beginning of what will be an increasingly blistering pace of change and innovation that will, in the next 20 years, revolutionize transportation, medicine, science, energy, banking, education, communication, entertainment, societal interaction and business, creating neither utopian nor dystopian societies but a blend of the two, which is what we have now. Making my living as a provider of technology since 1990 has given me a front row seat to these stunning changes but it hasn’t insulated me from the waves of change. Running our business has been like skiing downhill in a snowstorm. Miss one turn, zig instead of zag, take your eye off the slope and you’re tumbling into a ditch. Ask Kodak about that. Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975, two years after Paul Simon wrote and recorded “Kodachrome,” but held the belief that they owned the market. And so an iconic, brilliantly branded, staple of Americana, owner of 90 percent of the market, zigged when they should have zagged. Now they’re a shadow of their former selves. When we opened, the internet was new to most people, the squealing/static of 14.4 k modems were everywhere, we still had home telephones, analogue cell phones and pay phones were still on most street corners. And computers

were beige – not white or off white, but awful, ugly beige. The modems are silent now but changes in business, which used to come in fits and starts, now come at a blistering pace that startles the experts, again and again. Whoever imagined that a thing called “social media” would be a key aspect of advertising or that Twitter would rule presidential politics (for the moment, at least)? If you were a consumer, it was amusing, interesting and empowering to live through the changes of the last 20 years. If you owned a business that was affected by technology as most were, it could be terrifying – like riding a tiger. We business guys like to think that things have settled down, that we have ridden the tiger and landed on safe ground, but these things that feel like

stability are just pauses. So keep your technology healthy, current and up to date and watch the horizon, because things are coming fast – things we cannot imagine yet. Through it all, though, remember that your customers are people and your focus and attention to them must never waver. We may not need roads where we are going, but we will always need customers. That, my fellow business owners, is the predictable constant that you can rely on for the next 20 years…and beyond. Charles Kelly is President of Computer Exchange, with four locations in the CSRA: South Augusta, North Augusta, Martinez and Grovetown. Computer Exchange specializes in computer solutions for home and business. For answers to your computer questions, email him at

Water park finds a home in North Augusta North Augusta could be in for a wet summer in 2016. Developers of Scuttle’s Island Water Park and representatives from North Augusta announced that the 40-acre water park will be built next to the Walmart Super Center off Exit 5 of I-20 in North Augusta. The park is slated to be open by Memorial Day next year. The $21 million water park is expected to draw 200,000-300,000 visitors a year and provide a significant boost to the North Augusta economy. A water park is considered a destination event that draws visitors who also spend money at restaurants, gas stations and even hotels. The pirate-themed water park will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week be-

6 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

tween Memorial Day and Labor Day. It will have 12 full-time employees and more than 90 seasonal employees. Scuttle’s Island will have 24 attractions, including the tallest water slides in the Southeast, the second-largest wave pool in the Southeast and a 15,000-square-foot interactive Kid Zone. It will also feature two full-service restaurants and four quick-service restaurants. The park had originally been planned for land next to Lights of the South in Grovetown. As late as April of this year those plans seemed to be on track but owner Benjamin Bell and county officials could never reach an agreement on various permit issues.

Infrastructure, which had been a big concern in Columbia County, appears to not be an issue for the new location. Edgefield

Road (SR 25) already has four or six lanes through that area, and water and sewer lines for commercial development are in place.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Lessons Gary Kauffman

Tech Taskmaster

As technology increases, are we using it or is it using us? The other day the printer in our office was being a bit balky. While trying to figure out the problem, I told our Millennial media assistant that back in the day we used carbon paper to make copies. “What’s carbon paper?” she asked. I explained the concept of the thin sheet of paper that I inserted between sheets of typing paper so that when I pounded on the keys of my manual typewriter, it would leave a black imprint of what I’d typed on the second sheet. “But what if you wanted more than one copy?” she asked. “Then we used a mimeograph machine.” “What’s a mimeograph machine?” Those of you over age 45 will probably remember the chemical-smelling, smeared blue print of tests run off the school’s mimeograph machines. For those of you younger, google it. Besides making me feel ancient, that conversation drove home just how much technology has changed in

Business Advice Mike Herrington

Planning Ahead

Life insurance can take care of your family and business September is life insurance awareness month. So, what does this mean for you and your business? Read on: When John and Anne Gongos met they knew at once they were meant to be together. And so they began creat-

8 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

my lifetime. When I was a kid a computer filled an entire room. Now my grandkids play with smart phones that have more computing power than those old pickup-sized monsters. When I bought my first computer for business in 1996, I opted for the one with the 3.2 gigabyte hard drive. People laughed when I told them – when would I ever use that much space? Now, less than 20 years later, computers come with terabyte hard drives and you can’t buy a flash drive with less than 8 gigabytes. Over the years, as technology progressed to transistor radios, microwaves, computers, smart phones and now household systems that can be controlled remotely, people projected that someday we would have more lei-

Yes, mimeograph machines really did exist. Wikimedia via National Archives

sure time than work time. When you’ve finished laughing at that, you’ll probably agree that as technology has increased, so has the demand on our time. In fact, technology seems to have increased the demand on our work time because we can do so much more with it. The work I do by myself for our Buzz on Biz print edition used to be the efforts of at least four people. That’s not counting the additional work I do with our website and other platforms.

It’s not because I’m a modern-day Superman, it’s because the work has compressed through technology. It’s even increased our ability to multi-task. My wife and I were both working from home one day and I found her doing tasks on her laptop and tablet simultaneously. And we can’t seem to ever really get away from our work because of the way technology connects us. Recently my wife and I went on vacation. We’d barely left before she was answering emails from her phone. I chastised her that we were on vacation – and then later found myself doing the same thing. Studies have shown that few business people can take a true vacation – the internet and smart phones keep them tied to the office even when they’re away. Even our leisure time is often spent perusing Facebook or other social media, or watching TV and movies on a computer. I’m even guilty

ing a life together built on respect, faith and raising their three children. As their family grew, John’s business, Gongos Research, did as well. It was not only thriving financially, but it was a place where employees loved to work. It was like an extended family. John felt compelled to care for both his families — the one at home and the one at work. As a child, John saw firsthand what happened when there was no life insurance. His father died at 43, leaving his mother to raise three children with no financial resources. Later, one of his first bosses died in his early 50s leaving his business affairs in disarray. As a consequence, John worked closely with insurance professional Craig Wiklunk, CLU, ChFC, to ensure that neither his family nor his business would suffer if something happened to him. A key piece they put in place was a business succession plan, funded with life insurance. Craig also made sure that John had adequate personal life

insurance. That planning was fortuitous. An acute stomach pain that sent John to the emergency room turned out to be cancer. He died just nine days later at age 51. “The grief was overwhelming,” Anne said. But one thing she didn’t have to worry about then or into the future was money. She received the death benefit proceeds from John’s personal life insurance policy and money from the sale of the business, which was all laid out in the succession plan. In addition, the business transition went as planned, and the 100-plus employees that John considered family were able to keep their jobs and help the company thrive under the new owners. “Because of the planning John and Craig did, my family is taken care of for life and the company is doing great,” Anne said. “Life insurance was truly John’s final gift to us.”

Technology seems to have increased the demand on our work time

of reading books on my tablet. In fact, we’ve become so accustomed to technology that we can barely function without it. Not long ago I went to the store to pick up a few grocery items and forgot to take my phone along. I felt like I was walking into the store without pants. I was only gone about a half-hour but I felt as if the world was passing me by because I didn’t have that stupid phone. And yet, less than 20 years ago I could be gone all day without a phone and never think twice about it. But sometimes it’s not only nice but necessary to unplug, to renew without technology. On date nights my wife and I have started leaving our phones at home, or at least in the car, so we aren’t distracted by them. I will sometimes purposely leave my phone in another room on weekends just so I’m not tempted by it. And I’m learning to delegate tasks, or simply saying no to tasks, even though through technology I could probably do them myself. I don’t have any desire to go back to the days of carbon paper or mimeograph machines. But I do think it’s important to remember that a technology is a tool we use and not a taskmaster that uses us. Gary Kauffman is Editor in Chief of Buzz on Biz and manages the content for print and web publications. He moved from Indiana to the CSRA in December 2013. Prior to moving here, he ran his own graphic design/advertising business for 17 years where he worked with many small businesses. You can reach him at

A key piece was a business succession plan, funded with life insurance As a business owner, you’re responsible for two families: The one you have at home and the one you have through work. That’s why it’s important to have life insurance coverage to protect both. Mike Herrington is President of Herrington Financial Services, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisor. He is a Certified Financial Planner licensee(CFP), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a Certified Estate Planner(CEP). He has been serving clients in the CSRA since 1984. Contact him at 706-8688673 or

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Social Media Kelsey Morrow

Goldfish Wins

Waning attention spans mean your message has to be quick Congratulations fellow human beings, we now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. According to a recent study from the Microsoft Corporation, a goldfish can focus on a single stimuli for 9 seconds at a time. However, from the year 2000 until now, the average human’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to a miniscule 8 seconds. Aside from being an interesting piece of trivia, keeping this information in mind can help you more successfully market your business. How many of you have clicked on a webpage or video link, but then changed your mind when it took more than a few seconds to load? Or how many of you have been checking your social media newsfeed, seen a lengthy post,

and scrolled right past it? How many of you are still reading this? How can you keep your business’s message from becoming background noise? • Make sure your webpage is optimized for mobile-viewing: An overwhelming amount of people now surf the web on their smartphones. If your webpage does not properly fit their phone screen or directs them to view it on a desktop device, chances are they won’t even bother. • Keep your social media posts as short as possible: Most social media platforms already put limits on content to keep it as brief as possible. For example, Twitter limits you to 140 characters (yes, characters, not words), Instagram limits video lengths to 15 seconds, and the longest setting for content on Snapchat is a mere 10 seconds. However, you must be conscious of this even on applications that don’t impose limits, such as Facebook. Just because you can post a novel as a status update does not mean that you should. Social media browsers are typically only mentally-prepared for quick updates. Large bodies of text in a status update tend to look overwhelming and uninviting to the readers. • Put the most important information first: Even in longer publications, such as newspapers and magazines, when your reader is more likely to be

Business Marketing Mark Alison

Blink of an Eye

Seconds count when vying for attention at a trade show Read this sentence. Stop. The time it took to glance at those opening three words and read them in your mind is about the same time you have to catch the attention of an average aisle walker at a trade show. If your booth is 10x10 or even 10x20, which the vast majority of booths are, you have about one second to grab enough attention to earn another four seconds before the potential customer walks by. But if you are unfortunate enough to be across the aisle from a great booth, your customer may walk by without

10 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

looking your way at all. I’ve walked by thousands of booths, and watched tens of thousands of show attendees as they came down the aisle over the past 34 years. My goal was to find out how to make our clients’ booths work better. So, here are a few thoughts about making your show dollars work. Bright colors work. Muted colors can work, too, when there is enough white space to allow them to create a mood – but be careful. Using an earth tone palate in a 10x10 space can be like using camouflage. I witnessed this first hand recently at the International Housewares Show in Chicago. I observed two booths side by side on the left of the aisle, one featuring a bright color scheme and the other muted. Attendees actually looked to the right side of the aisle after passing the colorful booth and walked by the muted one with their heads turned. Keep the primary message at eye level. More emphatically, any written message below the waist is useless. Put a storage case below waist level if you need to make use of the space. Make it black to draw their eye upwards. Keep the message simple. You real-

expecting longer pieces of text, it still doesn’t mean that they will read the entire story. If readers only took away one piece of information from your piece, what would you want that to be? Put that first. According to a recent study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average reader only spends 30 minutes each day reading newspapers and magazines. Unless something really grabs a reader’s interest, they tend to look at

headlines and first paragraphs, but not much else. Keep these tips in mind and you can market your business effectively, even at a time when the average attention span is…oh look, a squirrel!

ize you only have a moment to catch their attention so don’t try to write the Winds of War on your booth. You can tell them the whole story after they stop – but they have to stop first. Simple means one powerful statement or image designed to engage them for more than the initial glance. Some I saw at the IHA were: “Pop Up Storage,” “Mini Torch,” “Got Any Lately,” “A Cool New Way to Chill,” and “Homemade Made Easy.” All of these are quick and can be spelled out on one line. Use a demonstration. Not everyone can put a demo in the booth but having something in hand, if possible, while you stand near the aisle will increase the likelihood of eye contact. This can be as simple as holding a part of your product. Did I mention “stand” near the aisle? Not sitting around a table. You are on display as much as the booth is. Keep the booth open. Don’t place a table between you and the attendee. Set the table off to the side. Give them permission to enter by not placing a barrier between you and the aisle. Giveaway items don’t work. If you want to give something away, make it exclusive to those who stop and talk

with you. Otherwise, it is just an expense you don’t need. If you do give something away, even as simple as a piece of candy, put your brand and contact information on it. If there is room, imprint it with the same central message you have on your booth. Use lights. Even pop-up booths come with light kits. Focus them on your central idea. Let the arena lighting cover the rest. You don’t need to light up the room, just the piece of your booth you want to use to grab their attention. A crowd attracts a crowd. Once you get a customer or two into your space, bring them in by stepping backward into the booth. There is no table between you and them, remember? Keep them as long as you can while others who are curious also stop to see what the draw is. If you can keep that string going, you will have a successful show.

Kelsey Morrow is the Media Assistant at Buzz on Biz and handles its social media accounts. She has a Masters in Public Relations from the University of Georgia. You can contact her at

Mark Alison is President of The Alison Group (started in 1982) with offices in Augusta and Charlotte. TAG s a B2B Marketing and Communication Company with a rich history of creating new business growth. Contact Mark at

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Riverview Park voted best in South Carolina

North Augusta’s Riverview Park is the best in South Carolina. The North Augusta park was given the Parks Excellence Award for communities under 30,000 population. The 149-acre park has multiple baseball and softball diamonds, a playground, a large activities center that hosts national youth basketball tournaments and access to the Greeneway. Representatives from the park will receive the award at the annual meeting in Myrtle Beach on Oct. 19.

Unemployment rate better than a year ago Augusta’s unemployment rate jumped slightly in July but is still more than a percentage point better than the year before. The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week that Metro Augusta’s unemployment rate for July was 7.1 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from 6.8 percent in June. But the rate in July 2014 was 8.4 percent. There were also more jobs in the area than a year ago. July of this year numbers show 6,500 more jobs than in July 2014. Most of the job growth came in leisure and hospitality, trade, transportation and warehousing, education and health services and local government. However, jobs did decrease by 500 from June to July of this year. The job losses came in local and state government and retail trade, transportation and warehousing. Also, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 550, or 34 percent, to 2,167 in July. Most of the increase came in manufacturing, administrative and support services, wholesale trade and construction. Over the year, claims were up by 179, or 9.0 percent, from 1,988 in July 2014.      The labor force grew to 258,527, an increase of 1,586 from June.

buzz bits As job seekers enter the labor force, they’re counted as unemployed until they find work. In July 2014, the labor force was 257,424. Meanwhile, Georgia’s seasonallyadjusted unemployment rate for July was 6.0 percent, down from 6.1 percent in June. It was 7.2 percent in July 2014.  

EDTS named to two SC fast growth lists EDTS continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and continues to receive awards for it. The IT services company specializing in managed IT services, network security and advanced infrastructure for Southeastern businesses, has been named to the two premier lists of rapidly growing businesses in South Carolina. Both the Roaring Twenties and South Carolina’s Fastest-Growing Companies lists include EDTS among their 2015 honorees, organizers of the programs have announced. EDTS’ specific rankings in the two competitions will be announced in October at separate ceremonies in Columbia. EDTS is headquartered in Augusta but has South Carolina offices in Greenville, Columbia and Aiken. “Coupled with our sixth straight year on the Inc. 5000 list, this honor reflects the growing regional recognition of EDTS as an IT service provider that is committed to providing the highest level of support to a growing client base,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of EDTS. “All of us at EDTS are proud to have earned this recognition and we are committed to keeping our clients’ business networks running at the highest levels of performance, security and efficiency.” Twenty large companies and 20 small companies have been named to the statewide Roaring Twenties list presented annually by SC Biz News. This honor recognizes the state’s bestperforming companies based on both dollar growth and percentage increases in revenue from 2013-2014.

12 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

TEDxAugusta looking for speakers for upcoming event

Are you a thinker? A doer? An idea generator? Whatever you have to say or whatever field you’re in, if you have an “idea worth spreading,” you just might be a candidate to speak at TEDxAugusta. Now in its third year, TEDxAugusta has announced a call for speakers for its next event, set for January 29, 2016. This year’s event will take place at the Imperial Theater in downtown Augusta. Anyone with an idea to share is eligible to apply, and past speakers have included artists, musicians, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, techies, innovators, writers, reporters, politicians and more. This year’s talk topics should relate to TEDxAugusta’s 2016 theme: Autonomy.  Organizers also work with speakers to help them practice and rehearse prior to the event. For specific guidelines on how to be an effective TEDx speaker, as well as videos

EDTS was honored in the Roaring Twenties Large Company group, which requires more than over $10 million in revenue. The winners will be honored at an event on Oct. 28 in Columbia.

Auto center manager on magazine cover

The manager of an Augusta automotive center has become a cover model. Amanda Clements, manager of C&C Automotive’s West Augusta location, appears on the cover of the latest edition of Ratchet & Wrench magazine. Ratchet & Wrench is a national publication for auto care center owners and operators. Clements appears on the cover as part of an article on the next generation moving into the car care business. Clements, 29, is the daughter of Aaron Clements, who owns both C&C Automotive locations. “Amanda has always had a

of past TEDxAugusta talks, visit The online application is available at The call for speakers closes on Sept. 30.  TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED talks, video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x equals an independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are selforganized. mind of her own – a very smart mind – and a lot of drive and discipline,” Aaron Clements said. “So it didn’t really surprise me when she expressed a desire to launch and run our first expansion effort. And she has done an amazing job from day one.” The automotive industry is a switch for Clements. She went to college with an eye towards a career in medicine, then added a few business courses to pad her resume for medical school admissions applications. That’s when she fell in love with the business world.

Big money events on tap for September September will be a big month for visitors coming to Augusta. The Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council expect the September events to generate at least $7,678,561 in direct visitor spending. 

The biggest event will be the Ironman 70.3 race Sept. 27-29, which is expected to bring in slightly more than $4 million in direct spending. The 35th annual Arts in the Heart Festival Sept. 18-20 will also top the $1 million mark, with expected spending to reach $1.73 million. Direct visitor spending is calculated based on research commissioned by both the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Destination Marketing Association International in conjunction with globally recognized research vendors, the US Travel Association and Tourism Economics. Tourism Economics, a partner company of Oxford Economics, created the industry standard in event economic impact analysis using localized metrics that are updated annually.                        

Casinos could fund HOPE scholarship Georgia’s HOPE scholarship may soon have hope of receiving additional financial assistance. A legislative committee dedicated to the preservation of the HOPE Scholarship program has recently announced two September meetings regarding the legalizing of land-based casinos in Georgia. The meeting’s announcement comes after speculation that MGM Resorts International proposed plans to build a $1 billion Las Vegas-style casino in downtown Atlanta. A report on the decision is expected by Dec. 1 of this year. The HOPE Scholarship program was launched in 1993 as a way to attract high-achieving Georgia high school students to state college and universities. As long as the students maintain a 3.0 or above grade point average, HOPE covers their college tuition and school expenses. However, recently funding for the scholarship has been lacking. If land-based casinos are legalized, they are expected to bring in nearly $250 million in revenue for the HOPE Scholarship and other educational programs in Georgia.

Innovation Summit set for Oct. 6

If you have a great idea and want to turn it into the next big thing, you could get help for free. Registration is now open for the Innovation Summit 2015, sponsored by the Office of Innovation Commercialization and the Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University and the Savannah River National Laboratory. The event will take place 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Oct. 6 at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. There is no cost to attend the summit, but space is limited and registration is required at summit. Breakfast and lunch are included. Experienced innovators speaking at the event will share trends, strategies and advice and could assist people in transforming their big ideas into great products and services. “We’re very excited to host this third annual event which celebrates innovation, highlights how that innovation moves into the marketplace and inspires us all to take those next steps and dare to make a difference,” said Chris McKinney, associate vice president of Innovation Commercialization at GRU.

The Alley in Aiken getting makeover The Alley in Aiken, a popular section of the downtown containing several restaurants, will get a facelift. Construction started this week with removal of trees and will continue in three phases. The purpose of the construction is to place The Alley’s power lines underground. It will also work to reduce stormwater from the downtown that has in the past drained into the streets. The work includes archways at either end of The Alley, plus lights and trees. The project is projected to cost $1.25 million. All businesses are expected to stay open

buzz bits

during the construction. Officials expect the work to be completed by the end of April. It will be put on hold during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well as during the Spring Steeplechase and The Masters.

Response Team 1 among top 500 in nation

Response Team 1, which recently purchased First General Services in Grovetown, has been ranked in Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies. Response Team 1 specializes in property restoration, disaster loss recovery and renovations. It is based in the Chicago area. The company bought First General Services in June and retained all of its staff. It operates under the name Poole’s Restoration, a Response Team 1 company. Response Team 1 ranked 352 on the Inc. 500 list and is the ninth fastest-growing company in the nation. “To be included among the top 500 companies on the Inc. list for a second consecutive year demonstrates our ongoing commitment to building our business,” said John M. Goense, chairman and chief executive officer of Response Team 1. “Over the last three years we added 560 employees to the RT1 team. Our success is due to the talent, dedication and hard work of our employees. “As we grow in the U.S. market, we will continue to make it our mission to provide the highest quality service while delivering optimal results to our customers.”

Zapata Tech named to two growth lists Zapata Technology, Inc. of Augusta has been named to two prestigious growth lists. Zapata ranked 44th on Washington Technology’s Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing small business contractors in the government market. This is the second

Augusta Entertainment Complex has best year ever The Augusta Entertainment Complex had its best year ever, with a net operating position of $260,117. That is 57 percent better than the year before. Since taking over in 2008, management provider Spectra has cut the operating subsidy in half and has generated gross sales of $31.5 million. “Spectra continues to achieve new levels of operational excellence while ensuring the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium are the premier entertainment venues in our region,” said Chairman Cedric Johnson, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority. More than 236,000 customers visited the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium in 2014-15, attending  96 different concerts, Broadway shows, comedies, and family shows. These events included Elton John, The Beach Boys, Kevin Hart, Alan Jackson, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jay Leno, John Fogerty, The O’Jays, WWE, Jerry Seinfeld, Mamma Mia, Heart, Paramore and Augusta Beerfest. “We take great pride in de-

year for Zapata on the Fast 50 list with a 60.33 percent compound annual growth rate.   Zapata was also named to the Inc. Magazine list of 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America, ranking 781st on the list. This is the second year that Zapata has made the list, moving up from last year’s ranking at 1080 on the list. Growth of the company was 571 percent for 2014 with a revenue of $4.2 million. Founded in 2007, Zapata Technology is a certified, veteranowned, and self-certified Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) IT consulting company. The Zapata team works with clients to identify needs and integrates technology (products and specialized services) to enhance organizational performance in the areas of emerging technologies, information technology, and intelligence and cyber solutions. 

livering unforgettable customer experiences,” said Spectra’s Chris Bird, General Manager of the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium. “We are particularly grateful for the support of the promoters, agents, and managers who bring their shows to the CSRA, to our clients, partners and sponsors, and of course, to our guests who are at the center of everything we do.” The Authority first hired the three Spectra divisions in 2008 to leverage industry relationships and bring entertainment to Augusta. “The financial return, the synergies that result from having common goals and the unified customer service strategy is first class,” added Johnson. “I have seen first-hand how Spectra’s

Georgia Power wins TAG award

The Georgia Power – East Region Corporate Outreach of Augusta was one of the winners of a STEM award from the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and the TAG Education collaborative (TAG-Ed). The awards were announced in Atlanta on Aug. 29. These awards were created to recognize and celebrate schools, extracurricular programs, publicprivate partnerships, science agencies and post-secondary education outreach programs for outstanding efforts and achievement in supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education in Georgia. “High-tech careers are some of the most in-demand and

one-team approach creates more impact, which is so important for venues like ours”. In celebration of the Augusta Entertainment Complex having its best year ever the Complex is promoting The Big Ticket Sweepstakes where one lucky fan will win the opportunity to receive two tickets to every ticketed event at the James Brown Arena and The Bell Auditorium in the upcoming season. To enter the contest, fans must visit or go to the James Brown Arena or Bell Auditorium Facebook pages. Entries will be collected until Thursday, Sept. 24. Fans will enter to win a pair of tickets to every ticketed event at the two venues. highest paying jobs in our country and the anticipated shortage of employees is staggering,” said Amanda Hendley, Chief Operating Officer for TAG. “Our 2015 STEM Education Award winners are the best of the best and are making a major impact on workforce development in Georgia.” Georgia Power – East Region Corporate Outreach (GPCER) implements Education and Workforce Development programs by focusing on two components: integration and initiation. The integration component leverages existing state and national programs to build local career awareness and educational programs for the next generations of energy workers. Initiation develops programs that target Georgia Power’s specific needs in building our workforce pipeline. 

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Leverage Tim Dalton

Let’s Make a Deal

When selling a business, deal structure is key to what you get You’ve decided to sell your business and you reach that happy day when you have what sounds to you like an acceptable offer. But an old saying in the business brokerage industry is, “It is not what you get, it is what you keep.” Deal structure can mean everything in what a seller is going to keep in proceeds from the sale of their business. When selling a business, there are mainly two types of transactions to consider, a stock sale or an asset sale. Typically a buyer will desire an asset sale. In this type of transaction the buyer only purchases the assets of the business and does not purchase the stock or corporation from the seller. This represents probably 95 percent of all small- to medium-sized business sales. The buyer will form a new corporate structure and assume the assets of the business. This gives a buyer protection from any potential liabilities of the previous owner, as they are now a new company. There are also some tax advantages to the buyer with re-depreciation of the assets that are purchased. A stock

sale versus an asset sale will have different tax liabilities to a seller, but as mentioned, you can almost always count on an offer to be structured as an asset sale. The next consideration is how is the sale going to be allocated? Different areas of the sale allocation have differing tax liabilities. As a general rule, the sales price is allocated into four general areas to include the furniture, fixtures and equipment value, inventory value, goodwill and a noncompete. As a seller you will need to get with your accountant and have them determine what will be taxed as capital gains, ordinary income or other tax consequences as it relates to your specific financial situation. Other considerations could be consulting agreements paid to the seller as a form of compensation and seller-financed notes. The last area that needs to be addressed is what happens with the cash in the company, accounts receivable/ payable, work in progress or retainages. All these areas need to be spelled out in any offer from a buyer. A real world example: A business we had listed for sale received two offers, one for $3.5 million and the other for $4 million. On the surface it looked like one offer was $500,000 better, but as we examined both offers with the seller, the lower offer of $3.5 million actually was going to net the seller more from the sale. In that offer the seller was going to keep the cash in the company ($400,000) and the receivables ($700,000), but he was also respon-

Business Benefits Russell Head

All Work and No Pay New guidelines issued about who is, is not an employee

Over the summer, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance and proposed regulations that could significantly affect how businesses classify and pay their workers. While it may have been a while since these issues were visited by many employers, the coming months will

14 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

be a good time to review and update the policies and practices regarding worker classifications in your organization. Let’s look at the various classifications of workers, and how the changes will affect each one. Independent Contractors Sometimes an employee isn’t an employee at all. An independent contractor is one who offers special skills for a fee, but retains control over how and when the work is done. The use of independent contractors is attractive to employers because neither taxes, benefits nor workers compensation insurance premiums are owed for these workers. New DOL guidance was issued on July 15 that narrows the definition for these workers, suggesting the use of the much more subjective six-factor economic realities test in determining worker status. Employers are urged to research the more restrictive criteria to be sure all independent contractors are properly classified. Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees Once it is determined that a worker is

sible for payables ($125,000). All told this added $975,000 to the $3.5 million, making the total pre-tax proceeds $4.475 million. The second offer was for $4 million, but the buyer wanted cash from the company equal to the payables ($125,000) leaving the seller with $275,000 in cash. They wanted all the receivables ($700,000) and they wanted the seller to pay all current payables ($125,000). Some quick math shows the seller’s pre-tax proceeds would be $4.15 million. When compared to the pre-tax proceeds of the lower offer, the seller actually benefited an additional

$325,000 by accepting the lower offer. So when evaluating an offer to purchase your business, remember that how the deal is structured and what your tax liabilities will be need to be considered to determine whether an offer is acceptable or not.

in fact an employee, they must be further categorized as either exempt (i.e., exempt from overtime) or non-exempt. New proposed regulations provided by the DOL in June suggest a revision of the rules for the “white collar exemptions” defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Specifically, the proposed rule seeks (1) to increase the salary requirement to be considered exempt from about $23,000 to as much as $50,000 per year, and (2) to apply automatic annual salary requirement updates. The deadline for commenting on these proposals ended Sept. 4. Final regulations are expected perhaps as soon as early 2016, and will become effective sometime after that. Unpaid Interns A last category of workers to be examined is that of unpaid interns. Interns are generally permitted to work in government and non-profit organizations without compensation. However, for-profit employers are allowed a very limited exception for unpaid interns who are in training, ideally as part of a

formal educational program, and who receive the primary benefit from the internship program. Recent rulings from the court system indicate that employers are having a harder time qualifying their unpaid workers as true interns. Information on the criteria for these workers can be found on the DOL’s website. Bottom line: While receiving “free labor” or the avoidance of paying overtime or benefits may seem appealing, prudent employers will carefully classify and compensate their workers to stay well within the current law and to avoid any potential clashes with the Department of Labor. For more information visit,,, and

Tim Dalton is president of Integra Business Brokers and has over 17 years of experience in the Augusta area assisting business buyers and sellers. Additional services include targeted business acquisitions, business valuations and financing assistance. Tim can be reached at 706-650-1100 or at Visit their website at

Russell T. Head is President/Managing Partner with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held, locally owned employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or rthead@gandbc. com. Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at

Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Protection important when using social media By Kelsey Morrow You wouldn’t leave your house or car unlocked, but not updating your social media privacy settings can be just as dangerous. Jessica Hanson of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce talked about that danger and gave tips for safety at a seminar in North Augusta in August. According to Pew Research Center, of the approximately 1 billion Facebook users, more than 13 million have never set their privacy settings. Hiding behind a screen can lure you into a false sense of security. However, failure to keep tabs on your digital footprint can set you up for several dangerous situations including identity risks, defamation and sexual predation. Hanson presented the following key tips to keep you safer online: • Share as little personal information as possible: The more personal information that you post online, the easier it is to end up in a dangerous situation. Information that you think might be harmless could actually be used to crack passwords or access your accounts. This is also important when setting password hint questions. For example, if you frequently post about your pet, don’t set a password hint question such as

“What is my pet’s name?” That information can be easily discovered by online hackers and leave you vulnerable to an attack. • Be selective when it comes to friend requests: Be picky when it comes to adding “friends” on Facebook or other social media networking sites. If you do not know the person in real-life, do you really want to be sharing personal information with them? This is a common practice that identity thieves use to gain access to your personal information. • Do not access social media sites through email links: If you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen. It is safer to type in the web address manually or use a bookmark that you created. The same goes for any suspicious links, no matter how you receive them. “Think before you click!” Hanson advised. • Don’t trust that people are who they say they are: It is easy to create a fake profile pretending to be someone else. If you get a message from a friend that sounds suspicious, get in touch with them through another method of communication to verify.

Deeper Thinking Eddie Kennedy

Leader of the Pack

Three value disciplines place a business among the leaders Do you ever look at the market leaders in your industry and think, what makes them successful? Or have you thought about what you could do to increase your share of the market? Many of the business owners I know want to add products or services thinking they will capture more customers and grow their market share. But becoming a market leader is about choosing your customers carefully, narrowing your focus onto them, and then dominating that market by out-serving the competition through giving your customers what they really want. In their book, The Disciplines of Market Leaders, authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema state, “No company can succeed today by trying to be all things to all people. It must instead find the unique value that it alone can deliver to a chosen market.”

16 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

A popular tactic now being used by identity thieves is to create a fake Facebook account pretending to be someone that you know in order to gain access to your personal information. If you receive another friend request from someone who you are already friends with, this should immediately raise a red flag. • Assume that everything you post is permanent: Even though social media sites

The companies that have taken leadership positions in their industries in the past few years have done so by narrowing their business focus, not broadening it. They have focused on delivering superior customer value in line with one of three value disciplines – operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy. They have become champions in one of these disciplines while meeting industry standards in the other two. Whichever discipline the company chooses to follow affects everything in their company. It makes everyone focus on the same core value. It permeates their culture, their conversations, their actions, and ultimately their leadership in the marketplace. Primarily, whichever discipline a company uses will be determined by the product or service they provide, the customer they serve, and the culture they choose to maintain. The three value disciplines and their basic philosophy are: 1. Operational Excellence – lowest price and hassle-free service.

have privacy settings and delete buttons, if you are tech savvy, anything can be retrieved. Screenshots are a popular method of capturing information. Even if you delete that offensive picture or distasteful status rant, someone may have taken a screenshot and captured it permanently. When in doubt, if it’s not something that you would want your boss to see, do not post it.

2. Product Leadership – offer products that push performance boundaries 3. Customer Intimacy – delivering what specific customers want Operational Excellence The term “operational excellence” describes a specific strategic approach to the production and delivery of products and services. The objective of a company following this strategy is to lead its industry in price and convenience. They focus on delivering their products or services to customers at competitive prices and with minimal inconvenience. In this category, controlling the cost in all operations is a primary focus. Market leaders of this type are McDonalds, Dell and FedEx. Product Leadership The term “product leadership” describes a company that strives to produce a continuous stream of stateof-the-art products and services. To reach that goal, they must challenge themselves in three ways. First, they must be creative. Second, they must commercialize their ideas quickly. Third and most importantly, product leaders must relentlessly pursue new solutions to the problems that their own latest product or service has just solved. They must continually make their products obsolete. In this discipline, having the best and newest products is the primary focus. Market leaders of this type are Apple, Nike and Johnson & Johnson.

Customer Intimacy The term “customer intimacy” describes a strategy where a company will continually tailor and shape products and services to fit the customer. The focus is not on a product or service, but in offering a total solution to the customer’s needs. It involves looking at the customer’s lifetime value to the company, not the value of a single transaction. This discipline requires the company to know the customer they choose to serve and understand their wants and needs, tailor products and services, at a reasonable price, to fit those needs, and build a connection with the customer that keeps them coming back. Every employee has an attitude of “we take care of you and all your needs.” Market leaders of this type are Nordstrom and USAA. To be a market leader, you must excel at one of these disciplines. Looking at these, the best option for a local entrepreneur or business owner would be to excel in customer intimacy. If you do that, your business will grow and expand, while competing with the big box stores or the online stores. Eddie Kennedy is the owner of Great Deals on Furniture in Augusta and an avid reader of business books. Eddie believes every business owner should invest in themselves by reading, but if you can’t, then read his column every month to see what he learned. Have you read any great business books? Let Eddie know at

Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Sales Jeb Blount

Coach Class

Coaching takes sales staff beyond mere head knowledge There is a big difference between sales training and sales coaching. Sales training is all about the acquisition of knowledge, and it typically is a one-size fits all. In sales training, in a group of people and even online in a self-directed virtual classroom, I’m teaching the same information to multiple people in the same way. Sales coaching is one-on-one. Coaching is knowledge and skill application. It’s no different than if you were teaching me how to swing a golf club. You would show me how to do it, and I might watch a video. You would give me the mechanics, and then I might hit a ball. You would coach me through “hold it this way,” “try it this way,” and you would give me feedback. You’d coach me through the steps again to help me become comfortable with it. Sales coaching is critical to sales training. The data tells us that if I have a group of sales people, and I train them,

on day one they have 100 percent of the knowledge. They all learn at a different pace, but essentially they have everything. Without coaching, by day 30, they only have about 13 percent of the knowledge left. So you end up losing most of the investment that you made. But when you have coaching involved, you teach somebody something and go back and coach them through it. You maintain their level of knowledge and show them how to apply it in the real world. Lack of coaching is one of the main problems with sales training today, and one reason why it often fails. There is no really bad sales training. Sales training is sales training. There are arguments that some ways are more effective and some ways are less effective, but if I’m training my sales people on something, they are going to walk away better. A lot of companies just do sales training. They will train their sales people, but they won’t have their sales managers getting the same information and they won’t have the sales managers involved in coaching based on the information that their people are getting. At Sales Gravy, one of our core requirements is that we will not do sales training for a company unless they agree to have their sales managers and their leadership team go through a one-day coaching class with their people. I won’t do sales training where the leadership does their thing while the sales people are with me, because

Business Interaction Pam Hanson

Renewing the Old

Technology has given new life to the old concept of bartering Bartering is growing in popularity today as consumers and businesses realize that it’s a great way to budget – and a creative way to lower expenses. It certainly isn’t something new; bartering is the way our ancestors conducted their daily business and how they survived. But bartering has changed and evolved in the last few years, just like everything else in our lives, with the advancement of technology.

18 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

Although, one thing has not changed. Think about when you were a child. We didn’t really have a choice but to barter when we were children because we didn’t have the money to buy new things all the time. Children certainly have a way of figuring things out when they want something badly enough. So why does this stop when we become adults? We still have wants and needs but continue to spend money when we really don’t have to. If this isn’t something new to you then you understand that bartering is an economical and clever way to save money. If you’re relatively new to bartering and you’d like to learn more, then that is the exact reason to keep reading. Although bartering for goods and services is a centuries-old art, in recent years the idea of trading with your neighbors and within your community has received a big boost and taken on a modern spin. More than anything, the internet has spurred the growth of barter. With the internet’s ability to bring buyers, sellers and traders together online, bartering has sparked a wealth of new sites and trading communities.

I know that model will eventually fail. I sit in a lot of senior level meetings about sales teams that are failing, and I’ll hear a manager say, “Well, didn’t we just send them to training?” Yes, they have the information in their head, they just can’t access it in the realworld. That’s what coaching is all about. Coaching is really the language of leadership. It is asking questions and creating self-awareness. It is helping people take the information and apply it in their own way. You can’t overestimate the power of sales coaching in helping sales people get better. This concept of “If I’ve trained you, now you know it” is ridiculous, but companies do it every day and billions of dollars of sales training just evaporates. It happens at every level.

I’m fortunate that Sales Gravy has some amazing clients who have allowed us to come in and take their entire training organization, beyond just sales, and connect all of their training together in a meaningful way. And they train in those things over and over. That helps them to get out of this “We’ve trained you, now you know” mentality. They focus on the on-going learning and skill application that are really important in successful sales.

By educating ourselves on the right way to barter, we open ourselves up to many resources and possibilities. It’s a way of taking care of our needs and at the same time someone else’s needs, but without spending money. This is done simply by offering our professional services or items we already have, in return for what we want and need. Within a barter/trade group it’s all done very evenly and fairly. A trade group will save its members the time and effort of having to find compatible trading partners. A trade group is a member driven group. In most groups 75 percent of the members are referred by another member. That says a lot for trade groups and the trust level that members have in one another. A trade group also helps market your products and services to the other members. It is a free marketing tool! The trade group also acts as a thirdparty record keeper. Equate it to online banking. Monthly statements are provided which reflect all trade purchases, sales and balances. Up-to-the-minute balances are available on line 24/7 just like a regular bank account.

Another great advantage is that members don’t have accounts receivable and bad debts to write off when trading through a trade group. Members are paid at the time they provide their product and services. Most barter groups provide the ability for members to trade not only in their own communities but also across the country. This provides lots of opportunity to purchase products and services that are shippable or not geographically restricted. And it’s not only products and services but also travel. Bartering has become easier than ever. Which translates to, it is now easier than ever before for member businesses to conserve cash and bring in new customers through barter.

Jeb Blount is the founder of Sales Gravy in Thomson. He helps sales teams across the globe reach peak performance fast through keynote speeches, boot camps, seminars, and on-site and online training. Hire Jeb to speak at your next sales meeting or conference. Call at 1-888-360-2249 or visit for more information.

Pam Hanson is an owner of Local Trade Group, an organized barter group that brings its members new customers, helps them conserve cash by spending trade dollars, and liquidate excess, unused time and inventory. Members can trade locally and with thousands of members within the network for a wide range of products and services. Contact Pam at 706-469-8357 or

Partridge Inn officially joins Hilton Curio As was first reported by Buzz on Biz back in January, Hilton has added the Partridge Inn to its list of boutique hotels. The addition was made official at the end of August. The Partridge Inn is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection of independent hotels that give visitors a unique perspective on the area. “One of the many attributes I love about this hotel is its wonderful location on a scenic hilltop in a peaceful residential area, while still being minutes from Augusta’s beautiful historic district,” said Dianna Vaughan, global head, Curio. “Beloved by heads of state, business executives and celebrities for more than a century, we’re honored to welcome such a beautiful hotel to the Curio collection – one that celebrates its past and invites guests to experience the original 1836 house, which remains part of the foundation of the building today.” Known as “The Grand Hotel of the Classic South,” The Partridge Inn – dating back to the early 1800s – is rich with history and was once a two-story residence for a family from Connecticut. Around 1900, Morris W. Partridge – a seasonal hotel employee in Augusta – bought the property and began offering guest accommodations and expanding the building several times until 1929. After the Great Depression, the inn became a year-round commercial hotel and subsequently an apartment house. The building fell into disrepair after World War II, barely escaping demolition in the 1980s before local residents saved the landmark, thus preserving one of the rich historic legacies of Augusta’s “Hill” area. Today, guests can relax in one of 143 recently-renovated spacious guest rooms spanned across five floors and offering views of the area’s gardens, the pool or the Augusta skyline. Additionally, the hotel features a sixth floor rooftop penthouse that can also be used to host events for up to 100 guests. Highlights of the penthouse include a kitchen, dining room, living room, three bedrooms and a spacious deck with sweeping views of Augusta. Other hotel highlights include a 24-hour business center and a 24-

hour fitness center with state-of-the-art Precor equipment. The hotel, managed by NorthPointe Hospitality Management, LLC and owned by Partridge Inn Holdings, LLC, also features modern design with all of the comforts and conveniences of a contemporary luxury hotel. This includes a casual yet sophisticated “club resort” style, which utilizes warm wood finishes with rich, deep, neutral colors elegantly-accented with pops of color. The result is a custom-tailored style that combines the best of old world glamour and charm with casual sophistication – all with a modern twist. “Our many wonderful features – including our location at the doorstep of all that Augusta has to offer – comes with the reas-

Half of Richmond County sales tax comes from outside As much as half of the sales tax paid in Richmond County is paid by those who live outside the county, according to a recent study commissioned by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. The study, done with the Vinson Institute of Government at UGA, estimates that 45-54 percent of Richmond County’s sales tax is paid by non-county residents. This is called the “pull factor.” The pull factor estimates the net percentage of taxable retail transactions (specifically, the value of those transactions) that can be attributed to non-residents. It compared actual county sales tax revenues to the

amount the county would expect to collect, based on either its percentage of the state’s population or its residents’ proportion of total state personal income. Based on population, Augusta-Richmond County’s pull factor would be 45 percent, but based on a more complete analysis that includes purchasing power of that population, the pull factor increases to 54 percent. “We believe it is important to understand the source of sales tax revenues and how robust the economic benefits are in the metro area as an employment, visitor and retail destination,” said Sue Parr, President of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.

surance of the iconic Hilton name and sets us a step above other offerings in the market,” said Greg Winey, president of NorthPointe Hospitality Management, LLC. “During their stay at The Partridge Inn Augusta, our guests will not only experience the Southern hospitality for which we’re known, but will also be intrigued to make new discoveries in our historic city that are truly unforgettable.” The Partridge Inn Augusta boasts a long legacy of culinary excellence. The newlyrefurbished P.I. Bar and Grill – redesigned with vibrant colors and chic style – showcases innovative, contemporary local cuisine, with dishes ranging from creative small plates to decadent entrees and desserts. On Sundays, guests can enjoy the famous “Best

of Augusta” Sunday brunch, a local favorite featuring prime rib, shrimp and grits and a variety of desserts and other local favorites. For those seeking a memorable event, conference or wedding, The Partridge Inn Augusta offers more than 8,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space and a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 250 guests. For smaller events, the hotel offers seven meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 50 guests. Customized on-site catering and state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment will ensure every event – large or small – is a success. The Partridge Inn Augusta, Curio Collection by Hilton participates in the Hilton HHonors loyalty program, which is open to all guests and free to join.

Overtime law change could mean pay changes for managers Businesses may soon have to pay their managers and supervisors overtime. Currently, in order to be eligible for overtime, a manager or supervisor must meet two requirements: they must be working for a company with a yearly revenue of $500,000 or more, and they must make less than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year. While the first requirement will remain the same, under this proposed legislation the minimum income to be exempt from overtime eligibility would be raised to $970 a week, or $54,440 per year. The government argues that this will improve the standard of living for these employees by keeping up

with the inflation rates that have risen over the past several decades. It is estimated that this legislation would make over 53,000 more people in the state of Georgia eligible to receive overtime pay from their employers, which is expected to cost these employers an extra several hundred million dollars each year. These changes may also lead to negative consequences for both employees and customers. Companies may respond to this increased eligibility by cutting hours so that fewer eligible employees qualify for overtime, or by raising prices to pass the increased costs off to the consumer.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Online Jeff Asselin

Short Subject

Quick, catchy subject lines will get you more email opens Ever hear the term, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover?” In today’s hectic world, almost everything is judged quickly and ruthlessly! If you’re anything like me, you get several hundred emails in a week (sometimes in just one day!). As a marketer who uses email to speak to our existing clients and prospective clients, getting our emails opened and read is very important to us. Open rates and conversions typically gauge an email campaign’s success. According to our friends at Smart Insights, email open rates have slipped in 2015. Open rates vary by industry; general retail emails have a 22 percent open rate while typical business products and general services businesses get anywhere between 19-25 percent of their emails opened. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for a 10-15 percent open rate. So what’s the key to getting people to open your email? It’s all in the subject line! An email subject line needs to scream: Read Me!, I’m Interesting!, I’m Relevant! and I’m Important!

I’ve highlighted 6.5 tips below to help make your email marketing campaigns a success! 1. Keep Your Subject Line Simple •Introduce the email’s message. That’s it! •Stick to 50 characters or less 2. Be Honest •Subject line must match content in email body •Dishonest subject lines tarnish business relationships. •Consider writing the subject line in the form of a question or declaration. 3. Identify Yourself •Build a relationship! Your company name alone should get them to open email. •Using your company name shows you take responsibility for the email’s content. •Keep in mind, a spammer would never do this. •Start emails with your company name in [brackets] or (parentheses). 4. Use Actionable Language •Tell the reader what you want them to do. Create a sense of urgency! •Engagement increases when people feel like they’re racing the clock. •Use a high verb count. Include verbs like take, order, sign up, register. 5. Personalize It •Include reader’s name, company, and even title. •This catches readers’ attention. •Include their name in a question. -Have you registered yet, Susie? -Bobby, what are you waiting for? 6. Edit, Then Edit Again

Business Accounting Christine Hall

Land Swap

Exchanging properties can defer capital gains taxes If you’re a savvy investor, you probably know that you must generally report as income any mutual fund distributions whether you reinvest them or exchange shares in one fund for share in another. In other words, you must report and pay any capital gains tax owed. But if real estate is your game, did you know that it is

20 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

possible to defer capital gains by taking advantage of a tax break that allows you to swap investment property on a taxdeferred basis? Named after Section 1031 of the tax code, a like-kind exchange generally applies to real estate. It was designed for people who wanted to exchange properties of equal value. For example, if you own land in Oregon and traded it for a shopping center in Georgia, as long as the values of the two properties are equal, nobody pays capital gains tax even if both properties have appreciated since they were originally purchased. Section 1031 transactions don’t have to involve identical types of investment properties. You can swap an apartment building for a shopping center or a piece of undeveloped raw land for an office building. You can even swap a second home that you use as a rental for a parking lot. There’s also no limit as to how many times you can use a Section 1031 exchange. It’s entirely possible to roll over the gain from your investment swaps for many years and avoid paying capital

•The first draft will probably be too long. •Remove any excessive words without changing your message. •It’s easier to develop subject lines after writing email content. •Keep it short: 50 characters or less. Don’t send a one word subject line either! 6.5. Avoid Common Spam Filter Triggers •Don’t be excessive with ALL CAPS. •Go easy on the exclamation points! •Don’t use obscure symbols or salesy words like: Free, Act Now, Limited Time Only or Guarantee. Marketers are having to work a lot harder to deliver more personalized and relevant subject lines and email content to achieve higher email en-

gagement. It is worth it – this measurable format allows readers to see your fabulous offer, interesting news pieces and learn more about your goods and services. For additional tips and recommendations on uber-successful email campaigns, consult with folks who have a proven track record in online marketing. Happy emailing!

gains tax until a property is finally sold. Keep in mind, however, that the gain is deferred but not forgiven in a like-kind exchange. You must calculate and keep track of your basis in the new property you acquired in the exchange. On a slightly different note, let’s say you have a small piece of property, and you want to trade up for a bigger one by exchanging it with another party. You can make the transaction without having to pay capital gains tax on the difference between the smaller property’s current market value and your lower original cost. That’s good for you, but the other property owner doesn’t make out so well. Presumably, you will have to pay cash or assume a mortgage on the bigger property to make up the difference in value. This is referred to as “boot” in the tax trade, and your partner must pay capital gains tax on that part of the transaction. To avoid that, you could work through an intermediary who is often known as an escrow agent. Instead of a two-way deal involving a one-forone swap, your transaction becomes

a three-way deal. Your replacement property may come from a third party through the escrow agent. Juggling numerous properties in various combinations, the escrow agent may arrange evenly valued swaps. Under the right circumstances, you don’t even need to do an equal exchange. You can sell a property at a profit, buy a more expensive one, and defer the tax indefinitely. Section 1031 is not for personal use. For example, you can’t use it for stocks, bonds and other securities, or personal property. It is for investment property only. If you are in the business of buying and selling real property - for instance, a homebuilder - you cannont use Section 1031 exchanges for business transactions.

Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales and Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on websites, custom business software, search engine optimization, graphic design and social media marketing. For more information, visit or his office at 961 Broad St., Augusta. Contact him at or 706-691-7189 or 706-826-1506, ext 122.

Hall, Murphy & Schuyler, PC is a full-service public accounting firm. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706-855-7733 or email at cmh@HMandScpas. com.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Football star considering business in CSRA By Gary Kauffman The Bus is looking to drive a new method of job sharing to the CSRA. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, known as The Bus during his playing days with the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers, toured the Augusta area Aug. 31 for a potential site for his company, Job Pool. After his tour with businessman Joe Mullins, Bettis stopped at Evans Fitness Center in Evans to talk about his company. Job Pool is an innovative idea that allows employers to share part-time employees so that the employees have a chance to earn the equivalent of a full-time paycheck. “The economy is going more to parttime work,” Bettis said. “This gives people a chance to earn full-time wages in multiple part-time jobs.” It also allows companies to share some of the cost associated with hiring new employees. All of the job sharing and hiring would be done online at, but it would not be a typical job posting site. The “job

pool” will consist only of employees already working part-time. Employers will list their part-time employees on the site, who they recommend for part-time work elsewhere, and new employers can search the site for employees who would be able to fit into part-time positions they have available. Bettis already has a test site for Job Pool in Savannah, although it is limited to workers in the fast food industry. He said, however, that it could work for any industry and any business, large or small. Mullins, president of Mullins Management & Entertainment, said during their tour they stopped at three hospitals, and the medical industry intrigued Bettis. The medical hospitals, in turn, were intrigued by Bettis’ Job Pool. Mullins said Job Pool could play a big role in having a hospital locate in Columbia County and help with the staffing the expansion of his Mullins Crossing shopping center, as well as benefit many other local businesses. Mullins said Job Pool would not only help businesses manage labor and give part-time


bring a downtown feel to Evans, with music posters and older cabinets. “It’ll be a little spot with a downtown feel,” he said. “We’re going to make it a cool, hip place.” Fredericks is hoping Twisted Burrito will prove successful enough to open more stores in the near future. If it’s successful, the plan is to open a second location in about a year in the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center in Grovetown. Fredericks has a long career as a restaurateur, starting at the Applebee’s on Washington Road. After 10 years there he opened several private franchises in Lexington, Ky., then moved back to the Augusta area about a year ago. Cucumber & Mint A local makeup artist is partnering with a skin care specialist to create a new business in Surrey Center. Jen Lewis has done makeup and hair styling for weddings and events for four years as Pastel Makeup and Hair on Broad Street. She is now partnering with Crystal Atkins to open Cucumber & Mint on the fountain level of Surrey Center in the space formerly occupied by Spa Blue. Cucumber & Mint will still offer makeup and hair styling, but will now offer massages, facials, waxing and general skin care. “It’s basically a spa but we’re not calling it a spa,” Lewis said. Ironically, Lewis is essentially trading spaces with Spa Blue. When she heard that Spa Blue was moving, she put in her bid for the space. Later she found out that Spa Blue will be moving into her old location at 1141 Broad St. “We really wanted to be in Surrey Center,” Lewis said. “This is a dream come true for

Jerome Bettis signs autographs while in Evans looking at sites for his business.

employees the opportunity to work 40 or more hours a week, but it would also keep jobs staffed with local talent.

“My biggest goal is to have as many people locally working and not pull from the outside,” he said. Mullins helped Bettis scout several locations in Columbia County to set up a Job Pool office, both existing buildings and land to build. Although Bettis has considered other sites, including locations in Charleston and Tennessee, Mullins feels confident he’ll choose Columbia County. “From the looks of it today, it will get done and get done rapidly,” Mullins said. Bettis said he had met Mullins in April when he was in Augusta during The Masters and mentioned his business venture. Mullins had suggested a Columbia County location, and Monday’s tour was a result of that conversation. Bettis said there is no timeline for setting up a new location but sounded as if he was leaning strongly toward a CSRA location, in part because of the proximity to his home in Atlanta. “You’ll definitely see more of me,” he said. “I expect to be immersed in the community.”

Business openings, closings and moves

Twisted Burrito A new restaurant that recently opened in Evans will offer burritos with a twist. Restaurant veteran Steve Fredericks and his partner, Jason Beall, opened Twisted Burrito on the Tuesday after Labor Day in the building that formerly housed the Retreat Tapas Bar, in the shopping center across from Walmart. As the name implies, the restaurant sells burritos but not in the usual style. “Right now there’s a craze going on with burritos,” Fredericks said. “We’re taking the same concept but we’re looking for the flavor. You won’t have to put sauce on it. All the flavor is inside.” The menu includes a variety of styles of burritos, including Italian and Greek. In addition, it serves salads and kids meals, and features a bar selling craft beer and wine. Customers order at the counter and waiters and waitresses bring the food to the tables. It employs six to 10 people. Fredericks said they chose the Evans location after failing to find a suitable location in downtown Augusta. But they plan to

22 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

us. We couldn’t be more excited.” Her previous location was in a large open space. The new location has individual treatment rooms. Some front walls have already been knocked out, though, to create more open space. “We opened up the front space where the whole wedding party can come in and bring their mimosas,” Lewis said. Their husbands are doing the construction work. “Our husbands have been amazing,” Lewis said. One of the hardest parts of starting the new business was deciding on a name. Like the opening of the space in Surrey Center, the name came serendipitously. “Crystal texted me a list of the ingredients in the skin care products,” she said. “Cucumber and mint were both in there. I thought, that would be a great name.” Plans are to open Cucumber & Mint by the end of September. Their website will be Right Choice Cremation A Florida cremation business has expanded to the CSRA. Right Choice Cremation recently opened at 1910 Jefferson Davis Hwy. in Graniteville. It is the second location for the company that has a national marketing plan. Its first location is in Ocala, Fla. Unlike some funeral companies, Right Choice Cremation owns and operates its own crematory. As a result, a loved one never leaves their care. Right Choice Cremation takes special precautions to safeguard every loved one from the moment he or she is taken into their care with a personal identification system and a secure cremation facility.

Like most businesses today, Right Choice has a website that allows people to plan for a cremation and to pay online. “Over the years, research has shown that consumers want options when making their cremation arrangements,” said Brad Rex, President and CEO of Foundation Partners Group, the parent company of Right Choice Cremation. “While many still prefer working with funeral homes, a growing segment of the population has embraced the convenience of online transactions.” Right Choice offers a basic cremation package, including required basic services, for just $995. It offers a family membership option that provides additional planning tools and discounts. The company also offers a range of other products and services, including cremation scattering options, veteran benefits, cremation urns, memorial products and keepsake jewelry. For more information, visit their website at Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore, a national paint retailer, recently opened a franchise in Aiken. The new location is located at 116-C Pendleton Street in Aiken, across from St. Patrick’s Church. Franchise owner Tom Uskup has a background in business, and in a recent interview on the Buzz on Biz radio show explained that he was first inspired to open a Benjamin Moore franchise due to a personal paint project. During a home renovation project, Uskup realized that there were no Aiken-area paint stores available. The Aiken store is a signature Benjamin Moore location, meaning that they Continued on page 23

New writing facility helps writers hone their craft Everyone has a book in them, a famous quote says, and in most cases that’s where it should stay. But for those writers who want to get their book onto paper and even published, there is a new writing facility in downtown Augusta that can help them accomplish that. Slumdog Writers helps its students improve their writing skills in various genres including fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, children’s book writing, and creative writing. Classes meet once a week for three hours at a time at The located at 540 Telfair Street.

“You don’t need to have any writing experience,” Slumdog founder Argentina Christopher said in a Buzz on Biz radio interview. “We start you off, from start to finish.” The idea that even a novice can join the group is the reason behind the name. “I chose the name ‘Slumdog’ because I don’t want people to feel intimated by writing,” Christopher said. “I wanted to create an informal and relaxed environment where you don’t need to have a high level of education to participate. Anyone from GEDs to PhDs are welcome.” However, Slumdog is different than your

typical writing program. The company’s slogan states that “Education brings out the artist.” The instructors of the courses are experts in their fields and believe that a fastpaced setting, active participation and peer interaction are the keys to unleashing their students’ talent. “There’s lecture, there’s teachers, there’s structure, but we make you write,” Christopher said. The course instructors work with the students to develop character and plot. Students are then expected to continue their writing projects at home and bring in new-

ly-written pages each class for instructor and peer critique. “The more you write, the better you get at it,” Christopher said. “But if you don’t share with anyone or get opinions, you don’t get any better. But if you get professional opinions, then you learn, and that’s even better. That’s what we’re there for.” In January, Christopher hopes to expand the course offerings to include young adult, business writing, novel writing, urban romance and more. For more information or to sign up for classes, visit

continued from page 22 exclusively sell Benjamin Moore paint. They carry a full line of “green paints” that have low VOC emission and little or no odor, as well as asthma- and allergy-friendly paint. Besides being a retail paint location, the store also has an interior designer, Uskup’s wife, who is available for consultations and to provide help with color selection. “That is another feature that is unique to our business,” Uskup said, “We’re really able to help customers in the selection of colors and go from there.” Apricot Lane A new clothing boutique has opened in the Augusta Mall. Apricot Lane Boutique Augusta features fashion apparel, jewelry, shoes, handbags and accessories at an affordable price. Featuring the most sought-after styles, the boutique caters to women from their teens through their 50s. Coming from a long history of family run businesses, local owner Lori Canale-Powers was looking for a way to combine her love of family, fun and fashion all in one and found Apricot Lane to be the perfect fit to start her new adventure. Her first dreams of being in business for herself started at an early age when she worked side by side with her biggest mentor, her father, Larry Canale, a self-employed businessman of more than 30 years. He also started his own franchise. “Working in the store, the customer service part was always what I enjoyed the most, helping dress people so that they felt good and looked good,” she said. She then took that particular interest of the business and excelled in her own career at various corporations focusing on core leadership competencies resulting in big success for those retailers she worked for. “It has always been my dream to own my own store. After moving to the Augusta area I saw there are already many places to choose from to shop but none that focus on bringing fashion-forward looks at affordable prices and in limited quantities, unlike what the larger retail chains do,” she said. “The females that shop with us will have a sense of uniqueness when making a purchase. There will only be about six of each item in our store with no back stock inven-

tory to refill the floor with the same item. Being in the retail world for so long I know this will be our biggest advantage making us stand out from other stores.” Apricot Lane is unique in that each owner has the ability to buy products that best fit their customers’ needs and styles and geographic areas so customers are guaranteed a unique shopping experience in every Apricot Lane Boutique they enter. Apricot Lane Boutique also offers clients a chance to have their own “Girls Night Out!” at the boutique with the store handling the details from coordinating the invitations to the planning of refreshments and snacks.

Clementine Home & Garden A desire for more family time has led the owner of an 18-year-old business to announce that she’ll be shutting her doors. Lauree Hall said this week that she will be closing Clementine Home & Garden on Baston Road on Sept. 30. However, she won’t be going out of business completely – she’ll still sell her best-selling candles and gifts in a booth at The Savvy Shopper at 3120 Washington Road. “I want to free up time for myself,” she said. “It was time for a change.” Hall said that having a booth at The Savvy Shopper allows her to keep a hand in the business without all the stress. “It’s a good opportunity to stay in business but not be there physically all the time,” she said. The Savvy Shopper relocated in May to the former Ethan Allen building, across from Applebee’s, on Washington Road. It contains a series of booths with products from various local merchants, including antiques and home décor.

security, third-party software support, infrastructure cabling and telephone systems.

Business openings, closings and moves


Neil’s Pharmacy Neil’s Pharmacy in West Town Shopping Center in Martinez has closed and merged with the Walgreen’s at Bobby Jones Expressway and Washington Road. The merger took place last month. Although local Walgreen’s employees would not speak on the record, Buzz on Biz learned that pharmacist Neil Grice is now working at the Martinez Walgreen’s. According to a sign on the door of Neil’s Pharmacy, all patient records have been transferred to the Martinez Walgreen’s, although it notes that prescriptions can be filled at any Walgreen’s. All signage and shelving is still up at Neil’s Pharmacy and some products and supplies are still visible through the window. There was no word on when the store would be vacated. Grice opened his pharmacy in 2003. It was billed as a “Hometown” Independent Pharmacy on their website.

Mergers and Acquisitions Premier Networx Premier Networx, Inc., a local Business IT provider, has acquired the IT services division of RAN Services of Augusta. This marks the second acquisition for Premier Networx Inc., “the Augusta IT Guys,” within the past year. They purchased Vernon Systems, LLC in August 2014. Such acquisitions have led to expanding their customer base as well as their levels of expertise. “Our mission has been to become one of the leading IT companies for small businesses with the best customer satisfaction in the Augusta Area,” said Chad Harpley, Premier Networx’s CEO/President. “Our acquisition of RAN Services’ IT division brings us one step closer to accomplishing this goal.” Harpley founded Premier Networx Inc., in September 2013 after more than 15 years in the IT industry. Premier Networx provides IT solutions to businesses throughout the CSRA and specializes in PC and server support, managed services, cloud email and backup solutions, network management and

Expansions Posh Tots Posh Tots in Surrey Center has announced that it will be opening a second location in Evans in the coming months. Buzz on Biz has learned that the new store will be located on Grand Slam Drive in Evans, off Evans to Locks Road, with a projected opening date in January. According to a Facebook post, Posh Tots plans the expansion to better serve their Martinez and Evans customers. Based on comments, many customers are excited about the expansion. Posh Tots sells designer clothes, room décor, accessories, toys and playhouses for babies and older children. The idea behind it is that a child’s room is more than just a place to sleep. AmbioPharm A pharmaceutical company in North Augusta has announced plans to expand its facility and to add about 100 jobs. AmbioPharm, Inc., moved into a 10,000-square-foot facility in North Augusta in 2007. It added 10,000 square feet to its building last year, and now plans to add another 40,000 square feet that will create about 100 more jobs. The $18 million expansion is expected to be completed in 2018. AmbioPharm manufactures peptides, chains of amino acids that are used in pharmaceuticals and vaccines. Name Change MAI Risk Advisors Local insurance brokerage Meybohm Scarborough Insurance is now MAI Risk Advisors. The company’s rebrand, including an updated name and logo, establishes a more innovative and contemporary look and feel for the Augusta-based firm, whose roots date back to 1927. “Our goal is to create confidence for clients so they can focus on other areas of their lives and businesses without worrying about insurance coverage,” said MAI President, Forester Adams. “We do this by providing comprehensive solutions for our clients.”

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Businessperson of the Month Charles Kelly, President Computer Exchange

Born to Run

After 20 years in business, Charles Kelly is still moving full speed ahead to the future By Gary Kauffman Baseball legend Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” That quote could describe the outlook of Charles Kelly as well. Thanks to Kelly’s forward-thinking philosophy his company, Computer Exchange, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. “About every three to four years we’ve had to completely shift our business model,” he said. “We’re constantly tweaking it. The proof of the success of that is that not one single competitor’s store predates me, unless I’m missing something.” It was recognizing the future that led him to open Computer Exchange in the first place. He worked for Bulldog Computers, an Augusta mail-order company shipping computer parts around the country. Before the advent of the internet, Bulldog was one of the largest companies of its kind in the nation. But a failure to recognize the advantages of the internet and the growth of the competition led to its eventual demise. As Bulldog began to shrink, Kelly bought up used computers and parts and made a deal with Fred’s Used PC to take over his store on Washington Road. Kelly invested his life savings in more computers and parts, built his own shelving and opened his doors in September 1995. Within two years he’d opened a second store. “From the day we opened we were making money,” he said. One of his forward-thinking moves was to hire some talented technicians. That led to Computer Exchange building custom computers. At a time when mass-produced off-the-shelf models had a high failure rate that became a path to success. In 1997 he took on John Luther as a business partner. Luther’s attention to detail proved a good counterpoint to Kelly’s “shoot-from-the-hip” style. “I could not have grown this business without him,” Kelly said. A few months ago, Kelly continued looking toward the future when he brought 22-year-old Zach Lewallen into the business partnership with an eye toward serving the Millennials who will make up the customer base for the next 20 or 30 years. Although it’s a job he loves, Kelly said the computer business is brutal. “You can never be asleep at the wheel,” he said. “It’s like driving down a muddy road with ditches on both sides. It’s very easy to make a mistake.” Another key to Kelly’s longevity is the value he places on the customers. When it comes to serving his customers, he knows no boundaries. “I do things for the customers that even my employees say, ‘That’s too much, you’ve got to draw the line,’” Kelly said. “I don’t draw lines. I’ve spent hours at the counter with a customer.” He has vowed to never gouge a customer on price, even at times when he’s been the only one in town with critical components, and he doesn’t take advantage of customers

24 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

Charles Kelly in the repair portion of his Computer Exchange store on Washington Road. Photo by Gary Kauffman

by “fixing” things that aren’t broken. That has had its own reward. “We have a base of customers who has grown to appreciate our honesty,” he said. He is willing to take the time it takes to set up a customer with the right computer system. That includes asking a lot of questions of how the computer will be used and explaining the difference between various models and operating systems. And it sometimes includes making a little sacrifice. “In business our instinct is to make money, to make a profit,” he said. “But there are times when you need to step back and say, ‘I’ll waive this fee, or donate this computer.’ Every decision I make has to be informed by integrity and faith.” Kelly has placed a high priority in training his employees to not only be excellent technicians, but to excel at customer service as well. “I’m not a computer geek,” he said. “I’m good at customer interaction. My rule is that I must hire technical people and they must learn customer rapport. That’s the trade off in working for me. It’s the greatest learning environment to learn all-around computer skills.” And his customers notice. “Just the other day I had a customer pull me aside and say, ‘Your guys are just so good,’” he said. “That gives us loyalty and is why we’re still here after everyone else is gone.” What are you passionate about in your business? I’m really passionate about teaching these guys (employees) something so that when they leave here they are

better people, to bring them along and teach them a skill set of honesty and building rapport. Most of the guys who work here are very impressionable. Some get it, some don’t. And I’m passionate about having these customers as friends. I have customers come shake my hand and thank me. What have you learned about yourself by being in business? That everything that I thought I knew about myself, I didn’t always have right. But 20 years of grinding it out every day sifts out what’s right and what’s wrong. I’ve learned that my capacity for work is always greater than I think it is. There’s always a way around any problem. I’ve also learned that you can’t do it alone. If I didn’t have a group of people around me that share my mindset it could all go sideways. And I’ve learned that you can’t cut corners. You have to be scrupulously honest. What have you learned from your employees? Just because they don’t think exactly like me doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable part of the team. I used to make them think like me. But it takes different perspectives. I have to champion their differences. As long as they have the core concepts down I don’t mind if they use their own voice to build rapport. How do you unwind? I used to work out – I was a taekwondo instructor – but I have a muscle disease. It will not kill me but it’s been an enormous distraction in my life. So I read, write and consume

enormous amounts of digital media. I study what my father did in Vietnam – he changed how they did medical evacuations in Vietnam. I was 3-1/2 when he was killed in action there. I’m writing a book about him. So that’s my real hobby. If your life had a theme song, what would it be? Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen is what comes to mind. You have to go wide open. If you don’t put forth that enormous effort, you’ll miss something. You can’t coast through life. How do you give back to the community? I support some medical missionaries with computer services. We have a recycling program that we’ve done since 2008 with the Georgia Tech Innovation Entrepreneur Institute – when we’re open you can drop off old technology free of charge for recycling. Depending on the price of metals, sometimes we break even on it. We also support the Augusta Warrior Project. We help where we can, depending on our circumstances. What does the future hold for you and Computer Exchange? You can never truly know but I envision continuing to adapt and adjust to new technology. And to train very intelligent employees to interact with customers on a personal level. Our field services technicians who go out not only need to be competent in a wide range of technical skills but also have to be competent with the customers. One thing we’ve never had is layers of management. We’ll always have me or John or Zach available by phone.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Observations Barry Paschal

Wedding Bell Blues Marketers, Pinterest conspire to empty Dad’s pockets There’s an exclusive club of which I’m proud to be a member. There’s no initiation fee, unless you count hospital delivery charges. There are plenty of dues to be paid, but no money goes to the club itself. And there are no meetings, except as each “chapter” gathers around the dinner table. It’s the Father of Three Daughters Club. I joined 22 years ago when my third daughter was born – right around this time of the year, in fact. It put me in the club with people like former political cartoonist Clyde Wells and retired Columbia County school superintendent Charles Nagle. One characteristic of the club is that upon meeting a non-member we hear two frightening words, usually preceded by an audible gasp: “Three weddings.” Almost without fail, people who meet a member of the Father of Three Daughters Club strike a wide-eyed look, and sometimes even shudder slightly, as they mentally tally up the perceived expense of the traditional method

of funding weddings: Dad pays for everything. While I knew the day of reckoning was coming, and even hoped for it as the typical precursor to the long-anticipated joys of grandfatherhood, I have now discovered there is a reason for the fearful, pitying faces of people who hear you have three daughters. Weddings. Are. Expensive. Yep. My oldest, the first of my three, has tied the knot. And boy, am I broke. A popular wedding site, The Knot, says the average wedding now costs more than $31,000. To put that in perspective, that’s basically the Gross National Product of Liberia. That’s roughly double what I spent on the used 11-year-old Nissan pickup I’m currently driving the wheels off of – literally, because I’ve been waiting until after the wedding to buy tires. To put it bluntly, I’m cheap. Wedding expenses, however, have a remarkable way of turning frugality upside-down and emptying its pockets, like a playground bully going after lunch money. I’m convinced that designating an item “for a wedding” just cranks opens the money-spigot. Birthday cake? Reasonable. Stack two together and call it a wedding cake? From the price, you’d think it was decorated with powdered unicorn horns. Flowers? Forget Valentine’s bouquets; wedding flowers apparently are grown in hothouses on the moon. That’s the only way to explain the extra expense.

Then there are dresses. And invitations. And wedding doo-dads. And food, and beverages, and venues, and chairs and tables, and linens, and music. And a bajillion other little details that add up, usually triple- and quadruple digits at a time. Marketers know customers make most purchases based on emotion, which explains in part why weddings are so expensive. Blame it, too, on the “must haves” – thanks, Pinterest – driven by flavor-of-the-moment decorating and tchotchke ideas that cost more than the sum of their crafty little parts. It doesn’t help, of course, that most

CPC, Leo Muniz, MD, join forces in Aiken

Leo Muniz, M.D., L.L.C. and Center for Primary Care (CPC) have announced the merger of their offices effective Sept. 14. The newest office in the CPC organization and its team of dedicated physician owners will be known as CPC–Leo Muniz, M.D. CPC was established in 1993 and has grown to a primary care group of 35 Board Certified physicians, one Family Nurse Practitioner and one Physician Assistant. With this merger, CPC will now have nine offices throughout the CSRA. Muniz has been a physician since 1980. He completed his Residency in Family Practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, through the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Practice, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice. Prior to his move to Aiken, Dr. Muniz was a physician in Massachusetts, Texas and Oklahoma. Muniz will serve as the medical director of his local operation in Aiken. “My merger with CPC represents a win-win for my patients as well as for our office,” Muniz said. “This union will bring shared information technology, management and other back office operations allowing for continued and enhanced primary care in Aiken.” The office will have new signs acknowledging the merger, and the staff and day-to-day operations will remain the same. Patients can expect to receive the same high quality medical care they have grown accustomed to. Muniz’s staff includes, Karon Garman, Family Nurse Practitioner, Ashley Thomas, Business Supervisor, Natasha Rhinehart, Certified Medical Assistant, Lisa Setzer, Front Office, Elizabeth Carl, Certified Medical Assistant, Catharine Scott, Certified Medical Assistant, and Kristin

26 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

Dr. Leo Muniz and Karon Garman, Family Nurse Practitioner

Walp, Certified Medical Assistant. Lou Imbrogno, the CEO of CPC, said, “CPC welcomes the merger with Leo Muniz, M.D., L.L.C. The collective strength of our organization will allow increased service offerings and enhanced recruitment capabilities so our practice will continue to serve the Aiken community well into the future.” The office of CPC – Leo Muniz, M.D. will remain at 101 Summerwood Way in Aiken. Patients can continue to reach the office by calling (803)642-3505.

dads have a tough time saying “no” to their girls. I’m sure that’s also behind the sympathetic looks from those who find out I have three of them. No matter how expensive the weddings are, though, my daughters paid for theirs long ago through all the joy I’ve received with the honor of being a member of the Father of Three Daughters Club. Just don’t tell the other two that. Barry L. Paschal is Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, parent organization of Helms College at

Small business lending increases in Georgia Small business lending  is up quite a bit in Georgia and across the Southeast, according to the latest data from the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA handed out $1.16 billion from Oct. 1 through July 31 to Georgia small businesses through flagship 7(a) and 504 loan  programs. That’s a 59.4 percent increase. Included in the $4.2 billion figure are nearly $600 million in SBA-backed loans to woman-owned small businesses (a more than 40 percent increase over last year) and nearly $83 million in loans (a more than 25 percent increase over last year). “The $4.2 billion in small  business  loans contributes to job creation and support for our southeast regional economy,” said Cassius Butts, SBA Regional Administrator. “Our lending partners have provided entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses the capital they need to grow and succeed.”

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Chamber plans candidates forum Sept. 29 By Tammy Shepherd, President/CEO Columbia County Chamber The first indicator the local election season has begun is political yard signs popping up along roadways – and that started early in Columbia County this year. With two special elections being held to replace sitting members who resigned mid-term, the politicians have hit the pavement knocking on doors. Voters in Georgia House District 122 and Columbia County Commission District 3 will elect new representatives in the Nov. 3 election. With four candidates seeking the House 122 seat, and five seeking the District 3 seat, how is the average voter going to figure out who will best represent them? To help with the process, the Chamber, along with the Columbia County NewsTimes, will host a Candidate Forum on September 29 at the Performing Arts Center at the County Library. This will be an excellent opportunity to see how each candidate stacks up against the others. Depending on whether or not there are contested races for seats on the Grovetown and Harlem city councils, we may host a forum for those candidates. During the forum, each candidate will answer questions from the Chamber and the News-Times and written questions may be taken from the audience. Answer time will be limited and the candidates won’t

have the questions ahead of time. The forum will be from 6 to 8 p.m. There is no charge and it is open to the public. Although the Chamber doesn’t endorse candidates, or contribute to political campaigns, we do want to know where they stand on our legislative priorities. Some referendums, such as the Special Local Option Sales Tax referendums for transportation, education and the county, have been endorsed by our Board of Directors. One of the driving forces behind everything we do is promoting a healthy business environment by supporting legislation, governmental action and programs that encourage a strong business climate with growing economic opportunities. We work with schools to help develop a strong workforce for the future. We offer support and opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper. We train leaders to make our region stronger. We monitor legislation and regulations and give opportunities for citizens to hear from those making decisions. And we make sure that the decision-

makers know where our business community stands on the issues. That’s why we host annual events like the State of the Community Address, the PreLegislative Breakfast and the Post-Legislative Breakfast. These events bring lawmakers to you to discuss the issues and keep you up-to-date on issues that may affect you. The annual State of the Community Address will be Sept. 22 at Liberty Park Gym in Grovetown. Speakers will be Board of Commissioners Chairman Ron Cross, School System Chairman Regina Buccafusco, Grovetown Mayor George James, Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper and Fort Gordon Garrison Commander Col. Sam Anderson. This year, the group will be joined by the State Transportation Board Chairman, Don Grantham. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a barbecue dinner from Shane’s Rib Shack and a business showcase. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. We expect to sell out, so call the Chamber at 706-651-0018 or visit our website at to register. You don’t have to be a Chamber member to attend this event. The Pre-Legislative Breakfast will be Nov. 5 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. In addition to hearing from the members of our legislative delegation, the keynote speaker will be Chris Carr, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. For information about attending, contact the Chamber.

Upcoming Chamber Events State of the Community Address Tuesday, September 22 5 - 8 p.m. (Dinner and Business Showcase 5 – 6:30 p.m. Program begins at 6:30 p.m.) Liberty Park Gym, Grovetown Tickets: Members - $25 Non-Members - $30 Reservations required Candidate Forum With candidates for GA House District 122 and County Commission District 3 Tuesday, September 29 6 - 8 p.m. Performing Arts Center, Columbia County Library No charge Open to the public No reservations needed Pre-Legislative Breakfast Thursday, November 5 7:30 - 9 am Savannah Rapids Pavilion No Charge for members Non-members - $10 Reservations required

Grovetown resident starts new IT and sales employment firm An international leader in sales-training solutions and Grovetown resident, Dub Taylor, has formed Expert Employees, LLC, to provide management advice as well as the staffing of IT specialists and sales professionals. “I am excited to become CEO of Expert Employees and about the prospect of growing with the companies that use our services to make the best business decisions and to hire the best employees in specialized areas,” said Taylor, who has more than 15 years of experience in sales, sales management, and senior leadership. Taylor most recently served as president of a global, sales-training company but has also held leadership positions at other Fortune 500 and start-up companies. He also moderated a Q&A, radio broadcast led by Jack Welch last week before an international audience. The graduate of Stillman College in Tus-

caloosa, Ala., will also receive an Executive MBA degree with honors from the Jack Welch Management Institute this month. At Expert Employees, Taylor will be responsible for the company’s growth, its strategic vision and business development. “I’m looking forward to building a company based on my past education and professional expertise – a new challenge I welcome and that I know we will master,” Taylor said. In building a strategic plan for the firm, based in Atlanta, Taylor has collaborated with America’s Workforce Solution, LLC to expand recruitment and staffing services in the South Carolina and Georgia regions. The partnership will focus on the economic growth within the automotive, IT and healthcare industries. “I’m honored to have my firm become a part of Taylor’s innovative, strategic part-

nership and welcome the opportunity to expand our services to South Carolina and Georgia”, Calvetta Phair, President of Amer-

ica’s Workforce Solution, said. America’s Workforce Solution, headquartered in Miami, is a minority-womenowned business, that develops strategic and enterprising workforce initiatives to address the needs of individuals and businesses. The firm’s primary services provide recruitment and staff augmentation for companies that serve the U.S. Department of Defense and the private/public sectors to staff a diverse, global workforce as well as programs and job training for hiring transitional, military/veteran personnel. Taylor has already started his action plan as CEO of Expert Employees and is in Greenville, S.C., preparing for their companies’ premiere launch to become a resource to companies in those sectors. For more information on professionalservice offerings and confidential quotes, visit

Columbia County Chamber buys land for future office building The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce will have new offices in the near future. The Chamber announced on Aug. 26 that they have purchased nearly an acre of land on Sir Galahad Drive along Washington Road, across from the Evans Post Office. Plans are to raze the existing house and construct a two-story professional office

28 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

building with plenty of offices, conference rooms and meeting areas. Keeping true to the Camelot neighborhood’s architecture, the office building with have a traditional style. It will front Washington Road. No timeline has been set yet for construction or completion of the building. The first step is to begin the rezoning and permitting processes.

“Our Chamber has seen phenomenal growth in the past few years,” Chamber president Tammy Shepherd said in an email to Chamber members. “In fact, we expect to have more than 1,000 members by the end of the year. We have increased our programs and staff to better serve you and our growing community. Now we find ourselves outgrowing our current office

space. We needed ample space in a visible location.” The Chamber offices have been located in the former Columbia County Health Department at 1000 Business Blvd. since 2012, shared with the Development Authority of Columbia County and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Chamber has six fulltime and three part-time employees.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Four generations: Can’t we all just get along? Distinct generational styles can mesh to create harmony in the work place By Gary Kauffman Many businesses today have three – and possibly even four – distinct generations working for them. This can be the source of great opportunities – and headaches – for a business owner or general manager. Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson spoke about the differences between the generations at the Columbia County Executive Luncheon on Sept. 3. The four generations in the work place today are the Traditionalists, born between 1922 and 1943; the Baby Boomers, 1943-64; Generation X, 1964-80; and the Millennials (or Generation Y), 1980-2000. Baby Boomers hold the biggest share of the workforce at 39.4 percent, with the Millennials close behind at 34.2 percent. Generation X holds a 21 percent share, while Traditionalists, because of their age, make up only 4.7 percent. Each of the four generations was shaped and influenced by the world events happening as they grew up. Each generation has its own strengths and weaknesses, and are motivated by different things. “You have to understand the idiosyncrasies to have harmony in the work place,” Johnson said. As an illustration of harmony, he described the army phalanxes of ancient Rome in which 300-600 men lived as a group and did everything together. “Their strength was to act and react the same way,” he said. In the same way, Johnson said understanding and working with each generation’s unique characteristics can create a

strong company. “Use them to your advantage and they’ll propel your company,” he said. “Working together is timeless.” Johnson outlined the characteristics of each generation. Traditionalists Influenced by the Great Depression and World War II, this generation has largely moved into retirement. But a number of them still have roles in some capacity in businesses, often businesses they created. “They shaped our nation,” Johnson said. “They understand the value of a dollar and loyalty.” Traditionalists currently hold about 75 percent of the nation’s assets. Because of their experiences through tough times, they developed core values of hard work, conformity, duty before pleasure, respect for authority and the ability to work for a delayed reward. “On the job they’re stable, detail oriented, loyal and hard working,” Johnson said. Their weaknesses, though, are that they have difficulty adapting to change, are reluctant to buck the system and are uncomfortable with conflict. They are motivated by respect for their experience, the value of their past knowledge and rewards for their loyalty and hard work. Baby Boomers For the most part, this generation enjoyed the fruits of the labor of the Traditionalists. They saw some major changes in the United States like the Civil Rights movement and grew up with better health care, a stable economy and great advancements in


Motivations for Success


Respect for experience Value of their past knowledge Rewards for loyalty and hard work

Baby Boomers

Importance to the success of the company Their contributions are unique and important Atmosphere of “we need you”

Generation X

Doing things their own way Having the latest and greatest technology Informal work atmosphere


Working with bright people Working together can turn the company around Spirit of helping other generations with technology

30 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson talked about the styles of each generation at the Chamber of Commerce Executive Luncheon Sept. 3. Photo by Gary Kauffman

technology. “They saw the beginning of a new world,” Johnson said. “They were doted on as babies.” As a result, Baby Boomers tend to be optimistic and a bit absorbed with personal gratification, personal growth and health and wellness. But they are also team-oriented and have core values that include a lot of drive, being willing to go the extra mile, building relationships and being involved in service. Their weaknesses are that they can be overly sensitive and judgmental of those who disagree with them, they put processes ahead of results and they’re not naturally budget-minded. They are motivated by their importance to the success of a company, that their contributions are unique and important and a general atmosphere of “we need you.” Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age but many continue to work and will continue to work. “Baby Boomers feel threatened by the people coming behind them and they’re not ready to retire,” Johnson said. Generation X “Generation X has the middle child syndrome,” Johnson said. They were raised during a decline in traditional family values in single-parent families or in families where both parents worked, meaning they were often latch-key kids who were raised on cable TV and frozen foods. They saw heroes fall and America decline in power and respect. They also were on the forefront of the technology boom. As a result, they are tech literate and have diverse backgrounds. In the work force they are independent, adaptable to change, resourceful and creative, and unintimidated

by authority or the “way things have always been done.” But their weaknesses are a cynical attitude, impatience, poor people skills, inexperience and a need for a less structured work environment. They are motivated by doing things their own way, having the latest and greatest technology and an informal work atmosphere. Millennials (Generation Y) This generation was strongly influenced by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the recession of 2008-09. They also grew up in a country where a wide range of people were considered equal. “They were born of diverse parents, which makes them accepting of people,” Johnson said. “They’re still a work in progress.” Millennials grew up using computers, often before they entered school, which makes them tech savvy and also dependent on technology and the internet. Because they saw how America banded together following 9/11, Millennials enjoy collective action, especially in the face of problems. It has also given them tenacity and a heroic spirit. Their core values include optimism, confidence, street smarts, social skills, multi-tasking and a spirit of civic duty. “If we understand how they work, we can get a lot out of them,” Johnson said. Their weaknesses are that they want immediate gratification, have some difficulty in handling people issues, are inexperienced, require supervision and need a structured environment. They are motivated by working with bright people, the belief that by working together they can turn the company around and by their ability to help the other generations with their tech and social media needs.

Georgia, SC rated an A for business friendliness Small business owners gave Georgia and South Carolina an A grade for their overall business friendliness, according to Thumbtack’s annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. Georgia improved from an A-minus in 2014 and South Carolina from a B-plus. South Carolina did especially well in the survey, receiving A-pluses in five categories – Regulations, Health & Safety, Employment, Labor & Hiring, Tax Code and Licensing – A’s in Environmental, Zoning and Training & Networking Programs and an A-minus in Ease of Hiring. Only Ease of Starting a Business dropped below an A, receiving a B. Georgia received an A in Ease of Starting a Business, B-pluses in Regulation, Employment, Labor & Hiring, Tax Code, Licensing, Environmental and Zoning and B’s in Ease of Hiring and Health & Safety. Its lowest grade was a C-plus in Training & Networking Programs. Nearly 18,000 U.S. small business owners responded to the survey, including 703 in Georgia. The study asked respondents to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. Thumbtack then evaluated states and cities against one another along more than

a dozen metrics. “Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Georgia’s environment for small business owners is welcoming and open, and entrepreneurs are recognizing it.” Texas, New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana and Colorado ranked as the best states for businesses, while Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, California and New York ranked as the worst. Complete results for Georgia and South Carolina are published at ga and

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Upcoming Business Events

Thursday, Sept. 17

Goodwill Job Fair, Snelling Center, 3165 Washington Rd. in Augusta. 1-4 p.m. Looking for employment? Meet with representatives from dozens of hiring companies by attending the Goodwill Job Fair. For questions, contact Kristin Arrowood at 706-854-4762 or Ribbon Cutting- Bonefish Grill Renovations, 2911 Washington Road, Augusta. 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 18 A.M. Connection-Legislative Update, North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave. 7:15 a.m. – Networking; 7:30 – 9 a.m. Breakfast & Program. Advance Registration- Members: $15, Non-Members: $25, At the Door - Members: $20, Non-Members: $30. State of the Community Report: Representatives from local government, education, public safety and military will comprise a community panel. The panel will discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they face in the year ahead. Then, attendees will have an opportunity to address the panel or ask questions. The panel discussion will be presented in a spirit of true collaboration and with the goal that the organizations represented find ways to assist each other, as well as find assistance from members of the community. The panel will include Mayor Lark Jones, City of North Augusta; Chairman Ronnie Young, Aiken County Council; Chief John Thomas, North Augusta Public Safety; Dr. Sean Alford, Aiken County School Superintendent; and Col. Samuel Anderson, Fort Gordon Garrison Commander.

Tuesday, Sept. 22 State of the Community Address, Liberty Park Gym, 1040 Newmantown Road, Grovetown. 5 p.m - Business Expo & BBQ Dinner; 6:30 p.m. – Program. Dinner Tickets: Members $25; Non- Members $30; Table of 8: $200. Hear where the county is heading and future goals for the community. Receive a personal update from the City of Grovetown, Columbia County Commission, City of Harlem, Columbia County Board of Education and Fort Gordon.

Thursday, Sept. 24 Ribbon Cutting - Southside Monument

32 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

LLC, 4115 Old Evans Road, Martinez (Located at intersection of Old Evans and Martinez Boulevard Avenue - 2 blocks from Washington Road). 4-5 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 25 Finance for Existing Businesses, Sponsored by Greater Aiken Score, Aiken Chamber of Commerce (121 Richland Ave., East Aiken) 9:30-11:30 a.m. This workshop will emphasize using financial statements (i.e., income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows) to make value enhancing decisions for existing businesses. You’ll find out how to analyze and evaluate financial statements, and create decision making tools that help improve cash flow and save your business money. For more information visit http://events. t?oeidk=a07ebaz41dp5eed630a&llr=4 95wqceab.

Saturday, Sept. 26 5th Annual Golf Tournament “2015 September Swing”, Gordon Lakes Golf Club (537 Range Rd), Fort Gordon. Noon-5 p.m. Noon: Driving range, putting practice, and lunch. 1 p.m.: Tee time, Best ball tournament, and shot gun shot. $70 per person,$280 per team, includes golfcart, lunch and dinner. Marvin United Methodist Church will be Co-Sponsoring: The 5th Annual Golf Tournament “2015 September Swing” dedicated to Bill DaVitte. Drawing prizes include: “Hole in One” Golf Cart, UGA tickets, free golf rounds at local courses, restaurant gift cards, Master souvenirs, and other prizes. For more information visit www.

Anniversary Celebration.

charge to attend.

Monday, October 5

Monday, October 19

11th Annual Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, West Lake Country Club (3556 W Lake Dr, Augusta). 10:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Registration: 10:45 a.m, Putting Green Contest: 11:15 a.m., Shotgun: noon.

Ribbon Cutting- Rainbow of Augusta, 229 Fury’s Ferry Road, Suite 115. 4-5 p.m.

Tuesday, October 6 Georgia Regents University’s Innovation Summit 2015, The Salvation Army Kroc Center (1833 Broad Street, Augusta). 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. If you have a great idea and want to turn it into the next big thing, you could get help for free. The GRU Innovation Summit 2015 is sponsored by the Office of Innovative Commercialization and the Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University and the Savannah River National Laboratory. Experienced innovators speaking at the event will share trends, strategies and advice that can assist people in transforming their big ideas into great products and services. There is no cost to attend the summit, but space is limited. Register in advance at Breakfast and lunch are included.

Wednesday, October 7 Membership 101, Columbia County Chamber Office, 1000 Business Blvd.,Evans. 1:30-2:30 p.m. If you are a new Chamber member or just want a refresher course, plan to attend the Membership 101 Class. Each month the chamber offers a one hour class on the Chamber website.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Thursday, October 8

Ribbon Cutting- MedNow Urgent Care, 2851 Washington Road, Augusta. 4 p.m.

Ribbon Cutting- Residence Inn by Marriott, 1116 Marks Church Road, in Augusta. 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This is a joint ribbon cut. Lunch will be served along with tours, door prizes, and funnel cake.

Thursday, October 1 Ribbon Cutting- Queensborough National Bank & Trust, 4321 Washington Road, in Evans. 3-4 p.m. A ribboncutting celebrating new renovations to the branch as well as a new Branch Manager and new Business Development Officer. Columbiacountychamber. com Dr. Ron Bryant DDS- 25th Anniversary Celebration, 504 West Avenue, North Augusta. 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. 25th

Tuesday, October 13 Candidates Forum for Grovetown and Harlem Municipal Races, Euchee Creek Library (5907 Euchee Creek Drive, Grovetown). 6-8 p.m. Candidates will answer questions from the Chamber and the Columbia County News-Times. This is a public event and there’s no

Wednesday, Oct.21 Business Academy-Business Ethics, hosted by The North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Southern Wesleyan University, and Greater Aiken SCORE chapter, Southern Wesleyan University Business Technology Center (802 East Martintown Road, Suite 101, North Augusta). 9:30-11:30 a.m. This workshop will be interactive and based upon real world examples. Attendees will be able to ask about practices and situations they have experienced in their own businesses. The presenter, Dr. Linda C. Rodriguez, is an assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business Administration at USC Aiken. Her courses include Business and Society, International Management, and Organizational Theory. For more information and to register, visit http:// event?oeidk=a07ebazt8apd31bc1c4&llr =495wqceab 

Thursday, October 22 Ribbon Cutting- New Life Church, 215 Lewiston Road, Grovetown. 11 a.m. noon. Take Columbia Road to Lewiston Road. turn left towards I-20.  Church will be on the right.

Thursday, October 29 Maxwell Law Firm 20th Anniversary Celebration, 516 West Avenue, North Augusta. 4:30 -6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 5 Fall 2015 Career Fair, Augusta Technical College, 9 a.m.-noon. Located in Building 1300 at the Augusta Campus, 3200 Augusta Tech Drive, For more information, contact Career Services at 706-771-4146.

If your business or organization has a public non-sales event it would like to place in this calendar, please contact Kelsey at Event listings are subject to approval by the editor.

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34 Buzz on Biz Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015

Featured Companies EDTS.............................................36,37 Pollock Company..............................39 Aiken Augusta Audio........................39 Advanced Technology.................40, 41 Premier Networx.........................42, 43 CMA Technology...............................45 American Audio Visual Services......45 CWR Digital......................................46 IntelliSystems....................................47

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Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


A big worldwide web of connected stuff Computers, tablets, appliances, cars merge in Internet of Things By Gary Kauffman While visiting my son and his family in Indiana, we ate together at a restaurant and then my wife and I left before they did. When we arrived at their home, we sent a text to them and our daughter-in-law opened the garage door for us – from her phone, miles away. That is just one small example of the Internet of Things, or IoT, that has become such a commonplace part of our world that we hardly marvel at it anymore. Not so long ago, the internet meant a web of interconnected desktop computers. That evolved to include laptops. But now we have many “things” – tablets, smart phones, smart TVs, even automobiles – that rely on the connectivity of the internet. Estimates are that by 2020 – less than five years from now – there will be 50 billion things connected to the internet. Given the projected population at that time, that’s 6.6 devices per person. But considering that many of those people are infants or too poor to own even one device, it means we’ll each probably have 12-15 devices. While some of that will be for personal convenience, like opening a garage door remotely, there are also many applications for

business and public safety. Futurist Daniel Burrus, for example, talks about “smart cement” – cement with builtin sensors that can be used in bridges to alert officials if cracks or other damage develop. Those same sensors could detect ice on the bridge and send a signal to your car so you can slow down. But if things continue to progress, you may not have to do anything to slow down. The car will do it for you. Driverless cars are already being developed by Google. They would rely on various sensors to slow down, speed up, change lanes or turn on the wipers when it starts raining. All the smart cars would have the ability to learn as they encounter new conditions, which they would then share via the Internet of Things with all the other driverless cars so they would know what to do in those conditions, too. The IoT can also be useful to businesses for such things as inventory. The first internet-connected appliance was a Coke machine built in 1982 that not only could track how many cans it contained, but also whether they were maintained at the right temperature. Quality control, energy efficiency, en-

vironmental monitoring and healthcare services are all expected to increasingly use the IoT in the near future, perhaps in ways that haven’t even been considered yet. Homes will also increasingly become more connected. Technology writer Jonathan Strickland envisions a time in the near distant future when humans will be connected via sensors to their homes. In some-

thing that sounds like Disney’s Tomorrowland or The Jetsons, he said the home could sense when you’ve had a bad day and cue the stereo to play soothing music as you arrive home. The refrigerator can tell you what it contains and suggest recipes to make. If it’s cold out, the smart house will crank up the heat before you arrive home. It’ll probably even open the garage door for you.

Can you hear me now? Verizon leads 5G charge If you’ve finally made the switch to 4G wireless network technology be ready for the advent of 5G, ahead of schedule. Verizon, the first company to introduce 4G LTE (fourth-generation long-term evolution) wireless network  technology about six years ago is making an aggressive push for fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology. By nearly all accounts, 5G technology should be introduced in the United States sometime after 2020, but Verizon is accelerating the expected rate of innovation. By working closely with key partners, Verizon aims to launch field technology trials next year. Verizon, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung kicked-off the inaugural Verizon 5G Technology Forum last month, and have established working teams to ensure an aggressive pace of innovation.   5G network environments, or “sandboxes,” are being created in Verizon’s Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco Innovation Centers. Just like in the early days of the development of 4G LTE technology, collaborating in a shared environment will foster compelling applications faster. “5G is no longer a dream of the distant future,” said Roger Gurnani, executive vice president and chief information and tech-

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nology architect for Verizon. “We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem by collaborating with industry leaders and developers to usher in a new generation of innovation.” The expected benefits of 5G, as described during Verizon’s inaugural forum, include about 50 times the throughput of current 4G LTE, latency in the single milliseconds, and the ability to handle exponentially more internet-connected devices to accommodate the expected explosion of the Internet

of Everything. “When you’re planning a technological evolution at this scale it must be a collaboration of players in the ecosystem,” said Marcus Weldon, chief technology officer of Alcatel-Lucent and president of Bell Labs. “Having Verizon initiate this effort now, even as 4G LTE technology has so much headroom left, will no doubt add to the rich fabric of our digital lives for many years to come.” The Verizon-led effort keeps the communications industry in the United States vibrant and globally competitive, explained Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer for Ericsson. “A lot of development and requirements for 5G networks have so far come from Asian operators,” she said. “It’s exciting to see a U.S. company accelerate the rate of innovation and introduce new partners.” In addition to working with communications and technology leaders, Verizon’s 5G Technology Forum also includes a group of leading east- and west-coast venture capital groups focused on a variety of emerging technologies. “Each partner is a leader, but together we represent more than $50 billion in annual research, development and technology investments and thousands of patents,” Gurnani said. “Collectively we are bringing to

bear an incredible amount of resources and intellectual capital to introduce the next generation of wireless technology.” Building networks for the future unleashes innovation From the beginning, the possibilities of 4G LTE were as great as the imaginations of the developers, engineers and entrepreneurs who began immediately putting their ideas into action. The Verizon Innovation program was created, and Innovations Centers were opened in Waltham and San Francisco, with the mission of encouraging the growth and development of the 4G LTE ecosystem. Innovators from around the world worked with Verizon wireless experts to test their ideas and quickly get them to market. And the market grew quickly. Verizon began building and testing 4G LTE as early as 2008 with the creation of a 10-cell network sandbox around Boston. The first LTE data call was made in August 2009, and Verizon commercially launched the nation’s first, and the world’s largest, 4G LTE network in December 2010 with 39 major metropolitan areas and more than 60 major airports covered.   Today, more than 98 percent of the U.S. population has access to 4G LTE and 87 percent of Verizon Wireless data traffic is carried over the network.

Ransomware scam is back The ransomware scam is back and more vicious than ever, according to a new FBI report. Ransomware is a virus that freezes your computer, holding it hostage until you pay a ransom to unlock it. Victims are consumers and businesses reporting losses up to $10,000 in a new version of this scam that encrypts your files. The larger losses are incurred by businesses due to requirements to protect their network and their customers’ personal information. The scam begins when you click on an infected advertisement, link or open an email attachment. Suddenly, a popup appears. The screen tells you that all the files on your computer have been encrypted, making them useless unless you have a key to decode them.  This new version of ransomware is appropriately named CryptoWall. Decoding your files doesn’t come free or cheap. Victims report that total losses from the different versions range anywhere from $200 to $10,000.  Most versions of this scam demand payment in Bitcoin. Bitcoin is an online currency that is decentralized, unregulated and anonymous, making it a new favorite method of payment for scammers. Like pre-paid debit cards and wire transfers, if you pay with Bitcoin, it’s like paying in cash because it isn’t tracked.  To remove the virus without paying the scammers, try running a full-system scan on your computer to identify and delete the malicious files. If you are unable to remove

the malware, you may need to contact a trustworthy computer repair shop for assistance. Victims may even have to wipe the machine’s hard drive and reinstall files and software. Avoid ransomware scams by not downloading one. Here are some suggestions:  • Always use antivirus software and a firewall.  Protect your computer (and your cell phone) by using antivirus software and a firewall from a reputable company.  • Update your software regularly. The regular reminders to update your browsers and other software are annoying, but they are for a good reason. These updates protect against the constantly evolving viruses and system vulnerabilities.  Most of these have automatic updates available. • Enable popup blockers.  Popups are regularly used by scammers to spread malware. Prevent them from appearing in the first place by adjusting your browser settings. • Be skeptical. Don’t click on email links or open attachments you don’t recognize, and avoid suspicious websites. • Always back up the content on your computer.  If you back up your files, ransomware scams will have limited impact. If you are targeted, you can simply have your system wiped clean and reload your files. Victims of ransomware scams can file complaints with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at and find trustworthy computer repair shops through the Better Business Bureau at

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


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Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Cyber attacks a way of life for most businesses By Gary Kauffman Right now, as you’re reading this, someone could be breaking into your company and stealing you blind. But all the locks and razor wire in the world won’t stop this thief. He’s coming in through your computer. Mark Baggett sits on his back porch in Evans, his eye on his laptop screen. On display is a world map. Glowing lines shoot from China toward the United States, as if the web site was displaying some missile attacks. In fact, it is displaying attacks. But these aren’t missile launches – they’re computer hackers trying to infiltrate computers in an attempt to extract information. While it all sounds high tech and not the kind of thing that will affect the Mom-andPop shop in the CSRA, Baggett said everyone is vulnerable. “Some people have gone so far as to say that every organization with data worth stealing has been compromised already,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s 100 percent true, but every organization can be compromised. It’s up to the will of the hacker.” Baggett knows quite well how hackers work since, in essence, he is one. Baggett is a technical advisor to the Department of Defense for the Sans Institute, but he is also a penetration tester – companies have him break into their computer systems to check their vulnerability and to assess the loss a cybercriminal could cause. On the laptop screen, the flashing lines from China have now become a solid line as the number of cyberattacks picks up. There are also attacks from within the United States and a few from other countries, such as Mexico, Russia, France, Brazil and even Sweden. The United States is far and away the biggest target for these attacks. Although giant corporations like Sony and Target have made headlines when their security was breached, Baggett said local businesses have been victims of these attacks as well. Members of an organized cybercrime group have been arrested in Augusta. There are three basic types of hackers – opportunistic, targeted and foreign governments. The opportunistic hackers make up the majority of attacks, about 70 percent. These people look for any computer to break into and steal what data they can – equivalent to a burglar looking for the unlocked brickand-mortar buildings. “They have a ‘key,’ it’s just a matter of finding the doors it’ll open,” Baggett said of the opportunistic hackers. “They scan all the computers, and it works on thousands of them.” They most often steal financial data – credit card and bank numbers, pin numbers, mothers’ maiden names. In many cases they don’t use this data themselves, but sell it to others. Baggett, using Google, pulled up a website offering stolen credit card information on sale by a hacker. Targeted attacks often come from more organized groups. Instead of randomly

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trying computers, they target a specific business, such as Sony or Target. This usually involves reconnaissance to determine computer security, usage habits and even physical on-site observation to determine the best times to break into the computers. Targeted attacks are increasing, Baggett said. Then there are the attacks sanctioned by foreign governments, with China being a major player in this type of attack. Foreign governments usually target financial institutions, high tech companies and the military. In some cases they steal information for immediate financial gain, but they also steal proprietary information to bolster companies within their own countries. The disconcerting aspect of these cybercrimes is that businesses are rarely aware that they’re happening – or even that they’ve happened. “Ninety percent of companies find out they’ve been attacked when the FBI or other government agency shows up at their door and asks, ‘Hey, is this your data?’” Baggett said. “They saw it leaving the country and show up in China, but the company doesn’t even know they’ve been attacked.” The stealth of the attacks leads to a false sense of security or even a lack of interest in protection. “That’s why most people don’t put their resources into this, because it’s an invisible threat,” Baggett said. Baggett likened it to guarding against a bear attack. A bear can overpower you and eat you, but since there are no bears in Augusta, it seems ridiculous to be on guard for an attack by one. “But what if there are invisible bears?” Baggett said. The hackers are the “invisible bears” and they are hungrily roaming the United States, even in Augusta. On the laptop, the line of attacks from China to the United States has swelled to a thick, solid line. A counter keeping track of

the number of attacks on the United States moves so fast it’s hard to get an accurate readout. Every business that stores any financial data from customers, employee records or personal or company financial information – which is most businesses, large or small – is vulnerable to these invisible bears. Think you’re safe because you don’t store any of those things on your business computers? Think again. “Criminals still target those networks for the computing power you have,” Baggett said. “If they can break into your computers they can hide where their attacks are coming from.” Protection, then, becomes vital for all businesses. There are different levels that they can take. Returning to the bear analogy, Baggett recited the old joke about two hikers being attacked by a bear. One hiker is tightening

Stealing information is just one way cybercriminals can damage your business. There are other ways that Augusta-area businesses have been attacked in the past year. Denial of service – Each business’ website has a finite ability to receive and send information. If a hacker gains access to enough computers he can send so many requests to your website that it clogs the line, blocking your legitimate customers from using it. If your business offers a lot of online services, this can be crippling. Ransom – In this scenario, the hacker threatens to “kidnap” your system if you don’t pay a ransom. He can do this through a denial of service or by releasing a virus that locks you out of your own data unless you pay to get the “key.” Often businesses find it less costly to pay the ransom than to lose the business of their legitimate customers. Negative SEO – Most companies work on their SEO – Search Engine Optimization – to gain higher standing with search engines like Google. But search engines also drop companies in their rankings or eliminate them completely if they seem to not be legitimate or engaged in shady practices. In this kind of attack, a hacker will create websites full of spam, porn, viruses and other items on the search engine’s blacklist, then link them to your site so that it appears you are involved in these activities as well. If your company relies heavily on people finding you through web searches, a negative SEO attack could be devastating.

the laces on his running shoes and the other asks, “Do you think you can outrun the bear?” to which the first hiker replies, “No, I just have to outrun you.” Taking the time to beef up the basics of your computer security puts you ahead of many companies and helps protect against the opportunistic hacker who will gravitate toward the least-protected systems. “Installing patches, updating your antivirus, using good passwords, those are putting on your running shoes,” Baggett said. “It works well against the opportunistic attacks.” But if an attacker targets you – if the bear decides you’re a tastier morsel than the others – your options are more limited. “You can’t outrun the bear,” Baggett said. Since you can’t prevent an attack from a determined cybercriminal, the best step is to discover it as quickly as possible and minimize the damage. “For a business, the best thing they can do is hire trained people who can recognize when people are in the network and get rid of them,” Baggett said. “Unfortunately, people who can do that are rare and highly prized.” A company can also hire a firm that offers managed IT services to monitor their systems, or can even hire someone like Baggett to discover where a system is most vulnerable and then beef up that section. The laptop screen has now been open for a half-hour. The line of attacks is still a steady, thick line. In those 30 minutes, the United States has been attacked more than 6,600 times, half of those originating in China. The United Kingdom has the second-most attacks in that span – 117. The threat has grown exponentially as more and more data is stored electronically, and as internet speeds increase worldwide. “Ten years ago for someone to steal your data they had to break into your business,” Baggett said. “Now your data is 0.3 milliseconds from every bad guy in the world.” Reprinted from Jan. 15, 2015 issue

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Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


CareSouth changes name to Careity, sells divisions and changes focus

Photo courtesy Children’s Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital tops nation in quality, safety When pediatric patient care at Children’s Hospital of Georgia is compared to that provided at 122 peer hospitals across the country, Augusta’s only children’s hospital ranks at the top in the nation in quality and safety. “We take care of some really sick children here at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia,” said CHOG Administrator Jim Mumford. “These aren’t just kids with aches and pains and temporary illnesses; although those are a significant part of what we do. We’re talking about kids who need heart surgery, brain surgery and cancer treatments, as well as ECMO; and kids with chronic diseases, like asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy. These UHC quality and safety indicators and our national ranking is a testament to the outstanding care that our physicians, nurses, and staff provide to these children and families across the southeast on a daily basis.” According to the latest Quality and Safety Management Report from the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) – an alliance of the nation’s leading nonprofit academic medical centers – CHOG ranks first in pediatric care for all of 2014 in an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) integrated measure on pediatric quality.

“Being recognized for the highest quality and safety outcomes on a national level is certainly a significant honor,” said Dr. Charles Howell, Co-Medical Director and Surgeon-In-Chief of CHOG. “It speaks volumes about the compassion and expertise that we provide to each and every patient at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.” The 154-bed not-for-profit CHOG is the second-largest children’s hospital in the state, providing the highest level of pediatric critical care and neonatal intensive care, as well as a wide range of general and complex health care for children. Donations help fund the many resources needed to enhance and maintain the quality of care children receive, from the smallest bandage to the most precise surgical instruments. “It takes a remarkable team effort centered on children and their families to be the best of the best in children’s care,” said Dr. Charles Linder, Chairman of Pediatrics for GRU’s Medical College of Georgia and Co-Medical Director at CHOG. “We just celebrated a year of record-breaking donations in 2014 that culminated last weekend with our telethon. Now we have another reason to celebrate, and our supporters can take pride in these accomplishments, too.”

The 7th annual Ironman 70.3 Augusta will be held September 27 on both sides of and in the Savannah River. The 70.3 starts with a 1.2-mile swim in the Savannah River, then moves to a 56mile bike ride through Aiken County, S.C. A 13.1-mile run (half marathon) follows the bike ride and finishes in downtown Augusta. The event is the largest Ironman 70.3 event in the world and the Augusta Sports

Council, serving as the Local Organizing Committee, estimates the event will bring in about $4 million of direct visitor spending. This is money that will be spent that weekend from athletes and their friends/families staying in our hotels and spending money in our local businesses. New this year to the race weekend, is the UnitedHealthcare Ironkids Augusta Fun Run, which will take place the day before

CareSouth Home Health Services has sold part of its business but expects to expand the parts that it kept. The company sold its CareSouth Home Health, CareSouth Hospice, CareSouth Private Duty and CS Health & Wellness divisions to Encompass, a division of HealthSouth Corporation, which includes 45 locations. But it has retained its Senior Living Services, Management Services and off shore Captive Insurance divisions. The sale is pending final approval. On Oct. 1, CareSouth will begin operating the divisions it retained under the name Careity, with the corporate headquarters remaining in Augusta. Diana Porter, vice president of client experience and brand for CareSouth, said there are no immediate changes in personnel, although eventually some may migrate to Encompass. The leadership of CareSouth’s retained divisions will remain in place. The change will allow Careity to begin

expanding its services in senior living centers. It currently has a Health at Home partnership with LCS in 30 senior living centers in 17 states. Porter said there is room for expansion within LCS with Health at Home, and the change opens up avenues to grow into other senior living centers as well. “We intend to grow,” she said. “We’re banking on our 40 years of experience to grow those pretty quickly.” By acquiring CareSouth, Encompass improves its market share in Florida and Virginia. It will become the third largest provider in Virginia and ninth largest in Florida. These new home health locations will overlap with 14 of HealthSouth’s existing inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. The addition of these assets will allow HealthSouth to better serve the post-acute needs of patients in those markets by offering both facility-based and home-based post-acute services.

Cancer Center expanding, renaming to honor benefactor The cancer research building at Georgia Regents University is getting a larger footprint and a new name. The 170,000-square-foot facility will expand upward and outward, gaining 72,000 square feet of new space and 6,000 square feet of renovations to become the GRU Cancer Center M. Bert Storey Research Building, in recognition of the Augusta philanthropist and longtime university supporter. “This $62.5 million project will be a significant expansion for the GRU Cancer Center that will physically connect our clinical and research missions as we continue the momentum toward National Cancer Institute designation,” said GRU President Brooks Keel. “We couldn’t make this happen without the generosity of supporters like M. Bert Storey, who understand the impact that our discoveries make

in the fight against cancer.” The state of Georgia is providing $50 million in bond funding and the university is securing the remaining funds that will finance two main components: a fivestory expansion to the existing research building and an elevated connector that stretches across Laney-Walker Boulevard linking the research building to GRU Cancer Center Outpatient Services. The naming was approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents on Aug. 12. “It is my honor to lend my name to such a worthy endeavor. Cancer research truly touches all our lives, and I encourage others to join me in supporting this vital effort,” said Storey, the president and owner of Bert Storey Associates, LLC, a commercial real estate development company, and Chair of the Storey Foundation.

Augusta hosts 7th Annual Ironman 70.3, Ironkids Fun Run

48 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

the Ironman on Sept. 26. Race entry is $15 and the race is geared towards children ages 3-14. “We’re looking forward to having another great race week in Augusta,” said AJ Sills, Race Director for Ironman 70.3. “To all the athletes, we wish you the best of luck and we’ll see you on race day!” For a complete list of the schedule of events and for more information visit iron-

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


50 Buzz on Biz Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Lunch Review Sandwich City Susan O’Keefe

Back in Time

Sandwich City offers simple fare but a quality experience In the heart of downtown Augusta sits an unassuming establishment. Without fanfare or bells and whistles, Sandwich City has been a part of the local landscape for more than four decades. It’s a mom-and-pop spot, the kind of place where everybody knows your name. That aspect was

clear as customers and clerks traded pleasantries on a first-name basis. One customer likened Sandwich City to a step back in time. Two lines of food are offered daily. There’s the traditional hot plate lunch or a cold cut sandwich. On the day of my visit, Salisbury steak and pork loin were being served on the hot line. Sides included macaroni and cheese, field peas, lima beans, squash, turnips and mashed potatoes. From the cold cut line, customers could build their own sandwich. The menu also offered chicken, tuna, egg or pimento cheese salads. As my friends and I made our way through the line, I asked if there was a side salad on the menu. Perhaps I had overlooked it. The line worker politely replied that they did not offer a side salad. Then she said a few words that put this place in the “I will definitely eat here again” category. She simply said, “We don’t have a side salad on the menu, but would you like me to make one for you?” It was a refreshing example of customer service at its best. At high noon on a recent Monday, Sandwich City was buzzing with business. It seemed most of the local businessmen and women had caught

a whiff of the aromatic fried chicken special. Making our way through the line with food on our tray was an easy enough experience. The cashier made our visit even more enjoyable. He tallied totals for parties paying together but coming through the line at different times. Without hesitation, he kept the line moving at a brisk pace. He traded barbs and offered friendly comments to all. “Fast and friendly service” is one comment on the Sandwich City’s Facebook page. My company and I would attest and agree to that comment. With sandwiches as low as $4 and hot plates around $8, it’s easy to see why Sandwich City has stood the test of time. My friends and I devoured

Edgar’s Grille hires new executive chef A familiar name in the restaurant business has become the executive chef at Edgar’s Grille. David Ross, who was a co-operator of 5 O’Clock Bistro, was named to the position at Edgar’s by Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, which operates Edgar’s. In addition, Ross will also serve as Director of Hospitality of Edgar’s Hospitality Group in the CSRA, which includes Edgar’s Grille, the Snelling Center and Edgar’s Catering and Food Service. Prior to becoming the chef at Edgar’s Grille, Ross served as a chef instructor at Helms College where he previously was chair of the Department of Culinary Arts. He holds an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the Chelsea School of Art in London. He is a certified Chef de Cuisine through the American Culinary Federation. “Our long association with Chef Ross made him the natural choice to provide the next level of exceptional culinary leadership at Edgar’s Grille and the Snel-

52 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

ling Center,” said James Stiff, president of Goodwill. “He is a remarkably talented chef with tremendous expertise in providing memorable experiences to diners, while his skills as an instructor will be valuable in shaping the next generation of culinary leaders as he coordinates Edgar’s Hospitality events with the students and

staff of Helms College.” Edgar’s Hospitality Group provides high-casual dining at Edgar’s Grille, a special events and meeting venue at Snelling Center, and on- and off-site catering services through Edgar’s Catering and Food Service. For more information, visit

our sandwiches which included a patty melt, BLT, turkey on rye and pimento cheese. Within minutes, crumbs were all that remained on the plastic checkered tablecloth. Throughout the noon hour, the door continuously swung open. The dining area was abuzz with casual conversations and business card swapping. It’s a place where a dollar goes a long way and a firm handshake could seal a deal. It’s not a fancy place but Sandwich City Grille gets the job done. We arrived hungry. We left satisfied. We wanted a place to meet and talk. We had just what we needed. Sandwich City Grill is located at 302 10th Street in downtown Augusta.

Blue Sky Kitchen makes changes Blue Sky Kitchen, 990 Broad Street, has recently undergone changes in management and in the dining area of the restaurant, along with some slight changes to its menu. Frankie Quale, general manager, started managing Blue Sky Kitchen in June 2014. Quale’s emphasis was on the patron, both early and late night customers, so he created an environment that was fun and inviting. Two new pool tables, a basketball game, a touch-tunes jukebox and a Golden Tee golf game are a few of the new additions. He now serves 80 beers that satisfy customers who favor the emerging craft and brewery markets. And patrons can enjoy a wide variety of food choices including items such as fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, soup, salad, wings and sandwiches. Quale also included a children’s menu.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Career & Education Brian Hendricks

Value Added

Veterans gain skills at college, give experience to others People pretty much understand that you go to college to learn. What they may miss, though, is how a lot of what

you learn may not come from books or even in the classroom. Some of the most important lessons we learn come from those around us. When we interact with others, we help each other grow and learn. (Hey, Confucius built an entire philosophy around that!) Just by being there, military veterans contribute to a better college experience. Quiet and contained, or boisterous and visible, veterans are leaders, not just learners. Their skills, abilities and perspectives enrich everyone around them. At colleges like Georgia Military College, veterans not only get the skills and knowledge they need for success, they also share valuable skills and knowledge with others. That makes college a place to grow and succeed for life, not just a place to burn off those last 12 months of VA benefits. A community college like Georgia

Veterans not only get the skills and knowledge they need for success, they also share valuable skills Military benefits veterans by providing a more relaxed environment. Classes are smaller. The relationship with the faculty is more direct. Many of our faculty are veterans, too. Colleges have student-led veterans’ organizations where students can interact with others who understand who they are and where they have been. We have staff that understand military and veteran benefits programs and want to see all our students succeed. Our student population is interesting and diverse. Our credits are designed to transfer to regionally accredited colleges and universities, saving you time and mon-

ey. Whether a veteran prefers to blend in or stand out, college can make a difference in their life. Small colleges like Georgia Military College care about who their students are and who they want to be. Veterans are encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives with those around them. G. Brian Hendricks represents Georgia Military College in the Education Center on post as the Fort Gordon Coordinator and Recruiter. He has also taught history classes for the college. For questions about how to enroll in Georgia Military College’s degree programs, call 706993-1123, email, or visit

SC students will take US citizenship exam

By Kelsey Morrow South Carolina high school students will now be required to take the same civics exam as those seeking U.S. citizenship. “We’ve been making significant gains in literacy, reading, science, and math, but many are worried that civics education is falling behind,” S.C. State Sen. Shane Massey told attendees at the North Augusta Chamber’s Annual Legislative Breakfast on Aug. 21. This new law has been referred to as the James B. Edwards Civics Education Initiative after a former South Carolina governor

who backed the proposal, and will require all South Carolina high school students to take a 100-question exam made up of information that immigrants are expected to know in order to be granted citizenship. The exam will cover the structure of the U.S. government, historical figures and events and current political topics. This requirement alone will not be enough for a student to keep from graduating on time, but those who pass will receive special recognition. The results of these exams will allow South Carolina school districts to analyze

students’ current levels of knowledge regarding the basics of our government. This information may then lead to a revamping of the civics curriculum within the state. Government officials also hope that this will lead to increased political interest and participation from younger generations. Also at the Legislative Breakfast, S.C. Sen. Tom Young said that legislation has been put in place to help military veterans continue their education. Veterans moving to South Carolina may now be eligible for in-state tuition as long as they are within 36 months of being dis-

charged and ended their military service on good terms. This law waives the requirement of living in South Carolina for a year before being eligible for in-state tuition. As evidenced by Fort Gordon in the Augusta area, the military community can provide increased demand for local businesses and give a big boost to an area’s economy. “This is a big deal for South Carolina,” Young said, “It allows us to be ahead of the curve in terms of veterans coming to our state. Military bases are huge to our economy, so this was a good thing to have passed.”

Financial situations push up retirement age Survey: Less than half of workers are on track to retire at age 65 Thinking about retiring at 65? You may want to ratchet that upward a few years, maybe even by a decade. A new analysis from Aon Hewitt, the global talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon plc, reveals that most workers will likely be working longer to save enough to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Aon Hewitt’s analysis of 77 large U.S. employers, representing 2.1 million employees, found that only one in five are on track to meet or exceed their retirement needs by age 65. Another 20 percent could retire at age 65 with some lifestyle adjustments. That means that a whopping 60 percent of workers will be unable to afford to retire by age 65. The analysis projects the average worker will need to save 11 times their final pay at age 65 to keep their pre-retirement lifestyle. Exact income replacement depends on the

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unique situation of each worker including age, income, anticipated retirement age and Social Security. Given those projects, Aon Hewitt believes that age 68 is the median age U.S. workers will be able to retire with sound financial security, although 16 percent are not expected to have enough to retire even by age 75. “The benefits landscape has changed over time and U.S. workers are now accountable for a greater portion of their financial needs in retirement,” said Rob Reiskytl, partner at Aon Hewitt. “Unfortunately, most are under-prepared. The most important thing they can do is to establish goals for the kind of retirement they want and determine a savings plan to meet those needs and desires. This might mean starting to save more now, delaying retirement by a few years, or making a conscious choice to retire with a lower living standard.”

Aon Hewitt finds many workers are not planning enough for their long-term financial goals. A separate Aon Hewitt survey found that just over half of workers (54 percent) have estimated their retirement needs, determined savings requirements or forecasted how much income they’ll need in retirement. Only 40 percent of workers have created a financial plan to achieve their retirement goals.  “Many employers are increasing their focus on financial wellness, offering education, tools and resources to help workers achieve their savings goals,” Reiskytl said. “Taking advantage of online tools such as budgeting and  debt management  programs  and apps, professional investment advice and savings features like target date funds, automatic rebalancing and managed accounts, are all things that will help workers close the savings gap.”

Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Local schools taking steps in STEM ed Integrated education seen as key to prep future workforce By Millie Huff With increasing growth in technology-based industries predicted for the next decade, educators recognize that the demand for a prepared workforce has never been greater. “We can’t begin too early to prepare our students for the opportunities ahead of them,” said Sharon Carson, Columbia County’s Director of Student Learning for grades 6-8. The Technology Association of Georgia predicts that by 2018, more than 210,000 jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related fields will open in the state, requiring employees with strong skills and educational background in STEM subjects. In Georgia, STEM education is defined as an integrated curriculum (as opposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics taught as individual subjects) that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/ problem-based learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. The use of technology in most fields means that all students – not just those who plan to pursue a STEM profession – will require a solid foundation in STEM to be productive members of the workforce. Schools are seeking STEM certification The Georgia Department of Education offers a STEM certification that recognizes exemplary schools in the state. In order to achieve certification, a school must accomplish a multi-step process to ensure STEM programs are fully integrated into its curriculum. Currently, no Richmond or Columbia County schools hold this certification, but it is a priority for administrators in both school districts. “We are pushing hard to have all eight Columbia County middle schools to be STEM certified,” said Carson. “The schools are embracing the STEM philosophy and laying the groundwork for further progress. The key to our success currently is our partnerships with local businesses to provide hands-on experiences to our middle school students, a

Even at the elementary school level, students as young as Pre-K are learning technology skills by working on computers, learning in science labs and planting gardens. key step toward certification.” Local businesses, such as Club Car, Fort Gordon, International Paper and John Deere, partner with the middle schools to present real-life challenges that the students help solve. “Learning STEM skills is more than learning math classroom skills,” said Carson. “It’s about applying problem-solving skills and developing critical thinking. Employers want us to prepare our young students to be qualified for jobs that may not have even been created yet.” The state STEM certification is a coveted designation that requires schools to demonstrate a 15-point criteria to meet the requirements. Only two middle schools in the state have currently achieved the certification. Richmond County schools are also focused toward the future increase in STEM-related career opportunities. “Seven of our schools have taken on STEM certification

56 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

as a priority,” Angela Pringle, Richmond County Superintendent of Schools, said. “These schools are creating outdoor classrooms, science labs, integrating STEM work into other curriculums and exposing students to STEM career opportunities. Each of these projects takes a school closer to certification.” While Davidson Fine Arts and A.R. Johnson High Schools have not completed their STEM certification, they rank number 6 and number 8, respectively, on the 2014 Georgia STEM Rankings of 385 Georgia high schools. Both schools have reached the application phase of the process to complete their certification soon. Schools reaching all levels with STEM education “We have schools at all levels who are creatively working to provide opportunities for students to be exposed to STEM learning and also to engage them in real-life experiences. By providing hands-on experiences, we are teaching students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers at a young age,” Pringle said. Even at the elementary school level, students as young as Pre-K are learning technology skills by working on computers, learning in science labs and planting gardens. Schools are creating partnerships with local businesses to provide hands-on learning for its students. A.R. Johnson is holding a “Build Your Own Boat” Day this month to challenge its students to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom. “Richmond County schools are very fortunate to receive SPLOST funding designated to technology tools in the schools,” Pringle said. “So our community is helping to ensure that our technology is kept up-to-date for our students. We want to be at the point where our students not only perform at a high level in STEM-related classes but that they also see the future application of what they are learning in the classroom.” The South Carolina Board of Education does not yet offer a STEM certification, but Aiken County schools are still focused on preparing its students for future STEM-related careers.

Career Center has long history of prepping students Since 1967, the Aiken County Career and Technology Center has been providing high school students the opportunity to learn vocational skills to prepare them for future careers. “The Career Center teaches students to apply the skills they learn in the classroom setting to hands-on vocational training,” said William Hudson, Aiken County’s Director of Career and Technology Education and the Principal of the Career and Technology Center. “The ‘new 3 R’s of education’ are relevance, rigor and relationships. Our programs provide our students with ways to see the relevance of what they are learning in school and how it will impact their future.” The Career Center provides training for approximately 600 sophomores through seniors from six Aiken County High Schools. Students spend about a third of their school day learning the skills for a specific area of study, including machine tool technology, computer aided drafting (CAD), welding and health sciences. As sophomores, students experience a two-week sample of each career area offered before committing to a two-year course of study in their chosen field. Students studying machine tool technology, a skill in high demand, can apply to participate in a nationally-recognized paid apprenticeship program in partnership with MTU, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce located in Aiken County. The 12 students selected annually for the program work approximately 20 hours per week during the school year and fulltime during the summers. The apprenticeship program is the second of its kind in the country. “Our school system is ever-evolving to prepare our students for their future,” said Hudson. “We want to be solution-driven for both our students and for the community that is counting on us to provide a skilled workforce for future STEM-based careers. Many technology-based companies are moving into Aiken County and we want to ensure our students are prepared to fill those job openings created by the growth.”

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Faith at Work Steve Swanson

Jumping Ship

Have a plan in place when considering a job change If you ever go on a cruise, you’ll experience something all cruise passengers encounter. It happens the first day, within hours of setting foot on your ship and before you set sail. It’s called the “Muster Drill.” The drill is a requirement for all who cruise. You’re assigned a specific “Muster Station” depending on the location of your cabin. Once there, you’re given detailed, step-by-step instructions on what you would do in the unlikely event of an emergency. You’re even given examples of what to listen for. It makes no difference whether you’ve been on a cruise before or not, you will participate in the muster drill, or be politely escorted back to

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the pier. Over the course of my working life, I’ve lost a couple of jobs. I’ve had promotions, and I’ve also been informed that my job would no longer exist because the company I worked for had been sold. I imagine you also have gone through some ups and downs throughout your years of employment. Maybe there have even been times when you’ve just wanted to quit on the spot. One Monday morning, just after 8 a.m., I was sitting in the lobby of a car dealership, waiting for my vehicle to be worked on. A few minutes had passed when I heard the sounds of escalating voices – two men arguing loudly. The heated conversation quickly included loud swearing. Then one man yelled, “I quit!” With that, the door to the back room opened and a man with a flushed face stomped out with his red tool box in hand. He was clearly leaving – for good. Because work involves other imperfect human beings, there will certainly be times of friction and difficulty. However, when you find yourself pondering a job change (jumping ship) having a strategy in place for making that decision would serve you well! Hopefully you will not be like the man I just described. I read an article a couple of days ago that offered some helpful insight in to this specific process. It was by

Andrew Spencer for the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, titled, “Seeking a Job Change? Ask these Five Questions.” He found himself considering a promotion and decided to be intentional and thoughtful about the process. I think his questions provide some great food for thought for anyone facing that situation: 1) How is this opportunity a better use of my skills? 2) Are there unique ways I can impact the Kingdom of God due to my position? 3) Will I fit into the culture of the new organization? 4) What relationships will I lose when I move? 5) Does this change benefit me more

than it profits the Kingdom of God? There are many factors, of course, to consider when it comes to securing a new position and direction in your life and career. I’d encourage you to start by praying for God’s direction. Please remember this recommendation as well: “ Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 Steve Swanson serves as the station manager for Family Friendly 88.3 WAFJ. He’s invested 30-plus years in the world of radio and was named the Christian Music Broadcasters Program Director of the Year in 2009 and 2011. He and his wife , Susie, live in North Augusta.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Many say colleagues have tried to sabotage them Do you suspect someone at work is trying to sink your career? You’re not alone, new research from staffing firm The Creative Group suggests. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said a colleague has tried to make them look bad on the job. But it seems fewer professionals are engaging in this type of ill behavior: This figure is down from 50 percent in a similar study conducted in 2008. When executives were asked how best to deal with a sabotaging coworker, 41 percent said to confront the person directly; 70 percent of respondents felt the same way in 2008. Another 40 percent of executives believe notifying the individual’s manager or human resources is the ideal solution, up from 10 percent seven years ago. “Some professionals are so competitive

that they’ll do just about anything to get ahead,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Being able to handle challenging or difficult coworkers – and maintaining healthy working relationships – is crucial for career success, particularly in environments that require a great deal of collaboration.” Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In the course of your career, has a current or former colleague ever tried to make you look bad on the job?” Their responses:

Yes No Don’t know/no answer

2015 2008 31% 50% 65% 48% 4% 2%

Executives were also asked, “In general, which one of the following do you think is the best action to take when a colleague tries

The Creative Group identifies three types of sabotaging coworkers and strategies for dealing with them: 1. Credit Thieves boldly steal others’ ideas and grab the glory when initiatives succeed. To help combat this, keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments, and

give your manager frequent project status updates. 2. Belittlers routinely tear others down – via put-downs and demeaning remarks – to build themselves up. Because these individuals will often back off if you stand up for yourself, try refuting their criticism, using facts where possible. 3. Sly Sharks have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you’re working with one until a critical deadline arrives. That’s when you discover you’re unable to complete your part of a project because the sabotaging coworker has withheld important information. To prevent this situation, make sure roles and responsibilities on your team are defined clearly, and insist on regular check-in meetings so Sly Sharks can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

the event. • If your business is asked to buy advertising space in a police or firefighting journal, ask how many copies of the publication will be distributed, who will receive them, if there is a cover price, the estimated publication date and ask to see a copy of the draft and published version of the ad. In some cases few copies of the publication are ever distributed and those that are given out may be done haphazardly.

to make you look bad on the job?” Their responses:

2015 2008 Confront the person directly......................... 41% 70% Notify the person’s manager or human resources................ 40% 10% Alert your colleagues to the situation......................... 10% 5% Do nothing................................ 6% 5% Other/don’t know................... 3% 10%

Don’t fall for scams in giving to firefighters, law officer funds The police and firefighters in your community are people who put their lives on the line daily to protect you, your family and your community. So when you get a call or a letter asking you to give to a police or firefighter group, your first reaction is probably a generous one. But wait. There are a lot of hype merchants out there, fast-talking hucksters only too happy to take your dollars without giving you all the facts needed to make an informed giving decision. If you donate to groups like these, your hardworking local police or firefighters might not be helped much, if at all. And you’ll have poured your hard-earned money down the drain. If you are considering supporting police, firefighter and even veteran causes, the BBB advises you to consider the following. • Most police and firefighter groups are not charities. While some groups are 501(c) (3) tax-exempt charities, most are labor organizations, fraternal groups or benevolent associations. Make sure to ask the group for its tax identification letter and a copy of their IRS 990 form to determine whether

your contribution will be tax-deductible. • Local police officers and firefighters are usually not involved. Don’t make the assumptions based on the name alone; the words “police” and “firefighter” in an organization’s name does not necessarily mean that local members are involved. If your goal is to help locally, contact your local police or fire departments to ask how you can help. • Don’t believe promises of special treatment. If such suggestions or threats are used, contact your local police department, the Federal Trade Commission, and the BBB. • Ask for written materials. Learn more about the organization’s finances before giving. It should “raise a red flag” if the organization is unwilling or reluctant to provide this information. • Find out how much of your gift will be spent on fundraising costs. In some cases, fundraising expenses for police and firefighter organizations can be as high as 90 percent or more of the funds collected. That means that 90 cents or more of every dollar collected actually goes to the telemarketer, not the organization whose name is being used.

• If asked to buy tickets to send needy kids to an entertainment event, ask how the children are chosen, how many will attend, how tickets will be distributed, and if transportation has been arranged for the children. Many times the soliciting organizations have not made arrangements with local children’s charities, might not provide transportation for the children, or few children may actually attend the event. Many times, no venue has even been secured for

Only 51 percent of Americans own life insurance, and a primary reason is that it remains highly misunderstood. This is the latest finding from Northwestern Mutual’s 2015 Planning & Progress Study. This annual study exploring Americans’ attitudes and behaviors towards finances and planning reveals that one of the greatest barriers to life insurance ownership is knowledge and education. For example, 14 percent of U.S. adults say they don’t own life insurance because they don’t know much about it or never thought about it. Other barriers include cost and prioritization, with two in five claiming life insurance is too expensive (43 percent) and nearly one

in three saying it’s a low priority (31 percent) compared to other expenses. “At a time when so many Americans are wrestling with how to achieve long-term financial security, people are overlooking one of the most critical tools to meet that goal,” said David Simbro, senior vice president of Life and Annuity Product, Northwestern Mutual. “Unfortunately, too many people lack a full understanding of all the ways permanent life insurance can be used to provide financial security. They see it as a single utility product, when it’s really more like a Swiss Army knife – it can be used for an amazingly diverse range of needs.” While the majority of the population is

aware of the death benefits permanent life insurance provides, other uses aren’t well understood. Only: • 23 percent know it can be used to pay mortgages and debts • 15 percent know it can be used to pay estate taxes • 12 percent know it can be used to instantly create an estate • 8 percent know it can be used as a source of cash flow in retirement • 5 percent know it can be used to help pay for college “Managing risk and creating financial flexibility are critical elements to financial planning, but too often get relegated to the

Life insurance still widely misunderstood, under used

60 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

shadows in favor of accumulating assets,” said Simbro. “But in an era of so much financial uncertainty – when longevity is increasing along with the cost of living – managing risk can’t be overlooked.  Permanent life insurance is an ideal way to manage risk, address uncertainties, and still add cash value and financial flexibility to a portfolio.” Of the age groups surveyed, Millennials are particularly likely not to have given thought to life insurance, with twice as many (28 percent) saying they have never thought about it or don’t know much about it, compared to the general population (14 percent) who said the same.

Another fine mess: Harlem celebrates legendary comic duo About 30 miles southwest of Augusta sits a town of not quite 3,000 people. And yet every fall, the town welcomes more than 20,000 visitors to celebrate a former Harlem resident who made it to the big screen. In the early 1900s, the big screen was still the silent screen. But Oliver Norvell Hardy, also known as Babe, made quite a noise. He and Stan Laurel became comedy legends as the duo Laurel and Hardy. Today, family, friends and fans gather the first Saturday in October to pay homage to the silent screen star at the Oliver Hardy Festival. It’s a festival with nearly three decades of experience under its belt. “Our festival started with an idea from (then) Mayor Jimmy Lewis, a second cousin of Oliver Hardy,” said Stacie Hart, Harlem’s event planner. “It was 27 years ago. Mayor Lewis brought up his idea in a council meeting and the rest is history.” In addition to street vendors and food fares, Laurel and Hardy impersonators show up in full force at the festival. Two gentlemen have been dubbed the “Ohio ambassadors” as they’ve made the trip from the Buckeye state to Harlem for more than 20 years. “This will be my 22nd consecutive year,” Dennis Moriarty proudly proclaimed. Due to an uncanny resemblance and a keen sense of humor, Moriarty has enjoyed playing the role of Stan Laurel. He’s a firm believer in the timeless teachings of what many call the most famous double act in movie history. “There are all kinds of lessons in team work between Stan and Ollie and their costars,” Moriarity said. “They were in 106 moving pictures together. No comedy duo has ever touched that number. And they were friends to the end.” Scoffers may wonder how the one-day

When: Saturday, Oct. 3, Parade starts at 10 a.m. Where: Laurel and Hardy Museum, Harlem What: Food, craft vendors, bands, Laurel and Hardy impersonators For more information, contact Stacie Hart at 706-556-0043 festival pulls patrons from around the world. Historian Moriarty points to marketing savvy which began more than 75 years ago. “They made movies in Spanish, German, French and Italian,” he explained. “Native speakers were hired. Stan and Ollie would speak phonetically, reading cue cards out of the camera’s eye. Often times they used the same set and script, just changed the language.” A handful of those films can be viewed during the festival on Oct. 3. Babe’s Bijou, named for Babe himself, is the theater located inside Harlem’s Laurel and Hardy Museum. A walk down memory lane comes to life as collectibles and memorabilia are on display for all to enjoy. “The best thing about Laurel and Hardy movies is that I can take any lady in my family, my wife, daughter, sister, aunt, or even grandmother, and not be embarrassed by any off color or inappropriate humor,” Moriarity said. “The laughs from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s are still relevant today.” Fans say Laurel and Hardy helped people laugh at life. That comedic theme will be out in full force as Harlem hosts the Oliver Hardy Festival Harlem the first Saturday in October.

The real Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, above, and impersonators Dale Walter and Dennis Moriarity.

its 2015 Travelers’ Choice award winners. Winners were selected using an algorithm that factors in quality and quantity of user reviews and ratings for attractions, hotels and destinations across the globe over a 12-month period. The annual list is considered the best of travel as indicated by mil-

lions of travelers. Since opening its doors in 2005, Georgia Aquarium has welcomed more than 22 million visitors and, over the past eight years, has consistently maintained an attendance of more than 2 million guests each year. In addition to contributing a portion of every

Georgia Aquarium voted best in United States, second in world Georgia Aquarium has been recognized as the best aquarium in the United States and the second most popular aquarium in the world by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards. Travel web site TripAdvisor has sliced and diced millions of user reviews to select

ticket sale to research and conservation efforts, the Aquarium’s mission is for each visit to inspire visitors to care for marine animals and their habitats. Georgia Aquarium opened a new interactive gallery in 2014, dubbed Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Good Spirits Ben Casella

Halloween Spirits Reviewer starts the season early with two dark brews

It’s hot and it’s humid. However, there exists the slightest of hints that Autumn is soon to be upon us. The nights are a bit cooler. The mornings aren’t quite as muggy. Also, my son brought a book about a haunted tree home from the school library. To be honest, I thought it was a little scary for the average kindergartener. However, the biggest hint that the seasons they are a changin’ is the fact that the pumpkin ales are upon us. I know, I know. I was also aware of the fact that Terrapin Pumpkinfest was here on Aug. 1. However, we are steadfast into pumpkin ale season, and I couldn’t be happier about the whole thing. With that being said, Southern Tier Pumking has long

Screening Room Samantha Taylor

been my single favorite pumpkin brew, period. It has an aroma that bounces between sweet pumpkin pie and pumpkin rind baked with clove and brown sugar (you’ll just have to trust me on that one). The pour is a barely burnt sienna with a clarity that’s almost cloudy if you look at it too long. The taste is much like the nose, with a seemingly false dichotomy of pumpkin savors that decays into a bittersweet feel that I’ve loved for years now. At over 8% ABV, Pumking makes sense with its sweeter aspects, but it doesn’t make me thirsty like other high octane ales can. This is an attribute which I would compare to Dogfish Head Midas Touch (sans the grape). Now it gets interesting. Someone told me about Warlock, an Imperial stout ale from the same brewery which was described to me as “the evil twin of Pumking.” My first reaction was to think: Man, those are strong words (especially to a self-proclaimed beer critic who is unabashedly outspoken concerning his love for Pumking). So, naturally, I had to try it. Guess what? It’s excellent. There’s more clove on the nose and the tongue of this 10% ABV ale. There’s also a very dark, almost black, appearance that makes this pseudo-chewy

again, I am late to the game. If you’re like I was a few days ago, you don’t even know what this movie is about. This review is for you. Rudy is the true story of Rudy Reuttiger, a working-class kid from a steel town. His greatest dream is to play football at Notre Dame, even though

Heroes of Fall A look at a couple of shows celebrating the gridiron Glory, glory, fall is finally here! Sure, it’s still a bit warm at times and the humidity doesn’t seem to be letting up, but there’s something magical about this time of year. We may not have much in the way of autumn leaves, but we most certainly have football! Whether it’s high school, college or professional, football brings people together and I’ve chosen to celebrate the sport with my Netflix reviews this month. Rudy – PG (1993) Perhaps you’re one of the many people who has loved this film since it opened in theaters. If so, you’re probably thinking, “Who needs to review Rudy? We all know it’s awesome.” If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry. Once

62 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

he’s small and lacking in athletic ability. Rudy is also dyslexic, something that affects his ability to perform academically. Logically, Rudy doesn’t even have a chance of getting into Notre Dame, much less playing football for them.

brew a bit of a conundrum when one takes into account previous sense experiences when drinking dark seasonal ales. Admittedly, I went into this brew with some preconceived notions (not only concerning its parent brewery, which I love, but also its supposed rela-

tionship with Pumking). Try it soon – meaning before it’s all gone. Your taste buds deserve it.

Even though the odds are entirely against him, Rudy works diligently toward his goal. He graduates from high school and works for years at a local steel mill, saving every penny to pay for tuition. Even though his family tells him his dream is unrealistic, Rudy believes that his hard work will bring him success. Eventually, it does. Would you like to know why I absolutely love this film? It’s simple. Sometimes our dreams don’t work out exactly the way we want them to, but that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel. Playing sports is about the grind, the never-ceasing work that comes along with the hope of a little playing time. It’s a lot like life. We’re not promised another day, much less success. If we want it, we have to earn it. Should you watch Rudy with your family? Absolutely. Sure, there’s a bit of foul language at times, but every moment of this movie teaches a life lesson and I believe the pros far outweigh the cons. Varsity Blues – R (1999) There’s really nothing like high school football. When I was a high school student, football meant nothing to me. (Yes, I was that kid.) Now, however, I work in a high school, and I see things from a different perspective. I see the impact football has on the students, the coaches and the town. Varsity Blues is

a bit over the top, but it isn’t terribly far from the truth in its depiction of the life of a high school football star. Varsity Blues is the story of John Moxon, a second-string quarterback who spends his time on the sidelines reading books. John’s got a great arm, but he really isn’t interested in playing on Friday nights. When Lance, the starting quarterback, gets injured, John is called upon to lead the team. And lead them he does. From calling his own winning plays on the field, to hosting all night drinking parties at a local men’s club, John quickly falls into the life of a football star. Soon, however, John finds himself a sticky situation. As he watches his injured teammates risking their health for a chance to play, he begins to ask himself: Do as you’re told, or do what’s right? Varsity Blues isn’t a film for the whole family, but if you’ve got older kids playing sports it will open up some important conversations. If your favorite team is on a by-week, go ahead and give it a try.

Ben Casella may dress up as Harry Potter again this year for Halloween. It all depends on the weather and his willingness to put up with the ridicule (which may prove too much to bear again).

Samantha Taylor “Sam the Movie Chick” is on a mission to find the best movies and TV shows for you to stream from Netflix. She loves good flicks, good food and good friends. Her eclectic tastes are sure to give readers a wide range of viewing choices.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Travel Margaret Centers

Top of the World

Climbing to ancient Machu Picchu highlights trip to Peru When talking about visiting Peru, let’s start at the summit: Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a stunning destination for anyone interested in the Incan culture or with a fascination with ancient civilizations. Located in the high  Andes  of  Peru, Machu Picchu  is the site of an ancient Inca city and easily one of the most iconic ruins in the world. The site was built in 1430 AD and thought to be, at the time, a country resort for the Inca elite before it was abandoned. Tickets for visiting the site vary depending on which one of the hills you intend to climb, and visitors are

The Arts Marin Rose

Art Work

Supporting the arts has many benefits for a business There’s no doubt that Augusta is famous for the lure of the green. But our community’s rich arts community does more to draw visitors and corporate investors – and support local businesses – than you may realize. Augusta Ballet is partnering with Buzz on Biz to increase awareness of the power of business-arts alliances to attract investors, enhance the local workforce and support our economy. Our first quarterly meeting to connect and engage community leaders on this subject will take place 6:30 – 8 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Snelling Center, and will feature a speaker addressing “Arts and the Local Economy.” At Augusta Ballet we know that the presence of so many theater, dance, music and fine arts and crafts art-

64 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

restricted to 400 per day. If you’re wanting to capture the perfect backdrop and the best view of the ruins, visit the Wayna Picchu  towers just above the south end of Machu Picchu. Although daunting because of its steep ascent, Wayna Picchu  is a fairly easy hike and offers visitors a stunning landscape. Want to talk about a hidden gem at sea level? Máncora is an idyllic beach town on the north coast of Peru. With excellent surfing, coconuts and a main street short enough to walk in the heat of the mid-summer sun, it draws travelers of all ages and nationalities to its long stretches of beach. The sea is like a gently heaving lake, ripe with casual swells that pay no attention to the scientifically prescribed seven-wave set. I feel like I am looking into an eternity – never sure when the sea becomes the horizon. Máncora gives a feeling of freedom – you can come, stay, leave, return, shout, listen – or just pass through. It won’t demand your attention or insist on your staying another night. That is up to you. But somehow, everyone ends up here for longer than planned. The sand is yellow-brown, the per-

ists, organizations and events makes our community a desirable and enjoyable place to live and raise children. We present a major performance annually by a world-class visiting dance company, filling theater seats and local eateries alike. Our first-ever New Traditions Festival in January will feature the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem. In addition to the film screenings, master classes and visiting artist lectures we will present this season, Augusta Ballet offsets the diminishing presence of arts in our public schools through several “Art-reach” programs. Local businesses help provide free dance camps for CSRA children, stock schools and libraries with educational arts such as Misty Copeland’s inspiring book, “Life in Motion,” and bring meaningful, up-close dance experiences to school-aged kids in our community. Corporate sponsors and partners support our efforts to provide the next generation of artists, patrons and business leaders with the crucial developmental benefits of exposure to the art of dance. And according to research from Americans for the Arts, when arts profit, so do businesses. Some benefits to supporting the arts: • Recruit talent. Investing in a vibrant arts community attracts current

fect grainy consistency expected of a good beach, and the brightly colored umbrellas set off the otherwise stark, scrubbed landscape. Come play, relax or soak in the historic geography of a South American neighbor.

“Buzz and The Ballet”

Oct. 22, 6:30- 8 p.m. The Snelling Center on Goodwill’s Campus Activities and Speakers: Meet and Greet Fingerfoods, Soft Drinks and Cash Bar * Acclaimed Dance Instructor Ferneasa Cutno * Mom\Daughter, “Love of Arts” * Economic Development: “Business of Arts” Buzz on Biz President Neil Gordon is emcee FREE but seats are limited, must RSVP at and future employees. • Highlight your company. Celebrating the arts helps you build market share, enhance your brand and reach new customers. Businesses agree that the arts increase name recognition and offer networking opportunities to develop new business. • Communicate effectively. Engaging the public in a meaningful way helps get your message across. • Enhance your workforce. Companies that give to the arts recognize that

Margaret Centers is the owner of Margaret’s Travel, www.margaret’ She worked for Morris Travel for nearly 20 years and formed her own agency in 2010. For questions or bookings call 706-396-3769.

it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving and team building. • Engage your workforce. The arts let your employees use their current skills and develop new ones. Studies show that Millennials who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees. • Embrace diversity. The arts create an environment that blends backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures. • Appreciate your employees. Providing arts experiences is the perfect way to thank – and inspire – employees. • Contribute to the community. The arts enhance community development, create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars and create an environment that attracts skilled and educated workers. Whether you’re a business owner, artist, parent or involved citizen, join the conversation and be a part of the movement to enrich our community through mutual support between business and the arts. Marin Rose is the Artistic Chair of the Augusta Ballet Board of Trustees. Augusta Ballet is the leading presenter of world-class dance in the CSRA. It promotes an enhanced quality of life by fostering a culture of dance appreciation and support across a broad and diverse audience.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Music Insider Jonathan Karow

Musical Rewards

Tara Scheyer passes her love for music on to next generation I have been waiting for the right time to interview Tara Scheyer who I have called the “Uku-Lady” for quite some time due to her strong involvement with children’s and now adult ukulele camps and classes. Now that summer is drawing to an end and the kids are back in school, Tara has classes packed full of aspiring young musicians armed with colorful ukuleles. Her classroom looks like a box of crayons exploded in a whimsical and tasteful way. The ukelele rave migrated from Hawaii, starting around 1941. That’s when the United States became involved in World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Hawaii. Soon members of the American military discovered ukuleles were a highly portable and a fun alternative to guitar or other stringed instruments. They brought Hawaiian ukuleles by the thousands to the continental states, and even as far as Berlin, making it an international instrument. When the Soviet Union invaded Berlin, bringing an end to the war, they brought back ukuleles to Russia and eventually to Japan. So the ukulele made its way literally full circle around the globe by the end of WWII. Recently ukuleles have made an big comeback due to popular videos on YouTube, most likely starting with uke virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.

The author fulfilled a dream recently by having his picture taken at Ancient Mariner Lane, his homage to the Iron Maiden song, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

66 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

People began transcribing the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo Eruption to uke. An entire book of Metallica’s hits was transcribed to uke and became a best seller. Even Iron Maiden’s 14-minute song The Rime of the Ancient Mariner has become a popular way to pay homage on the ukulele. Tara Scheyer is known to many as a talented ukulele player. She is actually a multi-instrumentalist who plays uke, guitar, piano, accordion and other instruments. She is an exceptional lead vocalist and is commonly accompanied by her husband, Kevin, on drums and percussion. Tara has a real passion for Gretsch guitars and has even been dubbed “The Gretsch Girl,” though she plays other brands in her extensive instrument collection. Tara began playing music when she was so small she needed a booster seat at the piano. “My Granddaddy was Justice of the Peace in Union, Mississippi, where I grew up,” she recalled. “He typed out the wedding vows, and stapled them to a wooden board which was hung on a nail in the kitchen. When people came to our house to get married, Grandmamma would pull a small cake out of the icebox to defrost, Mama would go pick some flowers for the bouquet, Granddaddy would pull the vows off the wall, and I’d drag the Sears catalogue to the piano bench. The first time I played a wedding I was 5.”  She began playing guitar during her second year at East Central Junior College. “I met a girl named Emily Graham who was wearing an Edie Brickell Tshirt, and we were like peas in a pod,” Tara said. “She taught me to play guitar, and we learned lots of Edie Brickell, Indigo Girls, and tons of hippy music. We were the musical entertainment at an ECJC Pageant, and then started playing open mic nights, then bars. We called ourselves Emily & Tara and later we added violin, bass and percussion and called ourselves Watermelon Sugar.” Her playing style for guitar varies from her piano playing. “When playing piano, I could play any music you put in front of me, so with guitar I was determined to only play by ear,” she said. “I still don’t read music much on guitar. I love the freedom of just playing what I hear.” She now plays with the Mud Puppy Band among her many projects. “All my different projects have basically been me and whoever wants to play,” Tara said. “MPB is the same. It’s been me and Kevin from the start and lots of our friends have joined us in some capacity or another over the years: Duane Wilson, Ruskin Yeargain, Jeremy Carr and John Kolbeck.”

Tara Scheyer playing a set with the Mud Puppy Band.

The current lineup features Tara, Kevin, Erin Jacobs, Travis Petrea, Ronnie Hill and Robb Bogs. I asked Tara, “What do you consider rewarding about being a multifaceted musician?” She said, “Sharing music with children and their grownups – music they can both enjoy – is incredibly rewarding. Being able to balance my music career with a day job (teaching music at Episcopal Day School and Trinity Preschool) is the best thing I’ve ever done musically. I’ve always loved teaching, and now I get to do it – in one form or another – all day, every day.

“I do have to be careful not to take on too many classes so I still have plenty left for my own kids, but sharing music with other kids has been more rewarding that I ever could have realized. The bonus is I also get to share it with my own kids, and now that they’re older, I get to watch them develop that love for themselves.” In addition to playing music, she also writes it and has some heady awards to show for it. “I actually have two platinum records hanging on my piano studio wall from when I wrote for Reba (McEntire),” Tara said. “Giant framed and matted platinum records for 1 million sales of two different songs with my name on them.” But those awards aren’t her greatest achievement. “As cool as that is, it doesn’t hold a candle to the little plastic trophy that I received in my first year of teaching classroom music that says ‘Teacher of the Year.’ It’s sitting on my piano so I can see it every day and remember that every child I teach is someone’s whole world. Looking back on my career in music, that’s the thing I’m most proud of.” Tara has an endorsement deal with Kanaloa Ukuleles. “I’m very proud to be dealing with a quality company who is very supportive of my needs,” she said. For more information about Tara, visit Jonathan Karow is the owner/founder of Rock Bottom Music in Augusta and an active musician. He has handled artist relations and concert promotions for internationally recognized musicians for more than two decades. He is also a consultant and product development designer for famous brand instrument manufacturers.

Tara Scheyer’s favorite thing about music is teaching young children to play and love music.

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


68 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Humor Nora Blithe

Labor of Love

No one can afford to reward housework what it’s worth It is an extraordinary thing when the dollar amount on a person’s paycheck is equal to that person’s view of his or her own worth.

Healthy Living McKenna Hydrick

Doggone Good

A simple shampoo keeps dog’s skin clean and healthy Since our skin is our largest organ (yes, our skin absorbs into our bodies everything we put on it), I’m pretty strict about every single ingredient I use. Just like our food, conventional skin care products are full of nasty stuff that really do affect our bodies. I’m not in a place in life where I’m willing to bargain with my health, so I keep my skin care regimen simple and easy. Using that logic, it’s only natural (pun actually intended here) that I would want that same standard for my sweet dog, Allie.  Her skin is just as important to me because she’s a part of our family, too. I haven’t always been so kind to my black-and-white beauty and her beautiful locks.  Though I’ve been on a clean lifestyle journey myself for a few years, it’s just recently that I’ve learned how to care naturally for her. I love to share what I learn, but in no way does it mean that I’ve got it mastered or that I’m way ahead of you.  I’m taking baby steps out of my comfort zone, too, with this subject matter being one of them. So if you’re ready for a simple, easy fix to clean your furry friend without breaking the bank, that doesn’t take a lot of time, and that will be a better option for

70 Buzz on Biz Sept. 17-Oct. 14, 2015

It rarely happens. The opposite is more likely. The work in which you most invest yourself the most usually pays the least. Take the work you do around your own home, for example. Housework is the worst paying kind of work because it usually pays nothing – unless you count the immeasurable reward of not tripping over misplaced shoes during your 3 a.m. visit to the potty. Scrub, clean, leave germs quaking in fear of your purification prowess though you may, you will never receive a direct deposit of funds for your work. Worse, the people who share your home likely don’t appreciate your sterilization efforts. Unless the colony of mildew you eradicated from the shower was growing in a curious shape (such as it faintly resembled the face of Mother Teresa or looked mildly like a wedge of cheddar)

you will be lucky if your family even notices that you cleaned. You can forget about hearing a thank you, never mind a promissory note. Even professional housekeepers who do receive a paycheck for cleaning would say it isn’t enough. When I worked as a pet sitter, I witnessed firsthand the horror a housekeeper faces. I was often grateful for their visits because they cleared a path for me to walk from the door to the litter box without the need of mountain climbing gear. Some people – you know who you are – leave your home so messy even FEMA won’t get involved. I feel for the poor people who have to clean up after you. I once went so far as to suggest to a housekeeper that she should invest in a hazmat suit. And we’ve only considered the cleaning. We haven’t even discussed the other household chores, the things that the

responsibility of adulthood forces us to brave, or repel, as necessary. There’s laundry to wrangle, budgeting to account, grocery shopping to navigate, unruly hedges to defy, renovations you brashly tear into, then, of course, the necessary clean-up after. There are children to cultivate, pets to rear, spouses to compromise with and when you’re done with all that, there’s still the most dreaded chore of them all: Dinner must be cooked. It’s a good thing the professional world doesn’t pay us what we’re really worth. If they did businesses would be perpetually in arrears!

cleaning your dog, then try this recipe. All it takes to clean your dog safely is these few ingredients plus water. Distilled White Vinegar Vinegar is the superpower of my life. I use it to clean my house, as fabric softener, to mop my floors, and here as part of my dog shampoo recipe. In this recipe, the vinegar is antibacterial, a deodorizer and a coat shiner! Yes, you might smell a strong vinegar odor while washing, but don’t worry – it really does go away after you rinse your dog. Olive Oil  The olive oil will help moisturize your dog’s skin and coat and won’t allow the soap to strip them of their natural oils. Castile Soap  This natural soap is vegetable based and is extremely gentle. The brand I use is Dr. Bronner’s (you can get it at Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, etc).  I choose the unscented version to keep it simple and pure. My family uses the bar soaps for bathing and for making laundry detergent, but for this recipe, you’ll want to get the liquid form. This will serve as the “soap” base for the shampoo and will make the suds. Essential Oil Essential oils are natural compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of the plants that have physical and emotional wellness  and healing properties.  Lavender oil is gentle, soothing, and a great oil to ward off fleas. In fact, we rid Allie of fleas (she was an outside dog for almost seven years) with lavender oil and water alone.  No chemicals needed. There are various kinds of oils sold through direct selling companies or you can buy them from a health food store.

Recipe: 1/2 cup Castile soap 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 2 Tablespoons water 1 Tablespoon olive oil 5 drops lavender oil Instructions: Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Wet dog with warm water, pour some shampoo in your hand and lather dog, scrubbing well. Rinse thoroughly. Note:  This recipe lasts us two washing applications.  Allie is a 22- ish pound Cocker spaniel.  If you have a smaller dog, this could last you longer, or if you have a larger dog, this might be for only one washing. Cost: I don’t have the exact breakdown of

this shampoo. You will spend some money up front, but it will last.  It’s an investment worth indulging in, and you can use these ingredients for much more than this shampoo recipe. In general, this recipe ends up being pennies on the dollar compared to buying premade “green” options. Plus, you’ll be treating your dog’s skin right by offering a healthy and safe way to clean her coat.

Nora Blithe is an Augusta native, an entrepreneur and a syndicated humor columnist. She lives in Greenville, S.C., with her husband, Brian, and their pets. Read her syndicated humor column Life Face First in Verge, or find her online at

McKenna Hydrick is the Healthy Eating Educator for Whole Foods Market and the creator and writer for She is passionate about spreading the message of a plant-strong, active, thriving lifestyle. When she’s not working, you will find her spending time with her husband and three boys, cooking, or singing and writing music.

Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015 Buzz on Biz


72 Buzz on Biz Sept. 16-Oct. 14, 2015

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