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Summer Services Directory

May 25-June 28, 2017 • The CSRA’s monthly business Magazine

Pages 25-31

Commercial real estate is ready for growth By Amanda King

EDTS Cyber will take up an entire floor of Cyberworks at Sibley Mill. Construction crews are working to make it a state-ofthe-art facility capable of protecting data from all over the country. Photo by Amanda King

Cyber at sibley

Augusta building future in historic mill By Amanda King

The exposed original beams of Sibley Mill in downtown Augusta tell a story. After its construction in 1882, a number of workers left their mark by inscribing names, inspirational quotes and even dates of death. Those beams held together the textile mill for decades, although profits frequently were not as stable, going through multiple owners and changes before

operations ceased in 1999. The same beams that were placed in the late 19th century for machinery work will now support a 21st-century data center, Cyberworks, created by Cape Augusta Digital Properties. The center, which will provide training for those interested in the cyber field, has signed a 75-year lease for the property. “This is a major growth sector, and we need to capture that in Augusta,”

Cape Augusta CEO James Ainslie said in a September 2016 article in The Augusta Chronicle. “(The training) needs to be scaled up; not everyone can wait for four-year degree programs.” In addition to providing large training areas for cybersecurity, Cape Augusta will lease space to other cyber companies. Phase 1 is underway and See CYBER on Page 8

John Cates, vice president of acquisitions and development at Meybohm Realtors, and his team of developers are ready for ongoing growth at Fort Gordon. Not just for additional military and civilian employees, but for the 2.5 privatesector jobs that will be created for each soldier. And while much of the growth is focused on Fort Gordon, Cates said the reIs retail in gion’s expansion is part of a nationwide trend where technoltrouble? ogy is enabling people to move Page 4 their jobs to smaller cities. An employee in Atlanta who has the opportunity to telecommute from Augusta, for example, can have the benefit of the higher wages of the big city with the lower cost of living that a smaller market affords. The higher quality of life – such as shorter commute times – found in mid-size cities such as Augusta, Columbus and Greenville have created a hotbed of activity that real estate agents, especially commercial ones, love to see.


Brad Belcher knows that Augusta is on the front end of something big. “That’s what I’m excited about – to see that downtown is winning these contracts with public and private projects,” the commercial appraiser for Cushman & Wakefield said. “It has the potential to do great things if done right.” Belcher compared the change to another See REAL ESTATE on Page 4

‘Working together’ business owners learn more about legislation that affects them By Amanda King

State Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley spoke to more than 250 business and community leaders at the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce’s Post Legislative Breakfast on Tuesday, May 9. Offered annually by the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, the Post Legislative Breakfast allows leaders to learn about the political challenges and activities that affect their area. After Riley’s presentation, state legislative delegates from the CSRA discussed legislation that was adopted during the 2017 session. Sen. Jesse Stone, Sen. Lee Anderson, Rep. Barry Fleming, Rep. Jodi Lott and Rep. Mark Newton broke down various bills that were put into place or will be over the next year. Stone reported that business owners who sit on boards are shielded from liability with the new business judgment rule. As long as the members are acting on “good faith,” final decisions will not

face prosecution. “This will shield people who serve diligently on boards for companies, banks and LLCs,” he said. Stone also discussed a bill that could make it easier to take care of blighted properties. “This is something that I think will help clean up all of the cities,” he said. Newton, a local doctor, updated businesses on a new bill that will allow for a statewide database of people’s prescriptions to make sure physicians are not prescribing something new that might interfere with other conditions or medications. “We had some local people with the Hale Foundation help,” Newton said. “This problem is not solved with the legislation of one bill or two bills – they are solved by all of us working together.” Riley and the delegates also discussed the budget, including the approval for the $50 million Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta.

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Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Shawn Vincent (from left) and President Tammy Shepherd welcomed Rep. Jodi Lott, Rep. Barry Fleming, Sen. Jesse Stone, State Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley, Sen. Lee Anderson and Rep. Mark Newton to the 2017 Post Legislative Breakfast on May 9. Riley and the state delegates shared with attendees the legislation that was adopted during the 2017 session. Photo courtesy of Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

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2 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Dancing Stars of Augusta volunteer emcee Monique Williams of News 12 looks on as Dr. Miriam Atkins and her teaching professional Matt Watson take home the People’s Choice award, given to the couple that raised the most money. The duo also received perfect 10’s from judges that included Dr. Jedidiah Ballard, Elizabeth Kenyon and Neil Gordon. Photo by Melissa Gordon

Service with a smile By Neil Gordon

My wife Melissa and I were part of an amazing service team of volunteer judges/ emcees, creative service professionals, celebrity dancers, dance teachers and the community that worked together to raise $203,475.13 while raising awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. The Dancing Stars of Augusta event May 5 was a night to remember and every

bit as fun as the hit ABC television show! Several local businesses serve the CSRA in a different ways. In our special advertising section on pages 25-32, we highlight six of them that are making a real difference in their community and in the lives of their customers and employees. Four of the six are family run: Busby’s, Overhead Door, Harbin’s Lumber and

Gordon W.C. Auto. The others include Northwestern Mutual with two financial advisors with different styles and a common cause: serving the client. The sixth is Evolve Mortgage, a new lender in town that just hired an ol’ friend to many. If your company is interested in being part of our Summer Service Directory, please call one of us at the telephone numbers at the bottom of this page.


Neil Gordon is the founder and publisher of Buzz on Biz, which includes a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning at 6:25 a.m., a daily radio show from noon to 1 p.m. on 1630 AM, a weekly e-newsletter and Reach him at 706.589.6727 or

Upcoming Business Events.................. 14, 15

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.

Big Changes Coming.................................. 24 The building at 901 Broad St. is getting a major renovation from a local businessman.

To order a 12-month subscription mailed to your home or office, please mail a check for $49 (includes sales tax) to cover postage to the address below.

Buzz Bits.................................................. 6, 38 Openings, Closings and More................ 7, 39

Summer Services Directory..................25-31 Businessperson of the Month.................... 33 Augusta GreenJackets’ Jeff Eiseman sees big possibilities in the CSRA.

Social Buzz.................................................. 36 Burgers and Beer event brings unique burgers to local restaurants for friendly competition. New Escape Room...................................... 52 Fort Gordon retiree builds escape rooms and entertainment space downtown.

Columnists Steve Swanson: Grow and Lead........................................................................10 Ed Tarver: I’m the Victim … I think?.................................................................10 Mark Alison: United Divided and Other PR Mistakes................................12 Scott Thurmond: Do You Scan?.........................................................................16 Christine Hall: Better Late Than Never............................................................16 Kurt Mueller: Are You Protected?......................................................................18 Roger Duke: A Question of Organization......................................................20 Dagan Sharpe: Ruthlessly Eliminating Hurry...............................................20 Missie Usry: Planning for the Future................................................................21 John Pope: Getting the Most Out of Your Online Advertising...............22 Joe Edge: Why are All the Retail Stores Closing?.........................................24

Brandon McCrillis: Pump Up Password Security.........................................34 Onnie Sanford: Summer Meal-Planning........................................................40 Ben Casella: Cold Temps Bring Out the Hops...............................................40 Barry Paschal: Charitable Giving.......................................................................42 Tony Creighton: Benefits of Professional Pressure Washing...................42 Susan O’Keefe: Taj of India Offer Aromatic Culinary Journey.................44 Samantha Taylor: Movies to Leave You with a Smile.................................44 Rushunda Lett: Ambassadors, the Heartbeat of the Chamber..............46 Mike Herrington: Is an Annuity Right for You?.............................................46 Billy Cristofanelli: Summertime Savings with Kids.....................................48 Russell Head: Learn the Benefits.......................................................................54

Publisher\Editor in Chief Neil R. Gordon Managing Editor Amanda King, Layout Riverfront Design Center Ad Building E35 Media Photography Amanda King, Melissa Gordon Sales Manager Neil Gordon,, 706-589-6727 Sales and PR Jessica Jones,, 762-218-0239 Distribution Kenneth Brown, Jessica Jones Opinions expressed by the writers herein are their own and their respective institutions. Neither Morris Publishing Group nor its agents or employees take any responsibility for the accuracy of submitted information, which is presented for informational purposes only. Like us on Facebook @ Follow us on Twitter @BuzzonBiz 604 Government Center Way, Evans, GA 30809

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Real Estate Continued from Page 1 Georgia city’s growth over the last few years. “Five years ago, Macon was a ghost town and today there’s a ton of residential development downtown,” Belcher said. There has been lots of buzz about downtown revitalization and commercial development for many years, but it appears a perfect storm has finally brewed up enough interest, and not just from Augusta developers. “There are developers that are outside of the Augusta region that are interested in developing in Augusta,” Belcher said. “I think that’s the sign of a healthy market – investors see opportunities.” Cates said that there are finally two things that can support more opportunities downtown – people working and living downtown. With Augusta University building dorms on the Health Sciences Campus, there will be a natural increased demand for retail and restaurants. Olde Town has seen an influx of home buyers remodeling older homes for young families in recent years and then there is ongoing speculation about the redevelopment of the Lamar and Marion buildings for office and residential use. Another sign of more growth is an increased lunch crowd. Cates said downtown has long had a strong nighttime appeal to the community with bars, clubs and restaurants, but what developers want to see is a vibrant lunch crowd that translates to retail and other unique concepts. “The landscape of downtown, along the river and North Augusta in the next three to four years is going to be vastly different than it has been in the past,” Cates said.

The Plaza at Evans Towne Center

In April, Meybohm executives and Columbia County leaders broke ground on what they say will be the “heart” of Evans. When completed, the Plaza will be more than

Commercial real estate is growing all over the CSRA, predominantly in the downtown, Evans and Fort Gordon areas. Shown above is an architect’s rendering of the Plaza at Evans Towne Center, which will be more than 300,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space. Special

300,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space. The property could be a hot spot for cyber and technology businesses because a county fiber line runs directly under the property, allowing for the fastest internet speeds in the area and perfect for companies with multiple servers. “You have to give credit to the county for having the vision to go ahead and put that in years previously,” Cates said. The vision for the Plaza is to be a downtown for Evans. With the growth in downtown, Cates and other developers are looking for the best ways to incorporate downtown into the Plaza. “It’s really an opportunity to create the best version of down­town from scratch,” he said.

Fort Gordon/ Jimmy Dyess Parkway

While the epicenter of the metro area may see changes and additions to its existing

4 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

development in downtown and Evans Town Center, there is fresh landscape from Wrightsboro Road to Fort Gordon’s Gate 1. New restaurants are springing up along the corridor. A Hardee’s is planned for Jimmie Dyess Parkway and Wrightsboro Road; a Jersey Mike’s Subs has opened behind the Jimmie Dyess Zaxby’s and the area’s second Twisted Burrito has been planned for the area. Twisted Burrito owner Steve Fredericks said he realized much of his clientele was driving to Evans from the military post. As the Augusta area continues to change, so will the types of businesses that it draws. Many of the businesses planned for the Plaza and downtown will be cyber-based, but those employees will need a number of services – dry cleaning, grocery stores, car maintenance, restaurants, retail and, of course, realtors.

Problems with Retail? A dark cloud looming over brick-and-mortar retail growth in metro Augusta and elsewhere is the increasing popularity of online retailers such as Amazon. Over the past year, retails chains such as JC Penney, HH Gregg, The Limited and Macy’s have had to shutter locations throughout the nation as a consequence of sales being shifted to internet-based retail. “These are companies that know what they are doing, and they are still struggling,” commercial appraiser Brad Belcher said. Meybohm’s John Cates isn’t throwing in the towel on retail just yet. He believes businesses need to adjust their sails to adjust their sales. “The huge store concept is a little bit outdated,” he said. He pointed out many stores, such as the new Burlington coming to Augusta Exchange, are creating smaller models of their stores and stocking them with items that customers want to see and touch – items that are not so easy to purchase online. Cates noted that Whole Foods Market has a smaller version of its flagship store called Whole Foods Market 365. He speculated that a store of that size could have done well in Augusta compared to the recently closed market that was over 35,000 square feet. – Amanda King

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May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


buzz bits Cranston Engineering celebrates 50 years Bridgestone receives SC safety honor The world’s largest tire and rubber company, Bridgestone Group, announced that its manufacturing facility in Graniteville, SC received the Palmetto Shining Star Safety Award. The Palmetto Shining Star Safety Award recognizes South Carolina employers that comply with at least one of the following criteria: No fatalities or recordable injuries or illnesses during calendar year 2016 A reduction of at least 40 percent in an employer’s incidence rate between 2015 and 2016 A difference of at least 75 percent in an employer’s 2016 incidence rate and the 2015 South Carolina average rate for that industry Worked one million or more safe work hours without a lost- time injury or illness “Teammates are both encouraged and expected to engage in safety activities that contribute to reducing the risk of injury to themselves, as well as fellow teammates, customers and visitors,” William Holden, director of health, safety and industrial hygiene for Bridgestone Americas, Inc., said in a statement. “We are proud of this recognition.”

Augusta CVB wins internet ad award Congratulations to the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau for winning the outstanding website award amongst many worthy international candidates. The contest is put on by the Web Marketing Association’s (WMA) annual Internet Advertising Competition (IAC). The ACVB website,, won the international competition that highlights the best in online advertising

6 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

For 50 years, an Augusta engineering firm has enhanced the community through an array of projects including the Augusta Recreation and Parks master plan, an expanded Augusta Common and the historic Butt Memorial Bridge. “We would like to thank our government officials and business leaders for selecting Cranston Engineering to help shape our community,” Tom Robertson, president, said in a statement. Robertson has been with Cranston Engineering since it began in 1967. “We also thank our founders for joining forces in 1967, and especially the late Craig Cranston whose parallel visions for innovation and over the span of 96 industries. “We are honored to be a winner of the 2017 IAC Awards,” said Barry White, President and CEO of the ACVB, “particularly because the internet is such an important tool for modern travelers. As the ability for travelers to access cities of interest in real time increases,’s ability to drive and maintain traffic becomes essential to the city’s relevancy.” The website encourages tourists and local residents to visit many of the city’s amenities. If you have never been to take a peek. The goal is to engage both travelers and locals to enjoy the many appealing amenities in Augusta’s River Region.

Kimberly-Clark works to reduce water consumption A major manufacturer in the region is on a mission to save millions of gallons of fresh water – and reduce industrial water demand on the Savannah River. Kimberly-Clark’s Beech Island, SC production facility, which

Cranston Engineering restored the Archibald Butt Memorial Bridge in Augusta. Special

conservation have inspired and propelled us into the future.” Cranston Engineering Group has offices in Augusta, Charleston and

Hilton Head. The firm has completed major projects in the coastal areas including bridges and roadways.

making the mill’s production operations more efficient.

New Book Preps Job Interviewers manufactures Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues, among other products – says it has received global recognition for its efforts to reduce its consumption of water from the Savannah River. By recycling and reusing waste water from its tissue manufacturing processes, the mill is saving over 200 million gallons of water a year – enough to fill over 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools. “Managing Kimberly-Clark’s demand on such a critical water resource in a fast-growing region is the right thing to do and we appreciate this recognition,” said John Pownall, Beech Island Mill Manager in a statement. “Our efforts are helping to reduce the demand while making our manufacturing processes more efficient and cost-effective over the long term.” Kimberly-Clark’s efforts are reducing the demand on a critical water resource while

Author and career coach Katie Weiser taps into her 30 years of corporate and coaching experience to provide a step-by-step guide for job interview preparation in her book Answers to the Top 20 Interview Questions. The book includes the 20 most popular interview questions along with answer examples and downloadable answer templates. The book Weiser is available on Amazon and is available in a Kindle version. Weiser states “the average person spends less than 60 minutes preparing for an interview. It’s not enough time, that’s just winging it. That’s why I wrote the book, to help those who need to prepare for an Continued on Page 38

openings, closings and moves Coming soon

Hardee’s Another fast food option is coming to Jimmie Dyess Parkway at the intersection with Wrightsboro Road. Chris Sims from Southeastern Realty confirmed that it will be a Hardee’s by a developer from Louisiana with Augusta ties. This project is still in the early stages, but we’ll let you know when to expect to smell those made-fromscratch biscuits and juicy burgers. Wendy’s A Buzz on Biz reader inquired about the latest construction project going on near exit 5 and the new Dairy Queen. Terra Carroll of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce confirmed that it will be a Wendy’s. This will be North Augusta’s second Wendy’s location, with the other on Martintown Road. No word yet on when it will open.

Now Open


Bank holds grand opening

Security Federal Bank held a grand opening ceremony on Thursday, April 27, for its 15th branch at Riverwood Town Center in Evans. Similar to its other locations, the branch will offer personal and commercial services including online and mobile banking, online bill payment and a commercial,

consumer and mortgage loan products. They also offer the Looney Tunes Saving Club for children and Financial Counseling. The branch’s staff includes Branch Manager, Freda Baker and Jason Douglas, Assistant Branch Manager.

Southern Roots is looking for stylists to rent booths. Photo by Amanda King

Southern Roots Beauty Shop Southern Roots & Beauty Shop is open at 126 Eighth St. in downtown Augusta. The shop will offer all haircut and color services, cosmetics and personal care products. They are also looking for other stylists to rent booths from them. If you are interested or know someone who is, stop at the shop or call (706) 504-4590. Burke’s Outlet The newest retailer in the CSRA opened its doors in a familiar location in April. Burke’s Outlet is taking up some of the space vacated by the closed Kmart in the shopping center at 310 Mar-

The parent company of Cheeseburger Bobby’s is building a location on bobby Jones Expressway but is still looking for a franchisee to take over. Photo by Jessica Jones

tintown Road in North Augusta. The first 150 customers got a mystery gift card. Prior to the grand opening, Terra Carroll and the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon to welcome Burke’s to the community. Burke’s Outlet is a privately held company, owned by the founding family and its employees. Customers can find brand-name apparel and accessories for the family at up to 70 percent off other stores prices every day. Cheeseburger Bobby’s If you’ve been following the con-

struction on the Bobby Jones Expressway in front of Lowe’s, you know that a few spaces are being framed. An ATT communications store has signed on to join Cheeseburger Bobby’s. The interesting part of the hamburger franchise is they are hoping that if you build it, a franchisee will come. Recently, they were doing sponsored ads on Facebook looking for a franchisee to take over once the restaurant is built. We’ll keep you posted on that and which tenant will take the third and final space in this development.

Walmart Neighborhood-Grovetown Another WalMart is headed to the CSRA. With the popularity of Walmart Neighborhood Markets all over the area, it was only a matter of time before one headed out to Grovetown. The latest grocer opened its doors at 5303-A Wrightsboro Road on May 3. The 41,000-square-foot store’s normal hours of operation are 5 a.m. to midnight each day. This Walmart Neighborhood Market created 95 new jobs with its pharmacy, bakery, online grocery pickup and all of the other Walmart services. Chicken Fingers A restaurant selling only Chicken Fingers is now open in the former Big Daddy’s Express location at 4108 Evans to Locks Road. No fancy names for this place – it is appropriately called “Chicken Fingers,” and owner Norman Skelton offers chicken finger value meals including French fries, Texas toast, cole slaw and a 20 ounce drink, plus Chicken Finger kids meals, sandwich combos, Chicken Finger salads and party trays featuring 20, 40 and 60 chicken fingers. Continued on Page 39 May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz



Phase 1 of the Sibley Mill construction includes three stories for EDTS and its new cyber unit. Photos by Amanda King

Continued from Page 1 is expected to have its first tenant in June. Charles Johnson, the president of EDTS and investor of Cyberworks, and his team are preparing to move into the renovated campus with the launch of their new cyber division. EDTS will take up three floors of the mill, with the top floor designated for the new cyber command center. Other tenants have not been announced but Johnson said there is definitely interest. EDTS Cyber LLC will focus exclusively on cybersecurity, including network threat analysis and advanced cybersecurity monitoring. “Security has always been my passion, and we’ve always been doing it behind the scenes, but I’ve always had the vision to have a standalone security company. … With the buzz of cyber, now is the time to differentiate this service, because we’ve been offering it since 1999,” Johnson said. When the internet was in its infancy, everyone was encouraged to put up virus protectors such as McAfee to shield their computers. Now, cybersecurity is much more complicated than downloading software to protect your home and your company, according to Sam Patrick, chief revenue officer with EDTS. Thieves are no longer throwing on masks and robbing banks or stealing hard

8 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

EDTS’s new home at Sibley Mill includes more than 30,000 square feet for its IT business. The company announced in April that it would be launching a cyber division.

copies of personal identification. They’re doing it right from the comfort of their own homes at their computers, tapping into accounts, personnel files and more, sometimes without being detected before it’s too late. Sometimes, those predators will even erase all of a company’s data after they have want they want. In recent years, companies and organizations including Yahoo, Target and the

South Carolina Department of Revenue have fallen victim to cyberattacks. According to an EDTS news release, the cost of online crime is over $3 trillion and expected to grow. Johnson wants to prevent those situations from ever occurring. “Organizations need to increase their defenses, because there is no end in sight to cyberattacks,” he said. EDTS will continue to deliver services

the company has delivered for years, but the cyber division will be more focused and separate from its normal network services. “We’ve been delivering network security since inception but really focused on it since 2003 with advanced certifications,” Johnson said. “Behind the scenes we had a world-class security division that no one really saw.” Currently, EDTS occupies 11,000 square feet in the Merrill Lynch building on Broad Street. Its new home at Cyberworks will be more than 30,000 square feet, with three floors of security, biometric access and a data center similar to what Amazon or IBM would develop. That much space and that many departments will mean one big thing – jobs. EDTS currently employees over 75 people, but that number is expected to triple in the next five years, according to Patrick. “We are trying to hire as quickly as we can with the right people,” Patrick said. One perk to those workers might be a short walking distance to work. Cyberworks will also use King Mill, located next to Sibley, for a mixed residential and office space after other phases of the project are complete. EDTS also has offices in Greenville and Columbia, S.C., and Ashville, N.C. Patrick said some of those locations might open cyber divisions in the future as well.

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


grow and Lead

There are ways to help develop your strengths By Steve Swanson

Privacy and data security is extremely important, no matter the size of your company. Is your small business vulnerable to a cyberattack? Special

I’m the Victim … I think? By Ed Tarver

More and more, small-business owners are asking the question, “Can I be sued because I was a victim of a cybercrime?” Approximately half of worldwide Internet attacks were reported against small businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Small businesses have become a much more enticing target for both hackers and civil plaintiffs. Why? Because larger corporations generally have resources that most small businesses do not have to constantly improve their cyber security. What is cybersecurity? Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems from theft or damage to the hardware, software or the information on them, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Are the cybersecurity measures used by your small business adequate to repel cyber attacks? In addition to safeguarding important business secrets and confidential information, small businesses also have a duty to safeguard the personal information of their clients. Implied within that duty is the responsibility to be vigilant with computer security. Failing to do so risks harm to the clients and liability to the small business. The most egregious forms of cybercrime that small businesses face are spam, ransomware and phishing. Spam attacks use electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited messages, especially advertising. Ransomware involves computer malware that covertly

10 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

installs on a business victim’s computer to hold the victim’s data hostage or threaten to publish the business victim’s data, until a ransom is paid. A ransomware attack could cease business operations until their files are recovered. Phishing is the practice of sending emails that induce the recipient to supply personal customer information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Privacy and data security is extremely important. Is your small business vulnerable to a cyberattack? Can hackers gain access to your business IT network? Can hackers eavesdrop on your business communications and steal confidential information? When was the last time you updated the email system for your business? Has the email system used by your business been superseded by another version or completely replaced? Don’t wait for a hacker to answer these questions for your small business.

Ed Tarver is a former U.S. Attorney. He gained considerable experience with cybersecurity issues over seven years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was also a partner in the Hull Barrett law firm, where he practiced general civil litigation and helped business and governmental entities deal with difficult employees, manage legal risks and much more. Email

During my years in the workforce, I’ve had the privilege of working for some solid managers and some amazing leaders. Through my experience, I’ve observed that they often are not the same. I think there are a good number of bosses who are able to direct a business and keep it running adequately. There are a much smaller number who are doing a consistent job of leading. I’ve been thinking about the differences. I invite you to ponder this with me for a couple of moments .… President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Do you agree? I believe leaders have God-given traits that help them encourage and lead others. However, I also believe those who want to become stronger leaders can deepen their abilities. What does that look like? Here are a few thoughts on the subject: Honest self-assessment: It’s wise to set aside some time to exam who you are, what your priorities are and why you are motivated the way you are. Pastor and author Bill Hybels puts it this way: “The foundation of firm leadership is character.” Your character is the heart of your leadership. I truly believe that you have Godgiven gifts, and that when you ask God to clarify and use your gifts and abilities, he will! Be willing to ask: Reach out to several people closest to you and ask what areas they think you are strongest in and an area or two where you might need to pay more attention that will help your growth. Readers are leaders: Yes, it is a cliché, but it is true. There are a ton of books, websites, videos and other resources that offer practical advice for you to grow as a leader. In grade school we had a series of books called “Think & Do,” a very simple but accurate thought. What we think about, and how we think about those things, really has an impact on how we see ourselves, our value and our abilities. Find a mentor: Seek the perspective and wisdom of a seasoned professional. Let him or her speak truth and encouragement into your life. Learn from his or her experience and perspective.

Find out more about C12: C12 is a national organization focusing on Christian business owners, CEOs and presidents who want to run their companies with the idea of “building great businesses for a greater purpose.” Bill Webb is the head of C12 in this area. His phone number is (803) 646-9937. I’d encourage you to reach out for more information. Do a heart check: Carefully think long-term about what you’re pouring your life into and the impact your decisions have on the future. When I am around my grandkids, I tend to think more about what I will be leaving behind once my earthly journey is done. I truly believe the old saying, “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” An eternal perspective shapes the way you understand your work and your life’s priorities. If you are dissatisfied with where you are today in your life or work, you don’t need to stay “stuck.” You can adjust your course, reframe your thinking and reset your priorities. I think the first step is to acknowledge that God deserves a place of priority in your life and that he has a plan and purpose for you. If you haven’t yet read What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren, I’d highly recommend it to you! Let these words shape your attitude and outlook in every part of your life. They’re from the Bible’s New Testament: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV) Your comments are always welcome at

Steve Swanson serves as the station manager for 88.3 WAFJ. He has more than 30 years of radio experience and was named Christian Music Broadcasters Program Director of the Year in 2009 and 2011. Email


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LIMITED SPONSOR TABLES AVAILABLE Register at Contact Roger Duke 706.840.0008 or May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


United Divided … And Other PR Mistakes By Mark Alison

The recent public relations debacle with United Airlines reportedly cost the airline $1.5 billion and created an entire list of humorous new slogans. These include “Now offering: one free carry off,” “We treat you like we treat your luggage,” and “A bloody good airline.” The unfunny thing about the United problem is it can happen to any business, large or small. Cracker Barrel has had its issues, but one of the most arcane was when Cracker Barrel fired Annette Byrd on Feb. 27. Her husband, Brad, began ranting on Facebook about the firing. Within 24 hours, it seems the entire internet was buzzing with a nonstory that had taken on a life of its own. People took up the chant, fighting for Annette Byrd (#BradsWife) to get her job back. Some of the comments were truly funny. One Chic-fil-A restaurant location even boasted on its store sign, “We hired Brad’s wife.” But when network media got into the act, Cracker Barrel felt the pain of lost business and lost brand value. Chipotle is still trying to find its footing and its customers after the e-coli public relations (PR) disaster. The entire pharmaceutical industry was hit as a result of the Epi-pen issue. The company’s CEO, the daughter of a U.S. senator, had to testify before Congress about the industry’s pricing tactics. Wells Fargo was fined $185 million for illegal sales practices that included opening as many as 2 million accounts for customers without their knowledge, and 5,300 people lost their jobs as a result. Samsung fumbled their PR opportunity concerning the Galaxy 7 batteries and the Department of Transportation banned the phones from all U.S. airline flights. The point is any type of business can and will have PR issues, and when handled poorly, these mishaps can cost money, jobs and reputation. Handled well, they can have few negative long-term consequences. The most famous is the 1982 cyanide-laced Tylenol scare for Johnson & Johnson. Seven people died after taking the drug that had been tampered with at the store level. Thirty-one million bottles were pulled and advertising stopped. The product was reintroduced after the crisis with new tamper-resistant packaging and coupons for $2.50 off the purchase price. The media praised the length J&J went for its customer care and the way it handled public outrage. The business’ reputation was

You can’t plan for everything, but you can have a general plan in place. … The real secret is being a smart communicator, and that doesn’t take a college degree.

12 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

saved and the company prospered. Today, crisis management is part of the college curriculum for PR and human resources (HR) graduates. Without simplifying it too much, here are a few easy tips to do now that will help when your time comes – and it will.

ployee support as an excuse. People who viewed the video of the passenger being dragged off the plane had their own opinions, and they were widely different. The CEO’s attitude added fuel to the fire and made the story of abuse even more plausible.





Designate a spokesperson who is the only one allowed to talk to the media. Make sure all supervisors know there is a procedure and specifically who the “one voice” is who will become the face of the company. Give yourself time to respond appropriately. Don’t be too fast to comment on a situation, but also be aware that the clock of public opinion is ticking.


Work with local officials to resolve the issues, if that is a channel. Allow them to comment even before you do. Local officials include police and other authority figures.


Get the facts and state the facts, unvarnished. In other words, accept blame or responsibility when it is truthful. Don’t hide behind a half-truth.


Keep people up-to-date on what is happening, but don’t offer conjecture. Take the event as it comes. Say little but speak often.


Plan your next steps with the consumer in mind. United Airlines’ CEO made the mistake of trying to bully his way through the problem and used em-

Start now to build good media relations. Keep members of the media informed. Earn trust. Someday you might need the positive influence on your side when trouble comes full force.

Have patience. Cracker Barrel should have made some comment about the “Brad’s Wife” issue and then shut down all posts and advertising for a while. Internet attacks hit fast but they leave just as quickly. You can’t plan for everything, but you can have a general plan in place that covers most things. PR is just a structured form of communication. The real secret is being a smart communicator, and that doesn’t take a college degree. Mark Alison has spent more than 30 years in sales and marketing. He is the chief operations officer of Alison-South, a regional advertising/ marketing firm with a diverse client base. Call 706.724.3758.

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


upcoming events

Catch the Buzz! Get more on events and follow business and economic news across the CSRA at

At The following events will take place at, 540 Telfair St., Augusta. Call (706) 723-5782 for more information. Every Tuesday: Downtown pickup location for Augusta Locally Grown’s online farmers’ market. 5-7 p.m. Every Wednesday: Founders Circle, a weekly gathering of entrepreneurial members of 9-10 a.m. June 9-11: Skyraider Aeronautics presents a three-day Commercial Drone Bootcamp for attendees to gain licensure to fly drones commercially. Go to and search “skyraider” under Augusta events to learn more. June 10: Tim’s Nerd Talks: Come to to hear the inaugural speech in the new technology series for children called Tim’s Nerd Talks, hosted by Tim Lowe, and get in on the ground floor of a future trending vocational boom! 10 a.m. to noon June 14: ATDC Augusta Day Lunch & Learn on “Taking Innovation to Market” with Chris McKinney, associate vice president of Innovation Commercialization at Augusta

14 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

University. Bring your lunch and join us! Noon to 1 p.m. June 14th: ATDC Augusta Day Beer & Bytes featuring “Startup Stories” with Zapata Technology and ColumbusMakesIT. 5-6:30 p.m. June 16: PyNight! Booz-Allen-Hamilton is sponsoring a night of Python programming! The code gurus will have a capture-the-flag event to compete against one another to see whose skills are sharpest. A n00b Nook will be available for those just getting introduced to Python, with volunteers from BAH here to assist. 5-9 p.m. June 21: PyAugusta is a monthly meetup that serves as an entry point for those new to Python programming and a challenging atmosphere for those looking to advance their skills. 6-8 p.m. June 24: The 3D Printing Club meets for a discussion about 3D-CAD, 3D printer construction and the basics. 10 a.m. to noon

Monday, June 5 Member Town Hall presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 4-6 p.m., Augusta Metro Chamber office, 1 10th St., Suite 120; “Summer Extracurricular: Bridging the Education Gap.” Featured guests: Dr. Angela Pringle, Richmond County Schools superintendent; Mark Lee, Georgia Department of Economic Development; and Phil Wahl, Augusta Metro Chamber Business Education Advisory Council. Complimentary for members, $25 for prospective members. Advance registration required.

Friday, June 9 Lip Sync Battle presented by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, 7-11 p.m., North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave. This is a great opportunity to spotlight your business, engage your team and promote teamwork. Limited performer spots available, so sign up quickly! Email

Tuesday, June 13 Chamber Before Hours presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 7:45-9 a.m., Chamber Office 1000 Business Blvd., Evans. Free for members, $20 first-time visitors. Topic TBD. Member Economic Luncheon. Special Presentation: Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch, presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 a.m.-

Events 1 p.m. Augusta Marriott, 2 10th St. “Building an Entrepreneurial Tribe”, with guest speaker Jennifer Bonnett. $35 members, $45 prospective members. Advance registration required.

Friday, June 16 Good Morning North Augusta presented by the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, 7:30-9 a.m., Palmetto Terrace, Municipal Complex, 100 Georgia Ave. Topic TBD.

Tuesday, June 20 Women In Business Luncheon presented by the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Legends Club, 2701 Washington Road, Augusta. Join guest speaker Col. Todd Turner, Garrison Commander of Fort Gordon, on the topic “Fort Gordon Growth.” $30 members, $40 prospective members. Advanced registration required.

Thursday, June 22 Networking for Leads presented by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 3-4 p.m. This is a structured program designed to promote an environment which cultivates meaningful business relationships and identifies the needs of other business owners. The goal is to encourage businesses to give leads, create beneficial relationships and develop a net-weaving experience where leads are received. The program will consist of a roundtable activity, which will be followed by an optional lunch connection, based on appropriate matching, to further enhance the leads experience. Only one participant from each company, please.

Ribbon Cuttings scheduled Local businesses are joining their area Chamber of Commerce: May 26: Your Pie, 3 p.m., 434 Georgia Ave., North Augusta May 30: U  niversity Primary Care, noon, 325 Georgia Ave., North Augusta June 1: C  hick-fil-A, 10 a.m., 210 Meridian Drive, Grovetown June 3: S alon 512 at West Avenue, 11 a.m., 512 West Ave., North Augusta


1. What is the business? I am a healthcare consultant and my business is Medical Advocacy Partners, LLC. I have been helping physicians simplify their transition to value based care and improve overall clinical and business performance. I am working on growing my community focus! 2. When and where did you found your business? My business is based in Georgia and I started it in September of 2015. 3. What were you like in school? School was a long time ago but my focus was on photography and journalism. I went back to college after my children started school, with a goal of being a case manager. 4. Any extra-curricular activities? My husband and I like to support local artists in Augusta. 5. Any significant experiences/ skills that (with hindsight) influenced your business? I am a registered nurse and certified case manager, with coding and office management certifications. My experience has allowed me to gain specialized knowledge that is needed in our current transitioning healthcare environment. 6. Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned? I started my first business 23 years ago, just after my first son was born. I wanted to buy a computer and needed to find a way to pay for it. My advice to entrepreneurs is to always be looking and listening to problems people around you are having. Then be ready to act when you realize that you have an answer! 7. What appealed to you about entrepreneurship? I like the flexible schedule and the potential to help improve our community. 8. How did you get the idea? My last jobs were with insurance com-

Suzette Verbeck panies as a quality consultant. I covered a large territory in Georgia and South Carolina doing some of the things I do now, but my focus was on improving the quality analytics for the insurance companies. I acted on an opportunity to work directly with a group of physicians, focusing on improving quality and the health of our community. 9. How has your idea progressed over time? I joined and am learning to be a full-stack web developer. Currently I am creating an app! 10. How did you fund the business? Up to this point I have been self-funded. 11. How did you market your business? Brian Stewart designed my logo and a short video for my simple website. Next, I will develop a marketing plan. 12. Who are your main competitors? There are large consulting companies that do some of the same things I do, but they tend to work with large practices and are expensive. 13. What is next for your business? Thankfully, there are many resources available to small business startups in Augusta. Next I am going to start partic-

ipating in Advanced Technology Development Center’s educational classes. 14. How has working out of benefited your company? The educational events have helped me improve my business plan and begin making more community connections.

WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER? VISIT Would you like to schedule a tour? STOP BY 540 Telfair St. Augusta, GA EMAIL

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Do you scan?

Filing and Retrieval with a push of a button By Scott Thurmond

What if all you had to do was load a stack of documents into a document feeder and push a button to file them – right where you could find them easily. Wouldn’t that be a luxury? It’s not a dream. It’s happening now. Scanning has been available for a long time. Most people are familiar with desktop scanners that allow documents to be sent by email attachments and pictures to be saved to desktop computers. Businesses with multifunction copiers have enjoyed heightened flexibility with scanning. Large documents can be scanned for print on demand at any time. Over the years, scanning documents to fax has transitioned into scanning to email for most companies. The latest transition is document archiving. The combination of software and programming tailored to meet a company’s specific needs brings scanning to new levels. Educators use the high levels of scanning to manage student records, streamline admissions, improve financial aid processes and comply with governmental requirements. Financial services organizations can now go “paperless” by scanning and routing a wide range of documents, from loan applications to monthly

Many of today’s multifunction copiers offer document archiving through scanning, but you need to do your homework before setting up the system. Special

account statements or tax documents. Insurance companies can streamline applications, billing, claims processing and other procedures. Manufacturing companies find the advanced processes make for a more efficient operation, and the financial stream allows accounts payable and accounts receivable to track payments seamlessly. Access is within the office or across the world. With proper programming, scanning can bring many benefits to an organization. The ability to automatically redact sensitive information, such as names, provides heightened security, while the

ability to highlight key sections of a large document saves time flipping through vast number of pages. Programming also enables searching for key words or numbers in order to send documents to particular folders. For example, invoices for one company can be neatly sent to a certain file or files on specific computers. Although pushing a button to have piles of paper distributed properly seems easy, getting to that point is much more elaborate. Every company – every individual – has specific ways of filing and retrieving information. (How often have you been asked for your birthdate when

making an appointment?) The trick is doing the research into each company’s way of doing business ahead of time. What are the special quirks a particular company has that might run afoul of the industry standard? How does the company routinely file? Chronologically? Most recent date first or last? Alphabetically? Categorically? Do you want some documents in a stack to go into different folders? If so, what type of documents, and under what conditions? Who has access to the documents? What security needs to be on certain documents? Yes, just pushing a button appears to be a snap, but without doing your homework first, it would be like throwing a bunch of paper in the air. With proper software and skilled programming, your company can use the scanning process for a new level of efficiency. Scott Thurmond is CEO and co-owner of Duplicating Systems Inc. (DSI), a company with 30 years of service in the CSRA. DSI provides copiers, software solutions and other technology. Email

Better Late than Never Tips for filing taxes late By Christine Hall

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, was the deadline for most taxpayers to file their tax returns. If you haven’t filed a 2016 tax return yet, don’t delay. There’s still time, and it’s not as difficult as you think. Here is what you need to do: First, gather any and all information related to income and deductions for the tax years for which a return is to be filed, then get the information to your tax preparer. If you’re owed money, then the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund. If you owe taxes, you should file and pay as soon as you can, which will stop the interest and penalties that you will owe. An extension applies to the time to file, not time to pay. If you owe money, it was due April 18, so be sure you file and pay as soon as you can. If you owe money but can’t pay the IRS

16 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

in full, you should pay as much as you can when you file your tax return to minimize penalties and interest. Don’t ignore the bill; the IRS will work with taxpayers suffering financial hardship. If you continue to ignore your tax bill, the IRS may take collection action. There are several ways to make a payment on your taxes. Payments can be made by credit card, electronic funds transfer, check, money order, cashier’s check or cash. If you pay your federal taxes using a major credit card or debit card, there is no IRS fee, but the processing companies charge a convenience fee or flat fee. There are several payment options for those who cannot pay their taxes in full. Taxpayers unable to pay all taxes due are encouraged to pay as much as possible right away; the amount of interest and penalties owed will be less than if you do

not pay anything at all. Based on individual circumstances, a taxpayer could qualify for an extension in time to pay, an installment agreement, a temporary delay or an offer in compromise. When it comes to paying your tax bill, it is important to review all your options; the interest rate on a loan or credit card may be lower than the combination of penalties and interest imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. You should pay as much as possible before entering into an installment agreement. For individuals, IRS Direct Pay is a fast and free way to pay directly from your checking or savings account. Taxpayers who need more time to pay can set up either a short-term payment extension or a monthly payment plan. Most people can set up a payment plan using the Online Payment Agreement tool on

It’s important to understand the ramifications of not filing a past due return. Taxpayers who continue to not file a required return and fail to respond to IRS requests for a return can face a variety of enforcement actions, including substantial penalties and fees. Don’t ignore your tax return! If you haven’t filed yet, do it as soon as possible.

Christine Hall is a partner in Hall, Murphy & Schuyler PC, a full-service accounting firm. For a complimentary accounting, tax or business consultation, call 706.855.7733 or email


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706.825.6557 SUPPORT@ONTHELEVELDIGITAL May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Are You Protected? 3 Myths about Disability Insurance By Kurt Mueller, CLU®

Northwestern Mutual – Mueller Financial Group Do you have insurance for your most important financial asset? You may think you’re covered because you have insurance for your car, home or even jewelry. Unfortunately, if you don’t have adequate disability income insurance, you may not be protecting what matters most – your paycheck. The reality is that few American workers are financially prepared to weather an injury, illness or unplanned medical expense. In fact, according to the 2016 Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress Study, 85 percent of Americans report feeling financial anxiety today. Much of this anxiety can be traced to fear of the unknown. The study cites the top two financial fears as having an unplanned financial emergency and having an unplanned medical expense due to an illness. Fortunately, conquering the fear of the unknown is easier when you’re able to separate fact from fiction. Make sure you’re protecting your financial future by acquainting yourself with these three disability insurance myths:

Myth #1: You have enough coverage through your employer’s benefit plan.

Here’s the truth: If you’re covered by an employer-sponsored short- or long-term disability plan, you’re more fortunate than most. Even if you are provided group coverage, such coverage alone only replaces a portion of your income. Many group plans only cover 50 to 60 percent of your base salary. That means if you’re currently making $60,000 annually, 60 percent of that would be $36,000, and if the employer is paying for your coverage, the final takehome would be reduced even further after taxes. In addition, most employer-sponsored plans are limited to covering short-term disability which means your benefits may only pay for a short duration. Also consider that your employee benefits end

when you leave the company. If you’re unexpectedly faced with illness or injury, supplemental coverage can help bridge the gap between what’s covered by your employer’s group policy and your monthly take-home pay. Supplemental coverage could ensure you’re better poised to maintain your current standard of living and minimize the impact on your long-term financial security. In addition, supplemental coverage moves with you if you change jobs, covers you between jobs and provides critical income protection if you’re self-employed.

Myth #2: Disability won’t happen to you.

Here’s the truth: Even if you’re young and healthy, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled for three or more months at some point in their career before reaching age 67.

In addition, the word “disability” itself might not be what you think. Individual disability income insurance may provide coverage for common conditions like back pain, migraine headache, pregnancy complications or depression. Consulting an experienced financial professional can help to ensure your policy includes all you need to continue meeting your financial obligations in the event of a disability.

cover if it provides any group disability coverage. Second, consult with a trusted financial professional who can help you determine how much additional coverage you will need and understand the language in your policy. Taking these simple steps to ensure you’re adequately covered will help relieve your financial anxiety as you’re protecting your most important financial asset. You’ll be glad you did.

Myth #3: Disability insurance is expensive.

Here’s the truth: In most cases you can protect your income for less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee. On average, individual disability income insurance costs $24 and $47 each month for males and females respectively* – while coffee typically costs $76 each month. Thankfully, protecting your most important asset is an easy two-step process. First, check with your employer to dis-

Kurt W. Mueller is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Augusta. Call 803.671.8792 or email The information in this article is not intended as legal or tax advice. Not all products mentioned are offered through Northwestern Mutual.

*Note: Typical individual disability income insurance costs range from $25.77 per month to $35.19 per month. Typical coffee costs $72.52 per month. Eligibility for individual disability income insurance, additional policy benefits and qualifications for benefits are determined on a case-by-case basis. Disability income insurance policies contain contractual features and optional benefits that might not available in all states. The ability to perform the substantial and material duties of your occupation is only one of the factors that determine eligibility for disability benefits. These policies contain exclusions, limitations and reduction of benefit provisions. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. To be used with forms ICC16. TT.NCDI.(0916), ICC16.TT.GRDI.(0916), or state equivalent. Not all contracts and optional benefits are available in all states.

18 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


A question of organization

Why Don’t You Have A Project Management Office? By Roger Duke

Studies have clearly shown that companies or organizations with a project management office (PMO) can improve project performance and customer satisfaction. So, It’s not really a question of why don’t you have one, but when will you have one. Success begins with a good implementation plan based on the right reasons. Here are my top 10 factors to consider when planning a PMO. 1. Align strategy with mission: Staying focused on the company’s mission, vision and values is critical if the PMO is going to produce benefits. PMOs can prioritize work better if their actions are based on clear strategic objectives. 2. Not all PMOs are created equal: Tailor your PMO to fit your organization’s culture, because one size does not fit all. For example, agile projects need an agile PMO. 3. Trend management is key: The ability to forecast project needs and effectively implement timely projects can mean the difference between profit and

loss. PMOs can effectively analyze project data and provide the basis for business cases and project selection. 4. Standardization breeds adaptation: This sounds like an oxymoron, but standardizing project practices provides a consistent foundation from which to make improvements. 5. Fundamentals before systems: Train the project team on the basics of project management. Selecting a project management information system first, then letting it drive the behavior of the project management team, results in ineffective project management. 6. Direct communication with management: The PMO should be encouraged to identify business issues and make recommendations directly to management. Data coming from a PMO should be viewed as a source of truth. 7. Decide PMO type – managing or support: Decide the purpose and type of PMO. PMOs can be set up to either direct and manage projects and resources or to provide project managers with best practices, tools and training.

8. Increase visibility: Establish PMO reporting processes that continually expose project performance. The only way to fix a problem is to know that it exists. 9. Be disciplined and results-focused: Establish PMO expectations and promote the level of rigor to ensure standardization and consistency. Remain focused on results. 10. Put quality assurance before quality control: PMOs should include processes intended to identify problems early, keeping consequences from ever getting to customers. After implementing a PMO, how do you know whether it’s making a difference? Measuring PMO performance is as important as measuring project performance. Here are three key metrics to consider: Project Mobilization Time: Reducing the time from project selection to project authorization improves the time-to-market for projects and provides opportunities faster. Projects Delivered: Success can be measured by monitoring the percentage

of projects stopped and percentage of projects failing to deliver benefits against business case. Project Return on Investment: Tracking the overall costs and benefits from projects allows the calculation of a return on investment (ROI) for company management and provides a basis for improvement. If you plan on implementing a PMO, two sayings come to mind: “Now is the best time to plant a tree” and “Things that take time endure.” Implementing a PMO is a journey, not a vacation. Roger Duke, PMP, CSM, is a Greater Augusta project management advocate, Augusta/Aiken PMI Chapter officer, Augusta University adjunct professor, PM PMP/ CAPM Prep trainer and SRS engineering program manager. Reach him at 706-840-0008 or email

Ruthlessly eliminating hurry By Dagan Sharpe

I heard a story of a pastor who was experiencing tremendous church growth. However, the pastor realized the joy of this blessing could be stolen if not stewarded well. So, to help ensure he was doing all he could to be a good steward of God’s church and the growth He was sending, he called an old mentor for advice. After sharing his situation, the young pastor waited anxiously for his mentor’s reply. The response was not what he expected. “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” was the counsel offered. The pastor nodded in agreement and waited expectantly for the weightier advice he was sure would come, but that was it. Like the young pastor, we may at first brush aside the weight of this particular counsel, but when we examine the damage hurry has and can have in our life, we realize the value eliminating it holds in our overall success: Error: When we get in a hurry and rush, we are more prone to make mistakes. How often has this proved true for each of us? A small example is when I get in the kitchen to cook. I’m not sure why,

20 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Rushing through your day might make you feel important, but slowing down can increase your impact in business and your personal life. Special

but for some reason, cooking gets me in a rush. I race in prepping each dish and timing it so that each course finishes on time. Inevitably, as I rush, I forget some ingredient, burn something or don’t cook something else long enough. In time, I have realized my folly, and I now work to slow myself down. I noticed my daughter shares this trait, and I have shared with her the wisdom of slowing down. This is something we can all apply in every area of our life, not just cooking, and as a result we greatly reduce our risk of error. Image: When we get in a hurry we

reduce our image, or level of professionalism. For example, we might trick ourselves into thinking a jam-packed work schedule shows how important or busy we are, but in reality it can backfire. Having too many appointments scheduled back-to-back can cause us to rush through the appointments to race, in an anxious state, to our other meetings. We also risk being late, and ultimately, this hurry prevents us from reflecting a calm and relaxed demeanor. As a result, we reduce our impact with those we are meeting. Because we were always watching the clock, we never truly allowed ourselves to allocate our full energy and commitment to the topics at hand. Allocating plenty of spacing between appointments helps us not to rush, to offer higher value in the moments we have, and to maintain a relaxed state of mind, which enhances our overall impact and professional image. Energy: When we hurry, we clearly exhaust energy. However, unlike exercise, which helps us release stress, this type of exertion leaves us stressed. By eliminating hurry, we actually reduce stress, which allows us to have more energy to increase our contribution in the various events we have throughout our day. As a result, we

better affect the people we interact with and come home more energized than drained. We are often lured into the trappings of hurry, but like anything else, we can make improvements when we commit to doing so. The first step is acknowledging our tendency to hurry and identifying when we are most prone to it. We must then proactively work to eliminate it through intentional planning and prioritization. As a result, we will discover more energy, make fewer mistakes, obtain higher levels of presentation and reap other rewards and benefits that come to those committed to stamping out the hindrance of hurry.

Dagan Sharpe is senior vice president of Queensborough National Bank & Trust and the author of a stewardship book, Bank On It. Email dsharpe@qnbtrust. com.

planning for the future

How do I know what I want to do for the rest of my life? Choosing a field that hits your passion will reflect in your classwork and your grades. Missie Usry says. Your enthusiasm will carry over into your career and help you be successful in the professional world. Special

By Missie Usry

Often, rising college students are unsure what the future holds or which career field is best. In a whirlwind, high school seniors are enjoying senior week, off to prom, taking that senior trip and marching down the aisle to Pomp and Circumstance. It’s a proud moment with family watching as they cross the stage. If you find yourself asking “What now?” there is no need to panic or sit out when your peers are heading off for their freshman year of college. Here are a few steps to plan for the future, even when it has time has flown by and you might not have given it a second thought.

Choose the right major.

Choosing a major is a difficult decision, but it can also be exciting. Most importantly, choose something that really interests you. Do not choose a field like nursing just because it is what your parents want or because it is popular. Do not choose computer technology or pre-med just because of the high salary potential. Chances are if you are not genuinely interested in your major, you will not be successful in

your classes. Choosing a field that hits your passion will reflect in your classwork and your grades. More importantly, your enthusiasm will carry over into your career after graduation and help you be successful in the professional world. If you are not sure about what interests you, do not worry. As a college freshman, you still have some time to take general education courses in areas that are new to you. You might also conduct job shadowing or use assessments

found on the Georgia Department of Labor website. The college career center is also a good resource to help determine the best fit for a student’s skillset.

Get involved!

Joining clubs, becoming a student ambassador, working on campus as a federal work study student, serving on your college’s Student Government Association, volunteering with a student group or writing for your school’s newspaper are all great activities that can give you experience and

serve as resume builders. Being in a club, like a debate club, shows you know how to work on a team and manage your time well. Volunteering with a student group to clean up the river or serve homeless people in your community indicates that you think about others and would be considerate of others in the workplace. Participating in student government develops leadership skills and people skills. Working as a student ambassador or fed-

eral work-study student while maintaining a high GPA is an effective way to show you have strong organizational skills. Writing for the school newspaper demonstrates your ability to write in a variety of styles and develops creativity that can carry over into a work environment. These activities can also help lock down a career path, so look for ways to get involved and highlight your talents. As the saying goes, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Missie Usry is the Enrollment Manager and advises the Community Involvement Club at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which means that all credit earned at the institution is transferable to other accredited schools. Eligibility for participation in the joint enrollment program is based on students’ high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores. For questions, call 706.993.1123 or visit

2506 Peach Orchard Rd. May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


SEO Defined

Getting the most out of your online advertising By John Pope

You can have the best-looking website in your industry, but how is your conversion rate? Can potential customers find you on Google or Bing? Are you spending money on pay-per-click ads with no results? With over 3 billion websites on Google, making sure that visitors find your site is a challenge. Competition is fierce for the top listings, yet without regular visitors, your site might as well not exist. Finding the right internet marketing partner is integral to the success of your site. Some SEO companies will take your money without an explanation of where your advertising dollars are going. Often, your money is going to a lost cause. Without proper maintenance, Google and the other search engines can bounce your site from the first page of search results without warning. At On The Level Digital, we work hard to make sure your advertising dollar is

22 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

SEO is a strategic combination of techniques designed to raise a website’s ranking in the search engines’ organic listings. These techniques need to be continually revised and refined as the main search engines regularly update their ranking criteria. well spent, with local professionals who care about optimizing your web presence. SEO is a strategic combination of techniques designed to raise a website’s ranking in the search engines’ organic listings. These techniques need to be continually revised and refined as the main search engines regularly update their ranking criteria. Reputation management is also a key factor is SEO. In marketing, “word of mouth” is known as one of the best ways to attract customers. In the digital age one

comment can reach thousands of people with the click of a button. Studies have shown that with search engine results, review sites and social media comments, up to 80 percent of internet shoppers use online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Managing your company’s online reputation needs to be a key component of your digital marketing strategy. It’s not enough for you to just be online anymore. You need to know what’s being said about your company, when and where.

A poor online reputation can negatively affect sales, hiring ability and future growth. Without proper monitoring it can happen without you even knowing about it. So in summary, a combination of proper SEO techniques and online reputation management is a step in the right direction toward dominating the ever-changing and competitive search engine results space of Google and, to a lesser extent, Bing.

John Pope has worked in digital media sales and marketing for six years. His specialty is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Email pope@ontheleveldigital. com.

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Big changes coming

Broad Street building to undergo major renovation By Damon Cline

The Augusta Chronicle Business Editor A vacant Broad Street building will be returned to its 19th century splendor by its new owner – a familiar face in downtown revitalization efforts. Bryan Haltermann, president of Haltermann Partners Inc., recently acquired 901 Broad St., a three-story corner property that he intends to convert into nine loft apartments sitting above restaurant and retail space on the ground floor. “The corner space is undoubtedly going to be a restaurant,” said Haltermann, who purchased the building through a limited liability company from the five owners of Cranston Engineering Group, who once had its own plans to renovate the 13,000-square-foot building at Broad Street and James Brown Boulevard. Haltermann said he has had numerous inquiries from restaurants and retailers interested in the two 3,000-square-foot commercial spaces, but no commitments yet. He expects the nine apartments to fill up quickly; the 60 loft apartments he owns in other buildings in the central business district are near 100 percent occupancy. Construction barriers have been placed and renovations should begin within 60 days of purchase, he said, with completion occurring early next year. The building most recently housed a consumer finance company and a coffee shop but has been vacant for more than a year. Haltermann said renovation of the 133-yearold structure will include substantial facade work,

including installation of balconies that will resemble those that adorned the building when it was a hotel called The Marshall House. Including the cost of the real estate, the renovation project represents a nearly $1.7 million investment. He said a percentage of the costs will be offset by state and federal historic renovation tax credits. The company’s general contractor, Augusta’s Robertson Restoration LLC, will be partly paid with a minority equity stake in the property. Robertson Restoration is owned by Heard Robertson, the son of Cranston Engineering Group President Tom Robertson. “We see this as being a signature renovation of a 19th century building on one of the busiest corners of Broad Street,” Haltermann said. The property is diagonally opposite the administrative offices of the Richmond County Board of Education and just a block south of the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center complex, whose operators are developing a 125-room hotel steps from Haltermann’s soon-to-be-renovated building. Haltermann purchased his first downtown property in 1986. The 901 Broad St. renovation is his first project in three years. He said he had recently intended to divest all his downtown assets – he sold two properties in the past six months – but that he has since reconsidered. He said he is once again bullish on the central business district. “Demand downtown has been better than it’s been in a while,” he said.

Bryan Haltermann plans to turn the building at 901 Broad St. into loft apartments and retail space. Photo by Damon Cline/The Augusta Chronicle

Why are all the Retail Stores Closing? By Joe Edge

In the natural life cycle of retail properties, vacancy and absorption rates vary. But most recently in the Augusta market, there have been a large number of big box stores and several smaller national retailers close up shop. Should this be a cause for concern or is this just the normal ebb and flow of the retail market? First, the closings are the fault of our community. It is normal for a growing community such as ours to have some closings like this. Retailers make their decision to locate in a city based on demographics, including household income, population density, job growth, etc. Some retailers will stray from their normal criteria to take a chance on a growing area to gain a foothold ahead of the competition. Sometimes this works, and other times the retailer fails and has to close its doors. In other instances the local community doesn’t embrace the store or concept, which causes it to fail.

24 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

The last and most common reason for closings is bankruptcy. Our community has experienced all of these. The most noteworthy examples have been Gander Mountain and Whole Foods. Both concepts are known to be very conservative on site locations and have a high success rate. In the case of Whole Foods, it started a new concept and used Augusta one of the test markets. The demand for a grocer like that was there, but the community just wasn’t ready for the concept. The higher prices and eclectic inventory did not sit well with the surrounding community, or in other communities where this concept was tried. Huge sales volumes needed to sustain a grocery store of that size just never showed up like they did for the new ALDI stores, and Whole Foods ended up closing over 40 stores, including ours. Gander Mountain, on the other hand, suffered a corporate bankruptcy. This had nothing to do with the community. Reports have recently surfaced that the

Augusta location could remain open, but plans have not been finalized. Other retailers including Radio Shack, Payless Shoes and HH Gregg have had similar problems. Online sales giants such as Amazon are the culprit here. As online sales continue to increase, retailers’ footprints will continue to shrink, and many more stores will go into bankruptcy and close up their locations. As a community we must be careful to build smart and not overbuild our inventory of buildings so that rents and property values will stay up. Big-box vacancies hurt the real estate market and often take years to fill. Often when they get backfilled they are with call centers, office space or other less desirable and lower rent alternatives. Shopping centers with more flexible space for smaller stores are becoming more popular. These types of centers are lower risk and provide more protection to the investor building them. But even these centers are not being built spec anymore. Developers are requiring com-

mitments from tenants before breaking ground to mitigate their risk. Retail is not going to go away, but over the next 10 years it will start to look very different. Smaller footprints for big-box stores will become commonplace. Fewer developments will mean higher rental rates and more selective sites. As a community we must be strategic about where we allow retail growth to give the users the best chance for success.

Joe Edge is president and broker at Sherman & Hemstreet. After service in the U.S. Marine Corps and a career as an independent commercial agent, Edge bought the historic Sherman & Hemstreet, a full-service firm specializing in commercial real estate listings and property management. He recently restarted residential sales. Reach him at 706.722.8334.

Summer Services Special Advertising Section Harbin’s Lumber....................... Page 26 Gordon W.C. Auto..................... Page 26 Evolve Mortage......................... Page 28 Busby’s Heating & Air............... Page 28 Northwestern Mutual............... Page 29 Overhead Door......................... Page 30 Trendz Salon............................. Page 30

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


and treated lumber, siding, shingles, columns and some blocks. They can bring in trusses, doors and windows from the Lavonia store as well. Experienced service is another hallmark of the new store. Many of the 23 employees have been in the lumber and hardware business for years. “Our people are very knowledgeable,” Maciaszek said. The store is undergoing some changes, with a new paint scheme, a new shipping department and plans to create a separate counter for contractors. The business is open 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

By Gary Kauffman The name on a North Augusta lumber yard is new, but the business behind it has a 100-year history. On March 1, Harbin Lumber Co. took over Adams Supply on Edgefield Road off Exit 5. Two brothers, John and Frank Harbin started the business in 1917 and it has been run by the Harbin family ever since, now in its fourth generation. It is headquartered in Lavonia,

Ga., with lumber yards in Milledgeville, Athens and Lavonia locations. The addition of the North Augusta store, with its Do It Best hardware line, gives Harbin a bigger inventory than any of the other stores, with nearly triple the number of items available. Adams was the independently owned building supply in NA before Lowe’s. Harbin supplies general contractors, sub-contractors and remodelers, but

Gordon W.C. Auto Repairs & Rentals 1640 Gordon Hwy, Augusta William and Sonia Cotto

762-222-7486 Sonia and William Cotto

26 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

also has plenty to offer the do-it-yourself homeowner. Near the confluence of I-20, 520 and Edgefield Road, Harbin’s facility is easy to get to from any direction. “We want to service the whole CSRA, but we really want to take care of the people closest to our location who don’t want to drive 20 miles to pick up something,” Chris Maciaszek said. The lumber yard offers dimensional

By Gary Kauffman One of Augusta’s newest auto repair facilities comes with more than four decades of experience. Gordon W.C. Auto Repairs & Rentals opened at 1640 Gordon Hwy., across from the former KMart store, at the end of March. Owners William and Sonia Cotto opened the business after moving from New Jersey. William, a Certified Auto Mechanic, has 42 years of experience. He started his career in the early 1970s in the shop owned by his father and Sonia’s uncle. He bought the business more than 30 years ago. In an effort to slow down a bit, the Cottos began researching a new venture away from the northern winters and settled on Augusta. Gordon W.C. Auto Repair performs all general maintenance and repairs, including rebuilding motors, transmissions and exhaust systems. But William’s forte is diagnostic testing, and he has purchased state-of-the-art equipment for the new store. In addition to auto repairs, the

871 Edgefield Road, North Augusta


Cottos also are a U-Haul rental facility, as they had been in New Jersey. U-Haul has awarded them the maintenance contract for all U-Haul trucks in the Augusta area. One perk the Cottos offer their customers is a pick-up and delivery service. They will pick up the customer’s car at their home or work place and deliver it after the work is completed as a time-saving measure for their customers. The U-Haul part of the business has helped draw customers to the auto repair side, especially among the military. Sonia said even though the business is new, they are already looking toward possible expansion to include a storage facility. Another possible addition is a service from U-Haul called the U-Box. The UBox is packed with person’s possessions, then stored until they return, making it perfect for college, military personnel and their families. Gordon W.C. Auto Repair will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 25 with food, drinks and giveaways, plus the Interstate Battery pace car.

AMBIENCE HAIR COLOR 202 Hudson Trace in West Augusta 706.733.2220

The Ambience team of color stylists with more than 100 years of experience is excited to welcome Myron Daniels to our team. Myron specializes in Keratin treatments to straighten your hair. He’s known internationally as a leader and visionary in the beauty industry both as an educator and stylist. He’s worked with legendary stylists like Paul Mitchell, been featured in National Magazines like Modern Salon and worked on the production sets for the Oscars and


Grammys! His colleagues Layton Chavis, Victoria Doucet, and owner\stylist Waltraud “Wally” Gannon are accredited stylists through the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists. Ambience is the only CSRA salon with this prestigious accreditation. To learn more about their bio’s, please visit   Ambien difference is the attention to the finest products used like Another Ambience Keune and ToccoMagico colorings, which increase shine, condition, and longevity.


Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017


May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Mortgage Consultant Jimmy Young

Rick Busby

By Gary Kauffman As Rick Busby grooms his daughters to take over Busby Heating and Air Conditioning, he believes the most important part of their continued success will be the values he taught them from childhood. He has good reason to believe that – Busby’s has had a success-

28 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

At Evolve Mortgage Services, a subsidiary of Evolve Bank & Trust, clients are offered a wide variety of mortgage and lending services designed to help the local community as it grows. Located in Martinez, Evolve welcomes its customers to discover mortgage options that meet their individual needs and provide peace of mind. At Evolve, experienced mortgage consultants guide potential homebuyers through the process with care and efficiency. Whether you are a first-time home buyer, or someone looking for financing solutions for an existing home, Evolve’s consultants will find the best product for you. Among the many programs available, Evolve offers Conventional, Jumbo, VA, FHA, Reverse, Construction, Renovation loans and other investor products. Evolve Mortgage consultants also offer customers the benefit of experience and knowledge of the local market. Their clients are more than just a number to them – consultants

ful business built on those values for 72 years. Busby’s father, J.C., started the business in 1945 in Millen, initially selling electrical wiring, well pumps and appliances. The business relocated to Waynesboro and then Augusta in 1952. In the 1960s, the emphasis of the business switched to central air and heating,

understand each person has their own needs. Such seasoned customer support helps clients navigate the sometimes challenging waters of purchasing property, even if they have previously declared bankruptcy or went through foreclosure. An Augusta native and experienced mortgage consultant of 35 years, Jimmy Young came out of retirement to join the Evolve team. He says the property market is healthy and growing, as indicated by the resurgence of local community mortgage companies, such as Evolve. “It’s a really good time to buy now; the interest rates are at the lowest they’ve been in a long time,” Young explained. “We’re looking at rates below 4%, and homes are priced right. And, when companies like Evolve are able to flourish, that’s a good indication that the market is growing.” Mr. Young is excited to introduce a variety of rates and products that will help his clients, some of whom need more attention than the larger

banks and mortgage companies can provide. “We go farther for our clients than the larger institutions do, because we’re more invested in the outcome.” Mr. Young said, “We’re not going to just ply you with paperwork, we’re going to talk to you and find out what it is you need and what you can handle. Evolve offers guidance – it makes a difference.”

which continues today. Rick entered the business in 1979 and now his daughters, Lauren, 28, and Kristen, 23, are full-time employees of the company. “Our whole business culture is built around honesty, integrity and doing the right thing,” Busby said. “We try to live that every day.” Air conditioning systems have become increasingly complex since the 1960s, which requires technicians with specialized training. Busby’s headquarters just off Gordon Highway includes a classroom where the 50 employees are trained. In addition to home and commercial air conditioning, Busby’s also performs commercial refrigeration work for walk-in coolers and ice machines. In 2004, the company expanded to include energy-efficient replacement windows and doors. Busby’s has had many loyal customers over the years for replacement installations and annual maintenance. Busby’s offers a maintenance agreement that gives those customers priority service and a discount. In addition to selling and servicing their products, Busby’s has also been active in the community with nonprofit

groups like the Walton Foundation for Independence and When Help Can’t Wait. Values are so important to Rick Busby that he wrote a book called Simple Habits That Will Change Your Life, originally intended for his daughters but now distributed to friends and customers. It contains 40 personal, social and spiritual habits to motivate people toward a better life. He is also a motivational speaker.

EVOLVE MORTGAGE SERVICE 4404 Columbia Rd, Ste. 102 Martinez, GA 30907 Consultant Jimmy Young Tel. (706) 444-6038

More information available online at

Busby’s Heating & Air Conditioning 1236 Gordon Park Road, Augusta

Call Rick Busby


Figuring out what’s important

Finish 2017 OFF WITH A PLAN FROM A PAIR OF EXPERTS Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the Dec. 22, 2016 issue of Buzz on Biz.

By Neil Gordon

The childhoods of 54-year-old Gil Eaves and 33-year-old Kurt Mueller, financial advisors of Northwestern Mutual, made a profound impact on their careers. Eaves’ father, a primary care physician, purchased a whole life insurance policy for Gil when he was a teenager living in Aiken County. “I didn’t get rich overnight, but it is worth a sizeable amount of money now,” Eaves said. In the early ’80s, Eaves was finishing up undergraduate school at USC and preparing to go to med school and join his father in his practice. He took an internship with Northwestern Mutual in Columbia and started earning money, and his father suggested he follow that path as he saw the government taking medicine into managed care. With the same methodical approach as his father’s initial investment, Eaves has built a base of 5,600 clients in a span of 31 years of working for Northwestern Mutual. He is now mentoring Mueller as they share an office and administrative expenses. Mueller was born in St. Louis, Mo., and was raised in a difficult environment in which his parents were always fighting about money while trying to care for an adopted son, who was previously abused. “I remember as a young child hearing arguments about the same, recurring investment theme,” Mueller said. His parents would often say that they would wait until the summer or after Kurt graduated from high school to put money away. “No one made it a priority,” he added. His brother’s mental and physical condition got worse, as did the finances and the marriage of Mueller’s parents. The Muellers divorced when Kurt was 19, and his mom’s health deteriorated. After college and a successful sales career, he went to work for Northwestern Mutual in Columbia and bought a longterm care policy for his mom. He knows the day is coming when he’ll need to utilize those benefits. “I hate to say it, but my mom has become a financial burden on me,” Mueller said. What’s more challenging for Mueller is that he took out a life insurance policy on his brother with his mom as the beneficiary, but it still wasn’t enough.

Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisors Kurt Mueller, left, and Gil Eaves work together to help clients prepare for their financial futures. Photo by Melissa Gordon

“My brother was diagnosed with terminal leukemia in 2015. I wish I had gotten a larger policy so there would be more money left for mom to live out her remaining years,” he shrugged. “Just like my parents. I made excuses.” Now, he cannot add to the policy because his brother’s cancer is uninsurable. In the spring of 2016, Mueller, his wife and children moved to Augusta to join Eaves. He is on a mission to rewrite his family story through his influence on his clients. Mueller belongs to several Chambers of Commerce and Business Network International (BNI) chapters in the CSRA. He is currently president of one of those chapters. Any chance he can, he tells the story of regrets over not putting enough money away for his mom and brother. “Put money away today. If you don’t want to call me, call someone you trust,” he added. Eaves also takes a personal approach with his clients. Many times through the years he’s had to visit with a client’s widow after the funeral. “They all have the same question for me,” he said. “ ‘Will I be alright?’ ” In most cases he answers “yes,” because those clients followed his advice. However,

sometimes,the answer is “You’ll have to get used to a new lifestyle” because they did not heed Eaves’ wisdom. You have to figure out what’s important, he said. “For me it’s my wife, my older kids and my grandkids. I want to make sure they are secure financially. If I have to give up an extra ski trip to make sure that is the case, then I do it,” he said with conviction. Besides skiing, Eaves enjoys hunting. He wants to continue to cut back on time at work a little more each year and then create a succession plan. He’s setting up his full retirement in 10 years where eventually he’ll transition some clients to Mueller. Together, the advisors manage an office comprised of Client Relations Director Abbigail Boyd and a support team of other service professionals who help manage their thriving practice. They both believe “one size doesn’t fit all” as a holistic approach to helping their clients. With Northwestern Mutual, they have the ability to help clients with investments and insurance and typically focus on four core areas: Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Investment Strategies, and Disability Income Planning.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. (NM), Milwaukee, Wis., (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Gil Eaves and Kurt Mueller are Insurance Agents of NM and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Co., Milwaukee, Wis., (long-term care insurance) a subsidiary of NM and a Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services LLC (NMIS) (securities), a subsidiary of NM, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser and member FINRA (www.finra. org) and SIPC ( Representatives of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, Milwaukee, Wis., (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and federal savings bank. May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Tyler Sheppard and Abbie Garrett, members of the third generation involved at Overhead Door Co. of Augusta.

By Gary Kauffman Overhead Door Co. of Augusta is combining old-school values with fresh ideas brought into the business by a third generation of the Sheppard family. After working doors for another company, Jack Sheppard began his own business in 1975. In 1980 the national Overhead Door Co. asked him to open the Augusta franchise. Not long after, he also began selling pre-fabricated wood and gas fireplace inserts. While sales, installation, service and repair of commercial and residential garage doors still drive the company, the installation and service of the fireplaces has gained a significant share of the business. Sheppard’s sons and nephews brought the company into the new century, but a third generation is now making an impact on the company with fresh ideas while still maintaining its old-school values. “It’s family-oriented,” said Abbie Garrett, a member of the third generation. “We treat the customers

the way we want to be treated, with honesty and loyalty.” Billy Sheppard said, “It’s old school how we do business. We try to take the customer at their word. We provide the best service and installations we can at the fairest price. We’re still doing it the right way.” Overhead Door Co. of Augusta provides a variety of choices and styles of garage doors in wood, fiberglass or steel, from the classic designs to carriage and Craftsman styles. Custom orders are also available. On-site free, no-strings-attached estimates are available.

Overhead Door Co. of Augusta 1529 Crescent Dr., Augusta Abbie Garrett


WANTS TO GIVE “MOORE” THIS YEAR 3670 Riverwatch Parkway 706.496.7629

Products • Paul Mitchell • Brazillian Blowout • Keracolor • Kenra Services • Hair • Nails • Massage • Sugar • Makeup • Spray Tan By Neil Gordon Robyn Kelley was waiting on word from God about which family would benefit from her 10th cutathon at Trendz Salon. The past nine netted nearly $80,000 for families of sick children. She prayed and prayed and even delayed their usual May event to back to school time. She asked her husband to pray. One day her husband Billy came home from coaching his Georgia Light-

30 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

ning travel baseball team. “Billy said the Lord told him it should be Alex Moore’s family,” she said. One of Billy’s players and their parents attend Trinity Baptist Church on Columbia Road. They’ve followed the struggles of 8 year-old Alex Moore and his parents who Pastor the church. Moore has aplastic anemia. “He’s been struggling for 3 years, said Ms. Kelley. He’s in need of a bone marrow transplant.” This year Billy Kelley’s daughter, 21 year-old Kaylee Kelley will provide free haircuts for the first time along with free services from her colleagues at Trendz Salon. She’s worked the last few cutathons in her role as receptionist and recently graduated from Augusta Technical College with her cosmetology degree. “Robyn’s my other Mom,” said Kaylee, who’s biological Mom Misty has also been very supportive of her new career. “Several stylists wanted to rent a booth through the years, but we held it open for Kaylee. She is the new generation of stylists and instead of just me as a mentor, she has the whole team,” said

her other Mom. Kaylee and the other stylists work together on their schedule to ensure that clients are covered from MondaySaturday. The salon is inviting—with children welcome in their remodeled playroom. “It’s a different atmosphere than most--we have a light mood with lots of laughter,” said Robyn Kelley.

The weeks leading up to the August 6th event called, “Moore than a Trim” will be hectic---as Kelley’s team welcomes raffle prize donations from businesses and arranges for jump houses and food. Those who come for face painting or food or haircuts or other services pay what they are led to do. “It’s amazing how it all comes together. It’s a God thing, “said Robyn Kelley.

Robyn Kelley (back row, far left) and her Trendz team of 9 salon professionals. Photo by Melissa Gordon

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


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“Amazing deals”


32 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Businessperson of the Month

Eiseman In right place at right time By Amanda King

All you need is a little bit of high-quality H20 and they will come. Sports movies have always had the recipe to success for any team in change mode, but Jeff Eiseman really knows what will work – water. The president and partner of the Augusta GreenJackets grew up in Baltimore in the 1970s, at a time when most people knew to stay away from the downtown part of the city. That was until someone realized what a great opportunity the waterfront could offer to change the dynamic of the city. “When they decided to utilize that as a showcase for the city, it prospered and it became Exhibit A for economic development around the world on how to use a waterfront,” Eiseman said.

Jeff Eiseman, Augusta GreenJackets Eiseman is now helping to develop a very different waterfront in the CSRA. Twenty-three acres near the Savannah River will become home to the GreenJackets next April. Construction has begun and a formal groundbreaking ceremony was held May 25. So, what kind of business leader does it take to tackle an endeavor like Project Jackson in North Augusta? “Persistence and hard-headedness,” Eiseman laughed. Like most kids his age, Eiseman gave up his dream of playing professional sports in his early teens, but after his college failed to offer advertising classes when he needed them, Eiseman took an interest in another area of sports. While interning with the NBA’s Washington Bullets, now the Wizards, Eiseman learned about sports marketing. Always a passionate sports fan, he left his advertising major behind and pursued a new calling. After interning with the San Diego Chargers and working at TicketMaster’s corporate offices to pay the bills, Eiseman had an opportunity to manage ticket sales for minor league baseball and hockey teams in Las Vegas. Eiseman remained in that city, dubbed “the Entertainment Capital of the World,” for nearly 10 years and had the opportunity to work with Peter Guber, a movie producer and owner of several minor and major league sports teams.

Jeff Eiseman shares plans for Project Jackson with the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce on May 19. Eiseman has experience with minor and major league hockey, baseball and basketball teams. Photo by David Lee/The Augusta Chronicle

“I have always been optimistic about this market and this community, even sometimes when the chips were down.” – Jeff Eisemen, about Augusta “I got an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time, learning from some of the best people in the entire industry,” Eiseman said of his time with Guber. Eventually, doors opened for Eiseman to work with Cal Ripken Jr., and he helped head up many of Ripken’s companies, including the Augusta GreenJackets. When Ripken decided to part ways with the GreenJackets, Eiseman put a group of investors together to buy the team. “I have always been optimistic about this market and this community, even sometimes when the chips were down”

he said. “This ball club could have been in another market and there not be baseball here, but we fought to keep it here and we’re ready to showcase it.” Eiseman will have that opportunity next April, but for now, he and the GreenJackets staff are focused on creating experiences. He is excited about a “fresh canvas” at the new ballpark and looking at what experiences they want spectators to continue to have and some fresh ideas. “A lot of people get into sports and think they’re gonna sit back and watch

a lot of games,” Eiseman said. “We actually don’t watch a lot of games. We spend more time worrying about our customers and the experience they are going to have at the games.” The community is preparing for the experience, too. Suites for the new ballfield are already sold out, and many people have been placed on a waiting list. And people who want to get a glimpse at the view from those seats will have that option – the GreenJackets’ website will have a 360-degree virtual tour from seats around the stadium. Don’t like the view? Click another seat to find a better one. That site is not live yet, but it will be in the near future, according to Eiseman. With a top-of-the-line stadium and the beginning of a waterfront development in North Augusta complete with retail and restaurants, it looks like Eiseman has hit a home run for a happy ending to this story. May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Pump Up Password Security and Retain Your Sanity By Brandon McCrillis

At Rendition InfoSec we have seen many passwords, especially when we crack them to gain access to a network (legally, of course). Now and then, we come across some great password combinations, but most often we do not. The “Top 5 Passwords of 2016” were: “123456,” “123456789,” “qwerty,” “12345678” and “111111.” If your password is any of those, please slap yourself. I’ll wait. Password complexity requirements range from nonexistent to utterly nauseating. Keeping track of every account password is an immense undertaking. This creates a situation in which most people circumvent the insanity by writing them down, using easy passwords or using the same password across multiple accounts. All are bad practices. Sure, there are password manager tools such as LastPass and 1Password out there to help tame the password beast. Password management tools are becoming more secure, but each has been plagued with issues and instantly become a “one stop shop” when compromised by an attacker. It all comes down to math; password length beats password complexity for a

34 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

If your password is as simple as “123456” and you keep it stashed on a piece of paper at your desk, you need to make some changes. Special

number of reasons (pun intended). If you are interested in really getting your nerd on, check out our Rendition InfoSec blog posts that explain why with all the granular details. A password with eight characters or less is trivial to crack by “brute forcing” all combinations, even with the added complexity of special characters. What does this mean? Well, that “soupisreallyhot” is much less likely to be cracked than “$2LqY6!b” – and is far easier to remember. Because math. Rendition advocates the use of “password phrases.” A password like “my dog is named gus” instantly provides you a cracking-resistant password. Add some

capitalization and punctuation – “My Dog is named Gus!” – and you’ve exponentially increased the security of your password while making it easy to remember. How about across multiple accounts? “My banking Dog is named Gus!” or “My work Dog is named Gus!” not only provides cracking resistance, but also remains unique. Now, cracking isn’t the only threat to your password. How a password is stored is also of extreme importance. This doesn’t just mean not writing them down on a sticky note placed under your keyboard. Database storage of your password sometimes isn’t done well, either. Without getting too deep into the

weeds, just know plain-text password storage is common. Database dumps are quite frequently leaked, and the end-user has limited control, if any, over this. This can be a problem for businesses, too; Rendition InfoSec has many times dumped passwords from a client’s database and systems. Imagine if one of your employees’ passwords was vulgar or obscene; this is likely not something you would want leaked to the public. (Yes, we have seen it.) The takeaways are this: Protect your password. Don’t reuse passwords. The longer the password, the better. Add complexity to a long password to increase security. If supported, “password phrases” will become your new best friend. Be cautious of accounts that limit your password length. Brandon McCrillis is a Principal at Rendition InfoSec, specializing in incident response, penetration testing, digital forensics, training, and network monitoring. Brandon delivers consulting worldwide helping organizations of all sizes reduce risk, achieve compliance, maintain business continuity, and reach security goals.

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Time for some BURGERS AND BEER By Amanda King

Nothing says “summertime” like burgers and beer. The Augusta Chronicle will kick off the second annual Burgers & Beer Week June 15-25. Restaurants will compete to be crowned the best burger in the metro area, as voted on by patrons. There’s one catch – the burger can’t be from the regular menu. These special-edition one-offs – some of which come from restaurants that normally don’t sell burgers – include toppings that may seem unconventional. Last year’s winner, Village Deli, created the Deli Deluxe Brisket Burger. The burger was piled high with half a pound of fresh ground beef with caramelized red onions and red bell peppers, smoked brisket, homemade pimento cheese and Jack Daniels special barbecue sauce on a butter-toasted brioche bun. But apparently, that was not enough for Village Deli—they threw on hand dipped onion straws and garnished with a green olive and pickle chips. The reigning champs are already cooking up this year’s entry. “We’re working out the kinks,” said owner and operator Heather Chanc-

36 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

where to go Participating restaurants: • Augustino’s Italian Eatery and Prime Steaks • Boll Weevil Café and Sweetery • Eli’s American • Edgar’s Grille • Fat Man’s Mill Cafe • Fuse Restaurant and Bar • Grumpy’s Sports Pub • The Hive • Mellow Mushroom • TBonz • TRIO Bar and Kitchen • Twisted Burrito • Village Deli • Wild Wing Cafe • Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q ey-Thompson. “Maybe something sweet and sour like Granny Smith apples.” As far as whether or not the Village Deli would be trying for second-

time champs, Thompson said, “I don’t like to lose.” Other entries in this year’s contest, sponsored by Riverwatch Brewery and FPL Foods, are bound to be just as creative and certainly as filling as the inaugural specialty items. Many new restaurants will join the competition this year and most of last year’s participants will return, hoping to bring home the title of Burger of the Year. Patrons visit restaurants and try the host’s burger, all priced at $8. With the size of the burgers being, well, monstrous, this is definitely a job for a group of friends if you plan on visiting more than one restaurant. There is no limit to the number of restaurants – just only vote for one at In addition to the prestigious title, the winning restaurant will also host Chronicle Night on July 7, a party celebrating the restaurant’s victory. Restaurants are not the only possible winners – burger connoisseurs who vote for their favorite burger are entered to win gift cards that are awarded throughout the 10-day contest. At stake is $1,500 in gift cards in multiple values.

grab a bite The 5 Commandments of Augusta Burgers & Beer Week: 1. Thou shalt not only consume a burger. Live large. Drink a beer, add some fries or your burger will be lonely. No one likes a lonely burger. 2. Thou shalt give good tips. Thank those burger slingers with the greatest compliment – a tip. We suggest 20 percent or more if it knocks your socks off! 3. Thou shalt share the love. Love your burger more than a cool breeze on Broad Street? Shout it to the social mountains and make your BFFs jealous. Don’t forget #AugustaBurgers AndBeer. 4. Thou shalt enjoy the anticipation. Great burgers take time. Sit back and enjoy the anticipated decadence about to be served. 5. Thou shalt live up to your civic burger duty and vote! It doesn’t count if you don’t vote! Show your love with your vote and propel your favorite burger to the highest office of Burger of the Year! All votes will be entered to win great Burger & Beer week prizes, so vote and share!

Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce

Small Business Marketing Academy: July - December 2017 The Small Business Marketing Academy is an opportunity for the owners/managers of small businesses to learn, share and plan for a growing and thriving business. To participate in the Academy, applicants must submit an application and agree to the terms of enrollment which includes tuition fee payment of $150 Members ($300 prospective members).


The Academy will cover topics such as branding, media, messaging and marketing through technology. At its conclusion, each participant will leave the program with a fully executable and customized marketing plan.

Essential Marketing Plan Ingredients

Branding Basics

Marketing Through Technology


Learn more and download an application at

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Continued from Page 6

buzz bits

upcoming job interview. Using the answer templates with a structured story format creates answers that are well thought out and makes the candidate memorable to the interviewer.” For more information, contact

Columbia County has approved changes to the sign ordinance to take effect immediately. Special

Sign ordinance passes in Columbia County

conferences, sports events impact Augusta There is expected to be about $5 million in total estimated economic impact for the month of May, thanks to nine different association meetings, sports tournaments or family reunions, according to the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Augusta Sports Council. These are groups the Augusta CVB or ASC have worked with at some point in the site selection or planning phase. A few highlights include Southern Baseball and Softball championships, a summit on driver safety, the 58th annual Georgia Society of Medical Assistants meeting and many other gatherings. More than 10,000 visitors are expected to attend all of the events, and of course spend money at local hotels and restaurants, which pumps money into our local economy.

38 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Columbia County Board of Commissioners approved a new sign ordinance May 16. The ordinance was a hot topic with business owners early on, and the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce worked with the Planning Department to create an ordinance that is beneficial to residents and local businesses. The ordinance will give the county a more uniform look with its signage and is effective immediately. The ordinance includes: • Increased maximum square footage size and height allowance based upon the square footage of the business.

Business is Helping area Teachers Another business has pledged to help area teachers. Cudos2u has launched a campaign to recognize deserving teachers in the area. Cudos 2 Our Teachers will allow people to nominate their favorite local teacher each month. A winner will be chosen for the month, and the teacher will receive a certificate along with their choice of an Alex and Ani bracelet from Cudos2u. Cudos2u will also select one of the teachers at the end of the

• Wrapped vehicles may now be parked in a designated parking space at their business instead of behind their business. • Interstate sign height was increased to 100 feet. • A 25 percent increase in signage for businesses located on arterial roadways because of increased traffic of these major corridors. school year in May to receive the grand prize, Alex and Ani bracelets for an entire year. Teachers from all grade levels are eligible to be nominated. “We are so excited to implement this program in the fall. We have so many teachers pouring their hearts and minds into our children, and we feel like that should be rewarded,” Cudos2u’s General Manager Sloane Carter said in a statement. For more information, or to nominate your favorite teacher, visit Cudos2u is at 400 Town Park Blvd. in Evans. The store has jewelry, home decor and gifts, featuring Pandora, Brighton, Alex and Ani, Vera Bradley, Simply Southern and much more.

• Window signs may cover 50 percent of the window surface while maintaining a clear line of sight into the business. The original ordinance did not all for any window signs to be placed on the inside or outside of window. • Covered pylons with a minimum of a 36-inch-wide base will be allowed instead of specifically requiring only monument type signage, providing a less expensive option for business owners and allowing increased visibility around the sign for drivers. For more details, visit the county website at columbiacounty

Cudos2u has started a campaign to recognize deserving teachers. To learn more or nominate someone, visit the store’s website, Photo courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle

openings, closings and moves Continued from Page 7 Kim’s Donuts once occupied the space and moved to the old Kitchen 1454 on Walton Way. Big Daddy’s Express replaced Kim’s and was open a year before owner Bo Handy decided to focus on the original Big Daddy’s on Jimmy Dyess Parkway. Diablo’s in North Augusta Andy Pye, the biggest restaurant franchisee in the CSRA, has opened a new Diablo’s Southwest Grill on Knox Avenue in the former Bruster’s Ice Cream building. This is the eighth Diablo’s location in Georgia and South Carolina. The fastcasual Latin American concept was started by three guys from Augusta. The other seven locations are in Aiken, Augusta on Walton Way and Wheeler Road, Grovetown, and Athens, Braselton and Thomasville, Ga. Diablo’s serves burrito bowls, tacos, quesadillas, salads and nachos and offers catering between $10-$12 per person. Visit for more information. Pye’s background has been with Brusters, Firehouse Subs and Checkers, and he is also franchising Bobby Boggs’ Pot Smoker Barbecue concept in Columbia. The original Pot Smoker is on Edgefield Road in North Augusta.


The closed Which Wich on Walton Way will be replaced by A Town Wings. Photo by Neil Gordon

Which Wich The Augusta Chronicle Business Editor Damon Cline reported that Which Wich on Walton Way recently closed and an A Town Wings will be going in its place. The Which Wich locations in Evans and on Agerton Lane will remain open. The sandwich shop has only been at the Walton Way location for about two years. In recent months, a Stanleo’s and Burger King have closed on Walton Way.

Purely Painted to relocate

A downtown Augusta merchant is moving uptown on Washington Road in Martinez to the Tradewinds Consignment Shop near Le Pavilion. Purely Painted has been at 1036 Broad Street for many years offering up chalk and clay paints and finishes, fun paint workshops, unique

gifts from local and regional makers, along with essential oils, candles and much more to make your life more relaxing. Owner Sandra Sanders will still be open in May and part of June downtown offering up specials, and then she’ll be moving to the new location.

Purely Painted is moving from Broad Street to Tradewinds Consignment on Washington Road in Martinez. Photo by Jessica Jones

Monkey Joe’s Every kid’s favorite summertime hang out won’t be available this year. Monkey Joe’s announced May 18 that after nine years at 368 Furys Ferry Road, it would be closing its doors just before Memorial Day weekend. A number of similar attractions have popped up in the CSRA over the years, including The Playhouse, Jumpin’ Beans and AirStrike. Artistic Perception Buzz on Biz founder Neil Gordon got an email recently from Roy Davenport, owner of Artistic Perception, who told him they’d be closing after 27 years in operation at 551 Broad St. “When Artistic Perceptions opened its doors it was the only art gallery on Broad Street,” he said. “After that other art galleries started opening until about 2000, when there were about 14. By 2013 it was down to about five.” Internationally acclaimed artist Wanta is the resident artist and creator of thousands of beautiful works of art. Wanta has decided to retire and dedi-

cate her full time to her first love – art, specifically oil paintings on canvas. Her way of saying a big “thank you” to all the people who have given her their support, encouragement and love all these years is to sell all of her instock original paintings for 50 to 75 percent off. The last day of operation will be very soon. Outdoor Augusta The Outdoor Augusta shop closed recently in the same Evans to Locks Road shopping center as the new Gold’s Gym and the Motor Vehicle agency. The owners decided to dedicate all of their time with a new brand – Outdoor Augusta Riverside, as you can book your kayak rentals in Riverside Park on Betty’s Branch. They still have some adventure gear for sale or rent. The retail shop in Evans was open for a few years and featured skateboards, kayak rentals, paddle board rentals, canoe rentals, hiking bags, disc golf and more. For more information visit

Close call

Gander Mountain While liquidators offer up deals on remaining inventory in the Augusta Gander Mountain store, Marcus Lemonis, the star of the CNBC show The Profit, is making plans to keep the store open. Lemonis is also the owner of Camping World and bought Gander Mountain out of bankruptcy in April. Augusta’s location is part of a list of more than 50 of the 126 Gander Mountain stores that will remain open. Lemonis recently posted a video clarifying confusion about what is happening with Gander Mountains and the transition. In addition to purchasing the intellectual property, branding, Gander leases and, he also did the same for the Overton brand. At this point, he feels a little less than half of the overall 160 leases will be fulfilled. One of the interesting parts of Lemonis’ strategy is that Gander Mountain will remain the brand in Augusta and elsewhere, but he’ll consider having Camping World and Overton ministores or sections within the Gander Mountain store.

Relocation Mish Mash Interiors Follow the bouncing ball – Mish Mash Interiors is heading back to its original location next to Ivy Boutique at 536 Grand Slam Drive in July. The store is offering big sales to reduce inventory before its big move. For more details, check out its Facebook page at interiorandgifts. State Farm You may have noticed a lot of construction work in the midst of serious roadwork on Washington Road in Evans near Halali Farm Road. Kelly Lawrence, a State Farm agent, owns the building, and once complete in August, he’ll move a mile away from his current office at Eagle Trace Shopping Center next to Bojangles. It is a joint project with Turner Realty and Sherman and Hemstreet. Contractors are framing the building so that six to seven additional tenants can move in if they like. The name of the complex is the Good Neighbor Professional Park – clearly a play on State Farm’s slogan: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Summer meal-planning Time to Get the kids involved By Onnie Sanford

Summer is filled with pool time, trips to the beach and outdoor activities – anything to keep the kids occupied and our sanity in place while the adults still have to work and do daily chores. We can’t wait for school to be out, but two weeks into it, we can’t wait for them to go back to school. This is the perfect time to let the kids help you with meal prep. When you return from the store with all of your fresh fruits and veggies, let the kids help you wash and prepare them for cooking. Cut up all the watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers and carrots, wrap pickle spears with sliced ham, and put them in Ziploc bags or Tupperware, and there are your snacks for the week. Talk about the next week’s menu and plan it as a family. Kids are more willing to try something that they helped create. Go to the Paleo Num Yums website and look at different meal options and see if there is one that everyone wants to try. I let my kids get on our website and browse and help me add new menu items. I even ask them what meals that they want me to make in future weeks when I might have lost inspiration. Take any leftovers from dinner and put them in individual containers, and there are your meals for when you are on the go during the day. When you are planning summer vacations, plan your menu ahead of time. It

The time and stress that you save when you are the busiest will help you appreciate the fact that meals that are ready to heat and eat at a moment’s notice. helps to prepare a couple of the larger meals so that you are not stuck cooking when you are on vacation and so you can avoid going out to dinner too many evenings. Have the meals ready to cook – you can

even put them in disposable pans. Prepare all your fruits and veggies ahead of time so you always have something to grab. Try to stick with a healthy meal plan and allow for a few indulgences while you are on vacation, but don’t forget all the

hard work you put into getting where you are now. Fail to plan and you will plan to fail. For those family outings that result in a night out to eat, just remember your portion sizes. Your meat portions should be about the size of your palm. Your carbohydrate portion – that would be any type of potato, bread, rice or pasta – should fit in your cupped hand. As for vegetables, you can go crazy with them, just portion out your salad dressings. A normal serving of dressing is usually 2 tablespoons, or the size of a shot glass. Meal-prepping is only as hard as you make it. The time and stress that you save when you are the busiest will help you appreciate the fact that meals that are ready to heat and eat at a moment’s notice. We have customers who use us for every meal for almost every day and customers who use us when the week just gets away from them. How much is your time worth? Onnie Sanford is the owner of Paleo Num Yums, a meal prep service specializing in healthy, fresh and tasty meals that are ready to cook. For a free consultation, call 706.699.1383.

Cold temps bring out bring out the hops in business trip By Ben Casella

Every now and again something surprises me that really shouldn’t. The fact that I found myself in snow during the end of April was one of those things. Good thing I was in a town with the highest amount of pubs per capita in the world so I could duck out of it and have a pint. That town is Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s not easy to get to Nova Scotia from Augusta. The travel time is around 8-10 hours no matter how you spin it. So, making a weekend of it is no easy feat – notwithstanding changing planes at Logan (an airport with room for improvement). Nonetheless, I happily accepted an invitation to travel to Maritime Canada to deliver two lectures on glaucoma, and I happily accepted a pint or two afterwards. There are some brews more than worth mentioning if you get up that way. I’ve been fortunate to lecture in Halifax before, and I’ve detailed two of my favorites here.

40 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Tims Dirty

This American IPA from Nova Scotia’s Big Spruce Brewing (there are some big spruces up that way) has a significant aroma that moves you from toffee to earth to evergreen in an instant. The taste is much the same, with the dry hops winning out in the end. At just over 6 percent ABV, this local IPA has a robust and bold way about it, but it also manages to maintain a good drinkability – well done, Big Spruce. Try it with clam chowder with a side of sausage. I did, and it warmed me up nicely.

Cereal Killer Oatmeal Stout

OK. So, I really enjoyed Big Spruce Brewing. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I gave a new look (and taste) at a craft of beer I haven’t enjoyed in quite a while – probably because we didn’t exactly have an oatmeal stout/tweed coat winter here in Augusta. But I digress … In the nose and taste of this dark pour with a cap-

puccino head to match you’ll find, amongst other quality attributes, three main aspects: strong hints of coffee, a chocolate undertone throughout and a tinge of hops that does well to cleanse the tongue in time for a bite of a Prince Edward Island beef short rib meatball (which complements quite well). There is a sense of drinkability to this brew that sets it apart from chewier oatmeal stout ales, and I dare say I’d like to try one again even when it’s not so cold out.

The last time Ben Casella was in Halifax, it was November, and it was snowing sideways. Someone in the audience told him he should come up in the spring. Well, he did – and it snowed. Here’s to his next trip to the maritime provinces being in mid-July …

GOOD GOOD COFFEE. KARMA. HIRE GROUNDS No matter what type of caffeinated beverages you enjoy, there’s a place that makes it even more enjoyable. BECAUSE A PORTION of every dollar you spend goes toward helping the community. | 3179 Washington Road | Augusta, GA

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


with Charitable Giving, You won’t get what you don’t ask for By Barry Paschal

Depending on which side of the political divide you sit on, President Donald Trump’s recent proposal on his tax reform was either a huge thrill or a cause for panic. It’s full of things liberals hate, like lower tax rates. And it’s full of things conservatives love, like lower tax rates. But there’s one part that just about everyone seems relieved to see surviving in the proposal: The deduction for charitable donations. There are many things that motivate people to make donations to charities. Some are as simple as a family connection, like making a donation because a friend or family member is involved with a particular cause. Others are more profound, with a sincere desire to take part in advancing a particular philanthropy. But across the board, the charitable tax deduction is a strong motive for donating. Isn’t it? Actually, no. According to a recent blog post by The

There are lots of reasons people give to charitable causes, but the No. 1 reason is because someone asked. Special

Network for Good, of the 14 key motivators for donations, the charitable tax deduction ranks, well, not in the top 14. Part of that, explains the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, might be that a taxpayer gets only about 40 cents of every dollar in actual benefit from the deduction. And, because the devil is in the details, some organizations believe the amount of charitable donations actually could drop if other parts of Trump’s proposal are enacted.

Some predictions are that the number of people itemizing their taxes – because of higher exemptions and fewer brackets – could plummet by more than half. People who don’t itemize aren’t motivated by the charitable tax deduction because they get no tax benefit. Thus, fewer donations. Furthermore, a third of those who do itemize, according to a survey from charity consultant the Dunham Co., would reduce their giving if they no longer benefit from claiming a charitable deduction. That number increases to 40 percent for baby boomers. So, if the number of those itemizing is cut in half, and a third of those who do itemize potentially would reduce their giving, my math says – in round numbers – that’s a heckuva lot less money potentially being donated to charitable causes. The good news has to lie, then, with those 14 key motivators mentioned earlier. They include the giver’s emotional connection to stories of how an organization has helped others, and the need to feel

like their donation is changing someone’s life for the better. But do you know what the top motivator for giving is? Someone asked. If you’re representing a charitable cause, whether it’s a one-day event or a yearround, mission-based charity like Goodwill, it’s important to keep that in mind. You’re going to get about zero percent of the donations you don’t ask for – no matter what tax system is in place.

Barry L. Paschal is Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, which helps guide people on career paths through Helms College at Contact him at

Benefits of pro concrete, hardscape pressure washing By Tony Creighton

Whether it is out back in the garden or near the front driveway, there are now more houses than ever that utilize patio and deck areas. While these outdoor areas are enjoyable and add to the overall appeal of your home, they must be maintained to stay looking good and in a healthy condition in the long run. If they aren’t maintained through regular cleaning, there is a real danger of dirt, grime, algae and other organic growth, oil and stains ruining the look of your paved areas. Of course, the main advantage of pressure washing your concrete outdoor surfaces is to keep the area clean, and a licensed pressure washing company such as ALLCLEAN™ Pressure Washing will use the right equipment and commercialgrade detergents to get the best results possible. While this might seem like an easy DIY weekend project, most electric or gas pressure washing machines you can buy or rent from the local home improvement store won’t be able to effectively clean your home’s hardscape surfaces. Professional pressure washing companies use commercial-grade machines, detergents, cleaners and tools that have the power to treat and remove most stains, algae

42 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Some home maintenance projects should be left to professionals who know how to properly care for concrete, siding and more.

and other growth using methods learned through years of experience and training. Another factor to consider is cost-effectiveness. In recent years, financial difficulties have led people to reduce their spending, sometimes in misguided areas. For example, you should never stop going to the dentist because you face the risk of missing a potential problem. In the same way, you shouldn’t forget to clean and seal your driveway or patio because doing so will remove the risk of larger

problems occurring in the future. Keep in mind that your home is one of the biggest investments you make, and money spent on its upkeep is always money well spent. As we touched upon earlier, grass, weeds and algae growth can be a nightmare for patio and hardscape areas. This organic growth is not only unsightly but can cause slipping hazards when wet. Additionally, when algae and other organic growth grow and spread between pavers, bricks and mortar in your outdoor

surfaces, the integrity of the surfaces can be compromised. Bricks and pavers can crack and become loose, making it more likely that someone will trip and fall. Regular pressure washing can eliminate the organic growth, ensuring a hazard-free outdoor area safe for all to enjoy while highlighting areas that might need repairs. Ultimately, all the benefits we have mentioned, plus many others – oil/stain resistance, better color of paving, keeping sand in place – work together to keep your paving healthy and strong. As long as you clean and maintain your driveway using a licensed pressure washing company you trust, you will not need to pay for repairs or a complete replacement for a long time!

Tony Creighton is the owner/operator of ALLCLEAN™ Pressure Washing, LLC and its subsidiary, Augusta PROCLEAN™ — committed to providing high-quality cleanings for the CSRA’s commercial properties and homes. Call 706.651.8089 or email

H I R E A L I S O N S O U T H A S YO U R M A R K E T I N G F I R M I N 2 0 1 7, A N D G O F R O M G O O D T O G R E AT. AIKEN (803) 226 - 0284 | | (888) 409-5811

A U G U S TA (706) 724 -3758


May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Taj of India offers aromatic culinary journey By Susan O’Keefe

Although it is more than 8,000 miles from the United States to India, there’s quite a representation of Indian food right here in Augusta. Decorated with simple traditional wooden tables and chairs, Taj of India offers guests a unique peek into the Asian country’s culinary world brimming with styles and spices. Located off Furys Ferry Road, Taj of India caters to college students eager to study abroad, medical students striving to enjoy a decent meal that isn’t served in a carry-out box, area businesspeople and a few folks in between. There’s something for everyone. Because my Indian intake and knowledge is limited, I asked our waitress for direction. She gladly guided my colleagues and me and recommended that we select a couple of popular appetizers and share a few of the traditional Indian dishes. We were first treated to a type of unleavened flat bread served with two dips in small silver ramekins. One dip was tangy and sweet, while the other tasted more like a pesto. Ginger lingered in our mouths, and we were eager to be introduced to a plethora of Indian spices. Soon, the hara bhara kebab appetizers were delivered. We were

surprised that there were no skewers! In American cuisine, kebabs equate to skewers. In Indian culture, the kebab is served as a patty. We devoured the delicious combination of spinach, potatoes, peas and aromatic spices. Its description on the menu is precisely what we enjoyed. As customers flowed in and out, we were conscious of the fragrant foods being delivered around us. There was a distinct presence of turmeric, coriander, cumin and garlic. Although we could not distinguish one from the other, we certainly enjoyed our aromatic wait for our food. For meat lovers, Taj of India serves lamb, chicken and goat. For vegetarians, eggplant, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes, peas and carrots are embellished with a variety of spices. While our meals were delicious, our favorite was the navratan korma, which was a mixed vegetable medley served in a creamy cashew nut sauce. It was poured over rice and melted in our mouths. Although we barely had room for dessert, we thought it might be strange to request a to-go container for dessert and we wanted the full experience. We inquired about dessert and were told there were only two options. That made our decision easier. One colleague chose the pistachio ice cream. The

other chose the rice pudding. Both items pleased the palate and both customers nearly licked the bottom of the bowl! The main dining area at Taj of India can seat around 50 people. There is an adjacent area that has plenty of room for another 50 or more. One large party had moved several tables together and easily hosted a dozen or so. The bottom line is that Taj of India has plenty of room to serve patrons. It is ideal for business meetings, large or small. Reservations are accepted, which is a plus when planning. Taj of India’s website boasts that it has a wide variety of traditional dishes from across India. That certainly proved true for our group. Although we were inexperienced in Indian cuisine, we appreciated learning about the various dishes and will certainly return.

Taj of India, on Furys Ferry Road, boasts a wide variety of traditional dishes from across India. Photo by Susan O’Keefe

Taj of India Food Price Location Susan O’Keefe has been reviewing restaurants for Buzz on Biz since August 2015. Her restaurant visits and reviews are done with a businessperson in mind.

Networking Noise Level

Taj of India is at 502 Furys Ferry Road in Augusta. It does accept reservations by calling (706) 806-6665. You may also peruse its website,

Movies to Leave You with a Smile By Samantha Taylor ‘Sandy Wexler’

The reviews I read for this film were not good. Too long, too weird and too annoying were the most common complaints. Was it long? Maybe a little. Was it weird? What Adam Sandler movie isn’t weird? Was it annoying? Absolutely not. It was adorable, and I highly recommend it. Adam Sandler plays title character Sandy Wexler, an awkward pathological liar with poor table manners. He’s a talent manager, but the actual amount of “talent” possessed by those he represents is in question. Suffice it to say that Sandy chooses to promote people with somewhat strange talents, like puppeteering and daredevil stunts. But even when Sandy’s clients have mainstream talents, he isn’t the most effective manager. He cares about them, but his inability to tell the truth and his resistance to change hinder his promotion skills. He might be quirky, but this quirkiness leads him to stumble upon a great singer, played by Jennifer Hudson. Trying to figure out this film by watching previews or

44 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

reading reviews is going to be a waste of your time. Stop what you’re doing for two hours and give this film a try. It’s filled with cameos from some of the biggest stars of the ‘90s, some of whom I had forgotten about entirely. More importantly, it’s a truly sweet story. I’m not going to give it away, but I’ll tell you this: Sandler surprised me, and I finished this film thinking about him differently. Is he a silly guy? Sure, but he’s got a big heart, and we all need to watch something that leaves us feeling a little happier sometimes!

‘The Secret Life of Pets’

I watched this movie by myself the first time. I felt terrible at work and came home sick. In an effort to make myself feel a little better, I put on pajamas, crawled in bed and turned on The Secret Life of Pets. It was the best decision I made that day. As you might imagine, this film follows a tight-knit group a pets after their owners have gone to work for the day. They sneak out of the house, eat people food and have a party or two. Before they realize what’s happened, the main characters find themselves trapped by animal

control and headed to the pound. Until this point, The Secret Life of Pets had been fairly predictable. From here on, however, the movie took turns that I could not have imagined. Not that I want to spoil anything, but let’s just say Kevin Hart does a good job of leading the “Flushed Pets Revolution.” (FYI, I was sick of Hart, but animation is good for him.) Although I was still feeling terrible when the movie ended, watching The Secret Life of Pets left me in much better spirits than I had been in. I enjoyed the film so much that I actually made my son watch it with me for his 14th birthday. He tried to act cool, but it was clear that he loved it just as much as I did! 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.

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Rekindle memories of campouts past with our Campfire Meals. Open up to aromas of savory meats and campfire spices, or try our toasted Cracker Barrel Campfire S’more and relive what makes times together around the fire so special.

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keep the Campfire FUN going Make your next campfire one to remember with our campfire seasoning, fishing hats, lantern lamps, and more camp-inspired items from our store and SHOP.CRACKERBARREL.COM 544 N.Belair Road Evans, Ga | 706.228.3018 | May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


Ambassadors: The Heartbeat of the Chamber

By Rushunda Lett

Merriam-Webster defines a heartbeat as the vital center or driving impulse. Our Ambassador’s Council is just that – a driving impulse of our organization! Our Ambassadors are special individuals who serve as the Chamber’s primary liaison to our members. Their roles with our Chamber are crucial as they assist us with recruitment, retention and member communication. They’re passionate about the Chamber and the services we provide, not just to our members but also to the greater North Augusta community. We are proud of the members that we have and do what we can to help serve them and their business needs to the best of our abilities. Our Ambassadors are key in providing top-notch service to them. One member, Laura Nichols, owner/operator of A Paw Above Pet Emporium LLC, shared with us a great testimonial for her ambassador, Keith Aiken. “Keith makes sure I am kept aware of all activities, new members, and events I can attend to network. He visits me on a regular basis and offers to volunteer at any events I am involved with. He’s been very supportive of me and my business.” Over the past year, we’ve revamped

We do what we can to help serve our members and their business needs to the best of our abilities. our Ambassador’s Program to include more leadership development and team-building activities. Our goal is to take our volunteers and provide them with skills they can use to advance not only in their current roles but any future opportunities that might come their way. In April, we took our Ambassadors to the Palmetto Shooting Complex in Edgefield, S.C., for our first annual Team Building Retreat. We broke them into two teams and completed a “Challenge Course” that consisted of several tasks. The retreat allowed them to engage and learn more about one another in a different setting. Not only did the two teams work amongst one another to finish each task, they also worked collectively to motivate one another and finish the entire course. We had a great time and I think it definitely helped to strengthen the bond of our group. We’ve also started to bring in speakers every other month to do mini presentations during the second half of our monthly Ambassador meetings

to provide insight on various topics ranging from sales to leadership and confliction resolution. Our first speaker was Joseph Strickland, vice president of Operations for BriTen Janitorial & Floor Care LLC, who spoke on “Sealing the Deal” with prospective clients and maintaining relationships with clients. He did a phenomenal job and provided great tips I think will be very beneficial for all of us, no matter the background. We have a lot planned for the remainder of 2017, and I cannot wait to see how we grow both as a group and individually over the next seven months! Rushunda Lett is the Membership Development Manager for the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce and recently celebrated her 1 year anniversary with the Chamber on May 9.

Ambassadors Council for 2017 • Keith Aiken, 2017 Chair, Austin Industrial Inc. • Sean Bielinski, Chronicle Media • Lee Byrd, Riverfront Marines, Detachment #1132 • Sharon Dairon, Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners • Rechelle Dallas, The Star/Aiken Standard • Greg Dietz, GreenJackets Baseball • Brynn Emmons, MAU • Courtlen “CJ” Hamlett, Main Street Digital • Phillip Hare, Troy University • Montea Hawthorne, WFXG Fox 54 • Jonathan Kilpatrick, Rowland Funeral Home • Crystal Martin, First Citizens Bank • Faye Purcell, North Augusta Lions Club • Michele Rich, Pruitt Health

Is an annuity right for you? By Mike Herrington

In planning for financial security in retirement, an annuity can satisfy two basic objectives: 1. To accumulate retirement assets on a tax-deferred basis: If you’re already contributing the maximum to IRAs and any employer-sponsored retirement plans and need to save more for retirement, a deferred annuity may be the answer to your retirement savings need. 2. To convert retirement assets into an income that you cannot outlive: On the other hand, if you’re near or at retirement, an immediate income annuity can be used to convert existing retirement assets into a lifetime income. An annuity is a long-term savings plan that can be used to accumulate assets on a tax deferred basis for retirement and/or to convert retirement assets into a stream of income. While both are insurance contracts, an annuity is the opposite of life insurance.

46 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

Life insurance provides financial protection against the risk of dying prematurely. An annuity provides financial protection against the risk of living too long and being without income during retirement. If you are already contributing the maximum to an IRA and/or an employer-sponsored retirement plan, an annuity can be an excellent way to save for financial security in retirement.

Mike Herrington 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. Reach him at 706.868.8673 or

If you are already contributing the maximum to an IRA and/or an employer-sponsored retirement plan, an annuity can be an excellent way to save for retirement.

507 CDP Industrial Blvd Suite 2 Grovetown, GA 30813 Phone: 706-737-6482

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Summertime savings with kids

Banish boredom without breaking the bank By Billy Cristofanelli

Summer has officially arrived, and all the parents and children are excited that school is out! No more fighting over homework assignments, worrying about bedtime or curfews, or what to pack your child for lunch the next day. All of that sounds great, and it usually is for at least a few days to maybe a week. Then reality sets in and parents begin to hear the dreaded two words, “I’m bored.” Does that sound familiar? If so, you aren’t alone in your battle to make the summer a fun time for you and your family. Sit back and take a deep breath, and I will do my best to provide some fun ideas for your families that hopefully will keep you all from going insane and broke at the same time. Augusta gets hot! I am sure that those hot summer days will become not only hard on your air conditioning unit, but also tough on your family. So, how do you escape the heat if you don’t have the luxury of owning your own pool or live in a community where one is available? Luckily for your family, there are numerous options throughout the CSRA where summer pool memberships can be purchased. A quick Google search for “summer pool memberships in Augusta” will yield many options, including neighborhood pool memberships at Riverwood Plantation, Jones Creek, Springlakes and Petersburg Racquet Club, just to name a few. These memberships usually range from $300-$450 for a summer. Considering that most of these pools open in May and run through September, that means you are paying roughly $75-$125 a month for the benefit. I think you will agree that when the temperatures hit triple digits, the cost might be a good investment. It’s hot outside, so head indoors. Augusta is blessed with many options that will both entertain your children and give you a few much-needed hours to get some things done. Does your child enjoy art? If so, consider an art camp at Artsy Me, which has locations both in downtown Augusta and Evans. These camps usually run for a few hours each day, and a week of enjoyment is usually around $175. Another option for the budding artist is Smocks. Smocks art camps are located in west Augusta. A certified art instructor will inspire and teach your child about how to create beautiful art. Art camps at Smocks range from $85 to $195 and are available

48 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

When the days get hot, a summer membership in a community pool can be well worth the cost.

Get more online Get more at, or download the free Pinpoint Savings app on The App store or Google Play. Here is contact information for the businesses mentioned: •w, (706) 364-4785; check out the Pinpoint Savings app for free registration ($40) •w, (762) 994-0137 •w, (706) 432-6396 (Evans) or (706) 723-5914 (downtown Augusta) • F ind Smocks on Facebook or call (706) 833-9696 to multiple age groups. Do you worry that your child will become lazy during the summer break and perhaps put themselves in a position that could be unhealthy? If so, consider sending them to a summer sports camp. A local business, Athelite, can teach your children to have fun while exercising and help them develop skills that will help them live healthier and happier lives. The weekly camps usually run for a half a day each day and cost around $125 for the week. If your child has an interest in gymnastics or just has a lot of energy that needs

to be channeled, consider signing him or her up for gymnastics camp at C&C gymnastics. This local gym offers both half-week and full-week camp schedules and a price that ranges from $100 to $150. If you are not already a member, there is a $40 registration fee. Consider downloading the free Pinpoint Savings app and you will find a digital coupon good for free registration. Details on these two camps can be found online. These camps and memberships are just the tip of the iceberg for activities that are available for your family this summer.

Also, remember that there is a kids’ meal calendar available at www.pinpoint that will show you where to get your children meals free or at a discounted price for each day of the week. Pinpoint also provides a free app, which means all the coupons are available right on your smartphone. Last but not least, always remember that sometimes all kids really need is a $3 box of Popsicles and a water hose for a good time. Have a great summer, and we will keep looking for more ways to keep more of what you make in your pocket. Billy Cristofanelli is the founder and co-owner of Pinpoint Savings, LLC and has 15+ years of sales and marketing experience.Billy developed Pinpoint Savings to help local CSRA businesses connect with customers by offering coupons through their free app.Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses.Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses. Pinpoint Savings currently represents over 40 local businesses.

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


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What is Cost Segregation?

for many years. Historically, these studies have resulted in advantageous depreciation deductions for taxpayers. These studies now serve additional purposes. Not only do they reclassify a building’s components into assets with shorter class lives, but they also identify building systems for purposes of applying the improvement rules. With the issuance of the final regulations, the demand for cost segregation studies is on the rise.

IRS Audit Technique Guide, 09/16 “Cost-segregation studies have for many years provided significant benefits to taxpayers by identifying assets that may be subject to accelerated (and bonus) depreciation. The use of studies is more important than ever because they can help ensure that taxpayers are complying with and benefiting as fully as possible from the final repair regulations.”

Your Calculation Experts

Kate Abdoo, J.D., LL.M., and Christian Wood, J.D., LL.M. “Cost segregation can provide real estate purchasers with tremendous tax benefits from accelerated depreciation deductions and easier writeoffs when an asset becomes obsolete, broken, or destroyed.”

Jay A. Soled, J.D., LL.M., and Charles E. Falk, CPA, J.D. “Cost Segregation, matched with Repair & Maintenance considerations, is now more valuable than ever to building owners.”

Eric Wallace, CPA “Cost Segregation is a proven IRS tax strategy…” Dave Ramsey—National Talk Show Host and New York Times Best Selling Author “As a practical matter, Cost Segregation studies should be applied by taxpayers.” Internal Revenue Service—United States Department of Treasury “A good relationship with an established, experienced cost segregation provider is important so that, if the IRS inquires about a costsegregation study three or more years down the line, the provider is willing and able to stand behind the work.”

William J. Barnes, CPA, CFP, CDFA, MST

Cost Segregation is an IRS approved application by which commercial property owners can accelerate depreciation and reduce the amount of taxes owed. This savings generates substantial cash flow that owners often use to reinvest in their business, apply to their principal payments, or spend on themselves.

For years, CSSI® has been delivering quality, affordable, IRS defined engineering based cost segregation studies to a wide range of individuals and businesses. Our team of experts can help you easily apply the results to your current financials with your CPA or tax professional to assure successful results. In addition, our national coverage and expertise allows us to work with customers and properties across the United States. With over 15,000 studies performed, we are the premier company providing cost segregation studies and Tangible Property Regulation studies for U.S. properties.

Mark Stephens (706) 294-7989

50 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


It’s all in the game

Vinnie Ingallinera, owner of Source Code Escape Games, with his dog Kyah, is converting 7,600 square feet of former downtown office space into four large escape rooms and party space. Photo by Damon Cline/The Augusta Chronicle

Fort Gordon retiree builds puzzle-themed entertainment By Damon Cline

The Augusta Chronicle Business Editor After two years of building escape rooms for other people, Vinnie Ingallinera has decided to take the plunge into his own puzzle-themed entertainment center in downtown Augusta. And a big plunge it is. The more than 7,600-square-foot office building at 1025 Broad St. that he’s converting into Source Code Escape Games will house space for parties and corporate events, two virtual-reality studios and four 600-square-foot escape rooms. “By escape room standards, these are giant,” said Ingallinera, a Fort Gordon retiree who has been designing and building escape rooms and equipment through a separate business venture, Puzzle Props Inc. The company’s escape room props have been used by operators such as Atlantabased Mastermind Escape Games, which last year opened the area’s first escape room in Martinez. Escape rooms, a fairly recent trend in family entertainment, give players a chance to “escape” from puzzle rooms in a race-against-the-clock using only their wits, some basic clues and teamwork. Ingallinera said he has long been interested in building an escape room in Augusta but had been waiting for “the right opportunity and the right property” before moving forward. He said the former offices of Osbon Medical System fit the bill because it had an open floor plan and a great location, sharing the same block as Metro Coffee House, Whiskey Bar Kitchen and Sole Augusta. He said he plans to open Source Code Escape Games in late summer with two of the four rooms completed, one of which will be a “hacker” themed room, a nod to his previous career as a cyber warrant officer. Ingallinera, a self-described “geek” who has the theme of the zombie TV show The Walking Dead as his ringtone, said the horror-suspense themed room will

52 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

“We want people to escape. What we’re not building here is four rooms of stump the chump.” – Vinnie Ingallinera, owner of Source Code Espace Games have a “tap out button” enabling players to immediately stop the game if the action gets too intense. “We want people to escape,” Ingallinera said. “What we’re not building here is four rooms of stump the chump.” With each room having its own dedicated command-and-control center, he anticipates having as many as six fulltime employees. The business would be open for events Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment only for private parties and corporate groups on Mondays and Tuesdays. “Everybody we’ve talked to is just crazy excited about this coming to town,” he said.


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803.648.2100 May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz


An employee’s use of an on-premises gym or other athletic facility is nontaxable if substantially all use of the facility during the calendar year is by employees, their spouses and their dependent children. The athletic facility must be located on a site. Special

learn the benefits Taxability of Wellness Program Rewards By Russell T. Head, CBC, CSA

Employer-sponsored wellness programs often include rewards or incentives to encourage employees to participate. Because there are numerous legal requirements for wellness program design, employers sometimes overlook the federal tax implications of a program’s rewards. As a general rule, wellness incentives are subject to the same federal tax rules as any other employee rewards or prizes. That is, unless a specific tax exemption applies to the incentive, the amount of the incentive (or its fair market value) is included in an employee’s gross income and it is subject to payroll taxes. The two main tax exemptions that apply to wellness incentives are the exclusions for medical care under Code Sections 105 and 106 and employee fringe benefits under Code Section 132.

Medical Care

Amounts paid by employers or received by employees for medical care are nontaxable under Code Sections 105 and 106. “Medical care” for federal tax purposes is defined in Code Section 213(d). This definition includes amounts paid “for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body.” Expenses that are merely ben-

54 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017

eficial to an individual’s general health and well-being are generally not medical care expenses. Coverage under an employer-provided wellness program that provides medical care is generally nontaxable, and any medical care that is provided by the program (for example, blood pressure screenings and vaccinations) is also nontaxable. Similarly, wellness program rewards that take the form of reductions in employee cost-sharing (for example, premiums or deductibles) for health plan coverage or additional employer contributions to a health FSA, HRA or HSA are generally nontaxable. Before implementing this type of wellness plan design, however, employers should confirm that these reductions in cost sharing or additional health FSA, HRA or HSA contributions will not raise problems with nondiscrimination testing.

Fringe Benefits

Code Section 132 excludes certain types of additional employee compensation – called nontaxable “fringe benefits” – from income. Fringe benefits that are nontaxable are not included in employees’ gross income and are not subject to income and employment tax withholding. De Minimis Benefits – Code Section 132(e): De minimis (or minimal) ben-

efits are one type of nontaxable employee fringe benefit. A de minimis benefit is any property or service that has so little value (taking into account how frequently similar benefits are provided to employees) that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable. Cash and cash-equivalent fringe benefits (for example, gift certificates and gift cards), no matter how little, are never excludable as a de minimis benefit. The law does not specify a value threshold for benefits to qualify as de minimis. The determination will always depend on facts and circumstances. Items that may qualify as de minimis fringe benefits include small gifts, occasional movie, theater or sports tickets, water bottles, coffee cups and T-shirts. On-site Athletic Facilities – Code Section 132(j)(4): An employee’s use of an on-premises gym or other athletic facility is nontaxable if substantially all use of the facility during the calendar year is by employees, their spouses and their dependent children. The athletic facility must be located on a site that is owned or leased by the employer, and the facility must be operated by the employer. Qualified Employee Discounts – Code Section 132(c): An employee discount allows an employee to obtain property or services from his or her employer

at a price below that available to the general public. This benefit is nontaxable if it meets the requirements of a qualified employee discount. A qualified employee discount is a price reduction that an employer gives to an employee on property or services that the employer offers to customers in the ordinary course of the business in which the employee performs substantial services. Common tax mistakes that employers make when it comes to their wellness program incentives include: • Incorrectly assuming that because coverage under a wellness program is nontaxable to employees, any incentives that employees receive under the program are also nontaxable; • Incorrectly assuming that because wellness program incentives tend to be nominal, they are nontaxable; and • Failing to communicate the incentive’s taxability to employees, which may disappoint employees who were not expecting to pay taxes on the incentive. Russell T. Head is CEO with Head Capital Advisors, an Acrisure agency partner and Augusta’s largest employee benefits brokerage. Call 706.733.3459.





Call Jessica Jones at 762.218.0239 or email Call to Set up an Appointment to Review Your Current Credit card Processing Charges and Receive a Free Round of Golf From Jones Creek May 25-June 28, 2017 Buzz on Biz




Three reasons to connect your group

Relationship Matters

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We facilitate the transition with insurance providers on your behalf. Sourcing your group with the most cost effective policies that align with your company needs is just one of our goals.

As an Acrisure Agency Partner we have access to national benefit benchmark reporting, comparing your group benefits to competitors, while offering local resources such as wellness and compliance advisement.

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56 Buzz on Biz May 25-June 28, 2017


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