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W H A T ’ S IN S I D E

June 2014 • The CSRA’s Only Monthly Business Magazine

Criteria for search funds............................3 Buzz Bits...................................................... 8,9 Father and child businesses........... 12,13 Businessperson of the Month.............. 15 Careers & Education................................ 23 Southern Living wedding vendors.... 35

Fort Gordon growth a big deal for area

Could add 8,000 jobs in community, increase business opportunities

Fort Gordon has long been the home of the signal command, meaning that it has been responsible for all signal doctrine, signal force development and signal training. “If you build a new tank and it has a radio in it, you come here to learn how to use it,” Tuckey said. “If it has anything to do with communications, it will have Fort Gordon’s fingerprints on it.” The signal command is responsible for the installation and management of all Army communications networks in

By Gary Kauffman, Editor Fort Gordon is in the middle of growth spurt that will add at least 3,700 jobs there. In the community that means an influx of 10,000 or more people needing homes, schools, shopping and jobs. One estimate is that for every job added at the Fort, two will be created in the community, although one source estimated it as high as a five-to-one ratio. That’s 8,000 or more new jobs in the next handful of years. In other words, the growth at Fort Gordon is a big deal for the CSRA. The job of spreading the word to the community falls on the shoulders of Thom Tuckey, executive director for the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, a civilian organization that acts as a liaison between the Fort and the community. Tuckey’s original role with CSRA Alliance during base closings in the early 2000s was to warn about the impact to the Augusta area if Fort Gordon was shut down or downsized. That role has done a 180-degree turn. “Now I’m educating the community on what a big deal this will be,” he said. While much of the news has been focused on the 2019 move of the U.S. Army Cyber Command to Fort Gordon, Tuckey said that will be the last and smallest expansion at the Fort. The biggest move of personnel is taking place now through 2015. Fort Gordon already added 500-700 jobs in 2013 and is expected to add another 1,200 this year. Officially the job total is 3,700 – about a third of them civilian jobs – but Tuckey believes by 2019 that will be closer to 4,000. When all is said and done, Fort Gordon will be the communications headquarters of the Army, with important ties

See ARMY HUB, page 2

See BIG DEAL, page 2

Spc. Joseph Myers, left, 551st Signal Battalion, provides insight on leading-edge communication tools and techniques for Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III. Photo courtesy of Fort Gordon

Fort Gordon will be hub for Army radio, computer capabilities By Gary Kauffman The decision to move the U.S. Army Cyber Command from Fort Meade in Maryland to Fort Gordon by 2019 has grabbed a lot of headlines. But Thom Tuckey of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon said that is just the capstone of what is already happening at the Fort. “The Cyber Command is only about 700 jobs and the last of the elements coming here,” Tuckey said. “But the announcement in December allowed Fort Gordon to start talking about all of the other missions going on here.” All told, those missions will add upwards of 4,000 jobs, about a third of them civilian positions.


BIG DEAL Continued from page 1 to the other branches of the military and the National Security Agency. “We are creating such a synergy here with all the military intelligence,” Tuckey said. “It’s one giant package working together. We rely on each other.” Because of the level of training involved for the positions, few of the new jobs will be taken by first-term soldiers. That means older, higher-ranking personnel, which in turn means soldiers more likely to arrive with families. Tuckey said the Army’s model shows the 3,700 jobs should equate to about 10,000 people when taking families into account. “But I anticipate that 10,000 number will be pretty conservative,” he said. Because Fort Gordon will become the communications and cyber hub of the Army, defense and communications contractors will also be adding staff in Augusta. “Any contractor – especially a defense contractor – will want to have a presence in Augusta,” Tuckey said. “It’ll become the Silicon Valley of cyber security.” Exact numbers of how many companies that will mean, or how big their staffs will be, is hard to predict. But Tuckey does predict a change in the local landscape. “My prediction is that in five years you won’t recognize Gordon Highway or Dyess Parkway,” he said. “Even Tobacco Road.” Local schools first to feel effects Local school systems, though, won’t have to wait five years to see significant changes. “When school starts there will be 600-700 kids waiting to get in that they didn’t count on,” Tuckey said. He said local school systems have been working toward addressing the anticipated influx but it could still take some time to catch up on space needs. In Georgia, schools cannot build based on projected growth but have to wait on actual students in the classrooms. With a lead time of 18-24 months to build a new school, Tuckey said schools will have to put up with some crowded situations for a while. Housing also needs to be addressed. Fort Gordon has only 1,084 homes on base, and they are at 95 percent capacity. That means virtually all of the people coming to Fort Gordon will be looking for off-base housing. “The realtors and builders are pretty excited about this,” Tuckey said. Army personnel as usually a transient sort,

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moving every two to three years, but Tuckey said because of the more senior positions and the training involved for the cyber field, the length of stay at Fort Gordon will probably be five years or longer. The Air Force and Navy personnel assigned to the base also tend to stay longer so more people will be interested in buying instead of renting. Of course, more houses and more people will also mean more cars on the road. Tuckey said Columbia County is already addressing the issue, and the Fort is considering a new entrance gate that could speed traffic flow. More people mean more business Businesses, naturally, will benefit greatly from more people in the area. “They’ll need all the things that support families – dry cleaners, childcare, grocery stores, pizza parlors,” Tuckey said. This is based on the two-to-one job creation ratio, that every job at the Fort creates two jobs in the community. Some estimates say that high-tech jobs like those coming to Fort Gordon create jobs at a higher ratio, up to five jobs per military job. “I’m not saying that,” Tuckey said. “I’m comfortable with the two-to-one ratio. I’m comfortable saying that if we add 4,000 jobs at Fort Gordon, we’ll add 8,000 jobs in the community.” That includes more staffing at local government offices as well. The growth means the opportunity for new businesses, especially in the areas of expected growth like Evans and Grovetown. Restaurants and gas stations will spring up, but Tuckey said there will also be increased need for childcare. The building industry and the services that go with that, like banking, plumbing and electrical services, will also see growth. Existing businesses will see increase Existing businesses should see an increased demand for products and services. “Those who already have a relationship with the military will have an even bigger relationship,” Tuckey said. While all of the possibilities are exciting, Tuckey said it is critical that the CSRA respond to the growth in the right way. “Fort Gordon has a lot of room for continued growth,” he said. “If we don’t get our arms around it and do it right, the next time they look at growth it may cause the Department of Defense to look someplace else.” Tuckey, though, has high hopes for the CSRA and the continued relationship with

Fort Gordon. He added that the CSRA is already known for being especially hospitable to military personnel, and efforts are underway to allow businesses to identify themselves as military friendly. The local economy is also in the CSRA’s favor.

“We easily win the economic battle here,” he said. That means if done right, not only will Fort Gordon’s growth be a big deal to the community, the community will continue to be a big deal to the Army.

Anti-jam technology that allows secure communication without worrying about information falling into enemy hands is one of the areas of expertise at Fort Gordon. Photo courtesy of Fort Gordon.

ARMY HUB

Continued from page 1 the continental United States. Now it will add Cyber Protection Teams, “cyber warriors,” who will deploy around the world to protect cyber links. The announcement in December also named Fort Gordon as the Cyber Center of Excellence, so the responsibility for all things cyber falls on Fort Gordon. Now if that tank has a computer in it as well as a radio, the training will also be done here. That is separate, for now, from the signal command and added more than 100 personnel to the Fort. Fort Gordon is also home to a branch of the National Security Agency that monitors communications in Europe and the Middle East, and involves other branches of the military. It is currently housed in a 600,000-square-foot building but Tuckey said continued growth in that operation could eventually double the size of the facility.

Fort Gordon is also adding the Aerial Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance group that will collect data from manned and unmanned aircraft. Their job will be to translate that into usable data for other groups. That will add 500 Army personnel and an as yet undetermined number of civilians and contractors. Tuckey said the value of Fort Gordon as the Army’s cyber center will continue to grow as the way of modern warfare changes. “Most modern countries who we’d consider opponents are computer-based,” he said. “You can’t drive a tank today without knowing how to use a computer.” But it may not even take tanks or other weapons to win anymore. “The next war will be won by whoever can get into the other’s computer system first,” Tuckey said. “That’s why the cyber center is so important.”


Do you match the criteria for search funds? We’re a business brokerage. We’re not search fund gurus, or finance gurus, or private equity gurus – but we talk to them every day. Since we do, I thought I might share the highlights of some recent, informative conversations regarding a relatively new investment vehicle, the search fund. If you want to learn everything there is to know Kim Romaner about search funds, you can Business Broker download Stanford’s primer here: www.gsb.stanford.edu/ ces/resources/search_funds.html. But since we have a few hundred words, let me give you the lowdown. The search fund vehicle was invented in 1984. In a nutshell, this new conceptual playground is being exercised generally by newly minted MBA types, or the young employees of private equity and investment firms with some experience under their belt who have lots of energy and ambition and who want to strike out on their own. Here’s out it works: The young, smart, ambitious and energetic young player – or

players, usually no more than two – gather together 8-10 investors through their strong private equity connections. Those investors depend on their “searchers” to find appropriate and interesting companies to invest in, and from which they hope they’ll receive their desired return. The collection of investors will each commit a certain amount of money that will pay the searchers’ expenses to conduct the best possible search over a pre-determined period of time, usually no more than a year. Most search funds are looking for companies to own/operate, which means the searchers will become the CEO and CFO or COO, with the goal of maximizing the intense investment you’ve made over the years in your business to the benefit of themselves and their investor partners. (And you, in the selling price of your business.) To make this worthwhile, the desired companies will have to meet certain criteria. I can only tell you about the conversations I’ve had recently, but it would not surprise me if most search funds were looking for companies with these characteristics: • EBITDA* of $1.5- 5 million. • Net income of 15 percenr of gross. • Good or excellent client diversification. And if that doesn’t describe your compa*EBITDA=Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization

ny because you’re bigger, I can tell you that there’s another tier of search funds seeking EBITDA of $5-10 million, and I have those buyers in my database as well. If it doesn’t describe your business because you have poor client diversification, then we need to talk. There are strategies to overcome this defect, and we can help you put them in place. If it doesn’t describe you because your net is nowhere near 15 percent of gross, then our business consulting services can help you with that, too. And if your EBITDA is nowhere near $1.5 million, that’s okay. A search fund may not be your perfect buyer, but we have plenty of other buyers seeking the value that you’ve created.

Every business owner needs an exit strategy. There are 34 different ways to leave your business. Find out which one is right for you. This is a sponsored article. Kim Romaner is president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, a business brokerage that helps people buy and sell businesses, and also enter into the franchise world. With more than 70 locations in the United States and abroad, Transworld has sold thousands of businesses. If you’d like to talk to Kim about selling or valuing your business, buying a franchise or turning your existing business into a franchise operation, call 706-383-2994, or email her at kromaner@tworld.com.

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Lessons learned from a dad and passed on to a son

During this Father’s Day month, I think about mine. My dad passed away in 1989. I worked with him briefly in Albany, N.Y., when we were both involved in newspaper subscription sales. I was a 25-year-old entrepreneur at the time – prior to my broadcast news career. Though he died 25 years ago, I vividly recall my words spoken to a handful of family members and friends at his funeral: “My father, Max Gordon, never went to college, but he did manage to get a B.S. degree!” The sparse crowd chuckled – and I’ve been forever grateful to my father for teaching me the “gift of gab” and giving me a quick wit and salesmanship. I have passed it down to my son Drake, who at 20-years-old is supervising salespeople in Louisville, Ky. We talk business nearly every day and I look forward to the day in the future we work together. Our writer Elisabeth Curry works for her father, John, at Neil Gordon their Buona Caffe coffee shop. On pages 12 and 13 she profiles Buzz on Biz four close working relationships between the father and child Publisher at local furniture, bicycle, chiropractic and eye care businesses. Working with or for your father has its plusses and minuses. On page 14 our business coach Larry Rudwick examines some things to consider when entering into a family business. Happy Father’s Day to all – and enjoy our June newspaper! Neil Gordon is president of Buzz on Biz, LLC and produces a daily TV segment on News 12 This Morning, a daily radio show on WRDW 1630 AM, a daily website, a weekly email business newsletter and the monthly publication Verge in addition to Buzz on Biz, the CSRA’s only monthly business publication. To learn more, visit buzzon.biz or email him at neil@ buzzon.biz.

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

Photography Gary Kauffman Melissa Gordon/sofiacolton.com Design Gary Kauffman Submit Information gkauffman@buzzon.biz thegordongrouppr@comcast.net

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

For more information, visit us at buzzon.biz or like us on Facebook

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American Dream comes with big headache The “American Dream” for some is to own and operate their own business. For those of us that do, we know that dream comes with headaches as well – one of the biggest being taxes! Among some of the more common taxes that are paid are: selfemployment, unemployment, sales and income. Business owners have little to no control when Christine it comes to the Hall, CPA amount of tax Hall & that needs to be remitted. Associates One exception to that general rule is income tax. With proper advice and tax planning, a business owner can minimize the amount of tax that is paid in any given year. Keep in mind, though, that avoidance is different than minimizing taxes. Tax avoidance can be considered fraud which comes with severe penalties. There is no such thing as making money and paying no tax. If you or your business shows a profit, you will pay your share of income tax. I have always made the statement that I would like to be the one person in the world that pays the most amount of tax,

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because that means, I have made the most amount of money. Often I hear clients say they need to make less money so they won’t have to pay taxes. Don’t put blinders on when it comes to income tax. There is no 100 percent tax, which means that for every dollar you make, you will retain a portion of that dollar. Be smart, get good advice and plan properly to retain as much of those hard earned dollars as possible! Small Business owners have a great avenue that helps them receive more money from their corporation while minimizing the amount of tax that is paid on that income – an S corporation. An S corporation has some appealing tax benefits and still provides business owners with the liability protection of a corporation. What makes the S corporation different from a traditional C corporation is that profits and losses pass through to the shareholder’s personal tax return. As a result, there’s just one level of federal and state tax to pay because only the shareholders are taxed. Depending on the corporation’s cash flow situation, all of the profits can be passed through to the shareholder in the form of a distribution which provides the shareholder with more cash, and that money is only subject to federal and state taxes (not Social Security and Medicare). There is an important caveat, however: Any shareholder who works for the company must pay him or herself “reasonable

compensation.” Basically, the shareholder must be paid fair market value, or the IRS might reclassify any additional corporate earnings as “wages.” Wages are of course subject to social security and Medicare taxes as well as federal and state. The balancing act to ensure all of the federal and state tax that is owed will be paid in throughout the year can be tricky at best. This takes careful and constant tax planning during the year. If you are a small business owner and are not a Subchapter S

Corporation, talk to your tax professional about making the election. It can make a tremendous difference. This is a sponsored Employment article. Hall & Associates P.C. is a full-service public accounting firm established in 1979. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706-855-7733 or visit hallassociatescpa.com.


New alleys to explore in media buying If you’re a small business guy or lady trying to get along without a marketing firm it may be helpful to add this to your self-help scrapbook. This time around we’re going to crystallize the various and sometimes opposing viewpoints of media buying. That’s right, this won’t be a definitive, “Here’s what to do!” Very smart marketing people disagree Don MacNeil passionately on Crown Point these subjects, Communications at and my hope is Windsor Jewelers you’ll sort out what resonates with you and act on it. Just this week I was handed an article from a small business magazines written by a small business owner who’d just attended one of those marketing self-improvement seminars your local TV station often brings to town. (They’re actually very helpful in that, at minimum, they chase your brain up alleys where it never occurred to you there were alleys.) One of the major points made by the visiting marketing guru was that local radio

commercial buying should focus on Monday through Friday’s 9 a.m.-5 p.m. hours, because that’s when people settle in to the office and listen. Makes a lot of sense, right? But wait. Have you noticed, as I have, that office listening is often dominated by some form of Muzak coming out of the ceiling? And those who don’t care for that choice of music immediately access their computers or portable devices and spend the day listing to internet radio or a digital folder of their own favorites. Add to that the severely diminishing impact of what industry insiders call, “Background Listening” in the workplace. Translation? In an office environment the music volume is set to marginally enjoy the song, but never high enough to absorb a commercial message. No, I believe the last bastion of local, “Foreground” listening is while driving to work and driving home. And with online radio now penetrating dashboards, you wonder how much longer even that will be true. If you can afford to venture beyond Monday through Friday in your commercial buying, you’ll want to grab midday on Saturdays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), when most of us take care of weekend shopping with the vehicle radio on. And then there’s the “deal” media outlets dangle in front of you called the “Wide Rotator.” Oh, you bet you can afford this one. But, like everything in life, there’s a reason it’s cheap. You see, more than 20 years ago the de-

velopment of carefully tailored software allowed media outlets – radio and TV – to effectively hold an ongoing auction of their available commercial time. If you, as a true business person, drive a hard bargain and agree on a per-spot dollar rate, another business can come along willing to pay a little more and blow you out of your slot. At our place we see that as no different than, in the middle of closing a sale of a fine watch to you, yanking it away and instead selling it to someone who just walked through the door offering $50 more. The “Wide Rotator” (meaning you give Don MacNeil is a traditional media expert, having spent more than 30 years on-air and behind the scenes in media and marketing. If you have any comments or questions, email him at windsorway@comcast.net.

them permission to play your commercial anywhere from 6 a.m. to midnight, or some other wide time window) occupies the bottom of this auction food chain. By signing this “deal” you get what’s left after everybody else who’s paid a higher rate gets placed in the better audience slots. After months of seeing my commercials end up in bowling on ESPN or reruns of “My Mother The Car,” my wide rotator days were over. Wide rotators still represent a token percentage of my media buying, but in the main I pinpoint my purchases where I know I’ll have eyeballs. You bet there’s more to do-it-yourself media buying than the examples above, but like all of these little chats, my main goal is to get you thinking, to chase your brain up alleys where it never occurred to you there were alleys.

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buzz bits Artwork at AGS to benefit injured Marines Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) is hosting its first national rotating art exhibit, the Colorful World of Polo. The Exhibit consists of three statues from a limited edition of fiberglass polo players on horseback that have been painted by renowned artists in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Polo America. The statues have all been donated and are scheduled to be auctioned off with proceeds to benefit The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. The exhibit will be on display in the airport boarding gate area now through July 10. The limited edition statues were produced by Polo America and given to artists around the county to be hand painted. Each artist was invited to artistically transform their polo player model in any way they wished while keeping the structural integrity of the form intact. On Aug. 23 the statues will be auctioned at the San Diego Polo Club to raise funds for The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. The fund was formed to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The artists on display at AGS are Joanne Helfert-Sullam from Brooklyn, N.Y., with Polo Africa and Ford Pony sponsored by Polo America and Pat Levey from Lake Park, Fla., with Polo Shopper sponsored by Standard Aero. For more information on the exhibit and artists visit www.flyAGS.com or www. poloamerica.com. For more information on The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund visit www. semperfifund.org.

FPL Food back in production after fire FPL Food LLC re-opened its beef harvest facility in Augusta on May 27, four weeks ahead of schedule.. FPL Food closed the 200,000-sq.-ft. plant for repairs after an electrical fire broke out in the ceiling over the harvest

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11 percent over March 2013. Hotel occupancy rates were at about 70 percent, about 15 percent higher than normal, and spending per room increased by about $15. Medcalfe said much of that increase came from contractors and area residents using hotel rooms after Ice Storm Pax and the subsequent clean up.

Sitel adding 200 jobs in Augusta

Augusta ATV moves to new showroom in North Augusta On Tuesday June 3, Augusta ATV moved from its longtime showroom and service center on 2325 Peach Orchard Road to a new facility just off Highway 25 on Sweetwater Road in North Augusta. Owner Chantel Holt will have twice as much space and will be able to have all of her E-Z-GO and Bad Boy Buggy lines on display inside the floor in early April. The repairs took eight weeks to complete. Meanwhile, the company made plans to move production to its other plants in Thomasville, Ga., and Columbia, SC. Approximately 500 people work at the Augusta plant which is the slaughtering and boxed-beef facility for the vertically integrated company. “We thank our employees and customers for their patience throughout the time taken to repair the harvest facility,” said an FPL Food spokesman. “We also thank all partners involved for repairing the facility in an efficient and professional manner allowing us to minimize our down time.” Cattle supplies were not interrupted, although the company was forced to modify production schedules.

Express Oil doubles in size

Express Oil Change and Service Center at 4312 Washington Road in Evans is doubling the size of its operations. The franchisee recently bought the building and property next door, which used to be an insurance

facility. She is also expecting to be able to help other dealers with service issues now that she’ll have more room to operate. Holt’s late husband Jimmy started the business in 2010 and quickly became affiliated with E-Z-GO as an authorized dealer. They offer new and used vehicles, a complete service center and accessory options. office, and construction is nearly complete on the expanded building. They currently have three bays to work on a variety of vehicles and have built an identical building next door on the vacant property. Express Oil Change promises 10 minute oil changes, much like Jiffy Lube’s, but also does various mechanical services such as rotate and balance, brake service, air conditioner maintenance, timing belts, belts and hoses, computer diagnostics, front end alignments, tires, batteries and general maintenance.

Ice storm made tourism count rise February’s ice storm in the CSRA had the unexpected benefit of increasing the area’s tourism numbers. Simon Medcalfe, associate professor of finance in the James M. Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University, announced that Augusta’s Tourism Index in March 2014 increased by more than

According to Business Wire, Sitel will be adding 200 new jobs in the Augusta area. Prospective employees can also apply online in the “Careers” section of Sitel’s website at:www.sitel.com . The new associates will join the current team of 800 employees in serving as the voice of customer care for a leading Fortune 500 wireless provider, as well as for a major healthcare company. The business expansion is the direct result of the current Augusta team’s expertise in services such as billing, account records management, technical support and customer service. Sitel’s Augusta site is looking to expand its current management team to accommodate this significant growth in customer service agents. Sitel provides many career development opportunities, such as highquality management training programs for employees who show dedication and interest in learning a new role. Current associates at the Augusta site have moved on to roles such as operations managers, coaches, learning specialists and IT professionals within the company. Sitel provides an attractive benefits package to its employees after 90 days of employment. This includes medical, dental, vision, 401K, paid vacation and holiday time, and lucrative bonus and incentive opportunities.

Foundation honors Augusta Warrior Project The Augusta Warrior Project was recently recognized for its achievements by The Gary Sinese Foundation. The honor came at the Clos-

ing the Gap summit held in Los Angeles. The summit was designed to identify ways to help veterans transition into normal lives. The Augusta Warrior Project was one of five programs recognized for their work in meeting the future needs of America’s wounded veterans. The Gary Sinese Foundation found that diminishing resources and funding are making it difficult for the 50,000 wounded veterans to make the transition back into society. Programs like the Augusta Warrior Project help bridge that gap.

Masters helps unemployment rate The gain of hospitality, retail and business services jobs in April, much of it stemming from the Masters Tournament, pushed the metro Augusta unemployment rate down to 6.3 percent. The Georgia Department of Labor reported Thursday that the metro’s unemployment rate was a slight drop from the 6.6 percent in March. The rate was 7.6 percent in April a year ago. Labor Department data said there were 246,242 people with jobs in the area and 16,570 unemployed. The department reported last week that there were 4,700 jobs added to the metro area’s payrolls in April. It is the best April jobless rate since 2009, but it was 5 percent in 2008 and as low as 3.4 percent in 2000. For the six counties that make up the Augusta metro statistical area, only Richmond County had a higher jobless percentage than March. Columbia County, at 5.2 percent, was tied for sixthlowest in the state. Comparing other metro areas in Georgia, Athens had the lowest area jobless rate at 4.9 percent, and Dalton had the highest at 8.2 percent. In South Carolina, metro Greenville and Charleston had the lowest at 4.2 percent, while Florence had the highest at 5.9 percent. Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 7 percent, unchanged from March. The rate was 8.3 percent in April a year ago. South Carolina reported 5.3 percent unemployment for April, a decline from March.


Econ expert to speak June 5 in North Augusta Dr. Bruce Yandle, a leading state expert in economics, will be the keynote speaker at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce business power lunch at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 5 at the Palmetto Terrace. The event is presented by SRP Federal Credit Union. Yandle is Dean Emeritus of the College of Business and Behavioral Science at Clemson University. The presentation will focus on the local path to prosperity – an examination of recent accomplishments, challenges and opportunities facing the local economy, as well as assessing the local business climate. The strength of a community’s business climate is directly connected to local business success and effective economic development efforts.

Fort Gordon getting solar power

Fort Gordon is one of three Army bases in Georgia that will begin receiving some of their power from the sun. In a collaboration with Georgia Power, Fort Gordon plans to place solar panels on about 250 acres of land near Gordon Lakes. Fort Benning in Columbus and Fort Stewart in Savannah will also take part in the solar power program. Together, the Army expects about 18 percent of the bases’ power needs to be supplied by solar energy. Georgia Power will own, build and operate the solar stations at the three Georgia bases. The move is part of a national edict that the Army must receive 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

Ga. Chamber plans power lunch in Augusta The Georgia Chamber of Commerce continues the tradition of hosting Regional Power Lunches in partnership with local chambers across Georgia this summer.

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One of these Power Lunches will be held in Augusta at 11:30 a.m. on July 8 at Augusta Technical College. The event is free but pre-registration is required. These events will feature Georgia Chamber Board Chair Ernest Greet (Greenberg Traurig, LLP) and Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. The Power Lunches allow participants to interact with Georgia Chamber members and business people from the local community. It is also a way to learn more about the issues that are most important to Georgia’s business community. Register at: www.gachamber. com/powerlunch/ by July 3.

Bowles listed as leading remodeler Bowles Construction was recently listed in Professional Remodeler’s list of leading remodelers in the top markets in the United States. Professional Remodeler’s annual Market List is complied through a combination of research by Professional Remodeler staff, publicly available data, and information provided by the remodeling firms. Bowles Construction was listed as a leader in the Insurance Restoration field. Established in 1978, Bowles Construction is family owned and operated and specializes in general insurance repair services which include total restoration and reconstruction of residential and commercial property damaged by fire, water, wind, mold, sewage, and crime scene clean-up. Bowles Construction offers 24-hour emergency services and maintains the largest pool of equipment in the CSRA.

Landmark Evans building razed for restaurant The family of a nearly 100-year-old building was not able to save it. The wrecking ball came in May at the corner of Washington Road and Belair to the building that used to house a teachers dormitory. The building at one time had been part of the old Evans

Family Y expanding to Barnwell County The Family Y of Greater Augusta has announced that it will begin serving the Barnwell County area this summer as the new Family Y of Barnwell County, making this the organization’s 10th community-based facility. “We are so pleased by the welcome we’ve been extended to serve the Barnwell County communities and introduce traditional Y programming that will help to strengthen individuals, families and children,” said Danny McConnell, President and CEO of the Family Y. “The Y is dedicated to strengthening the communities we serve through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” school that once sat across Washington Road. That property is now a Home Depot. on the current Home Depot site. For the last 25 years or so it has been used as a quaint gift shop called, “Strictly Country”. This summer the PDQ group is expected to open its first restaurant in Georgia, specializing in chicken tenders. A committee was formed in 2013 to try and save the building by moving it to an old school property on Columbia Road. They were not able to find a contractor to move the building within the time period given by PDQ. The 4,300-square-foot restaurant will serve sandwiches, salads and milkshakes in addition to chicken combos. The restaurant will add about 75 employees and include a drive-through window, indoor seating and possibly outdoor patio seating.

The new Y will be a regional resource serving all of the communities in Barnwell and Allendale Counties. “We see the new YMCA as an opportunity and resource for all of our area,” says Lisa Firmender, current Chairman of the Barnwell YMCA Steering Committee. “Since we have never had a Y in our area, all of our citizens will now have the benefit of the life-changing programs that a Y offers, such as affordable after-school care, wellness programs and the opportunity to learn to swim.” The first steps toward opening a Family Y facility will be to set-up a temporary office space in the Southern Carolina Alliance Building in Barnwell. In the coming months, a staff

person will be hired to oversee the multi-county program area and partnerships developed while the first home of the Family Y is identified and prepared. The Family Y hopes to secure a location and hold a grand opening event within the next year. The new facility will include a wellness center, group exercise rooms, community meeting space, childcare rooms, administrative offices and outdoor recreation spaces, which could include construction of an outdoor pool when funds are raised. The Y hopes to begin by offering after-school care in elementary schools, day camps for school-aged children, wellness and aquatics.

Workshop will Neuroscience Center opens in help businesses work with Aiken The Neuroscience Center at Aiken Regional held a grand Walmart opening on Monday, June 2. The Center offers a comprehensive range of adult neurological services including a full continuum of stroke care, on an inpatient and outpatient basis. The Center provides in-office treatment for many chronic neurologic disorders, including dementia, multiple sclerosis, peripheral nerve and muscle disorders and Parkinson’s disease. From determining the correct diagnosis to technologically advanced treatment options, the Center’s staff is committed to the wellness of every patient. The Center is located at 100 Aurora Place, Suite 300, Aiken. For information call 803-226-0130 or visit aikenregional.com/neuro.

The CSRA Business League will host a workshop titled “Doing Business with Walmart” at 6 p.m. June 3 at the Richmond County Public Library. The workshop is designed to answer questions from businesses who would like to get their products, books and supplies on Walmart shelves. Kevin Hester, Southeast Regional Merchandise Manger for Walmart, will facilitate the workshop. To register or for more information, contact Shirmaine Ivey at shirmaineivey@businessleague.org or Ellis Albright at ellisalbright@business-league.org. The CSRA Business League is a non-profit organization.

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Business openings, closing and moves Openings Brown Bag The Brown Bag food truck will soon have some permanent roots. Enrique Romero, owner of the wellknown food truck will open a restaurant at the corner of 10th and Ellis by the end of the month. At first it will be open for lunch, but will add dinner when it obtains its beer and wine license. Plans are to serve the same type of food now dished out from the food truck, including Boar’s Head deli meats and cheeses. Romero also hopes to carry some unique regional brews. The Brown Bag started in 2011. The new café will be in the former Rooster’s Beak, which closed in October.

done well in their first year in business. Panda Express has a big presence in the Atlanta area with 10 locations.

Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A will be opening a new restaurant on Walton Way near 15th Street. After purchasing the land, a Chinese restaurant was razed and an existing Title Pawn shop is being retrofitted for the restaurant. The A-frame building was an IHOP years ago.

Crums on Central Crums on Central in the Summerville area closed its doors at the end of May, but not for the usual reasons of slumping business. Owner Andrew Crumrine decided to close the business so he can spend more time with his family. He will also close the food truck that had been associated with the business. Crums on Central, 1855 Central Ave., opened in 2008 and had about 20 employees. There is already interest from other people about opening a new restaurant at that spot.

Butler Automotive Butler Automotive recently opened it’s fourth location in the CSRA. The new location is in Evans, near the intersection of Halali Farm Road and Washington Road, the site of the former Mike Gavalas Auto Repair. Butler Automotive was founded almost 40 years ago by Bill Butler and has a downtown Augusta location, one near the Augusta Mall and one in Martinez at Baston Road and Riverwatch Parkway. All four locations provide full automotive testing and service on all cars and trucks. Panda Express Panda Express, which had closed its restaurant on East Boundary Street in Augusta, will be opening a new location in the Augusta Exchange. Construction crews confirm that they are retrofitting the old Pearl Vision Center in the Augusta Exchange. It’s directly in front of the Ulta Beauty store. The only other Asian option in the Exchange is the Genghis Grill, which has

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Closings Bistro 491 Bistro 491 closed its doors on May 24, although it promises to reopen in the fall. The unique Surrey Center restaurant will be transformed with a new concept, according to a press release. Chef/owner Todd Schafer opened Bistro 491 in Surrey Center in March 1999. The Bistro’s seasonal menu of French cuisine was prepared with the freshest ingredients as he often used local and regional farms for his vegetables, and often his meals were paired with specific wines.

Sticky Fingers The Sticky Fingers barbeque restaurant in the Augusta Exchange, near Wheeler Road and Robert C. Daniel Parkway, recently closed after eight years in Augusta. According to reports to Buzz on Biz, sales were way off in 2013 and the franchiser let go of the general manager and tried to save the restaurant. This brand was able to survive much longer than many other restaurants that opened and closed in the tucked away location, including a hibachi restaurant and a Mexican restaurant. A check of Google reviews gave Sticky Fingers an average score of 3.5. The parking lots were always much fuller at competing restaurants closer to Robert C. Daniel Parkway, like Macaroni Grill and Tony Roma’s, which offered similar food, such as ribs and steaks.

Employees were notified via phone in the week that the restaurant was closing. The restaurant location is now off of the Sticky Fingers website. The former brands in that spot were Don Pablo’s, Hibachi Restaurant and Stool Pigeons. There are 16 Sticky Fingers’ restaurants open in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennesee and Florida. BP in Evans There are lots of changes happening at the corner of Washington and Belair roads in Evans. The most recent event is the closure of the BP gas station and removal of gas pumps. The buzz is that while gas sales were steady at a low profit margin, the interior sales of food and convenience items didn’t keep pace and the station had been losing money for years. The local license owner of the BP’s in the area also owns the land. The plan is to bulldoze the building and allow another concept to start fresh. The parcel is being offered for $615,000 through Jordan Trotter Real Estate. Adjacent to that property, construction continues on the new PDQ restaurant. Contractors are clearing the land which used to house a longtime gift shop. Moves Summerville Pharmacy According to reports, Summerville Pharmacy will soon have a new home. The pharmacy is currently located on Wrightboro Road but by late June plans to move into a former Regions Bank building at 2839 Central Ave., behind the Daniel Village Shopping Center. The building is undergoing renovations to create a pharmacy. The new building will give pharmacists more room to work. Georgia State Floral Distributors Georgia State Floral Distributors held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on May 28 to commemorate the opening of their new store. Georgia State Floral Distributors has served floral and event businesses in Augusta and the surrounding area since 1954. In December, the company relocated from its location on Washington Road to a newly

renovated building near the Augusta Regional Airport. “We are excited to celebrate our 60th anniversary with a Ceremonial Ribbon Cutting of our new facility,” said Len Collins, co-owner of Georgia State Floral Distributors. “The renovated space is a vast improvement in functionality and allows us to operate more efficiently and effectively.” The new location, a former warehouse, was completely redeveloped to incorporate energy efficient devices, such as LED lighting, large ceiling fans for optimal circulation and solar tubes used to harness sunlight and reduce the need for electricity. Expanded refrigerated receiving and storing equate to longer lasting perishables and superior products for customers. Acquisitions Evans Fitness Express Evans Fitness just bought out a competitor and is now targeting another one with its new offer. The Evans Fitness Club just purchased “Live Fit,” run by the former managers of The Omni Fitness Club on Evans To Locks Road. The new name is Evans Fitness Express and they are keeping the same space in the West Town Shopping Center – and charging just $9.99 for a monthly membership with no contracts. Their biggest competitor in the market is Golds Gym, which has a $10 per month offer at its Martinez facility. Evans Fitness opened its original 50,000-square-foot mega-center about 18 months ago and has already achieved more than 10,000 members and is almost at maximum capacity. EFC has more land on the property across from the Government Complex and is looking to “buildon” to the existing facility to offer more space and services to current members and more. Red Roof Inn The Red Roof chain has been active in the CSRA market. They recently acquired the Ramada on Center West Parkway off of Washington Road in West Augusta. The Red Roof also has a presence on the Gordon Highway now after acquiring the old Microtel property.


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All in the family

Generational businesses have special bonds By Elisabeth Curry Father’s Day is around the corner, giving us a chance to reflect on all that our dads have done for us throughout the years. Most adults see their fathers on occasion, chat on the phone every so often and email photos of the kids. There are a few, however, who work alongside their parents every day, having committed themselves to a family business. Augusta boasts many family-owned and operated small businesses, from healthcare to retail to food service. Balancing a professional relationship with a personal relationship requires a close-knit dynamic that can be difficult to quantify. Four Augusta family-run businesses agreed to share their insight into the challenges and joys of two, three, and even four generations working together to achieve professional success. Casella Eye Center Since Casella Eye Center opened in downtown Augusta in 1948, the Casella family has continued the family tradition of eye care coupled with a personal connection to the community. Thirty years after WWII veteran Dr. Victor Casella opened Casella Eye Center, his son Dr. Thomas Casella joined him at work. Another 30 years passed, and in 2008, yet another family member was added to the optometry practice – Dr. Ben Casella, Thomas’s son. “I always had a calling to be involved in healthcare in some capacity,” Ben Casella said when asked why he chose optometry as a career path, “but my undergrad is actu-

ally in philosophy. I really find the human eye and vision in particular to be not exactly an art and not exactly a science, but something of a consummation of the two.” He explained that eye care is very similar to philosophy because it allows him to use both sides of his brain. There is an art to vision just as there is a science to eye health, and this individual touch extends to the relationship Ben Casella and his father have cultivated with their patients. “My dad and I have a lot of fun together. We make eye care as fun it can possibly be,” said Ben. “We have fun with each other and a good time with our staff. Patients who come into the office pick up on the good vibes that we share.” Thomas and Ben share not only a similar mindset when it comes to eye health, but a similar sense of humor, which reflects the rapport that the two share with each other and their patients. The Casellas have been part of the fabric of Augusta since they immigrated from Italy nearly a hundred years ago. Continuity of care is a major part of the business and Casella Eye Care has charts going back to the 1940s. A few local families have been patients of Casella Eye Care for four generations, and Ben attributes the bulk of the respect the Casella name has garnered in the CSRA to his father. “I appreciate what my father took from his father,” Ben said. “If I can just latch on and learn half of what he’s done right, then I know I’ll be able to keep the ship sailing.” “There’s not a distinct border between work and family,” said Ben about his relationship with his father. “Eye care is by

Drs. Thomas and Ben Casella, Casella Eye Center. Photo by Gary Kauffman

nature a very personal profession. When you’re dealing with a person’s vision, it’s a deeply individualized thing. My relationship with my father, as he is the majority

Karly and Mark Weinberger, Weinberger’s Furniture. Photo by Melissa Gordon

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owner of the business, it’s not boss until 5:30 and then dad after that. It’s just father and son, and we work very well together. We take a team approach.” Weinberger’s Furniture and Mattress Showcase Celebrating its 82nd year in business, family-owned and operated Weinberger’s Furniture has provided Augusta residents with home furnishings since 1932. Four generations of Weinbergers have embraced the business, with recent addition Karly Weinberger managing new location Furniture 123 in Grovetown. Mark Weinberger, Karly’s father, said not only have four generations of his own family served the Augusta area over the years but that they have built up a customer loyalty that spans the same amount of time. “There are only a handful of stores that are 82 years old and still run by the same family,” Mark said. “So many big box stores and chain stores don’t have the advantage of the relationships we’ve built with our customers. There’s a personal touch that comes from working with your family and our customers appreciate that.” Having a 20-something years of perspective in a local family-run business is a huge boon. Technology and marketing have changed drastically in the past 20 years, and while the core fundamentals of Weinberger’s Furniture remain the same, Mark has found that his daughter’s frame of reference allows them to appeal to a younger market.


Drs. Brad, Noel, Larry and Derek Steinle, Advanced Chiropractic and Wellness Center. Photo by Gary Kauffman

“The younger generation has a lot of different ideas,” Mark said. “Things have definitely changed from a marketing standpoint. Karly does a lot of the more of the fashion end of the business, right down to paint colors on the walls. She knows what appeals to the younger crowd.” “You grow up thinking your father is so smart,” Mark commented, “but that’s just because he’s been around longer. My father used to say ‘I’m not any smarter than you, son. I just have more experience.’ That’s the same thing I tell Karly when she asks me how I know everything I know.” While some families see no need to delineate between work and home life, the Weinbergers have found that keeping their profession separate from their personal lives makes the time they spend together outside of work more enjoyable. “We do a really good job of keeping work separate,” said Mark. “I think it was an adjustment for Karly at first, but it’s a working relationship until you go home. There are going to be disagreements professionally, but when you work with your family, the dynamics are very different. You disagree and then you go to dinner. We work well together, so there’s never any animosity. We just don’t feel the need to discuss it at home.” Mark’s hope is for Karly to continue within the business, letting her specific skill set and personal touch nurture and grow the Weinberger family legacy even further. “She really enjoys it,” Mark said. “Her intention is to stay and take over the company. Watching Karly be instrumental in the expansion of the business really makes it all worthwhile.” Advanced Chiropractic and Wellness Center When Drs. Larry and Noel Steinle bought Advanced Chiropractic and Wellness Center 21 years ago, the idea that it

might become a family affair hadn’t crossed their minds. Larry and Noel worked together as a couple until six years ago, when their older son, Derek, a licensed massage therapist, joined his parents in promoting natural medicine, health and wellness in the Augusta area. Soon after Derek began working in the wellness center, their younger son, Brad, informed his parents that he’d decided to become a chiropractor. The healthcare field had always appealed to Brad Steinle, but originally he gravitated toward dentistry. Reflecting on the day Brad told his family he’d changed his mind, Larry Steinle said, “He came to us and told us that natural healing was what he really believed in. He told us he wanted to be a chiropractor and my wife started crying. It was a great moment for our family.” The arrangement Steinle and his wife have with their sons is that Derek and Brad will buy the business and take it over while their parents gradually scale back to parttime work. Brad will become the president of Advanced Chiropratic while Derek oversees the wellness center. “My wife and I are just going to work for them,” said Steinle. “I’m 63 now, so the days are getting kind of long. I’ve been in practice 36 years – 21 years in this current practice. I’m ready to let them take the lead.” When it comes to getting along both personally and in the workplace, Larry Steinle said his wife Noel hit the nail on the head. “She says our secret is that we know when to stop,” he said. “There’s a point in an argument where the next person to talk will have gone too far. Sometimes you disagree when you’re working with your family, but we show professional respect and we know when to drop it.” The dynamic at Advanced Chiropractic

and Wellness is friendly and stress-free, and that atmosphere reflects back on the service the Steinle family provides their customers. Larry Steinle freely admits that he’s a bit of a goof in the office, telling jokes and generally putting people at ease. “We love working with our sons,” said Steinle. “When they’re both in the office, my wife says it always feels like Mother’s Day.” Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse After years of out-of-town road trips to obtain higher quality bicycles and equipment, Andy Jordan and his wife Susan opened Augusta’s first full-service, prolevel bicycle store in 1974 as Bicycle Center

of Augusta. A staple of the ever-expanding Augusta bicycling community, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse promotes bicycle safety and organizes and participates in fundraisers throughout the CSRA and Georgia. They strive to provide not only quality bikes, parts, and equipment, but also education and awareness to the area. Andy’s son Drew became active in the business when he was a junior at Richmond Academy, working part-time through his last two years of high school and throughout college. The day he graduated from Augusta State, Drew walked across the stage to receive his diploma, went in to work and worked as a full-time employee from that point on. Andy and Susan Jordan actively encouraged their son to pursue another field, if that was what he desired. Giving his future some serious thought during his senior year of college, Drew realized that he couldn’t see himself doing anything else. Keeping a family and a business successful simultaneously can be a challenge, however. “Having a personal relationship with your boss is probably the hardest part of it all,” Drew Jordan said. “It’s a unique situation. It hits a little harder to home, trying to agree on something and working through issues with your dad, as opposed to having a strict business relationship. It can be a delicate situation sometimes but we always seem to work through those issues with ease.” Drew’s parents were enthusiastic about his decision to join the family business. “They’re excited that their legacy will continue,” Drew said. But it’s not an easy job. “Everyone assumes that working in a family business is easier than any other job, like you can just come to work and slack off, but it’s totally the opposite. Expectations are much higher. The success of the family and everyone’s livelihood depends on you. It’s a lot of pressure, but it keeps you driven. It makes you a better worker, and pushes you to be a better person.”

Drew and Andy Jordan, Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse. Photo by Gary Kauffman

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The pros and cons of family businesses Having a family business can be great – or a disaster, depending on the business and the family members involved. This article discusses some of the key factors to seriously consider before starting a family business. If you are already a member of a family business, these factors still apply. Most businesses fail within the first three years, and family businesses are no exception. Often, family members are put in positions they are not qualified to perform, which contributes to the problems. List goals Larry Rudwick and reasons to Business and be involved, or not be involved, Relationship Coach in a family business, and put it in writing. Ask yourself these questions: Goals: Are everyone’s goals truly aligned? It’s vital to be “rowing in the same direction” or your ship (your business) will get off course very quickly, and potentially sink. Business Plan: Have a written business plan that is vetted by several experienced business executives. Having non-biased people question, edit and improve or nix your plans can be the difference between success and making avoidable mistakes. Reasons: List all of the business reasons it makes sense to work with each particular family member. Reasons such as: “My son should work with me, because no one else will hire him” is an obvious big warning sign!

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Qualifications: Would you hire your family members if they weren’t your family members? Would they be anywhere near the best candidates? Finances: Are you putting too many eggs

Seeing and working with your family day and night could cause permanent harm to your relationships. in the same basket? In other words, if the business fails, or produces little income for a long time, will this cripple the family resources? On the other hand, if the business becomes extremely successful, will the family members start fighting on how or whether to spend this new wealth? Never underestimate the potential for money to impact a relationship, for better or worse. Personalities: Just being a family member can be stressful enough. Seeing and working with your family day and night could cause permanent harm to your relationships. Having a business partner in many ways is similar to having a spouse, but is often even more stressful, especially when the other person is your spouse.

For example, I knew a couple married for 25 years that decided to quit their long-time careers with big businesses, and start a small business together. They got along very well, until they started their business. Why? Because the skills needed to run a small business were very different than being a specialist in a large business. Management Skills: This couple came from large businesses where they did not manage others, and their management skills were quite weak. Proper management takes skills that many people simply don’t have. Some people can learn to become

good managers, while it is impractical for many others to do so. We all know examples of highly successful family businesses. But they are the exceptions and not the rule. People who carefully consider each of the topics above, and get help from experienced business leaders, will greatly increase their chances for success in a family business, or avoid going into a family business and getting really hurt, financially and emotionally. For more information, go to BusinessTune-Ups.com, sign up for my free newsletter, and call me at 571-331-6102. There is no charge for an initial consultation.


Hobby turns into picture-perfect business By Gary Kauffman Journalists drink a lot of coffee, so maybe the transition John Curry made from Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist to coffee roaster isn’t as big of a stretch as it seems. Curry work in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, most prominently at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Newspapers were still a thriving business then and the Sun-Sentinel sent Curry to cover major sporting events like the World Series, Super Bowl and Olympics, as well as to Central and South America. One of

Businessperson of the Month John Curry, Buona Caffe Coffee Roasters his three Pulitzer nominations was earned while covering a coup in Haiti. Later he worked in Athens, Ga., where he started a hobby of roasting coffee for himself, five ounces at a time. Eventually, he moved to the Chronicle in Augusta, where he bought a 1-pound roaster that could make enough for his needs with some leftover for his friends. But when he was laid off from the Chronicle, he had a decision to make – look for more newspaper work or turn his hobby into a full-time occupation. He chose the latter and in January 2010 formed Buona Caffe Artisan Coffee Roasters. At that time he sold it by the bag to retail customers and wholesale to restaurants. In 2013 he acquiesced to frequent customer requests and opened a coffee shop. The shop at 1858 Central Avenue opened its doors on June 13, 2013 and by all appearances has been a success. In November, Fodor’s Travel website named it as one of its Top 15 Independently Owned Coffee Shops in the country. Earlier this year, the Georgia Governor’s Mansion began serving Buona Caffe’s Harvest Blend coffee.

Curry’s wife, Pat, and daughter Elisabeth help run the coffee shop. Another daughter, Katie, lives in Minnesota. What are you passionate about in your business? I’m trying to make the best cup of coffee I can. We get that a lot, even from people who have never been here before. They’ll say, “This is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.” If you’re not going to be the best then there’s no reason to even be trying. Then you’re no different than anybody else. How hard has it been to adjust from one career to another that is totally different? Other than the fact that you drink a lot of coffee as a journalist, they are different. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be because I’m really passionate about coffee. The newspaper business had gotten less fun than it used to be. And I can still do photography on the side, which is something I can do my whole life whether as a hobby or a profession. Is it a challenge to work with your wife and daughter? My wife and I have always worked together – we love to work together. We do freelance work together. We’ve covered stories around the country together for Habitat for Humanity and most recently, World Vision. Working with Elisabeth has been different, but she’s done a great job. She helped us when we needed it the most. How do you unwind? I like to do remodeling. I like to work with my hands. We bought a 100-year-old house and just move into it. It’s a construction zone now. We’ve remodeled a lot of houses but never one 100 years old. We also enjoy traveling. We’ve traveled to the coffee farm in Nicaragua where we buy our coffee from. You are involved with charity work. Why is that important to you? When we started the business we wanted it to be more than just making a profit. We want to sustain ourselves but also give back to the community. We picked water because you can’t have a good cup of coffee without good water. Good clean drinking water is a scarce commodity in many parts of the world. We have also partnered with local charities and nonprofits.

If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be? Probably Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business.” But for my wife and me, our song has always been Chuck Mangione’s “Feels So Good.” What does the future hold for you? I don’t think we’ll ever retire. It’s just our

nature to always be doing something. We’ve had people approach us to open more coffee shops, even though we haven’t even had this open for a year. We’ll do our due diligence, and do some long-range planning. We did a good job planning to where we are, but we’re here now so we need to sit down and do some planning.

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Consequences of reimbursing insurance premiums Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms that took effect this year may make purchasing health insurance in the individual market more accessible. Due to these reforms and the rising costs of health coverage, some employers Russell T. Head have considered helping employees Employee Benefits Consultant pay for individual health insurance policies instead of offering an employersponsored plan. On May 13, the Internal Revenue Service issued FAQs addressing the consequences for employers that do not establish a health insurance plan for their employees, but instead reimburse employees for premiums they pay for individual health insurance (either inside or outside of an Exchange). These arrangements are known as employer payment plans. Background on Employer Payment Plans In Revenue Ruling 61-146, the IRS provided that if an employer reimburses an employee’s substantiated premiums for nonemployer sponsored hospital and medical insurance, the payments are excluded from the employee’s gross income under Internal Revenue Code section 106. This guidance

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allowed an employer to pay an employee’s premiums for individual health insurance coverage without the employee paying tax on the amount. IRS Notice 2013-54, issued on Sept. 13, 2013, referred to these types of arrangements as “employer payment plans.” These employer payment plans are considered to be group health plans subject to the ACA’s market reforms, including the annual limit prohibition and the preventive care coverage requirement. The Notice clarifies that these arrangements provided to employees cannot be integrated with individual policies, and thus fails to satisfy the ACA’s market reforms. As a result, effective for 2014 plan years, these plans are essentially prohibited. Consequences for Employers Because employer payment plans do not comply with the ACA’s market reforms, the IRS indicated in the FAQs that these arrangements may be subject to an excise tax of $100 per day for each applicable employee ($36,500 per year per employee) under Code Section 4980D. However, an employer payment plan generally does not include an arrangement under which an employee may have an after-tax amount applied toward health coverage, or may take that amount in cash compensation. Thus, premium reimbursement arrangements made on an after-tax basis will still be permitted. Quick Facts • “Employer payment plans” are arrange-

ments in which employers reimburse employees on a pre-tax basis for individual health insurance premiums. • These arrangements do not comply with the ACA’s market reforms. • Employer payment plans may be subject to an excise tax of $100/day per applicable employee. • Premium reimbursement arrangements made on an after-tax basis will still be permitted. For further explanation of the ACA/

PPACA provisions outlined in this article, refer to the following resources: www.hhs. gov, www.irs.gov, www.healthcare.gov and www.cms.gov. Russell T. Head is a Partner and Chief Visionary Architect with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held, locally owned employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or rthead@gandbc.com. Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at www.groupandbenefits.com.

USC Aiken’s online program ranked among best for military by U.S. News USC Aiken has one of the best online program for veterans, according to U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, publisher of Best Colleges and Best Online Programs, today recently released the 2014 Best Online Programs for Veterans on usnews.com. The rankings, now in their second year, were designed to help veterans identify high-quality online degree programs that suit their educational needs. USC Aiken ranked in the top 100 nationally at both the undergraduate level (nationally ranked 41) and at the graduate level (nationally ranked 84) for Education programs. Additionally USC Aiken received the highest ranking of the universities in South Carolina that were publically ranked in its online

undergraduate ranking. With respect to the graduate online programs of the institutions nationally ranked in the state, USC Aiken was ranked in the top two universities. “Veterans and active-duty service members face unique challenges as students, from transitioning between bases and grappling with deployment to balancing work and family life upon return,” said Robert Morse, Director of Data Research for U.S. News. “The Best Online Programs for Veterans are high-quality programs that also offer educational benefits and flexibility for veterans pursuing a degree.” To be ranked, an online degree program had to report participation in four key programs that offer educational benefits to people with military service.


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Ways to make adjustments to gross income Once total or gross income from all sources has been determined, certain adjustments to income are available. These adjustments amount to a reduction in gross income and generally are granted to achieve tax fairness or in recognition of a desirable social objective. Adjustments to income are available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions or takes the standard deduction. The available adjustments to income include: IRA ConMike Herrington tributions Fiscal Fitness Eligible individuals can con- Investment Advisor tribute and deduct up to $5,500 to an IRA; $10,000 for an eligible married couple, even if one spouse has no earned income. For workers age 50 and older, the IRA contribution limit is $6,500 for 2014. Education Savings Account Contributions Subject to income limitations, up to $2,000 per beneficiary (generally a child under age 18) per year may be contributed to an Education Savings Account and deducted; subject to income limitations. Student Loan Interest Deduction

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Up to $2,500 of the interest paid in 2014 on a loan for qualified higher education expenses may be deducted, subject to income limitations. Health Savings Account Deduction Contributions to a Health Savings Account, up to specified maximums, may be deducted. One-Half of Self-Employment Tax Self-employed taxpayers generally deduct one-half of their self-employment tax, as determined on Schedule SE. Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction Self-employed taxpayers can deduct 100 percent of thehealth insurance premiums (including long-term care insurance premiums) they pay for themselves, their spouses and dependents. **** After having studied top achievers and peak performers over the past 25 years, I’ve concluded that these unique men and women have, in most cases, mastered what I call the Seven C’s of Success. This is a sponsored financial column. Mike Herrington is the President of Herrington Financial Services, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisor. Mike 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. He can be reached at 706-868-8673 ormike@herringtonfinancialservices.com

Clarity – Eighty percent of success comes from being clear on who you are, what you believe in and what you want. Competence – You can’t climb to the next rung on the ladder until you are excellent at what you do now. Constraints – Eighty percent of all obstacles to success come from within. Find out what is constraining in you or your company and deal with it. Concentration – The ability to focus on one thing single-mindedly and see it through until it’s done takes more character than anything else. Creativity – Flood your life with ideas

from many sources. Creativity needs to be exercised like a muscle; if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Courage – Most in demand and least in supply, courage is the willingness to do the things you know are right Continuous learning – Read, at the very least, one book a week on business to keep you miles ahead of the competition. And just as you eat and bathe, organize your time so you spend 30 minutes a day exploring e-mail, sending messages, going through web sites, because like exercise, it’s the only way you can keep on top of technology.


Does web terminology frustrate you? Cookies? Java? Bots? Spiders? Sounds like a coffee shop from a creepy sciencefiction movie! How many times do you hear computer terms that scare you and confuse you? From hyper-text, meta-tags and breadcrumbs to bounce rates, the web industry has its very own jargon. Making sense of all of the “geek speak” can be a challenge, especially when you are Jeff Asselin busy running your business! It is, how- Director of Sales ever, important to & Marketing at get a feel for what Powerserve you need to know. The web is packed with useful websites that will help the layman decipher complex web-speak terms. So, do you really need to understand all of this? The short answer is, Yes! I am not saying everyone needs to be an expert on all things web-related, but it is important to have a general understanding of what’s important and why. We spend a lot of time talking to clients who don’t know the difference between link farms and hyperlinks. We try to help explain the value of each and explain things

put together a press release for them that put their message in front of more than 250,000 readers. Clients like the one I just described trust their web marketing needs to us because we tell them what they need to know and because we have shown them how valuable the web can be to their business. They don’t need to be experts on Java Script and Flash Video, but they do need to know why they are important and how these tools should be used to help them grow their business. At the end of the day, there are many things to know when it comes to website jargon and lingo. Companies need to understand what is important to them and why. Whether you research key terms using the web or rely on consulting from a reputable web design and marketing firm, have fun learning how this complex World Wide Web can help your business grow.

in a way that makes sense to their business practices and goals. Ever since Al Gore invented the internet (wink), we have seen terms come up such as http, html, https, URL and the like. Small business owners have enough to be concerned with such as storefront displays, inventory levels, staffing and scheduling as well as payroll and employee benefits. It is up to web consultants to help decipher the

myriad of website lingo. I often share the story of a client of ours who’s management team is made of folks in their mid-50s. They are all highly educated and perform critical processes for their own clients. They are subject matter experts in their field and are well respected in their industry. This client looks to us to manage their website presence, online advertising and lead generation. We recently

This is a sponsored article. Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales and Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on websites, custom business software, search engine optimization, graphic design and social media marketing. He will put his more than 16 years of advertising and marketing experience to work for you in helping grow your business. For more information , visit www.powerserve.net or his office at 961 Broad St., Augusta. Contact him at jeff.asselin@powerserve.net or706-691-7189 or 706826-1506, ext 122.

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Optimism abounds about current small business conditions Half of all U.S. small business owners say business conditions are good or excellent, the most since at least 2010, according to the findings released today from Citibank Small Business Pulse. The results mark a steady rise in outlook, up from 48 percent reporting the same in Spring 2013, 43 percent in Spring 2012, 32 percent in Spring 2011, and 24 percent in August of 2010, when the survey was first fielded. Similarly, 44 percent expect to grow their business in the next 12 months, up from 37 percent two years ago. “The improved outlook among small business owners matches what we have seen on the ground,” said Robert Kleiber, Head of Citibank Small Business. “As small business owners have increasingly looked to invest in and grow their operations, Citi has stepped up to help. We lent small businesses  $9.2 billion  in 2013, up from  $4.5 billion  in 2009 and$6.0 billion  in 2010. Still, owners are facing real challenges, with many citing an unprepared workforce as a major obstacle to hiring.” Low Job Skills an Obstacle to Hiring with Trade Schools Seen as a Solution Despite the positive outlook on current business conditions and higher growth expectations, 75 percent of small business owners do not plan to hire in the next 12 months – similar to last year – and only 17 percent plan to hire full-time employees. When asked to describe the current hiring environment for their business, 37 percent said applicants are not qualified and 31 percent said applicants’ skills do not match the open positions. And while half of small business owners say on-the-job training is the best preparation, many see an educational opportunity to improve workforce preparation: 59 percent say trade schools and apprenticeships should receive greater emphasis in schools. Online Sales Spark Growth One year ago, 22 percent of small business owners said they intended to grow by increasing their use of online sales (Citibank Small Business Pulse,  May 2013). Today, 42 percent report having some online sales and 18 percent earn more than a quarter of their total sales online. More than half (52 percent) say they plan to make use of new technologies or applications for smart phones or tablets in the next 12 months to market or expand their businesses. Owners are using the internet in numerous ways, including customer communication (70 percent), marketing and sales (57 percent) and professional networking (55 percent). When asked how the internet and social media has benefited their businesses, owners cited improved sales and lead generation (60 percent), market insight (48 percent), increased visits to their location (47 percent), greater customer loyalty (43 percent) and reduced marketing expenditures (36 percent). Even with increased use

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and greater realization of benefits, most small business owners (51 percent) do not rigorously monitor or manage their businesses social media activity with 28 percent not monitoring it at all. Small Business Owners Play Outsized Role in their Communities Small business owners play a major role within their communities, according to the Citibank Small Business Pulse. Many contribute to local organizations (69 percent), support local youth sports and extracurricular activities (61 percent) and belong to local service organizations (41 percent). Winter Took its Toll This Year Over the past year, more than half (51 percent) of small business experienced some impact due to inclement weather. Nearly a third (29 percent) said the weather caused customers to stay home, 23 percent had to close the business at some point (average closure: six days), 20 percent saw a decrease in workforce productivity and attendance, and 17 percent say they lost sales that they will not be able to make up. Still, just eight percent say they plan to adjust their operations next year because of the weather, with another 11 percent saying they will wait and see. Of those that will adjust, 42 percent will adjust inventory and expenses, 32 percent will establish emergency closing procedures for customers and employees, and 30 percent will increase advertising and customer communication. Seven percent of owners said the bad weather improved their business. A Challenging but Rewarding Career Despite the challenges of starting and operating a small business, owners are glad they did it. When asked if they would decide to do it again, 77 percent said they would, and the same percentage said they would recommend owning a small business to their children. They say the top benefits of owning a small business are being your own boss (79 percent), independence (77 percent), having the ability to make strategic decisions (77 percent) and relationships with customers (73 percent). If they could change one thing, 42 percent said they would have started the business earlier in their career and 12 percent said they would change nothing. In March, Citi announced that it lent $9.2 billion to U.S. small businesses in 2013, raising its three-year tally to  $26.7 billion and surpassing the $24 billion commitment made in 2011 in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide access to lending and capital that would speed economic recovery. Citi’s lending to small businesses in 2013 was up more than 100 percent from 2009 when Citi loaned $4.5 billion. Citi pledged lending of$7 billion  in 2011,  $8 billion  in 2012 and $9 billion in 2013. Citi surpassed its goals every year, lending small businesses$7.9 billion in 2011, $9.6 billion in 2012 and $9.2 billion in 2013.


Loyalty higher prize than satisfaction with your customers Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless Jeffery Gitomer Amazon $17.04 256 pages In business, we’ve always heard, “you must satisfy the customer,” but in this book, Jeffery Gitomer takes that to higher level, which is to create loyal customers. Today’s customer expects to be satisfied, so satisfaction alone is no longer the acceptable standard of customer service. A customer that is merely satisfied is still likely to shop around the next time they need to buy your product or service, for a better price or a more convenient offering. A loyal customer is more likely to make a Eddie Kennedy point of coming Business Book back to you and Reviews is more likely to recommend your product or service to others. So for Gitomer, the key is to make your customers love you, keep them coming back to you and to tell everyone they know about you. According to Gitomer, great customer service is what creates customer loyalty. Great customer service is anything extra you can do for your customer that will make them take notice of you and say “Wow!” It doesn’t have to be expensive. It is simply making them feel like they are the most important thing to you and your business. This feeling of Wow! service will generate word of mouth advertising, which Gitomer says is 50 times more power-

ful than regular advertising. That will help build your business. When the next opportunity comes around for them to do business with you, they will be loyal to you. One way to help you get the correct attitude with your service level is to pretend the customer is your grandmother. Then you treat your customer with the respect and eagerness to please that you would your favorite relative. Your attitude and willingness to deliver a memorable “Wow!” experience are factors in creating customers that will return again and again to your business. Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless is a quick and easy read with real examples and plenty of points to consider. It will make you think of things you can do to make your business be a Wow! experience. Pick it up and read it. Meet with your team leaders and come up with creative ways that you can deliver great customer service. Eddie Kennedy is the owner of Great Deals on Furniture in Augusta and an avid reader of business books. Eddie believes every business owner should invest in themselves by reading, but if you can’t, then read his column every month to see what he learned. Have you read any great business books? Let Eddie know at eddie@greatdealsaugusta. com.

Deal lets you save money, get back even more money

Happy June, CSRA! Instead of our regular 500 words, which are always chock full of timely merchant services information, we want to run something by you, freeing a few of your minutes. Merchants talk about hearing “I’ll give you $1,000 if I can’t save you money on your card p r o c e s s i n g ! ” Jimmy McCollum One business Credit Card owner told me Payment Systems the agent representing their bank actually parroted it. I’m not throwing anybody under the bus, but finding a way to save a business owner as little as a penny per month (12 cents per year) in order to keep that grand in their pockets is a bit suspect. So, how can we inject credibility into the industry and actually make CCPS of value

to you? Simply give us a recent statement so we can do a real “apples to apples” comparison. If you have a great rate and CCPS can’t save you any money, we’ll be the first to confirm it and congratulate you. But, if after getting your numbers together and finding that there are savings to be realized, we’ll pay your first month’s processing fees, up to $250. Plus, you’ll be dealing with a hometown company with hometown service. So, regardless of your industry – retail, restaurant, B2B, petroleum, lodging or utilities; whether you use a stand-alone or wireless terminal, PC-based virtual terminal, a smart phone solution or a POS system, you owe it to yourself – and your business – to reduce this part of your overhead.

Jimmy McCollum is vice president of Service Operations for Credit Card Payment Systems. Mark Hofilena is the president. The company was formed in 2006 after the two longtime friends worked for other credit card companies. For more information, visit ccpaymentsystems.com or call Mark at 706799-2913.

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Pets and pills: Who’s outsmarting who? For fourteen years, I worked as a pet sitter. Many people think pet sitting is an easy job. In some ways, they’re right. It isn’t brain surgery after all. On the other hand, animals have a way of doing what they want rather than what you want. Even the best pet sitter can be at the mercy of a wily house cat or mischievous caNora Blithe nine from time Humorist to time. I was no exception. Daisy was a small cat I once cared for. She needed medication for asthma, a surprisingly common ailment in cats. Perhaps they’re allergic to people. I’ve always had a knack for pilling cats and I’ve been able to medicate cats that others could not. Pilling Daisy wouldn’t be a problem. Even if she was a bit shy, she was also quite sweet. She wasn’t going to leave me with scratches or puncture wounds. I always anticipate that a cat will run if they know I’m about to pill them so when I found Daisy in the owner’s bedroom I eased the door quietly shut and approached her calmly.

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What I hadn’t anticipated was that Daisy was both smarter and smaller than me. She darted under the dresser. I coaxed her out only to have her dart under the bed. Things were not off to a good start. She didn’t seem frightened or upset. She just didn’t want to cooperate. I couldn’t talk her out from under the owner’s massive bed. If they make a size larger than king, this was it. Daisy felt safe and secure under its mass. There was no helping it. I was going to have to crawl under. I tossed my cell phone on the bed and lay down on my stomach. I slid in talking calmly to Daisy and urging her out into the room. She rose gracefully and stretched one back leg and then the other. When I was dead center, she ambled out into the bedroom as though it had been her idea all along. It probably was. Now, to ease myself out and keep her from going back under the bed. I wriggled forward. Nothing happened. My rear end was firmly stuck. The bed might be large but it wasn’t tall and my fanny was made for sitting on, not for squirming into tight places. Fantastic. I was stuck under the bed of a Nora Blithe is an Augusta native, an entrepreneur and a syndicated humor columnist. She lives in Greenville, S.C., with her husband, Brian, and their pets. Read her syndicated humor column Life Face First in Verge, or find her online at doorinface.com.

near stranger. No human besides me would be in the house for days and my cell phone was on top of the bed where it was no help. Unwilling to wait for rescue, I wriggled again and move fractionally. I squeezed my glutes and crawled. When I finally emerged, my hiney ached

and I had carpet burn on my elbows. I dusted myself off and went in search of Daisy. She calmly allowed me to pill her as though it was the simplest thing in the world. Nope, pet sitting isn’t brain surgery but it’s not for sissies either!


Study: Baby Boomer retirement opens employment opportunities American workers have endured six years of depleted wealth, stagnant wages, and general insecurity. But their fortunes are about to change, according to a surprising new study from The Conference Board. From a Buyer’s Market to a Seller’s Market  predicts unemployment in  the United States — currently 6.7 percent and falling rapidly — will reach its “natural rate” of 5.5 percent by late-2015. The decline will continue well past this benchmark; over the next 15 to 20 years, U.S. unemployment may even dip below 3.8 percent, the lowest rate recorded since the 1960s. “While our conclusions may seem unlikely today, they rest on a simple fact: nearly all baby boomers will be out of the job market by 2030,” said  Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board and a co-author of the report. “As working-age population expansion slows to a crawl, even modest job growth should steadily tighten the labor supply and force wages higher. In the short run, this will be good news for workers. But it could also become a major handicap on U.S. growth and competitiveness, which we must prepare for now.” Among the report›s other key findings: Most of the millions who left the active job market during the Great Recession are unlikely to return. Many are retired or disabled, while “skill erosion” has made others uncompetitive in the eyes of employers. Thus the official unemployment rate is a

broadly accurate measure of slack in the labor market, not misleadingly low as many commentators argue. Since 2009, unemployment decline has outpaced previous recoveries even as GDP growth lags behind. Meanwhile, wage growth, voluntary quit rate, and employers’ difficulty in filling positions are all trending up, suggesting the transition to labor shortages is underway. As baby-boomer retirement mounts, wage pressure will form  a growing constraint on corporate profits and, ultimately, economic growth. Seeking to increase productivity and reduce costs, companies may raise prices and move operations to cheaper areas. Impacts will vary widely across industries. Those in which older workers are concentrated — and which attract few skilled immigrants — will be at highest risk of labor shortages. These include  law enforcement, plant operations,and rail and water transport. Conversely, relatively high numbers of young and foreign entrants should mitigate the effects on high-growth science and technology fields. Immigration and productivity  are open factors in general — a surge above trend growth for either could offset much of the demographic pressure currently projected. Future research from The Conference Board will investigate the impact of retiring baby boomers on specific occupations in great detail.

Business traveler concerns when on the road

The Global Business Travel Association recently surveyed more than 500 business travelers in the United States  and identified the top setbacks, disruptions and concerns travelers encounter while on the road. The GBTA study,  Business Traveler Mishaps: The Real Risk of Business Travel, found that during the past 12 months, 75 percent of travelers encountered a mishap while traveling to their business destinations. The most frequently reported issues during travel included: Travel delay due to weather (54 percent); delayed flight/train departure (48 percent); airplane incident (mechanical issue, late arrival, etc.) (40 percent); and missed connecting flight (16%) Frequent travelers are also concerned with safety while on the road. The main concerns during a business trip included: Location of hotel (50 percent); airline safety record (36 percent); safety of ground transportation (35 percent); and knowing who to call if issues arise (34 percent) “Delays, cancellations and mechanical issues are an unfortunate, unpredictable aspect of business travel,” said GBTA vice president of research  Joseph Bates. “Travel managers face all of these challenges and leading com-

panies are working to address these issues. This research looks to provide travel managers with data that can help them uncover new methods and polices to ease stress for their business travelers.” Surprisingly, nearly half of the study’s respondents (46 percent) said their company does not provide travel insurance or assistance services and they have not purchased these benefits from an outside agency. The benefits from these insurance policies compensate frequent travelers for trip interruptions and other unexpected expenses, which can help alleviate the burden from the traveler and improve the overall business travel experience. “It’s important for individuals to feel confident in their travels, whether for business or leisure,” said Scott Ackerman, Senior Vice President, Sales, Travel Guard. Travel Guard, a worldwide leader in travel insurance solutions and assistance, including emergency assistance, was a co-sponsor of this study. “To learn that business travelers have concerns about their safety, in addition to worries about travel disruptions that could derail their plans, is understandable, but they need not feel helpless,” he said.

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www.buzzon.biz

careers & EDUCATION

Staffing integral to success By Vicki Spencer What started out as the answer to a temporary need is fast becoming an indispensable part of successful workforce strategies. As businesses look for ways to maximize productivity while maintaining a lean, cost-effective work structure, staffing firms are stepping up Greg Criste and with viable solutions. Angela Swarts Employers are realSpherion Staffing Services izing there is more to staffing than just short-term workers—it may just be the secret to long-term competitive advantage! Extensive Recruiting Expertise Partnering with a staffing firm, the first benefit you will realize is the depth of recruiting expertise which immediately becomes yours. Sourcing, recruiting, screening and hiring talent is their core business. Moreover, they already have the tools in place to rapidly identify and deliver the skilled talent you’re seeking. So, you can stay focused on growing your business. Access to Unseen Talent Staffing companies are always building relationships with the people around them, whether they are happily employed, anticipating a job change, between jobs or new to the area. Those relationships translate into deep reservoirs of talent not necessarily visible on job boards. You’ll also have the benefit of candidate referrals, a goldmine of hidden talent. And, your talent search will be supported by media that reaches talent in the most relevant venues. Adjust Your Workforce to Meet Business Demands

Another key advantage to engaging a staffing firm is the flexibility it presents amid changing seasons of business. While permanent employees are fixed costs, staffing companies offer variable resources which can be scaled up or down as demands change. So, when peak seasons of business hit, productivity remains unchanged. And, during slower periods, you’re able to reduce staff and related costs without the threat of downsizing. Reduce the Risks Associated with Hiring Making a poor hire is costly. One way to avoid that risk is to solicit the support of a staffing company with a rigorous talent selection process that prescreens, assesses, interviews, reference checks, background checks, drug screens and validates a candidate’s credentials. They can also offer temp-to-hire solutions, allowing you to preview a candidate’s on-the-job performance before making a permanent hiring decision. Stay in Touch with Trends Impacting the Workforce A good staffing partner will also keep you abreast of workforce trends that will make you more attractive to top talent. The Emerging Workforce® Study is a great example of this kind of intuitive research. For more than 15 years, this study been tracking the beliefs, changes and trends of the U.S. workforce, honing in on what workers say keeps them engaged, productive and satisfied—and what factors motivate them to move on. If you thought staffing firms were just a source for temps, think again. The industry’s most respected, forward-thinking companies have integrated staffing into their workforce strategies, and they are reaping its benefits on a daily basis. Spherion has been serving the staffing needs of the CSRA for nearly 30 years. To learn how Spherion can help you, contact Greg Criste at 706. 868.0911 or visit www.spherion.com. Greg Criste has served in Spherion’s Augusta office for 7-1/2 years and has been Marketing Director for the past 3-1/2 years. Angela Swarts is the licensee owner of the Augusta franchise, as well as the franchise in Montgomery, Ala.

Augusta Leaders graduate from inaugral class Sen. Hardie Davis (Augusta Mayor-Elect) and the New Leaders Council – Augusta Chapter recently congratulated the Inaugural Fellows Class on the successful completion of the New Leaders Council Institute. A graduation ceremony was held on Sunday, May 25. The 14 graduates hosted a highly successful fundraising event, “Movers, Shakers and Change Makers,” on Saturday, May 3. “New Leaders Council brings people interested in business, entrepreneurship, governance and politics together in a way that not only enables them to understand each other, but empowers them to effectively support and help each other,” Davis said. “That’s why it’s important to have New Leaders Council in Augusta. This group is going to positively impact our community, and we will see dynamic leaders offering themselves for service on non-profit boards, volunteering for community organizations, raising funds for important causes and offering to serve in public office.” Davis founded the Augusta chapter of the New Leaders Council in 2013, and Inaugural Fellows were selected and the five-month institute began in January. Topics reviewed and studied by the Inaugural Fellows included communications and media, social networking, fundraising, polling and research. The fundraising event, capstone project presentations and graduation ceremony are the final steps of completing the signature New Leaders Council Institute, which is designed to train the next generation of progressive political entrepreneurs. The 2014 New Leaders Council Fellows are: Kimberleigh Beard, Child Advocate and Court Appointed Special Advocate; Barclay Bishop, Morning Anchor/ Reporter; WAGT NBC 26 News; Sean Frantom, Development Director Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta; LaWanda Hall, Principal Risk Analyst, The Coca-Cola Company; Taylor Howell, Staff Assistant, Congressman John Barrow; and Kristie Johnson, Special Populations Coordinator, Augusta Technical College. Also, Dr. Judith Jones, Speech-Language Pathologist, Richmond County School System; Johnny Lee III, Technician, Procter and Gamble; Patricia Ann Moseley, Assistant Principal, Richmond County School System; Darryl Nettles, Research Operations Coordinator, Georgia Regents University; Titus Nichols, Assistant District Attorney, Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office; James Riles, Center Director, Augusta Richmond County Recreation and Parks Department; Fabiola Romain-Lapeine, Nursing Faculty, Georgia Regents University; and Arthur Whiteside, Realtor, VanderMorgan Realty.

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Georgia, SC among best states for business For the 10th year in a row, CEOs rated Texas  as the No. 1 state in which to do business, according to  Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best & Worst States for Business survey, released today.  Florid a,  Tennessee,  North Carolina  and  South Carolina rounded out the top five. The states rated worst for business are California, New York,  Illinois,  Massachusetts  and  New Jersey. The rankings are crucial, as CEO sentiment drives investments in offices, factories and other facilities that bring jobs to a region. 5 Best States for Business in 2014 1. Texas 2. Florida 3. Tennessee 4. North Carolina 5. South Carolina 5 Worst States for Business in 2014 50. California 49. New York 48. Illinois 47. New Jersey 46. Massachusetts     Data supplied courtesy of ChiefExecutive.net The  Best & Worst States Survey gauges the sentiment of CEOs on a variety of measures that the CEOs themselves have viewed as critical. These include the tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment.  Five hundred CEOs participated in the 2014 survey.

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Not surprisingly, Texas got great reviews from respondents. “Texas  is the best state for business and I don›t see anything to

The states that rank as the best for doing business are those with lower corporate and income tax rates slow [it] down,» one CEO said. «The education and quality of eligible employees is excellent right now. Business is booming and growing quicker and more rapidly in 2014 than any other year. It›s an exciting time in Texas.” California  received more negative comments than any other state. CEOs said California›s poor ranking is the result of regulatory red tape, high taxes and a generally negative attitude toward business. “We dread doing business in California,” one CEO responded. “State regulations duplicate federal regs, especially in Safety. In addition to MSHA and OSHA, we have to comply with CALOSHA. No other state has a similar system.” Similar sentiment was echoed about New

York, where there are «too many taxes,» as well as “too much regulation and too much government corruption.” Missouri was the biggest gainer this year, rising nine spots to 22nd  from 31st, followed by  Iowa,  Nebraska,  Delaware and Kentucky, which all rose four notches. Missouri lawmakers recently approved the launch of an economic development office in  Israel  for the purpose of building partnerships there with businesses in biotech, agriculture and other emerging fields. Looking across the last five years, Louisiana  rose the most, moving from 40th  to 9th  since our 2010 survey. “The state of Louisiana has made significant progress in recent years in providing an excellent environment in which businesses can operate,” one CEO responded. Kansas  fell seven spots to 26th. Despite the reduction, however, the state received reasonably high praise from respondents. “Kansas  just went to zero income tax on Sub S income; great idea which may not last,” one CEO said. “[It’s] excellent for business owners to have extra capital to reinvest in their businesses by lowering income taxes. In my opinion, we are on the lower end of regulation and bureaucracy. What really separates Kansas … is the excellent work ethic … the employees make the business.” The best states for biotech companies included  California,  Maryland,  In-

diana, North Carolina  and  Utah, while  Alaska,California,  Colorado,  Kansas, Massachusetts and Texas were all considered good states for startups. 2014 Biggest Gains (Positions Gained) 1. Missouri (+9) 2. Iowa (+4) 2. Nebraska (+4) 2. Delaware (+4) 2. Kentucky (+4)   2014 Biggest Losses (Positions Lost) 1. Kansas (-7) 1. Idaho (-7) 1. Montana (-7) 2. Oklahoma (-6) 3. Ohio (-5) Data supplied courtesy of ChiefExecutive.net “High taxation is the chief impediment to attracting new business, and the states that rank as the best for doing business are those with lower corporate and income tax rates,” said Marshall Cooper, CEO of Chief Executive  magazine and ChiefExecutive. net. “However, the holy grail comes from combining that with quality workforces and living environments. But this is not rocket science. Every state can improve if they engage with business leaders and find out what they need to create new, highquality jobs for citizens.” For complete results, including individual state rankings on multiple criteria, CEO comments, methodology and more, please visit ChiefExecutive.net.


GMC students learn marine biology on trip to Bahamas Every year Georgia Military College sends its marine biology students to San Salvador, Bahamas, for a study abroad program. This year Professor Randy Elvidge, along with lab manager Lynnette Rodriguez, escorted Keli Roey, Joslin Hill, Jade Stewart, Amy Waycaster and Evan Ashe on the nine-day expedition. While on the island the students lodged at the Gerace Research Center. The island of San Missie Usry Salvador is rich Enrollment Manager, in a wide variety Georgia Military of species and College landmarks for the students to enjoy and observe. The students saw many unique landmarks such as Watling’s Castle (a French Loyalist plantation), trekked to and descended into a limestone cavern inhabited by bats, climbed the Dixon Hill Lighthouse (one of only a few remaining hand-cranked kerosene beacons), and took a short boat ride out to Catto Cay and Iguana Island. The majority of their days were spent snorkeling and identifying species of marine plants and animals. An exciting moment and one of the highlights of the trip was the

sighting of a nurse shark at Gaulin’s Reef. Other species they saw were the blue surgeon, sergeant major, parrotfish, trumpet fish, goat fish and large puffers. While the trip provided many educational opportunities and benefits, students were also able to take advantage of free time. In addition to class activities, the students enjoyed a fish fry celebration hosted by the residents of the island. These students enjoyed a once in a lifetime opportunity and created memories they will hold onto for the rest of their lives, all while gaining hands-on experience in the field of marine biology. Students interested in participating in future marine biology trips should contact Randy Elvidge. The trip generally takes place during spring break. This article and attached photographs are submitted by the Marine Biology class participants. 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. Missie Usry is the Enrollment Manager at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. For questions about Georgia Military College, please call 706.993.1123 or visit our website at www. gmcaugusta.com.

Expert says surplus crude oil could cause gas prices to fall this summer Barring any unforeseen events, gas prices have hit their spring peak and are likely to continue falling into the summer months. “Motorists are finally getting that steady break in gas prices that we were anticipating,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA The Auto Club Group. “The discount at the pump is expected to continue, as prices were forecast to be in line with last year’s levels by Memorial Day weekend.

Gas prices are falling because of record supplies. The Energy Information Administration estimates total U.S. crude oil production in April reached its highest monthly average since March 1988. The EIA forecasts that monthly average to fall 21 cents by September. “Last year, gas prices fell through June, then rose in July,” Jenkins said. “This year, record U.S. crude inventories should put downward pressure on gas prices all summer.

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All South Roofing working to keep people covered By Rebecca Vigné All South Roofing is Augusta Built from the ground up! This local roofing, siding and window company all started 15 years ago when owner, Kevin Tierney, went door-to-door in the Augusta area. For every 10 houses he visited, he found roofing work and began to build the reputable company that exists today. The local roofing, windows, and siding company handles commercial and resiAdvertorial dential projAll South Roofing ects. Last year, the company remodeled the Georgetown Apartments in North Augusta with new roofs, siding, gutters, shutters, soffit and fascia. All South also roofs flat and metal roofs for clients such as the Knox Theatre and the Warrenton Community Building in Warrenton, Georgia. The company’s latest commercial job is the Marshall Square project in Evans, Georgia. Over the past 14 years, All South has roofed many hotels, apartment complexes and shop-

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ping centers across the CSRA. Tierney says, “No job is too big or too small for All South Roofing.” All South sets itself apart from other roofing companies by offering a no-money-down guarantee. Krystle Kight, Office Manager at All South Roofing, explains, “We finish the work before we take a dime from the customer. It gives them the reassurance that we will get the job done. We like for our customers to feel comfortable and in control.” “We encourage people to buy local when it comes to their roof. We will be here if you have an issue, and we stand by our work,” Kight explains. All South is an established company located in the CSRA. They offer a five year labor warranty on all of their jobs, and depending on what type of shingles are used on a roof, those may carry a 25 year warranty or a lifetime warranty. All South offers free inspections and estimates for roofing. Kight comments, “We have had plenty of customers who are unsure whether or not their roof is damaged, and

we will go out to inspect just to make sure. We have also had cases where we inspect a roof and find no damage, but as soon as a heavy rain comes through, the homeowner calls with a roof leak.” Sometimes damage can be nearly impossible to spot. Insurance companies give customers one year from the time of a major storm to report damage. “We encourage our customers to check for leaks after a heavy rain and to report any issues before your claim time runs out. It is better to have your roof inspected and cov-

ered if there is damage rather than waiting and paying out of pocket later,” Kight adds. All South Roofing offers roof repair or replacement, replacement windows and doors, siding, and sunroom or screened porch conversions. If you believe that you have roof damage or are in need of a new roof, give All South Roofing a call. For more information on All South Roofing, call 706.495.5102. Take a look at their work at www.allsouthsidingandroofing.com or on Facebook.


Leisure & Hospitality

What’s your motivation for summer fitness? Can you feel it? The birds are chirping, and the trees are budding... spring is finally in the air! Spring is all about rejuvenation, fresh starts and getting outside. It’s also time to check in with your health and fitness goals. What’s working? What isn’t? Take a few minutes Tammy & Tommy to reflect and, if necessary, Garner make changAnytime Fitness es. It’s OK to switch it up and start anew! Ask you Anytime Fitness trainer or manager to give you some ideas. They are there to help. Find your motivation As we transition from winter to spring and summer, here are some tips to jumpstart your fitness routine! Try a new group fitness class. Maybe your go-to class is yoga. Change up your normal routine by trying HIIT (High Inten-

of having an event on your calendar keeps you motivated on tough days and gives you a reason to stick to your training. And events are often a great way to support a local charity. Heck, we can even create an event for you. Call and give us your ideas. Start a daily health agenda. It’s easy to think of three things that are the hardest to maintain on a day-to-day basis (for example, drinking enough water, packing a lunch, making it to the gym). Writing down your daily health agenda on a calendar or in a notebook is a great way to hold yourself accountable. We have some great fitness Journals available to help you keep up with your agenda.

sity Interval Training) or challenging your balance at a TRX class, or even improve your posture and flexibility with a Pilates Reformer. Whatever your choice, it’s fun to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. You never know, it may become your new favorite group class! Get a new fitness outfit. Treat yourself to a new pair of shorts or yoga pants, or per-

haps a new pair of running shoes. There’s nothing quite like something brand new to renew your motivation and get you back to the gym in style. We can even order you Anytime Fitness Apparel. Sign up for an event. Race season is upon us, and signing up for an event or a race is a great way to get motivated (ask your club manager about events in our area). You may be surprised how much the simple act

At Anytime Fitness we care about you physically, mentally, and financially. Helping find a better “YOU” is what we do best. Our caring staff and top-rate personal trainers make us the ideal club for those new to exercise, those who feel intimidated by large, crowded gyms, or the fitness enthusiast. We make it personal and we make it convenient, 24 Hours, 365 days a year. For more information about our four clubs in the CSRA, visit us at anytimefitness.com/gyms/24/ martinez-ga-30907 or call us at 706-3642447.

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I’ll be Bac: Vietnamese restaurant pleases If you’re looking for a place for a business lunch that’s different, delicious and will definitely bring out your adventurous side, look no further than Pho Bac in Evans. Neither my guest nor I had eaten Vietnamese food, but we both are fans now. And if gets better than Pho Bac, I want to try it. The restaurant is quite pleasant. No over-the-top Chinese décor. Simple and quiet, it’s a good place to talk, which is always important when you actually need to discuss Jennifer Miller business. Power Hour Lunch Our server was adorable – her smile was infectious and she was ready to help. We asked a lot of questions and she answered them well and really helped us decide what to order. She had a few language barriers, but she worked hard to overcome those. The menu had the Vietnamese spelling of each item, which made it a little more fun. We opened with Summer Rolls. When I first bit into the egg roll-looking treat I thought “fresh.” The cold crunch of the fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh shrimp were delicious. These rolls weren’t fried. Instead they were wrapped tightly in a

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Pho Bac 4300 Towne Center Dr., Evans 706-945-1981 Monday-Saturday – 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. thin wrapper. The peanut sauce on the side was the perfect accompaniment to the rolls. We opted to share a large bowl of Pho – or noodle soup. There were several varieties, but we went with the chicken. Please don’t think this was your basic chicken noodle soup. No chicken chunks in this soup. Instead the breast meat was sliced in generous portions. The broth was subtle and tasty with fresh chopped scallions and well-cooked rice noodles. It came with a side of fresh bean sprouts and herbs. And, there were several sauces on the table that could be added to spice it up. The portion was huge – more than enough for two. We also ordered the Chicken Curry to share. Again, the portion was huge – we both took a generous portion home after eating more than anyone should at one sitting. The chicken was tender and tasty, but of course the curry sauce was the star of dish – just the right amount of curry with the richness of coconut milk. It was served

with jasmine rice, which added another level to this already complex dish. The prices were quite reasonable and we spent less than the budgeted $25. We both agreed the meal was outstanding, and that we’d be back. The only hard part will be figuring out what to try the next time.


Georgia ranked No. 1 in U.S. for barbecue TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, today announced the highest-rated restaurants and top U.S. states for barbecue, according to TripAdvisor’s community of millions of travelers. From sweet and saucy to simple and smoky, these spots serve up low-and-slow cooked meats that are sure to satisfy any travelers’ tastes. “Nothing says American summer like barbecue, and with styles that vary by region, aficionados get fired up over which states serve up the best,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Offering a smorgasbord of the country’s finest barbecue styles, Georgia is a traveler favorite and features more than 500 smokin’ spots on TripAdvisor.” Top 10 U.S. States for BBQ 1. Georgia 6. South Carolina 2. North Carolina 7. Florida 3. Texas 8. Illinois 4. Missouri 9. California 5. Tennessee 10. Kansas Top 10 BBQ Joints in the U.S. Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 291 reviews) Committed carnivores often wait upwards of three hours to score a meal at this joint that serves up the Texas trinity of barbecue: brisket, ribs and sausage. The meat is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and then slow-cooked to perfection over an oakfueled flame. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The bottom line is this is actually a place that lives up to the hype. Run, don›t walk, to

line up for Franklin!” Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering, Kansas City, Kansas (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 788 reviews) Operating out of a gas station since 1996, this Kansas City restaurant offers a mouthwatering medley of meats that are dry rubbed and then slathered in the region’s distinctive tomato and molasses-based sauce. Fan favorites include burnt ends and the “Z-Man” sandwich, a unique stacking of brisket, provolone cheese and onion rings served atop a Kaiser roll. Bogart’s Smokehouse, Saint Louis, Missouri (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 298 reviews) Since designing his first grill at the age of 14, pit-master Skip Steele has perfected the method for crafting melt-in-yourmouth meats. Patrons can choose between four homemade sauces including “Mad Maddie›s,” a vinegar-based concoction, and “Pineapple Express,” a tangy and sweet sauce with a burst of tropical fruit. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The people are great, the service is fast, and the food is some of the best stuff I have ever put in my mouth.” Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Savannah, Georgia (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 791 reviews) With more than 30 years of experience winning awards on the national barbecue competition scene, husband and wife team Wiley and Janet McCrary opened their first brick and mortar restaurant in 2008. The joint pleases palates with low-and-slow

cooked meats including savory St. Louis cut ribs. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Falling-off-the-bone tender. Succulent. Delicious. Charred on the outside. Perfection.” Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, Chattanooga, Tennessee (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 138 reviews) Amid the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachian Mountains in southeastern Tennessee, this log cabin style restaurant feeds famished barbecue fans with an emphasis on Southern hospitality. Dry-rubbed meats are smoked over hickory wood, and can be served on a plate, as a sandwich, or even stuffed inside a “killer” baked potato. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Excellent food, great service, friendly people and good prices. Feels like home.” Jim’s Smokin’ Que, Blairsville, Georgia (5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 140 reviews) Open Thursday through Saturday, this northern Georgia smokehouse advises guest to arrive early, as their succulent meats – including ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and turkey – often sell out. Those lucky enough to score a meal can also enjoy their choice of satisfying sides, from Brunswick stew to banana pudding. A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The only problem is choosing what to order since it›s all so good.” Joe’s BBQ, Blue Ridge, Georgia (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 238 reviews) In the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this joint satisfies hungry guests with tender and moist meats complemented by a selection of sauces including “Alabama white,” a

mayonnaise-based mixture that has found fame in several Southeastern states. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The ribs were juicy and flavorful, every side we ordered was great and it was all delivered in a super friendly and clean atmosphere.” Captain’s BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 197 reviews) Boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this waterside smokeshack doubles as a bait and tackle shop. Moist and juicy meats are the backbone of the mouthwatering menu which offers up classic plates as well as more unique creations including pulled pork burritos slathered in Baja sauce. Poppa’s BBQ, Clearwater, Florida  (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 182 reviews) On the Gulf of Mexico, Poppa’s BBQ delights tastebuds with their “Q.” The deliciously simple menu includes an assortment of slow-smoked pulled pork, juicy chicken and Memphis-style ribs that are generously rubbed with a special spice blend and served with a tomato and vinegar sauce on the side. Madd Jacks Grillin Shack, Cape Canaveral, Florida  (4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor, 201 reviews) This beach-themed joint brings a taste of the West Coast to the Sunshine State, as chef Robby O’Connor dishes out generous portions of California-style barbecue including sliced tri-tips that are dry-rubbed and cooked over white oak for a slightly smoky kick.

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Nonprofit giving shows signs of growth A leading charitable giving forecast report just released reveals that donors were more generous than last year in the first quarter of the year. More importantly, it forecasts that giving will remain strong throughout the remainder of 2014, with a lift of over 7 percent projected in 2014 over 2013. The data and trends supplied by Atlas of Giving — a monthly forecasting and analytic provider of charitable giving estimates by sector, source, and state in the U.S. — reveal that every sector within the giving community will experience strong growth during 2014. The forecast report also reveals that when compared to 2013, giving will be better in every month of 2014 except December. “Driven primarily by strong sustained stock market gains and continuing low interest rates, charitable giving is exceeding expectations in 2014,” said Rob Mitchell, founder and CEO of Atlas of Giving. “The forecast has also improved. The initial forecast for 2014 indicated that giving would grow 4 percent. The current revised forecast suggests that giving will increase more than 7 percent. Several sectors should expect double-digit growth, including Environment and Human Services. However, Church/Religious giving is expected to grow only 4.6 percent, and the Health sector forecast has improved to just 6.1 percent.” Industry reports, such as the Atlas of

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Giving Report, provide data-driven forecasts and trends in the nonprofit sector that are often taken into consideration when fundraising professionals develop their organization’s campaign strategies. And fundraising professionals and consultants such as Pursuant, a full-service fundraising agency dedicated to helping the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, often review the reports published by Atlas of Giving in order to stay up to date on the pulse of the giving community. “I am very optimistic about the state of giving. Based on the data found in the latest Atlas of Giving Report and our own client experiences in 2014, donor commitment and loyalty are strong,” said Trent Ricker, CEO of Pursuant. “Reviewing historical data and evaluating forecasting reports should be an important part of every organization’s strategic planning and budgeting process.” In addition to reviewing budgets and making adjustments according to the organization’s current giving levels and market segment forecast, Ricker also suggests that nonprofits evaluate alternative giving strategies such as grants. “I found it interesting that the Atlas of Giving Report also forecasted a 13 percent lift in grants from foundations and donor-advised funds. Organizations that are not active in these areas may want to consider a more aggressive approach,” Ricker added. Mitchell noted that the forecasted drop

in December doesn’t necessarily mean a worse year-end giving season. “When we see forecasts like this, the appropriate strategy to consider is moving up December appeals by a few weeks or more. If we see a

softening in the economy late in the year, it could impact late-December giving. So create your own catalytic campaigns or events in the fall to capture funds earlier,” Mitchell said.

Research Alliance gets grant to benefit healthcare industry Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced that the Georgia Research Alliance has been selected to receive a $499,636 planning grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NIST grant comes in support of the nation’s ability to lead the global development of cell manufacturing technologies by leveraging the capabilities of industry and academia into a Cell Manufacturing Consortium (CMC). The CMC’s work will focus on the manufacturing of cells that can be used in therapies, medical devices and drug discovery. “Georgia’s highly trained scientific workforce and world-class universities make our state the first choice for collaboration on next generation technologies,” said Deal. “Having this national partnership founded here allows for even greater research and development within our innovative health care companies.” Cell therapy manufacturing is projected

to grow rapidly over the next decade, becoming a multibillion-dollar global industry. Groundbreaking techniques to address quality assurance, efficacy, production and cost will be needed to support long-term growth. “Receiving this NIST grant reflects the commitment that our state has made to growing its life sciences sector,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “Georgia companies, such as Dendredon, will now be able to participate in setting standards and driving the future of cell manufacturing industry.” Greg Dane, an Industry Fellow with the Georgia Research Alliance, will lead the consortium’s development efforts. Dr. Todd McDevitt, director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech, will serve as the Technical Lead for the CMC, and Steven Stice, GRA Eminent Scholar and director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia, will serve as an adviser.


Nashville, New Orleans tops in trending U.S. travel destinations

Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, today shared its top 10 list of U.S. destinations with the highest percentage increase in summer bookings over last year – with country music mecca Nashville grabbing the top spot. Following one of the worst winters in memory for most of the country, vacationers have been booking their summer escapes in droves – and are excited to visit new locales. Airbnb is the perfect way to book summer getaways, allowing people to feel at home anywhere in the world.  An Airbnb guest checks-in every two seconds in one of 192 countries around the world.  More than 11 million guests have traveled with Airbnb since 2008. “It seemed like winter would never end this year and we can›t wait to pack our bags and escape for the summer,” said Chip Conley, Airbnb’s Global Head of Hospitality and Strategy. “Airbnb is excited to share the hottest trending destinations on our site, all 10 of them seeing a booking boom of triple figures over last year.” This summer’s top 10 fastest-growing U.S. destinations are: 1)  Nashville – America’s home of country music jumped 365 percent over last year. 2)  New Orleans – Known for its great food and jazz, interest in the Big Easy is up 340 percent for summer getaways this year. 3)  Palm Springs – Up 334 percent, Palm Springs has transitioned from a winter getaway to a year-round destination. 4)  Portland, Maine – Long a popular New England destination, travel to Portland is up 328 percent. 5)  Santa Barbara – Travelers are exploring a wider range of coastal locales on the west coast, and interest in this gem has risen 320 percent. 6)  Oregon Coast – Golfers, sand-boarders and dune buggy enthusiasts love the  Oregon coast, helping boost its popularity 316 percent this summer. 7)  The Adirondacks – Whether it’s the region›s mountains, forests and wild landscapes, or just finding the rightAdirondack chair by the water, New York State’s playground was up 316 percent this year. 8)  Denver – The mile high city saw bookings rise 306 percent. 9)  Coastal Orange County – This area›s beautiful beaches and easy living made it increase 306 percent. 10)  Boulder – At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder’s summer bookings are up 291 percent. Within these top trending destinations, visitors might choose to stay in a treehouse, Creole cottage, mid-century retro retreat, hilltop Adobe, beach house, or even a tugboat!  In fact, Airbnb has more than 600,000 listings around the world including 600 castles, 1400 boats, and 300 tree houses.  With Airbnb, travelers don›t just book a room, they book a home. Top trending destinations were determined by comparing bookings from  Labor Day  2013 through  April 2014  for travel from  Memorial Day  through  Labor Day  2014 against bookings at the same destinations between Memorial Day andLabor Day last year.  Whether headed to a music capital, the desert or the coast, Airbnb’s 120,000 U.S. listings make it easy to book a memorable and wonderful local experience.

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Americans’ appetite to buy homes increases For a majority of Americans, their outlook on today’s economy is brighter and their attitude toward buying a home is trending positive, according to the latest PulteGroup Home Index Survey (PGHI) by PulteGroup, Inc.,one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. As 74 percent of adults feel the economy has remained steady or improved in the last year, this confidence is impacting overall purchasing behavior with 57 percent of adults thinking now is a good or excellent time to purchase the items they want or need. Specifically, their appetite for entering the housing market is improving. The survey revealed that 67 percent of respondents plan to purchase a home in the future, of which 32 percent are looking to buy within the next two years.  Millennials and moveup buyers represent the most engaged consumer segments, 85 percent and 71 percent, respectively, intending to purchase a home in the future.   Consistent with past PulteGroup baby boomer surveys and national trends, 50 percent of those aged 55 and older are looking to purchase a home in the future. “For the first time in years, Americans have a growing sense of optimism that the housing market is improving, and that these positive changes may be sustainable,” said Margaret Gramann, senior vice president of sales for PulteGroup, Inc., which builds homes under the Centex, Pulte Homes and Del Webb brands.  “This favor-

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able outlook is giving them the confidence to pursue more meaningful, big-picture life opportunities they may have otherwise put on hold.” According to Gramann, buyer optimism has translated into good traffic throughout its communities, with buyers who are willing to write contracts. In its first quarter financial results, the Company reported absorption paces were up for its Del Webb and Centex business; brands that cater to the baby boomers and millennials. Home Purchase Behavior

According to the survey, there are two main drivers to purchasing a home: the need for more space and the view that owning a home is a smart financial investment. In fact, 70 percent of home shoppers plan to spend more or as much money on their next home, and 64 percent prefer to spend more on a home that’s move-in ready rather than spend less and renovate.  Additionally, a majority of adults who plan to spend more on their next home indicate it is not only to increase the size of the home (56 percent), but to upgrade its finishes (51

percent). “Whether it’s a first-time or move-up buyer, or an active adult, purchasing a home is a major life decision and Americans are recognizing the importance of maximizing what they view as a long-term investment,” said Gramann. “They’re aiming to create value in a home that meets their specific wants and needs from day one, and if that means spending more money, they’re willing to do so because of confidence in the market.”  Accelerating Home Purchase Timelines The pursuit of home ownership has trended upwards over the last year, as a considerable percentage of adults (41 percent) indicate their interest in purchasing a home has increased, with millennials trending higher at 59 percent and moveup buyers at 45 percent.  Personal financial situations are a key motivator for adults to accelerate their timeline for a home purchase. Specifically, 25 percent of prospective homebuyers would move up their purchasing timeline if they had access to down payment funds/a mortgage sooner 21 percent would move up their timeline if they were able to sell their current home at a higher price point/break their lease without penalty 50 percent of current homeowners believe they could currently sell their home at a price that would allow them to move to a new property


Southern Living wedding still coming soon! But the wedding vendors have lots to get done now By Stephen Delaney Hale While Southern Living magazine and US Sweepstakes are still busy finding their lucky bride for the upcoming Willcox Wedding Giveaway, the nine local vendors who have volunteered their goods and services for the first-of-its-kind contest are making dreams come true for dozens of other brides in and around the Central Savannah River Area this June – and all of the months of the year. Tina McCarthy, general manager at The Willcox and a Certified Southern Living Wedding Planner, put together a team of some of her favorite “perfect day” providers, and they are all busy helping local brides and their families prepare for what for many is “the biggest day of their lives.” But weddings are also a big business, employing hundreds in the Augusta-Aiken region and accounting for millions of dollars in revenue – the kind of revenue that often happily rides into a town for the weekend, drops off their money, and heads back home, all the happier for it. “Weddings are a big part of who we are here at The Willcox,” said McCarthy, who has been with the 116-year-old symbol of Aiken charm since 2003. “It has been so for over a hundred years. And, while we want people to come visit us every day, we are certainly acutely aware that hundreds of people look back upon their wedding at The Willcox as the most special, the happiest day in their lives. “We take that responsibility very seriously, and we choose the people we work with on our weddings based upon knowledge that they are consummate professionals who will astound everyone with their artistry while they completely eliminate any signs of stress. It’s got to all flow as if it were ordained and that’s what we strive for in every wedding we host.” All of the vendors are donating their services for the Southern Living Sweepstakes Wedding, at an estimated total value of more than $35,000. That includes the hotel. The Willcox is donating McCarthy’s services and those of Assistant General Manager Kellie Smith, also a Certified Southern Living Wedding Planner. Also free to the bride, and her no-doubt-happy dad, are the stunningly beautiful venue of the hotel itself, the food and beverages for a reception of up to 100 people, wedding night accommodations in the Roosevelt/Bridal Suite, a couples massage the day before the wedding, a bottle of champagne in the room and a late night in-room dinner following the reception. The value of the hotel’s contribution is $15,000. Whether it is this very public coming event, or a smaller private affair, “The first thing we do is sit down with the bride and have her tell us about their dream day,” McCarthy said. “We love that part and everybody has one.” Then McCarthy helps turn the dream

into reality. “We introduce a timeline and start a realistic budget, if they don’t already have one. This process can be relatively short or it might be planned out over a year. We go over all the many, many details and we usually bring in more of her family and friends for a planning sessions so everyone sees that we are going to make it all happen.” The afternoon and evening events of the wedding are orchestrated, from the arrival through the photo sessions, the first dance, introductions, the cake cutting, the cake toss and the couple’s exit.” “We make it look effortless because it is all planned out,” McCarthy said. “The devil is in the details, and if you have the details worked out beforehand you should not have anything devilish to deal with.” The result of all of the detailed planning ahead of time is that the couple is able to enjoy the most important day of their lives. By going through the planning, they are confident that they are dealing with professionals in all aspects of the vendors. They know they don’t need to worry about the flowers or the band or the cake. All are being taken care of. They are there to be in the moment and enjoy. Sweepstakes Wedding Vendors All Star Tents and Events – Providing rentals for a 100-person wedding ceremony and reception to include a tent, lighting, tables, chairs, bar, linens, china, silverware, glassware and more. Value: $5,400 Mike and Donna Fanning have taken a once-humble tent and party rental business in the past half-decade to one of the premier medium- and large-event hosting companies in the Southeast. High Goal polo tournaments in South Florida and hurricane relief centers on the coast have become standard parts of the year for the Aiken-based event company. If you’ve been to a huge tent party in recent years in the CSRA, the Aiken Steeplechase, the Bluegrass Festival or a soiree at the Old Medical College of Georgia, chances are you have stood under the Fanning’s work. When asked what most often creates confusion before a wedding, Donna said it happens “when there is not a clear understanding of whose doing what. Is the caterer providing the linen and the dishware or are we? A lot of brides come to us knowing exactly what they want and others haven’t given it much thought.” About the latter category she said with a laugh, “We would like them to know at least the venue; will it be outdoors or inside?” Fanning said a lot of times the process begins by discovering what the couple doesn’t know. “Do they need tables and chairs from us or does their venue already have them? Does the venue have a dance floor or do you want us to bring one? At night, what about the lights?”

Fanning said true wedding planners do everything down to helping pick out the invitations. “We love that, but we are experienced enough to ask the bride and company through the big questions. Have you thought about this and about that? We have a bunch of pictures to show them options.” Among their newest specialties is taking the party out into the countryside at equestrian farms. “Years ago no thought you could take a bare open field and create a wonderful venue, a mini-city with a separate kitchen, a dance floor, fancy portolets with generators for everything,” Fanning said. “We can help you create your own world for your event.” Floyd & Green Jewelers – Supplying an 18k white gold and diamond wedding band for the bride and a 18k white gold wedding band for the groom. Value: $3,510 Steve Floyd said the jeweler’s place in the wedding planning world is a little different from other vendors because, in most cases, the bride already has her engagement ring – that’s what starts the whole process moving. “The most common question they will have for us in the planning leading up to their wedding is ‘Should men and women have matching wedding bands?’” Floyd

said. From that point, there are many variables, the prominent Aiken jeweler explains. Ring styles change and there are many options of color, weight, hardness and density. “About 90 percent of wedding rings today are of a white metal, which can be platinum or white gold,” he said. “But other metals are becoming popular for different reasons, including titanium, tungsten and palladium, a derivative of platinum. A lot of times, her decisions are already made based upon what he bought her.” Floyd said using titanium or tungsten are ways the groom can save a little money and nobody will ever know. You are just as married with a tungsten ring as you are with a gold band. Tungsten, titanium and palladium are very hard and for a groom who works with his hands, he won’t have to worry about scratching it. The 18k gold rings being used in the Willcox/Southern Living Wedding Giveaway is “a very nice set of rings,” Floyd said, explaining that 14k or even 12k is more common in the United States. 18K means it is 75 percent gold. There are many variables, such as the meaning of pure gold and See SOUTHERN LIVING WEDDING, page 36

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SOUTHERN LIVING WEDDING continued from page 35 solid gold, that all have a different price, Floyd said, adding that for a wedding, it is best to have some time to decide because often rings have to be ordered to fit. “But we can make arrangements if a groom has to have the ceremony with a ring that doesn’t quite fit and it is replaced with a better fitting ring in a couple of days,” he said. “Brides tend to be more tuned to these things,” Floyd said. “Guys are last minute shoppers. Guys invariably show up a couple of days before Mothers Day, Christmas, Valentines and their anniversaries.” Giving Weddings – Brent Cline and Chris Campbell photographers will provide pre-wedding, ceremony and reception photography, online gallery of 500 photos to choose from, wedding album of approximately 100 photos. Value: $4,000 “Some couples come in with a clear understanding of the way they want to remember their special day,” said Brent Cline, who, with partner Chris Campbell, documents weddings from Charleston to Aiken and Augusta, across the country and the world. Cline said the wedding couple should consider posing before the wedding, or at least setting aside some private time with the photographer as they arrive at the venue. “Understand that those are really special pictures and they need to make time for that,” cautions Cline. “The wedding party needs to understand what photos they want taken and to take into consideration the venue and time of day.” For example, mid-day light can be strong. “You don’t want a noon wedding on the beach because the light will be too harsh,” Cline said.”It is helpful to plan to have the photos taken in optimal times and conditions because these images will be with you for a lifetime.” The memories will be enhanced if you plan ahead. “It’s my job to do the best I can with the light and location and the situation I have, but also to suggest some options. Perhaps a nearby gazebo would make the light not quite so harsh. “ Cote Designs – Hand crafted arrangements will be provided for the wedding ceremony, reception, boutonnieres and bouquets. Value: $3,000 Karen Jeffcoat has been in the business of floral and event design for about 25 years and also serves as a full-function wedding and event planner for those who want her

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extra expertise. “Each wedding is different, so we don’t have any set packages,” Jeffcoat said. “Each wedding we do is customized. We don’t quote a price until we have all our details ahead of us. We have brides who come to us a year in advance and then we have brides who come at different phases in their wedding process.” Cote Designs has pictures to give ideas but the final designs belong to the couple. “We ask our clients to show us what they like and tell us what they want because it’s not my wedding, it’s their wedding,” Jeffcoat said. In today’s world of social media, some brides become overwhelmed with the extravagant choices available. “I usually get my bride to prioritize what is very important for her wedding,” Jeffcoat said. “Whether it is the venue that is most important to her, the photography, the food and bar, the entertainment and the flora and décor, I want her to tell me what is important to her. “We try to help bring their vision to a reality within a budget. We try to find vendors who fit the bride that we have and who can make it all work for her.” 4 Cats in the Doghouse – A four-piece band who will play during the wedding reception. Value: $2,100 Although 4 Cats in the Doghouse are known locally for really great jazz, band leader Scott Ferguson said they are versatile. “Not many people know we can do just about any kind of popular music,” he said. “A lot of people are surprised that when the wedding party wants to dance in the latter part of the evening we can rock so they can boogey down to our dance music.” Their selections span the years. “We can do anything from ‘60s up to the current day’s pop hits,” he said. “We have a huge repertoire of pop music and we can learn anything they want us to play for their special night.” Ferguson said the band can transform halfway through the night when he will trade in his saxophone and trumpet for an electric guitar, George Sikes will put his standup bass in its case and bring out his bass guitar and the keyboard man will switch from a jazz to a rock instrument. “Of course, usually the couple will want us to play their special song and we find out ahead of time what that is,” he said of the slight differences in playing weddings and other shows. “We almost always already

know it, but if we don’t, with just a little time we will learn ‘their song.’” The Willcox is a favorite of the band. It plays there every Thursday night. John Vaughn – Playing piano music preceremony, ceremony and post-ceremony cocktails. Value: $500 The Aiken native, who has made his name from Hollywood to Saudi Arabia, is a regular at the grand piano in The Willcox lobby. He possesses an enormous catalogue of music in his head that he allows to flow from his fingers, sometimes in a torrent of sound and often as a tinkling of the lightest reverberation. Vaughn said he must talk with the bride as she is making her plans. “I always like to speak to her while they are planning their wedding so I know I have exactly the song they want,” Vaughn said. “It doesn’t take me long to learn a song. Technology makes it so easy to locate a piece of music. But I can help her in the planning of the moment, give her suggestions. I have a lot of experience of playing for a lot of people around the world so I have a range of ideas, of moods and themes to offer her.” But it is the bride’s happiness that is his main concern. “If she has a song or a piece of music she would love on her special day that’s my main concern, to give her the song she wants,” Vaughn said. “Any music that is meaningful or sentimental to her or her family, I want to provide that to her. On her day, the day of her life, the music makes it all better, makes it all so much more special in the moment and special in the memories.” Vaughn added that music triggers memories immediately and evokes emotions. “A song you have an attachment to will make that moment even more special. If it is something sentimental to her, her mother, her grandmother, her new husband it is going to make that connection and probably make it for years to come.” Lionel Smith Ltd, Clothiers – Providing tuxedo rentals for the groom and up to six groomsmen, with shoes and accessories, including fitting. Value: $1,200 Van Smith said the groomsmen don’t need an appointment, but it certainly helps if they come in before the Friday that starts off the wedding weekend. The legendary men’s’ clothier, started by Smith’s father, has a large variety. “We can rent or sell suits and we have different price ranges on both,” Smith said. “We can find matching ties; it’s hard to do that but we can, and we can find shirts. We can outfit the male the whole way and we have package pricing, depending on their needs and we can work something with them.” Smith said shortly before the wedding thing can become almost comical. “Generally, the bride has her ideas already and the groom doesn’t,” Smith said. “This is the easiest part of the wedding and it is all he is responsible for. If he can do this one simple thing, and we do it for him, he can be a hero by not stressing out his bride. All the groom needs is to get the measurements, get the groomsmen to come in and try on their clothes. “And, it’s easy,” Smith said. “If something doesn’t fit we take care of it. The supplier we deal with knows we are serious about

getting it right. If they come in by five on Friday we can have them dressed and fit by noon on Saturday, if it’s needed – at no charge to the clients.” Smith prefers having the groom and groomsmen come in a day early to make sure everything fits. They can also show how to properly do things like put on cufflinks.

“We cater to the bride by taking care of the groom,” Smith said, “and he has the easiest part.” Dianna Tornow Cakes LLC – Providing a wedding cake for 100 people. Value: $750 Dianna Tornow says her brides “usually find me by other vendors’ word of mouth or the Internet. Word of mouth is best because it is a great resource for references and even other vendors with similar styles.” When it comes to the cake, Tornow said, “A bride wants a beautiful cake first, a delicious cake second and their money’s worth third. If a bride calls me and has not visited my website, I ask her to look at it to see if my style of sugar art is what she is looking for.” Then she informs the bride about the minimum order, prices and policies. Then they schedule a tasting consultation. “Professional weddings are very important for the local economy,” Tornow said, “and really, having it well organized is important to the sanity of the bride and wedding party.” A wedding doesn’t have be done on a grand scale to be elegant. “A wedding will be the biggest event in the life of any person, yet most are very unprepared financially to have the wedding that they dream about from the magazines,” Tornow said. “Elegant weddings can be done on a smaller scale and are a true joy for the bridal party. She added that wedding consultants can be a huge asset to the bride – and her mother. “I’ve seen weddings where the bride and the mother-of-the-bride had to do all the work during the wedding and they were run ragged by the time it was over – and their photos showed it,” she said. When her daughter got married six years ago, Tornow immediately hired a wedding consultant and booked the venue and vendors she liked. “I had a year to plan and pay,” she said. “I paid as I could each month. When the reception was over, I wrote a check for the final caterer’s bill, which had been estimated three weeks prior. All the vendors were local and all were licensed, so they were all paying taxes to our local economy. “I had the best time, too, because I got to just enjoy my daughter’s wedding!”


Biking to work up 60% over last decade Many U.S. cities are seeing an increase in bicycle commuters, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report  released today. Nationwide, the number of people who traveled to work by bike increased roughly 60 percent over the last decade, from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 during the 2008-2012 period. This is the largest percentage increase of all commuting modes tracked by the 2000 Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. Today the Census Bureau also released a new commuting edition of the interactive map Census Explorer, which gives Web visitors easy click-and-zoom access to commuting statistics for every neighborhood in the U.S. It also shows how commuting has changed since 1990 at the neighborhood, county and state level — including how long it takes to get to work, commutes longer than an hour, and number of bikers. This edition of Census Explorer uses statistics from the American Community Survey, the best national source of commuting statistics down to the neighborhood level. «In recent years, many communities have taken steps to support more transportation options, such as bicycling and walking,» said  Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau sociologist and the report›s author. «For example, many cities have invested in bike share programs, bike lanes and more pedestrian-friendly streets.» While bicyclists still account for just 0.6 percent of all commuters, some of the nation›s largest cities have more than dou-

bled their rates since 2000. Portland, Ore., had the highest bicycle-commuting rate at 6.1 percent, up from 1.8 percent in 2000. In Minneapolis, the rate increased from 1.9 percent to 4.1 percent. The report also looks at the number of people who walk to work. After steadily decreasing since 1980, the percent of people who walk to work has stabilized since 2000. In 1980, 5.6 percent of workers walked to work, and that rate declined to 2.9 percent by 2000. However, in the 2008-2012 period, the rate of walkers remained statistically

unchanged from 2000. Among larger cities, Boston had the highest rate of walking to work at 15.1 percent. The report, «Modes Less Traveled — Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States: 2008-2012,» highlights the trends and socio-economic and geographic differences between motorized and nonmotorized commutes. This report — the Census Bureau›s first focusing only on biking and walking to work — is one of many that examines specific aspects of commuting, including workplace location, working from home, long commutes and specific travel modes. Biking to Work Highlights The West had the highest rate of biking to work at 1.1 percent, and the South had the lowest rate at 0.3 percent. Among large cities,  Portland, Ore., had the highest bicycle-commuting rate at 6.1 percent. The median commute time for those who bike to work was about 19.3 minutes. Men were more likely to bike to work than women were. The rate of bicycle commuting for men was more than double that of women, 0.8 percent compared with 0.3 percent. Those with a graduate or professional degree or higher and those with less than a high school degree had the highest rates of biking to work, at 0.9 and 0.7 percent, respectively. 1.5 percent of those with an income of  $10,000  or less commuted to work by

bicycle, the highest rate of bicycle commuting by any income category. African-Americans had the lowest rate of biking to work at 0.3 percent, compared with some other race or two or more races who had the highest rate at 0.8 percent. Walking to Work Highlights The Northeast showed the highest rate of walking to work at 4.7 percent of workers. Several of the places with high rates were “college towns,” including  Ithaca, N.Y., where about 42.4 percent walked to work.  The South had the lowest rate at 1.8 percent. Among large cities, Boston was one of the highest walking-to-work cities at 15.1 percent. Workers living in core cities walked to work at a rate of 4.3 percent, compared with 2.4 percent for workers in suburbs. The median commute time for those who walk to work was 11.5 minutes, and they left their home at later hours than other modes. Men walked to work at a rate of 2.9 percent compared with 2.8 percent for women. Those with less than a high school degree had the highest rate of walking to work at 3.7 percent, followed by those with graduate or professional degrees at 2.7 percent. 8.2 percent of those with an income of $10,000 or less walked to work, the highest rate of walking to work by any income category. Asians and workers of some other race or two or more races had the highest rate of walking to work at 4.0 and 4.2, respectively. 

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Mobile tech saving businesses $65B a year For businesses of all sizes, saving time means saving money, but perhaps for none does that ring more true than for small businesses. In fact, millions of them are tapping into technology to save time and, ultimately, money as well – to the tune of a staggering $67.5 billion a year – by using mobile apps, tablets, and smartphones in their day-to-day business activities.¹ The savings were calculated based on results of a just-released survey commissioned by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, a nonprofit advocacy, research, training and networking organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. Among mobile technologies, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll** found that smartphones are saving business owners the most time (1.24 billion hours) and money ($32.3 billion) annually. Tablets (saving 754.2 million hours and $19.6 billion a year) and mobile apps (saving 599.5 million hours and $15.6 billion a year)¹ are also providing small businesses with more time. With the increased time savings resulting from using mobile apps and devices, business owners indicate that they’re not getting any more rest or relaxation. Instead, they’re re-investing the extra time back into their businesses to grow sales, increase engagement with customers, and research their respective industries to learn about new trends or competitors. “Clearly, we are at a point where entrepreneurs now look first to communications technologies and innovations for solutions to improve productivity, cut costs and better manage and engage with customers,” said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan. “That is time and money that can go back into driving sales and innovating in the marketplace.” Smartphones have become almost ubiquitous among small businesses with 94 percent using them to conduct business, up from 85 percent last year. More than half of small businesses say they use mobile applications, with the vast majority of those (91 percent) saying it helps them save time and two-thirds saying it saves them money. The majority of those businesses estimate they are saving  up to  $500  a month – or  $6,000  per year – by using mobile apps. The survey also found that the average number of days small business employees are using smartphones to conduct business exceeds the average number of days they are open for business. While small businesses are open an average of 5.7 days per a week, nearly half (49 percent) of small business owners with smartphones are using them to conduct some business activities 7 days a week. «In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less,» said  Cathy Martine, AT&T President of Enterprise Business Solutions. «As a result, we›re seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile

technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve, as well as their competition.» Additional findings from the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll include: Device Usage Exactly 31 percent of small businesses report they save at least five hours per week as a result of using laptops or notebooks. As businesses become more mobile, owners report an increase in use and device dependency over the last two years. Approximately three-fourths of small businesses report their use of mobile devices has increased because it allows them to operate remotely. Small businesses also attribute the rise in device use to an improvement in operational efficiencies, time savings and an increase in employee productivity. Nearly one-third of small businesses have seen their use of mobile data at least double over the past two years due to such common activities as downloading and uploading files on their mobile devices. Mobile Apps Usage Over the last two years, the use of mobile apps by small businesses has increased by 65 percent. Of the small businesses that use mobile applications, the majority (92 percent) are using smartphones to tap into apps. Also, more than three-fourths (77 percent) are consistently relying on three or more mobile apps. The most commonly used app types were remote document access, travel planning, and banking/finance management. Topping the list of most-used apps for the fourth consecutive year of the survey were GPS/navigation and mapping apps. More than nine out of 10 respondents (92 percent) who use mobile apps have them on their smartphone, while slightly more than half use them on their tablet. Of the small businesses using mobile apps, more than three in four (77 percent) are using three or more apps, with 5 percent using 20 or more apps  ... GPS/navigation and mapping apps as the most prominent.

For more information and additional results from the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll, please click here. General Information For free business resources such as webinars, case studies, and best practices, visit the AT&T Small Business Solutions website. Additionally, real-time information and updates can be found on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page and AT&T Small Business Twitter channel.  Time and dollar savings for small business were computed by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) using data from the 2014 AT&TSBE Council Small Business Technology Poll, U.S. Census Data and the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 5,104,014 employer firms with less than 20 workers in 2011 (latest data). Based on the Fall 2013 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, small business owners work an average of 10.5 hours per day, and earn an average annual salary$68,300. Assuming 50 workweeks, the per hour pay for small business owners was $26.02. Regarding mobile apps, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 51.5 percent of small businesses use mobile apps. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be 2,628,567 small businesses using mobile apps. Of the small firms using mobile apps, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 5.007 hours. 91.1 percent of owners using mobile apps report that the use of those apps saves them time, which equates to an estimated 2,394,625 small businesses with owners saving time with mobile apps. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 599.5 million hours of their time, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $15.6 billion annually. Regarding tablets, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 61.7 percent of small businesses use tablets. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be an estimated universe of 3,149,177 small businesses using tablets. Of the small firms using tablets, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 4.79 hours. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 754.2 million hours of their time due to tablet use, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $19.6 billion annually. Regarding smartphones, the 2014 AT&T-SBE Council Small Business Technology Poll shows that 94.3 percent of small businesses use smartphones. Using the U.S. Census Bureau data, there would be an estimated universe of 4,813,085 small businesses using smartphones. Of the small firms using smartphones, the average hours saved per week for the owner of the business was 5.16 hours. Over the course of one year, small business owners save an estimated 1.24 billion hours of their time, with the dollar value of those savings estimated at $32.3 billionannually.

Survey: CFOs see appeal in consulting role For chief financial officers who may not be ready to stop working upon retirement, consulting is an enticing option, according to a recent survey from  Robert Half Management Resources. Among financial executives interviewed, three in four (75 percent) said they find the prospect of consulting somewhat or very attractive. The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of seniorlevel finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets. “Financial professionals who are ready for a change

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but don›t want to retire often choose consulting as their next career step,” said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. “Project work provides intellectual challenge, the opportunity to take on new types of assignments and the ability to mentor others.” For those deciding whether  to transition to project consulting, here are four questions to consider before making the move: What do you hope to accomplish through consulting? You may be looking to work fewer hours or at your own pace, or to bring in supplemental income once you leave your full-time job. Whatever the reason, have a plan before you begin consulting to ensure you are on track to reach your goals. What expertise can you provide?  If you can

serve a niche in your field, you’ll be in demand as a consultant. Think about a particular skill set or area of expertise you have trouble filling on your own team. The more marketable your skills are, the greater your opportunities. How much do you want to promote yourself?  If you’d rather focus your time on consulting versus selfmarketing, consider partnering with a staffing firm that can help locate consulting gigs for you. A staffing firm also can take care of logistics – such as billing and taxes – on your behalf. Do you thrive in new environments?  If you would happily trade the predictability of a full-time job for the variety and flexibility of project-based work, an encore career as a consultant may be right up your alley.  


Study: Two-thirds of small businesses use mobile banking RateWatch, a premier banking data and analytics service owned by TheStreet, Inc. and  Simon-Kucher & Partners, a strategy and marketing consulting firm, released the results of a study: Monetizing Mobile Banking for Small Business Customers. The data looks at how small businesses currently use mobile banking as well as what features they would benefit from and whether they would be willing to pay for them. “A wide range of small businesses are willing to pay for more advanced mobile banking features, but most financial institutions are only offering free basic services,” said Jamie Zussman, Business Development Associate for RateWatch. “Our survey identifies this need in the marketplace for mobile banking solutions that create value for small businesses and consequently, could generate revenue for banks,” added  Jens Baumgarten, Partner, Head of Banking and Financial Services North America for Simon-Kucher & Partners. Of the small businesses surveyed: 34 percent use mobile banking on a weekly basis, while 33 percent use mobile banking less frequently. 33 percent have never used mobile banking at all. Comparatively, 75 percent use online banking on a weekly basis, 21 percent use online banking less frequently and 4 percent have never used online banking at all. Only 18 percent see no need for mobile banking.

Most small businesses would prefer to pay a monthly fee for unlimited transactions for informational services, transactional services, and advanced interactive services. The median amount that companies were willing to pay as a monthly for certain unlimited transactions ranged from$1 to $10. The three most important informational mobile banking services are: accessing account info, receiving alerts and receiving service guarantees and knowing how they are protected. The three most important transactional mobile banking services are: depositing a check, reporting/blocking lost/stolen cards and transferring money between accounts to optimize savings portfolio or to pay off a loan. The three most important basic interactive mobile banking services are: monitoring fraudulent activities, reaching your institution when you need to, such as calling customer service or placing an inquiry and scheduling appointments at a bank location. The three most important advanced interactive mobile banking services are: receiving transaction verification and advanced warning, capturing and storing receipts and requesting for payment flexibility for loans, mortgages, or credit cards. An executive summary of the report is available online.

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