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Augusta’s economy growing!................................... 2 Two businesses move to CSRA from NYC............. 6 Buzz Bits.........................................................................8,9 Bizperson of the Month: Deena Youngblood....12 Marketing that matters.............................................16 Job seekers find choices at Career Expo.............24

Making a Career Connection Job seekers, employers find mutual interest at Career Expo

By Gary Kauffman This time, there was no ice. A year after Ice Storm Pax played havoc with the first Buzz on Biz Career Expo, the second annual Buzz on Biz Career Expo went off without a hitch on Feb. 12. About 180 job candidates came through the doors of the Legends Club for the four-hour event, an increase of 33 percent from last year. Buzz on Biz founder Neil Gordon was happy to see the sun shining and temperatures in the upper 50s. Last year, the ice storm forced the Expo to be postponed for four days. “The weather cooperated this year,” he said. “We had a great turnout for our second try at this. The job candidates and the employers seemed to make some good connections.” Gordon said the goal of the Career Expo was to give job seekers and employers a chance to meet on a large scale. “We believe to be the best you have to hire the best,” he said. “This gives quality job candidates the chance to find the right fit, which benefits the businesses looking for quality employees. Best of all, they can do it all in one convenient location.” There was a steady flow of job seekers for most of the four hours of the Expo, coming from a variety of backgrounds and age ranges. Most of the candidates coming to the Career Expo presented themselves well and were well qualified. “The quality of people coming through was excellent,” said Greg Criste of Spherion Staffing. “There was a good mix of skills. We had some impressive resumes.” Isaac Kelly of Augusta Staffing said the quality of candidates was as good as it was last year.

Stephen Johnson offers his resume to Greg Criste of Spherion Staffing at the 2nd Annual Buzz on Biz Career Expo on Feb. 12. About 180 job seekers made connections with more than 30 employers. Photo by Gary Kauffman

“We got a number of resumes we’re considering for employment,” he said. “Depending on their skill set, the turnaround time to employment should be pretty quick.” Veeta Perry of GRU Talent Acquisition said their main goal at the Expo was to drive people to the website to see the variety of jobs they have available, but she was impressed with the candidates she talked to. “There were some great candidates who came through with a lot of potential,” she said. Donna Golden, general manager of Bobby Jones Ford Lincoln, also enjoyed meeting the variety of job seekers.

“We have a few candidates we’re excited about,” she said. “It was definitely worth the few hours we’ve been here.” Nichole Hayes of Jan-Pro hadn’t been sure what to expect from the Expo but was happy with the results. “It’s been very productive,” she said. “We got a lot of good resumes for part-time work but also franchise applications. Some of the military folks are interested in franchises.” Perhaps no one was happier with the Career Expo than Amanda Mascio of All’asta, an in-home demonstration, See CAREER EXPO, page 24

Eating, fun boost Augusta’s economy City adds 9,200 jobs—4,900 in leisure, hospitality sectors By Gary Kauffman Augusta was the place to eat and enjoy entertainment in 2014, according to information provided at the 7th Annual Economic Forecast breakfast at Georgia Regents University Jan. 28. Simon Medcalfe, associate professor of finance at the James M. Hull College of Business at GRU, said 4,900 new jobs were created in leisure and hospitality in 2014, a 21 percent growth rate. The national average growth rate was 3 percent. That was just part of the stunning growth in jobs in Augusta last year. Overall, there were 9,200 new jobs or a 4.2 percent growth rate. Augusta had the biggest growth of any Metro Statistical Area (MSA) in the state. As good as those numbers were, Mother Nature kept them from being even better. “If not for the ice storm in February, it would have been an even better year,” Medcalfe said. Of the 9,200 jobs, all but 100 were in the private sector – 8,700 of those in the service industry, with 4,900 of those in leisure and hospitality. That growth helped leisure and hospital-

ity overtake retail as the second-largest economic sector in Augusta, behind only the health and education sector. In addition to the growth in jobs, Augusta also experienced an 8.6 percent growth in earnings. Medcalfe believes that helps explain at least some of the growth in leisure and hospitality, since those services usually are paid for with discretionary income. Although the job growth numbers weren’t as high in hotels, the revenues for local hotels increased by 20 percent in 2014, and the number of rooms sold increased by 17.5 percent. Medcalfe expects the job growth in leisure and hospitality to slow in 2015, in part because it may have overgrown the need slightly last year. Leisure and hospitality jobs make up 12 percent of the workforce in Augusta, above the national average of 10 percent. Medcalfe added that there are a few “headwinds” that could slow Augusta’s economy in 2015, which are out of Augusta’s control. Global issues, both political and economic, could affect the local economy, as could

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/ Contributing Writers Alexandrea Daitch Submit Information

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

For more information, visit us at or like us on Facebook

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2 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Augusta has experienced a big turnaround in the economy, according to finance professor Simon Medcalfe. Photo by Gary Kauffman

central bank policies in the United States and abroad. “Everyone agrees that interest rates will rise but they’re unsure when,” Medcalfe said. But the “tailwinds” that could boost the local economy include the low oil prices, which Medcalfe said amount to a 4 percent raise in income. He doesn’t foresee gasoline prices climbing back to $3 a gallon anytime soon. Medcalfe also said that spending on ser-

vices remains below average, so there is still growth potential in that area for 2015. Locally, the continued influx of personnel into Fort Gordon and the relocation of Cyber Command to Augusta will continue to impact businesses. There will be some job growth from companies moving to the area to be closer to Cyber Command, but Medcalfe expects most of the resulting job growth to be in increments of one or two additional employees to a business to keep up with increased demand.

There’s more to money when rating a city’s quality of life By Gary Kauffman When it comes to quality of life, Augusta still has some work to do despite a growing economy. A strong economy is a good thing to have in a community, and it’s getting stronger in the Augusta area. But that alone doesn’t determine the quality of life in a community, Simon Medcalfe, professor of finance at Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University, said at his annual economic forecast breakfast Jan. 28. Medcalfe presented six areas – gross domestic product, income and poverty, education, health, crime and the environment – and measured where Augusta fit in. There were 110 MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) in the study. Augusta did not rank in the Top 10 overall, but the good news is that it also didn’t rank in the bottom 10. However, the Augusta MSA was only 79th out of the 110. The top MSA was Boulder, Colo. The worst was Memphis, Tenn.

“If you take quality of life seriously, it’s an interdisciplinary issue,” Medcalfe said. “I’d like to stimulate a debate on what the best policies are to improve the quality of life.” Augusta’s GDP ranked 63rd. Per capita income and poverty both ranked 93rd. In education, the Augusta MSA ranked 92nd in those with a high school or higher degree, but 61st among those with a bachelors or higher degree. The health category showed an anomaly. In self-reported health, rated as excellent, Augusta ranked 14th. However, in obesity it ranked 77th, showing that either there was a high discrepancy in the health conditions of residents, or there was faulty self-reporting on health. Augusta did better than the median in violent crime, ranking 43rd, but dropping to 98th in property crime. In the environment, it ranked 43rd in the maximum air quality, but only 66th in the number of days with good quality air.

Business Insurance David Bagwell

Data Disaster The right insurance can protect you in a cyber attack Let’s suppose your company has come under attack by a skilled hacker. The hacker has accessed your customers’ names and contact information – and worse – your employees’ social security numbers. Wouldn’t it be nice to have cyber liability insurance right about now? Insurance that protects you in case of a cyber-attack may seem like something only large corporations would need, or could ever afford. But believe it or not, cyber liability insurance makes lots of sense for small companies as well. Here’s why: 1. It’s more affordable than you think. Stand-alone policies can have premiums as low as

$2,000 a year. In some cases it can be added to your existing commercial insurance policy for much less than that. 2. It can cover more than you think. Many policies offer “first party” coverage – that is, they will pay you for things like business interruption, the cost of notifying customers of a breach and even the expense of hiring a public relations firm to repair any damage done to your image as a result of a cyber-attack. Having this cash available in the event of a crippling hack can keep the lights on till you’re able to resume your normal cash flow. A good policy can even cover any regulatory fines or penalties you might incur because of a data breach. Business interruption coverage can be especially important for a small business. 3. You probably don’t have a risk management team. Big corporations have entire departments devoted to analyzing the risks the company could face and helping set policies and procedures to protect against them. You don’t – but a good insurance carrier can perform a similar function. An insurance company might work with you to make sure a firewall is in place to protect your network, and make sure you have social media policies that reduce risk. Your insurer may

Stan Johnson Jewelers is NA Small Biz of the Year George Nelson, Mike Van Hise also honored at event

Stan Johnson Jewelers was named as 2014 Small Business of the Year Thursday night, Feb. 12, at the annual meeting of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce. More than 300 people attended the annual meeting, titled Passport to Success. In addition to Stan Johnson Jewelers, the Chamber also awarded George Nelson as 2014 Citizen of the Year and Mike Van Hise as 2014 Ambassador of the Year. Stan Johnson Jewelers has been in business for more than 30 years. They recently moved to a new location on Edgefield Road. They are well-known for their impeccable attention to detail and their exemplary customer service. The business is also a contributor to several non-profit organizations, but according to store owner Stan Johnson, they prefer to stay out of the spotlight when it comes to charitable contributions. The store is an avid supporter of other local small businesses. Johnson said he believes that small businesses are the backbone of any community. Nelson has been part of the North Au-

gusta community for more than 50 years and utilized his professional skills to improve the community while mentoring its youth and educators. He is a founding member and leader of the North Augusta Rotary Club and is directly responsible for the award of more than $100,000 in college scholarships to North Augusta and Fox Creek High Schools. Nelson is also the founder of the Bridge Building competition at North Augusta High School, which started in 1972. He was part of former leadership with the CSRA Girl Scout Council, where he designed the camp and other facilities with the Girl Scouts. He also designed the bridge structures at the Living History Park and was recently the recipient of the Letellier Cup for outstanding lifetime contribution to the profession and the spirit of civil engineering. The Ambassador of the Year award honored a Chamber Ambassador who has volunteered many hours of time, talent and energy to the success and growth of the North Augusta Chamber. The Chamber felt Van Hise is an example of Chamber volunteerism and commitment at its best, and he goes to great efforts to support, grow and improve the Chamber. He is currently the director of ticket sales for the Augusta GreenJackets.

well be willing to help with these areas because the better protected you are, the less likely you are to have a breach that could result in a claim. 4. Even if you don’t host your data yourself, you’re still responsible. Is your website and any of your data hosted or stored in the cloud? Take a good look at your contracts: You’re still legally responsible. There’s a significant risk, even though you can’t fully control how a cloud provider handles your data but an insurance policy can protect you if your cloud provider screws up. Most people think of a breach coming from a hacker. You can suffer from something simple like a lost laptop, jump

drive or cell phone with secure data. 5. Your general policy won’t cover you. Typically, a general liability policy specifically excludes losses incurred because of the Internet. A good cyber liability policy can pick up where your general policy leaves off. David Bagwell is Vice President of Bagwell Insurance. For more than 40 years they have been a family-owned and operated Independent Insurance Agency specializing in home, auto and business insurance. Their mission is to be the client’s trusted advisor for protection against the risks of economic loss. Contact David at

Augusta December LEI 5.4% higher than previous year Augusta’s economy continues to look up, according to the most recent reports from Georgia Regents University’s Hull College of Business. The Augusta Leading Economic Index (LEI) for December continued its upward trend, increasing 1.1 percent over November. That marks 10 straight months of growth. The index for December 2014 also shows a 5.4 percent increase over December 2013. Housing permits increased by a seasonally adjusted 35 percent from November,

but initial claims for unemployment insurance increased by 30 percent. For the year 2014, total employment in the Augusta Metropolitan Statistical Area increased by 3.3 percent, despite a small drop in December. The Augusta LEI is a monthly composite index that combines several national, regional and local indicators into a single variable. It can provide local decision makers with timely information about future business cycle patterns in the Augusta area. The LEI is compiled by Simon Medcalfe, associate professor of finance at Hull College.

WOW boosts internet speeds Internet speeds for some Augustans will be increasing. WOW! Business announced that it is introducing its new 110Mbs high-speed internet to Augusta. It will also be increasing speeds in Charleston, S.C., Knoxville, Tenn., and Panama City, Fla. The new service will help businesses that need more bandwidth to meet their needs. WOW! offers internet, voice, data and cloud computing services, but businesses can obtain the higher-speed internet service without having to bundle with any of the others.

“We’re nearing the completion of our rapid expansion of high-speed Internet service in the Southeast and Midwest and are already seeing an excellent response rate from single and multi-location businesses in a variety of market segments,” said WOW! Business senior vice president Brad Cheedle in a statement. “Unlike many other providers, we’re listening to our customers and delivering the flexibility and high level of customer service they want and expect without requiring businesses to purchase a bundle that includes voice or other products.”

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Accounting Christine Hall

Penalty Box

Not having health insurance could mean tax penalty Starting with this year’s filing season, taxpayers must report certain information related to health care coverage on their 2014 tax return when they file this April. In addition, taxpayers must provide proof of health insurance coverage or that they have received an exemption. The biggest change for most taxpayers is found on Line 61 of Form 1040, where individuals must either check a box to show they had health insurance or pay a penalty. In general, the penalty applies to individuals who did not have health insurance for more than three months in 2014. In 2014, the penalty is the greater of 1 percent of

modified adjusted gross income or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child under age 18, up to a maximum of $285 per family). While the IRS cannot issue a lien against you in order to make you pay the penalty, they are allowed to withhold the money from your refund. Certain persons may qualify for an exemption from the penalty such as those who do not need to file a tax return ($10,150 for individuals, $13,050 for heads of household, and $20,300 for a married couples filing jointly). Other exceptions (there are eight in total) include being a member of a federally recognized tribe or qualifying for a hardship exemption if you filed for bankruptcy in the last six months or had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months that resulted in substantial debt. Taxpayers who believe they qualify for an exemption must apply and receive an exemption certificate from the Marketplace. There’s an additional twist for the approximately eight million people who purchased health insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace, many of whom received subsidies that were paid to insurance companies and applied directly to their insurance premiums. What taxpayers might not realize is

that in many cases these subsidies were based on household size and income for 2012. Remember, the enrollment period began October 1, 2013 before taxpayers had filed their 2013 tax returns. If income or household size changed in 2014 and the IRS was not notified of these updates, taxpayers may be liable for paying additional subsidy monies or conversely, receive refunds for amounts overpaid. For example, if you received a bonus in 2014 (change in household income), it could mean that you owe the government money. If you purchased health insurance from the Marketplace you will receive Form 1095-A showing details of your coverage such as the effective date, amount of your premium payment, and any advanced premium credit you received. The amount of any advanced

Business Matters Kim Romaner Today’s value of a four-year college

degree is roughly $300,000, and it will take the graduate 10 years to receive a total return of that investment.

Money for Nothing Business investment may make more sense than college

This article will mostly be a historical retrospective, because if you’ve already spent the money to put your kids or yourself through college…it’s gone, man. And in today’s environment, you may be looking at payments on that investment for years to come. Hopefully you’re enjoying the very positive fruits of that investment as expressed in a high paying career, or the beginnings of one. If you’re not, or you haven’t spent the money yet, you might want to know some recent statistics. In September 2014, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released research that revealed that more than 70 percent of college students now graduate with loans, and

4 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

the average debt is more than $33,000. This does not count the amount of money that was invested out of pocket by the student or the student’s parents or family. Today’s value of a four-year college degree is roughly $300,000, and it will take the graduate 10 years to receive a total return of that investment. However, that return calculation is based on actually completing the four-year degree in four years, which is accomplished by less than 40 percent of students enrolled each year. The associated costs of taking two more years to complete the degree are well over an additional $100,000, according to the New York Fed economists. I’ll directly quote Richard Vetter, an economist and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, as captured by the Wall Street Journal: “Out of every 100 kids who enter college, 40 don’t graduate, and for the 60 who do, 15 are in the bottom quartile

and don’t make any more money than if they hadn’t gone to college.” The median wage for the holder of a bachelor’s degree in this country in 2013 was $48,000. Those in that bottom quartile are making no more than $27,000 per year. That is, if they’ve been able to find a job. If you’re a parent of a college-age child, or are a 20-something yourself, then you may be experiencing the rougher part of this equation: Parents and children living together again after a hopeful launch; subsidizing or being subsidized to live somewhere else; or applying for job after job that doesn’t seem to come to fruition. If you’ve already made the investment, and a clear cut career path and a good living still seem elusive, is it possible to take the knowledge that was gleaned during that college career and apply it to creating a good or better income for yourself, anyway? And if you’re debating making the

premium credit you received in 2014 is reported on Form 8962. This form is also used to figure out the actual premium credit as well. Form 8965 must be filed when taxpayers do not have health insurance. The penalty is figured on this form and if you applied for an exemption from the Marketplace and it was approved, the exemption certificate number must also be reported on this form to avoid paying the penalty. This is a sponsored employment article. Hall & Associates LLC 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

investment in the first place, could you go into business for yourself and skip the school? The answer to both is, “Yes!” You can start your own business, buy an existing business that already has an existing customer and revenue base, buy into a franchise system, get training and become part of a franchise family – and many iterations of those options, which include getting more focused entrepreneurial education and guidance. As a mentor with Startup Augusta, and as a business advisor with decades of entrepreneurial and corporate experience, I’m just one of the many business mentors in the CSRA willing to share what we know in order to help you get connected to the perfect opportunity in a successful way. Give me a call at 706-383-2994 to schedule a free consultation today. I’d love to meet you! 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 over 100 locations in the U.S. and abroad, Transworld has sold many thousands of businesses. If you’d like to talk to Kim about selling your business, buying a franchise or turning your existing business into a franchise operation, please call 706-383-2994, x802, or email her at

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


From Big Apple to the Garden City

Two businesses move from New York City for a fresh start in Augusta Capital, Creative QP’s Dollhouse creates own products, Media offers digital champions community involvement communications By Gary Kauffman A new downtown Augusta store that helps women be By Gary Kauffman A piece of the Big Apple’s digital communications services has come to Augusta. Capital, Creative Media opened in Augusta in July when owner Kevin Murphy and his expectant wife moved from New York City to be closer to family. Murphy saw the potential business growth in the CSRA as a positive for his fledgling company. Capital, Creative Media offers two categories of services: Strategic communications, which includes such things as web copy and press releases, and web development, which includes web design and development. The company consists of three employees, and while Murphy said he’ll work with any size company, much of his work is with small and mid-size businesses. He has also worked directly with cyber security systems. “We work with businesses who are looking for a new website or for a modern design,” he said. Murphy said Capital, Creative Media strives to build websites that have form, function and a look to the future. “We want to introduce businesses to the world in a way that’s fresh and stronger,” he said. Development includes such things as marketing, search engine optimization and social media campaigns. Murphy started his company in 2014 and chose the name Capital, Creative Media to stand out from the crowd. “In New York City I was surrounded by the best and brightest minds,” he said. “I wanted something that said we are a forward-looking company that is flexible to meet the needs of a variety of businesses.” Murphy said the transition from the Big Apple to Augusta has been enjoyable, especially compared to New York in winter. “Everybody, both on a personal and professional level, has been kind to us,” he said.

unique is itself a unique business. QP’s Dollhouse, 877 Broad Street, is a concierge-style boutique that specializes in accessories, such as handbags, shoes, jewelry and even lingerie. Owners Kim and Artina Sharpton help women put together the accessories that will complete an outfit. “We help with weddings, proms and those special occasions that women want to look amazing for,” Kim Sharpton said. The product line is unique, created by Sharpton’s wife, Artina. Her line of QP Doll accessories are available to purchase in-store, but she also creates custom accessories. “Sometimes they want something no one else has,” Sharpton said of their customers. And that’s where the uniqueness of the store comes in. The business has a 3-D printer, a sublimation printer and other tools to make their products in the store. “All our manufacturing is done in-house,” Sharpton said. “Not only is it American made, it’s Augusta made.” While the store is new to Augusta, the business has been around for a few years. Sharpton said it is an outgrowth of a business he had in New York City called QP Apparel. His wife made the product that he sold, and it soon became apparent that her talent could be expanded into a business. She did so through internet sales. Two years ago the couple moved to Augusta, and after spending a year renovating a home in an area where they saw potential for growth, they have turned their attention to a brick-and-mortar storefront. The Sharptons came to Augusta at the urging of a friend who had moved here. “We came down and fell in love with it,” Sharpton said. “It was love at first sight.” After dealing with the pressure cooker of New York and the cutthroat competition there, Sharpton has no doubts

A boot belt made and sold at QP’s Dollhouse.

that QP’s Dollhouse can be a success in Augusta. “The song is true, ‘If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,’” he said. “But we feel we can contribute to Augusta in a meaningful way.” To that end, the Sharpton’s plan to recreate an event they sponsored in New York City, called Blackbird Fly. It is a twoday event for girls ages 10-21. The first day exposes them to career opportunities with talks from various professions. In the past that has included such diverse occupations as NASA and professional female football. The day also includes health and fitness classes. The second day of the event is a gala during which the girls are outfitted in gowns and accessories. “They’re like little princesses,” Sharpton said. In New York City, Blackbird Fly attracted as many as 200 girls for the event. Sharpton said events such as these are important for both community and business. “We believe the synthesis between local businesses and the community should be a strong one,” he said. For more information, visit

Business going mobile, personal in 2015 Randstad Technologies, a major provider of IT talent and solutions with considerable experience in enterprise mobility, explains five ways enterprises will embrace mobility in 2015. Accustaff of Augusta is a franchise affiliate of Randstad. 1. Businesses Will Collaborate to Create “Mobile Moments.” A “mobile moment” is giving someone exactly what they want, in the proper context, in the simplest way possible, and sometimes before they even know they need it – all through a single app. It begins by developing the buyer’s persona, then considering what context they would likely be engaged with for a particular business and then determining the status in the buyer’s journey. To be successful at mobile moments, businesses will need to make shifts in every facet of their organization: processes, development, platforms, people and metrics.

6 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

2. Building Mobile Consortiums to Put “Consumers First.” Partners and suppliers are working on adjusting their business processes to ensure smooth end-to-end workflows for the consumer. Any mobile offering that depends on an ecosystem of partners relies on end-to-end experiences. This will turn on its head the usual model of a company pushing “our brand, our services, our app” – making it instead the “consumer first” and what they need, irrespective of who provides it. To maintain their customer, third-party providers will need to provide for collaboration and workflow efficiency while incorporating mobile moments. 3. Brick and Mortar Discover the Power of Geography.  Interior GPS tracking will gain traction and get more sophisticated to the point that retailers will have the ability to actually help customers with information to facilitate a buying decision and offer

cross-sell/up-sell suggestions along the way, as well as the ability to prioritize stocking procedures to maintain shelves in those aisles most traveled by customers. But leveraging the power of geography indoors will come with challenges, such as building an effective user interface, integrating with dynamic data and pulling multiple technologies together. 4. Gaining Business Intelligence through the Mobile Channel Will Grow Exponentially. While mobile business intelligence usage continues to grow, something even bigger is on the horizon. Businesses are entering a multi-screened world – one that goes beyond smartphones, tablets and PCs. Business intelligence will soon deliver real-time information to any device and screen size, exactly when the user needs it. And with real-time information, more social features will invade tradi-

tional business intelligence software, with collaboration. 5. Ultra-Personalization in Mobile Marketing. Everything is about personalization today, and businesses should have a clear strategy for a world in which every customer, worker and supplier is hyperproductive, hyper-available and hyperengaged. Mobile consumers expect their experiences to be tailored to them, and if businesses use the right tools to capture a user’s context, they’ll have better results for the marketing campaign. But with the additional spend for personalization in the mobile channel, the biggest trend gaining more attention in 2015 is the issue of a user’s quality. The emphasis will be on acquiring good users who will use the app and come back to use it again to ensure that mobile applications and marketing reach their performance goals.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Webinar will explain new OSHA regs

An online webinar will discuss OSHA’s new rules and regulations that are expected to dramatically increase employers’ reporting requirements. The hour-long webinar starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25. It is free to members of the Augusta Metro Chamber and $25 for non-members. Registration is required at The new OSHA rules on occupational injury and illness went into effect on Jan. 1. OSHA has announced that information obtained from these new reporting requirements will be made public on OSHA’s website. The webinar, presented by Ed Foulke and Tex McIver of Fisher & Phillips, LLP, will review the essential components of a comprehensive recordkeeping and reporting program as required by OSHA. It will also recommend strategies for accurate documentation and ensuring that current records are maintained. The proper use of three essential forms will also be discussed.

Partridge Inn to be linked with Hilton Curio

The Partridge Inn learned on Jan. 10 that later this year it will be affiliated with Hilton Curio, Hilton’s line of boutique hotels. The affiliation means that guests can make reservations online via Hilton’s website and it will be part of the Hilton Honors program. “Having Hilton’s support is critical to this hotel’s success,” said Bill Mish, the new general manager of The Partridge Inn. He said that typically such an affiliation increases a hotel’s occupancy by 40-45 percent. The link to Hilton Curio is expected to take place sometime after Masters Week. Mish said boutique hotels are growing in popularity, especially among Millennials. A boutique hotel is usually one where a historic hotel or other building is transformed into a unique hotel

buzz bits

but with the modern amenities. In the case of The Partridge Inn, the building has always been a hotel. “It fits a niche market to the Millennials,” Mish said. “They don’t want a cookie-cutter restaurant or hotel. But they want the technology to go with it.” To that end, The Partridge Inn is currently closed for the first of a two-phase renovation. The first phase is to completely redo the rooms and hallways. Along with that is an upgrade in all of the technology. The Partridge Inn’s makeover includes bringing everything up to the standards set for the Hilton Curio brand. Mish expects that the Hilton Curio name will be added to The Partridge Inn name in some way. But that won’t affect the uniqueness or the history of one of Augusta’s landmark buildings. Mish said the hotel has 144 rooms and 144 room types, making each stay a unique experience. “It’s all about the story,” Mish said. “Every boutique hotel is about the story.” He said becoming a boutique hotel will preserve The Partridge Inn’s legacy. “This place doesn’t go away as long as there’s someone here to tell its story,” Mish said. While he expects it to become a popular destination among Millennials, especially as their buying power increases, he believes older people, especially those familiar with Augusta, will gravitate toward it, too. “Staying here is a bucket list item for many,” he said.

Airport hires new director

The Augusta Regional Airport has its new executive director. Roy Williams began serving in that position on Jan. 26. The Commission had conducted a nationwide search for candidates. “We were pleased with the quality and caliber of candidates applying for the position but the Commission felt, as a body, that Roy stood out as the best match for the Augusta Regional Airport as we move forward,” said Doug Lively, Aviation Commission chairman. Williams has more than 30

8 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Former downtown chamber building reopens for use

The former Chamber of Commerce building at 600 Broad Street opened its doors Feb. 6 for the first time since 2010 to feature an art exhibition. The building, located in the median of Broad Street, has undergone extensive renovation in the past year. The plan is to use it for office and meetyears of experience in the aviation field. He previously served as executive director at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport.

Former Denver mayor to speak at Chamber event

Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver, will be the guest speaker at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s 107th Annual Meeting on Feb. 26. The meeting will be held at the Augusta Marriott Convention Center, with registration at 6 p.m. and the dinner/program starting at 6:30 p.m. Events will include the traditional passing of the gavel and recognition of new board members. Registration is required at Webb spent 12 years as Denver’s mayor, helping to lift it out of the economic doldrums by investing $7 billion in infrastructure. Prior to being elected mayor, he served in the Colorado State Legislature; was

ing room space. The building was designed by legendary architect I.M Pei in 1978, but has been vacant since the Augusta Metro Chamber moved in 2010. The Augusta Regional Collaborative was granted a five-year lease on the building and has been the driver in renovating it.

appointed a Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter; was appointed Executive Director of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies under Governor Richard Lamm; and was elected Denver’s city Auditor. His numerous recognitions include the U.S. Conference of Mayors highest honor; The Americans for the Arts Government Leadership in the Arts; The National Wildlife Federation’s Achievement Award; The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s ‘’Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy’’ award; and by the country of France the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier of the Legion Honor). Webb is the only mayor in U.S. history to serve as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, President of the National Conference of Black Mayors, and President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors. In October 2003, he founded Webb Group International which works with businesses and cities on economic development projects, public relations and other consulting areas.

Verizon, AT&T tops in Augusta

Verizon edged out AT&T as the best mobile service in the Augusta area – but just barely. In a report released by RootMetrics, an independent mobile phone rating service, Verizon was ranked 98.2 out of 100 for overall service, while AT&T garnered 97.8. It was so close that RootMetrics ranked them as a tie for first. Sprint was second at 93.8, while T-Mobile had 90.3. This is the second consecutive year that Verizon and AT&T have been at the top of the rankings. Verizon and AT&T tied for first in the call reliability Index with Sprint not far behind. In speed, however, Verizon was first and AT&T second, while Sprint lagged at a distant fourth place. Verizon was first in data transmission performance, Verizon and AT&T tied for first in texting and best call performance was a three-way tie between Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Nationally, Verizon was first in 38 states and tied for first in 10 others. In the 300 categories (six categories in 50 states), Verizon was first or tied for first in 257.

First 170 picked for Army’s cyber branch CyberCommand took a step closer to becoming reality when the first 170 candidates were selected for the cyber branch of the Army. The Army’s CyberCommand will officially be relocated to Fort Gordon in 2019, but the Cyber School opened at Fort Gordon in August. The 170 selected are activeduty officers ranking from second lieutenant to colonel. They are transferring to the cyber branch from other areas of the military. A second round of selections will likely be made this summer. The transfer of CyberCommand to Fort Gordon, along with other changes, is expected to bring nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel to the Augusta area, plus their families, in the next four years.

Applications being taken for Top 10 in 10 If you are impressed with a young professional, now would be the time to get him or her some special recognition. The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications now for the prestigious “Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals to Watch.” This award honors 10 accomplished rising business professionals between the ages of 25 and 35 who have a clear vision of where they’ll be in 10 years. Winners are selected based on their professional goals for the next five to 10 years, significant past achievements and awards and their volunteer and community activities. Each winner receives a feature article in the June 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine, a nomination to the Georgia Trend magazine’s 2015 Top 40 Under 40 and an award at the June Member Economic Luncheon. Applications are due by March 31 and must be mailed to Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, Top 10 in 10 Young Professionals, P. O. Box 1837, Augusta, GA 30903-1837. The application is available online. For more information or any questions about the applications, contact Butch Holley at 706-821-1318 or butch.holley@

buzz bits

risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes. Research has shown that people whose sugars are not well managed after surgery tend to have higher rates of complications, so GRHealth standardized the management of glucose levels in surgical patients through advanced treatment protocols. This enhanced cardiac care plan requires monitoring blood sugar more frequently; providing more thorough patient education; increasing communication between the operating room and the intensive care unit; and fulfilling all necessary caregiver training.

Company officers need to register The deadline for the annual registration renewal for officers and registered agents of corporations is April 1. Georgia law requires all corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships to file annual registrations with the Secretary of State and pay the renewal fee. Corporations can file online at corporations/corporations_ training_guides_for_online_filing_and_annual_registrations or send it to P.O. Box 23038, Columbus, GA 31902.

Going lean GR Med Center helps SRR post big savings earns state Going lean resulted in big savaward ings for a CSRA company. Georgia Regents Medical Center has earned a statewide award for enhancing cardiac care from the Partnership for Health and Accountability, an affiliate of the Georgia Hospital Association. GRHealth earned third place among Georgia hospitals with more than 300 beds for successfully managing blood sugar levels in heart surgery patients. PHA’s annual Quality and Safety Awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievements in reducing the

Savannah River Remediation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s liquid waste contractor, announced a savings of $21 million by using the Lean Business Management System. This system uses continuous adjustments to systems that create incremental improvements to efficiency and quality. The three core principles of the Lean System are: Eliminate waste, design continuous flow and respect the talent and knowledge of the workers. It operates on the concept that

Patrick wins national award for radio golf show John Patrick, who hosts Buzz on Biz’s daily business radio program, which airs noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WRDW 1630 AM was recently awarded for his golf show. Augusta Golf Show with John Patrick won Best Radio Program at the 22nd Annual ING Media Awards at the PGA Golf Merchandise Show. The Augusta Golf Show with John Patrick airs in Augusta on WYNF, ESPN1340, Saturdays at 8 a.m. The show also airs on WGIG-1440AM in Brunswick/Sea Island, Ga., WSCC-FM in Charleston, S.C., WVOC-AM in Columbia, S.C., WVSP-FM in Norfolk, Va., WTKS-AM in Savannah, Ga., WVFTFM in Tallahassee, Fla., WXFJ-AM in Jacksonville, Fla., WLRO-AM in Baton Rouge, La., and WODTAM in New Orleans. The show also airs on the i-Heart radio platforms. The International Network of Golf, a non-profit, media-based networking organization, conducts the awards program for its members. ING membership is open to anyone in the golf industry and media. Winners and Outstanding Achievers are determined by an independent panel of three judges

in each category. Judges use a point system with several criteria. Determinations are made by judges when possible without knowledge of the person responsible for the work, or of the other judges in the category. The number of Outstanding Achievers in a category is determined by total entries and scoring range in the category. Each category is coordinated by a category chairperson, who is responsible for securing the three judges. Media Awards Committee chair is Cody Law of Golf Mesquite Nevada. A total of 41 first-place and honorable mention awards in 13 different categories were handed out at the presentation press conference conducted in ClubING at the PGA Show on Jan. 21.

the customer requirements drive what has value. SRR began Lean in late 2013. It held various Lean “events” during 2014 to focus on various facets of SRR’s daily work. “Lean is an outstanding tool that leads to real return on investment,” said Stuart MacVean, SRR president and project manager.

mance criteria across various business through achievement against established metrics. Century 21 Larry Miller Realty has offices in Evans and Thomson.

ents. The hotel is already the site of many weddings and private parties with six different venues within the building, including the multiple-award winning restaurant.

Realtor earns international award

Venner named to Willcox post Laura Venner of Aiken has been appointed as Catering Sales coordinator at The Willcox. Venner has served the hotel as a server and host since June 2014. She is a 2014 graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y., where she earned a BS in Biology with a concentration in Molecular, Cell and Genetics and a minor in Chemistry. Venner was a Dean’s List scholar and a pre-veterinarian student. Since last June, Venner has also worked as a veterinary assistant at Mobile Equine Services in Aiken. In her new position, she will be responsible for maintaining the on-premises catering business in the 117-year-old Aiken landmark, and spearheading an increased emphasis on off-site catering. The Willcox food truck, the hotel’s traveling commercial kitchen, significantly increases The Willcox’s offsite capabilities and convenience for their cli-

Local Domino’s among best fund raisers

Mary Lou Miller, Relocation director for Century 21 Larry Miller Realty, and her team recently received a prestigious international award. Cartus Broker Services issued one of its Platinum 2015 Excellence awards to Miller and her team. This is the highest level of recognition offered by Cartus, a global company. “We are so proud of Mary Lou and our agents for achieving the highest award possible for excellence in relocation services,” Larry Miller said. “This prestigious award proves what hard work, professionalism and commitment can accomplish.” Excellence Awards are presented by Cartus Broker Services to Network members who demonstrate a mastery of perfor-

Fort Gordon Domino’s Pizza raised a lot of extra dough to benefit the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – $9,610, to be exact. The amount raised ranked the Fort Gordon store in the Top 5 for all Domino’s stores. The money was raised from Nov. 3, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015 as part of the 2014 St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign. Domino’s raised an all-time high national fundraising total of $5.2 million for St. Jude. During the campaign Domino’s stores nationwide participated by asking for a dollar or more to be added to customers’ orders to help the kids of St. Jude. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other deadly diseases.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business openings, closing and moves Openings Smart Safes In a world where security increasingly means cyber safety, Matt Smart has started a business dealing with security items that have been around for hundreds of years – safes. Smart opened Smart Safes in North Augusta on Jan. 27. It is located at 1749 Knox Ave., adjoining the O’Reilly Auto Parts store. But even though it may seem old-fashioned, Smart said there is a growing demand for safes. “I ran a gun shop for the last 10 years and realized there was a growing need for safes in people’s houses,” he said in an interview on Buzz on Biz radio. “People want to protect their investments.” He said there is a misconception that safes are primarily to protect guns, but he said many who don’t own guns are interested in protecting their jewelry, documents, precious metals and cash. Smart Safes is a full-service store that sells safes, including special orders, delivers and services its products. It carries safe accessories like shelves, hangers, jewelry boxes and LED lights. Smart is especially proud of the Liberty Safe product line that is made in the United States with United States-produced materials. “I’m big-time small business and I’m bigtime made in the USA,” he said. The safes come in all sizes, weighing from 250 pounds to 16,000 pounds, and are firerated for 30 minutes up to 2-1/2 hours. Smart emphasized the importance of the professional background he has and the store’s sole purpose of selling safes. “We’re a safe store with safe professionals in it,” he said. “That’s all I do all day. We’re not a big box store that happens to carry safes.” The business is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit their Facebook site at smartsafes1. Family Y The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta opened its 10th facility on Saturday in Barnwell, S.C. The new center is located at 660 Joey Zorn Ave., in the former Denmark Technical School building. The new location will house a wellness center, group exercise rooms, community meeting space, childcare rooms, administrative offices and outdoor recreation space. Kids Prompt Care Kids with non-emergency conditions no longer have to spend hours sitting in a hospital ER with the opening of Kids Prompt Care at 1456 Walton Way, next to McDonald’s. The new facility, started by Dr. Alan Getts, opened on Jan. 5 and is open from noon to 10 p.m. daily. It serves children from newborn to 15 years old. “This will keep kids from going to the ER for non-emergency things like colds and earaches,” said office administrator Danielle Myers.

10 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Myers said Kids Prompt Care works with most insurance companies and doctors. “We’ll see everybody’s patient,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who their primary care physician is.” The new facility treated 105 patients from Jan. 5-31, but saw 26 in the first four days of February. “It seems to be picking up pretty good,” Myers said. The waiting room and exam rooms are kid friendly. Two of the three exam rooms contain a playhouse, and the waiting room features colorful kids furniture they can play on. De La Pop Gourmet Popcorn If you’re tired of popcorn that tastes like, well, popcorn, the CSRA’s newest store is the place for you. De La Pop Gourmet Popcorn opened recently with 125 flavors of popcorn, as well as 90 flavors of soft drinks and gourmet candies. The new store is located at 1141 Agerton Lane in the Augusta Exchange, across the street from the Regal 20 Cinemas. Local entrepreneurs Ramon and Bianca Brown decided to turn their love for popcorn into a business. What they came up with is 125 flavors of popcorn, including such unique tastes as Cookies n’ Cream, Red Velvet, Strawberry Cheesecake and Spicy Buffalo. “My wife and I both love popcorn” said Ramon Brown. “We came up with De La Pop as a way to build a vibrant business in Augusta and at the same time share our love of popcorn with the community.” All of De La Pop’s popcorn is manufactured on-site. In addition to the retail operation, De La Pop also provides corporate gifting, fundraising programs, online ordering, special event catering and personalized promotional items. De La Pop ships orders nationwide. The couple decided that they wanted a customer experience that included more than popcorn, so they added 90 kinds of sodas that come in glass bottles. The flavors are as varied as the popcorn. These bottles are not available anywhere else in the CSRA. The Browns’ craving for gourmet popcorn led them to locations in Chicago and Texas, or to mail order sites. To make things easier on themselves and to share their love with others locally, they decided to open a store in Augusta, along with partner Allen Walker. After much trial and error, they developed 125 unique flavors. But they continue to add and change flavors, so each visit to the store offers the opportunity to try something new. De Novo Restaurant A new restaurant opened last month in North Augusta, with a goal of using as much local produce and meat as possible. The new eatery, called De Novo, is located in the North Hills Shopping Center on Martintown Road, in the former Doughnut Hole store next to Marco’s Pizza. “De Novo is a Latin word meaning ‘from

the beginning,’ ‘anew’ or ‘afresh,’” chef/owner Jeremy Collins said. “That is kind of what my concept is.” That concept is to partner with local farmers to provide a “farm-to-table” experience. Most of his items come from farms in South Carolina, but also from Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. His menu will include beef, pork, chicken, fish and shellfish, along with madefrom-scratch bread and pasta. Collins has a wealth of knowledge in creating top meals. After serving in the Army as a food specialist, he obtained a bachelors degree from Johnson and Wales, one of the top three culinary schools in the country. He’s worked as chef at Augusta National, Taste in Hammonds Ferry and at Frog Hollow and Craft & Vine in Augusta. De Novo will open with a capacity of 32 diners, but Collins said it will soon expand to about 50 after some renovations. Because of the limited seating, reservations are suggested. Closings Radio Shack Once the king of technology, Radio Shack has filed for bankruptcy protection as it works to sell as many as 2,400 of its stores to Standard General. Once sold, Standard General plans to partner with Sprint on 1,750 of those stores. Sprint would occupy about a third of each store with wireless products, and become the primary brand on the storefront. The remainder of Radio Shack’s 4,000 stores would be closed. The CSRA has five Radio Shack stores – in the Augusta Mall, Orchard Square in south Augusta, West Town Market Square in Martinez, in the Aiken Mall and on Knox Avenue in North Augusta. So far the only local stores on the block to close are the ones in Augusta Mall and Aiken Mall. The Retreat Tapas Bar The Retreat Tapas Bar closed on Friday, Jan. 16, according to its Facebook page. It is continuing to offer catering services. No reason was given for the closing, although a Facebook post on Jan. 2 said there had been a delay in obtaining its liquor license. The Retreat Tapas Bar had been open for 22 months. The chef and manager both had worked for Champions Retreat. They took over the lease and bought some of the equipment and furniture from the original owner, an SRS engineer who has since filed for bankruptcy. The original owner also opened a cigar bar next door, which closed when the new owners assumed the lease. Changes & Moves The Cotton Patch The Cotton Patch restaurant on Reynolds Street is currently closed for renovations and expects to reopen on March 15. In addition to the renovation, the owners are finishing work on their new restaurant, Eli’s American, which will be located in the Shoppes of Camelot, 4446 Washington

Road. It is scheduled to open in February. Family Christian Bookstore Family Christian bookstore has moved for the second time in a month. The Christian bookstore initially moved in January from its location in the Augusta Exchange to Washington Crossing Shopping Center next to Verizon, but is scheduled to move across the shopping center to a permanent location next to Outback Steakhouse and open around Feb. 27. Manager Wayne Tapley said the lease on the store in the Exchange was up, and Family Christian decided to not renew it. That meant a move to a temporary facility, which means two moves in just a few months time. “It was either that or close for a couple of months, and we didn’t want to do that,” Tapley said. The new store next to Outback will be slightly smaller than the one in the Exchange, Tapley said. Comfort Keepers Comfort Keepers, a leader in in-home services provider for seniors and other adults, has expanded its reach from North Augusta to Evans. Comfort Keepers announced on Jan. 23 that it has merged with Daybreak’s Evans office, including the Daybreak staff. Daybreak, which also offers adult home care, is headquartered in Aiken. Daybreak opened the Evans office last summer. Shanda Vaughan, CEO of Evans Daybreak, said increased family demands caused her to reach out to Janet Baumgardner, owner of the local Comfort Keepers franchise. She chose to approach Comfort Keepers because of a positive experience several years ago when she was looking for assistance for an aunt who had end-stage dementia. “Comfort Keepers staff provided me with the most extensive knowledge on the programs and services available to families like mine,” Vaughan said. “They were very kind, provided compassion and comfort during that difficult time.” Comfort Keepers agreed to merge with DayBreak (Evans location only) to provide in-home care services to their current clients and their families, as well as integrating the caregivers and office staff. “We are honored that Shanda trusted us to take care of her clients and we look forward to continuing her legacy of personalized inhome care services,” Baumgardner said. The Evans office is located at 601 N Belair Square, Ste 25 behind T-Bonz. Comfort Keepers has been providing services to help seniors live comfortably and independently in their own homes for more than 13 years. Care provided ranges from 24/7 assistance, help with bathing and grooming, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, mobility and companionship. Comfort Keepers is a national franchise, locally owned by Janet Baumgardner. It celebrated its 10th year in North Augusta in 2014. Nationally, Comfort Keepers has been recognized as one of the top franchises in senior care.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Businessperson of the Month Deena Youngblood, Learning, Laughter & Love

Kids, Kids, Kids

Deena Youngblood is living her dream of a large family and running a daycare center By Gary Kauffman The first thing you have to know about Deena Youngblood is that she has 12 children – 10 she gave birth to and two “bonus” daughters. The second thing is that she is surrounded each day by as many as 148 other kids, the majority of them pre-schoolers. The third thing, and most importantly, is that although she describes herself as zany, wacky and flamboyant, she is still sane. For more than two decades, Youngblood has thrived in an environment that would send most adults – even kind, loving parents – on a quick trip to the funny farm. But Youngblood, owner of Learning, Laughter and Love childcare in Grovetown, is living her dream. “I always had a passion when I was younger of playing with dolls and caring for them,” she said. “I knew I wanted a large family and to do something that would feed my passion for taking care of children.” Initially, that took her into working with children through the Y. But when her own family started to grow, she realized that she was spending more time with other people’s children than her own. She decided on an occupation that would feed both passions. So in 1992 Youngblood started her own childcare. For 18 years that meant a small building behind her home where she was licensed for only 12 children. “It worked really well for my family,” she said. “I could pursue my dream and take care of my children.” Just taking care of children wasn’t enough, though. Youngblood wanted to be the best she could be. She earned a diploma in early childhood education, and incorporated education into the daycare. She won awards for her service, including Georgia’s Family Childcare Provider of the Year. Then in 2011 Youngblood decided to increase her vision tenfold. She opened a new building on Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown that is licensed for 126 children. But the license allows even more children for after-school care, so in the afternoons that grows to 148. And there is a waiting list. In addition, she opened a second location in Appling that is licensed for 84 children, with about 60 currently enrolled. Youngblood now has a staff of 20, and a manager for the Appling location. Learning, Laughter and Love cares for children ages 12 weeks to 12 years old. Because some parents work 12hour shifts, and because many military families have to be on base at Fort Gordon early, the childcare center is open from 4:30 a.m. to 6:16 p.m., with after care available until 8:30 p.m. In addition to children, Youngblood is also passionate about University of Alabama football, even wearing a jacket in a houndstooth pattern, a la legendary coach Bear Bryant’s hat. “I’m the biggest Roll Tide girl ever,” she said.

12 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Deena Youngblood with her grandson, Brad, one of the 100-plus kids she is surrounded by daily. Photo by Gary Kauffman

What are you passionate about in your business? Making the world a better place. We have sensory activities for children to make it fun and interesting for them. It’s not just a babysitting place. I also like to empower young girls. Girls today need a lot of encouragement. When they see me it helps them understand I have struggles too. I want them to see that you don’t get anywhere without working hard. Where do you get your strength to do this? My grandmother’s strength and endurance. I was raised by my grandparents and saw their work ethic. My grandmother is 89 and her strength empowers me. If she’s 89 and can do everything she has to do then I can do it, too. I couldn’t be where I am today without my family. My husband, Addie, is a huge fan of mine. He does repairs here and works for free. All of my children are so supportive. They understand my job and that I’m also Mom. How does being a mom of 12 prepare you for this job and vice versa? Being a mom of 12 does prepare me for my profession, but on the other side of that, being able to deal with the different personalities (of a family) helps

me with things at work. It also helps me understand the different parenting styles. Parenting one from the ‘80s (her oldest child is 30) to now (her youngest is 6) is completely different. Although if you ask my older children, they think I’m getting soft. It’s a balancing act for me, as it is for most moms who work. It’s a balancing act because I don’t want to shortchange anyone. Fortunately I have a great management team that picks up the slack for me. How does a childcare business compare to other businesses? I don’t get to paint and play all day. I have to stay current with laws and taxes. I have to have trained people in the room, I have to keep morale up. I’m dealing with diversity – different parenting techniques, different backgrounds and behaviors. But you have to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. How do you unwind? I have a lot of great girlfriends. Surprisingly, I enjoy spending a lot of time with my family. I have church and yoga and pilates. I balance it well. I can feel myself get to a certain point and say, I need a massage, or lunch with a girlfriend or a getaway with my husband. How does it feel to live out your child-

hood dream? I’m not sure it’s what I envisioned but I’ve found contentment. It’s important in a career choice to be content. You still need to have dreams and passions, but you take what you have and make it the very best. If your life had a theme song, what would it be? I really thought about this but guess what. That song hasn’t been written yet! (Although her husband chimed in with Crazy by Patsy Cline.) What does the future hold for you and your business? I believe in this business and I believe in quality childcare. I see a bachelor degree in early childhood development in my future. I’d really like to expand the business one more time. I have a heart for after-school children and want to create a safe place for them where they can learn technical and social skills. And now that I’ve got grandchildren, I want to spend more time with them. A plaque provided by Cudos4u, Awards and Promotions, your hometown favorite for Awards and Promotional Products, (706) 7220010, will be given to Deena Youngblood on behalf of Buzz on Biz.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Habits Marin Rose

Office Space

Getting organized at work means getting ready for success These days it’s not just paper demanding our attention and cluttering our desks – it’s also digital information ceaselessly bombarding us in the form of emails, texts and Tweets at all hours of the day and night. More than ever, we’re juggling demanding roles, both at work and at home, and running to keep up with it all. If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, employees and job seekers, you could use a little more order, balance and beauty in your personal and professional life. I founded Libra Organizing on those very principles and I’m on a mission to help people attain their goals by conquering clutter. Not just paper clutter but the existen-

14 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

tial stuff, too. Because getting organized is not just about having a neat, inspiring office space. It’s about defining our priorities and structuring our habits around them. Too often our time and energy are sapped by menial or repetitive tasks that distract us from the big picture. We bounce from one email to the next, one meeting to the next, to simply get through each hectic day, which results in exhaustion and lacking a sense of accomplishment. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to pause and develop a new system for managing your time, tracking and synthesizing important information and building in activities to sustain your mind and body. Prioritize. Before you start clearing out your desk drawers, make a list of the things that are important to you and prioritize them from most to least important. I recommend including personal, as well as professional goals. What commitments can you eliminate? Redirect that time and energy toward your top priorities, such as family time, business growth and personal health. Schedule. Working from your priorities list, build out a schedule that allots time for your key tasks. Digital calendars that sync among your devices are invaluable here. Set recurrences for weekly,

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you could use more order, balance and beauty in your personal and professional life. monthly, quarterly and annual meetings and events, and schedule reminders to alert you to prepare ahead of time. Again, I recommend integrating personal and professional events and tasks on a single, comprehensive calendar. De-clutter. Now it’s time to tackle workspace. This could be an office, a home office, or even a car. Regardless, ruthlessly discard old or unnecessary papers. Technology is a friend here. Replace paper invitations and reminders with scheduled time slots on your calendar. Transfer contacts into digital format. Synthesizing scattered information into a single point of access guards against tasks and information slipping through the cracks. Maintain. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Set yourself up for lasting success by specifying time on a regular basis for healthy habits. Schedule time each morning to prepare for your day, and time in the afternoon to process

your workday and respond to emails so they don’t pile up in your inbox. And don’t forget that dedicating time for sleep, food and exercise, as well as hobbies and personal relationships will fuel long-term success. Free Document Shredding: You’ve purged your files. Now what to do with that mass of sensitive papers and old tax documents? Take advantage of free, unlimited, on-site shredding courtesy of Libra Organizing, Saturday, May 2, 8 – 11 a.m. at The Cleveland Group, CPAs parking lot on Davis Road. Shredding and recycling provided by Augusta Data Storage, Inc. Professional Organizing Coach Marin Rose of Libra Organizing is celebrating five years organizing people’s spaces and lives to help them become happier and more productive – and less stressed. Contact Marin at to schedule a free organizing assessment in your home or office, or to hire her as a speaker.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Publicity Donna Martin

Lion’s Share

Marketing that matters helps your company thrive Marketing is a Business Investment. Marketing is one of the best business investments you can make and one of the best ways to ensure that your company captures the lion’s share of your market. My goal in this series of columns is to help businesses understand the true value of marketing and how smart marketing will increase your visibility…and ultimately, your profitability. Marketing Should Be in Your Business Plan. A marketing plan should be an integral part of your business plan, not an addendum. Don’t look at marketing as a hit or miss effort or as something that will require you to write big checks. There

16 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

are many free and inexpensive ways that you can achieve market saturation. Networking is one of the best marketing options available; however, even networking must be approached within an overall marketing strategy. Creating a strong and reputable identity through market saturation will give your company or organization a true advantage in the super-saturated world of business. Savvy Strategy + Vision. Strategy is the key component of marketing. Marketing is not simply developing a company logo and a one-page website. Marketing is more than a billboard, newspaper ad or a radio spot. Marketing is a vision: A comprehensive approach to making your business visible and viable through the effective use of branding, messaging and campaigns, as well as through analysis of your demographic markets. What Is Your Brand? Discussions during an initial meeting with a marketing company should include questions such as “What makes your company different?”; “What is your ‘brand?’”; “Who are your competitors and which one stands out above the others?” The marketing company will evaluate your services and the ins and outs of your business then develop a longterm strategy. You probably have a good brand, but it may need updating or fi-

nessed to create a fresh new interest in your services. Pieces + Parts of Marketing. Marketing involves a number of components, tactics and strategies that must be intertwined with the right timing and frequencies. Chances are that your company has used several marketing tactics and avenues such as print and broadcast advertising, website, Facebook and YouTube, and distribution of marketing materials through direct mail or email. How did it work for you? Did you develop a plan or a specific campaign about a new product or a business specialty that others do not offer? A marketing company will evaluate the effectiveness of past campaigns and help develop a future strategy with a combination of

successful marketing avenues. Next Month: It’s All about That Brand. In the business world, it truly is all about that brand. Next month I will talk about branding your business so that your company achieves the ultimate in brand awareness. How are the most successful businesses in the world recognized? They are recognized by their brand. Donna Martin is co-owner of Martin Wilson Marketing, a full-service CSRA marketing company created to help businesses and organizations grow and shine. She shares her 30-plus years of corporate marketing communications experience with entities seeking a higher tier of visibility and profitability. Contact her at

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Solutions Charles Kelly

Down to Business

Choose the best computers for your business’ specific needs If you need new computers for your business, you either rely on your IT team to choose those machines or you make the decision yourself. Having been in the business of selling electronics and computers most of my career I can offer some insights. One of the most common things we are seeing this year is operating system incompatibilities. A customer will go to a retail store, purchase a computer recommended by a salesperson and then attempt to put it into service. Almost every computer for sale in the big box space has Windows 8.1 as the operating system. The first problem you could run into is that you might be running specialty software that simply will not operate in the Windows 8.1 environment. Broadcast stations, medical practices, engineering companies and any company that runs any kind of computer might be at risk of simply not being compatible with Windows 8.1. The other problem we hear about almost every day is that customers find navigating Windows 8.1 very difficult.

Almost every week we have customers walk in with new computers and ask us to load Windows 7 on it for them or to take it on trade for a system with Windows 7. Neither of these options is cost effective or even possible in some cases. So do yourself a favor and make sure your software will run on Windows 8.1 before purchasing a Windows 8.1 machine. Consider custom-built systems. They can be loaded with Windows 7, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro (90 percent of what we are selling these days is Windows). Besides the fact that purchasing a retail-class computer to run your business is not a great idea, the service that you get with your purchase pretty much ends at the front door. The big box store is not going to help you with data migration, integration into your network and troubleshooting when you need help migrating and converting your Outlook files to make them compatible with the new version of Outlook you just got. If the computer you got from that big box store has a hardware failure under warranty, they ship it off and tell you up front that you will lose your data. That’s really not much of a warranty. For a business, you should be running a business-class computer that is built and serviced at the same place. The next thing to consider is what tier of computer do you need? If you will notice, this is what the sales staff at the big stores talk about first. Do you

buy the cheapest or the most expensive? Should you purchase an entry level Celeron processor with 4GB of ram and a 500GB hard drive or a machine with 16GB of ram, 4TB of storage and the latest i7 processor, or something in between? That depends on many factors. In many cases you can get by with an entry level computer, but that might not be the best choice. Besides the obvious things such as a faster processor, bigger hard drive and more ram, what you are really buying is a little more longevity. Some of my customers sit down with me, and we have a discussion about every component and they order a high end system that will last them many years to come. Other customers may need a quick replacement system and will purchase a re-

furbished computer to fill a spot for a few months or a year. It’s a somewhat complicated and personal decision, but in general I would suggest purchasing in the mid-range. You pay a little more than for an entry level system, but you will get more than the average 36 months of use by spending a little more. Specialty computers can be built for any purpose, such asAutoCad, cash register systems, small form factors and anything in between. Charles Kelly is co-owner of Computer Exchange, with four locations in the CSRA: South Augusta, North Augusta, Martinez and Grovetown. Computer Exchange specializes in computer solutions for home and business. For answers to your computer questions, email him at

Oops! Careless employees create cyber risks

Well-funded hackers with sophisticated tools made headlines and worried organizational leadership throughout 2014. Yet the primary reason endpoint security risk has become more difficult in the past 24 months is due to negligent or careless employees who do not follow security policies. That’s according to a State of the Endpoint study by Ponemon Institute and commissioned by Lumension, a global leader in endpoint management and security.  Seventy-one percent of responding IT professionals said managing endpoint risk has become more difficult in the past 24 months and of those, 78 percent consider negligent or careless employees who do not follow security policies as the biggest threat, followed by 68 percent who cite the significant increase in the number of personal devices connected to the network and 66 percent who point to the use of commercial cloud applications in the workplace. “Respondents in this year’s study have shifted their thinking and are now also attributing endpoint risk to human behavior in addition to particular device vulnerabilities,” said  Chris Merritt, director, solution marketing, Lumension. “This is a

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78 percent consider negligent or careless employees who do not follow security policies as the biggest threat significant cultural shift to note because it illustrates how IT is starting to look at cybersecurity holistically. In addition to technology solutions, in 2015 IT must also take into account company policies and control processes, user awareness and overall employee education.” According to respondents, 28 percent of attacks on an organization’s endpoint cannot realistically be stopped with the enabling technologies, processes and expertise they currently have in house today and 70 percent agree their organizations’ endpoint security policies are difficult to enforce due largely to a lack of governance and control processes. In addition to user-centric behavior, IT also faces attacks on the endpoint that are growing in severity. Web-borne malware attacks are the most frequent in an organization, say 80 percent, followed by APTs

(65 percent) and rootkits (65 percent). The biggest increase over last year’s report is in zero day attacks, APTs and spear phishing. Applications causing the biggest headache for IT this year are Adobe (according to 62 percent of respondents) followed by Oracle Java (54 percent) and third-party, cloudbased productivity apps (46 percent). “IT continues to battle malware at the endpoint and 69 percent of our respondents say it increased in severity last year,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman, Ponemon Institute. “While it is positive news that companies are making the security of endpoints a higher priority, to win the war they need to recognize the criticality of minimizing employee negligence and investing in technologies that improve the ability to detect malicious attacks.”  2015 IT Security Plans Ninety-five percent of responding IT pro-

fessionals anticipate a move to more ‘detect and respond’ orientation in 2015, beyond the more traditional prevention-focused approach. Seventy percent of respondents say their organizations are using or plan to use big data to enhance their security. Also, 64 percent say they have added or plan to add a threat intelligence component to its security stack. In recognition of growing risk, 68 percent say their endpoint security is becoming a more important part of their organization’s overall IT security strategy. In 2015, IT security budgets will increase for 45 percent, which is a similar figure to those that reported an increase for 2014. Interestingly, 53 percent report they are not keeping up with the use of ‘destructive malware’ as was seen most recently in the Sony hack.  “Unfortunately for IT, the bad guys keep getting better,” Merritt said. “Organizations must evolve their security approach with business resiliency in mind – and the increasing use of ransomware and other destructive attacks underline the absolute business necessity of staying on top of the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.”

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Sales Jeb Blount

One More Time

One more call a day can add up to significant sales I don’t remember where I found the 11 words that changed my sales career. I think I may have stumbled on them in a newsletter or magazine I subscribed to back when newsletters were mailed rather than emailed. What I do remember is the words instantly resonated with me: When it’s time to go home, make one more call. I cut the blurb out of the newsletter and taped it over my desk where I would see it each day. It was always the last thing I looked at before I hit the streets to go on my sales calls. Those words became my mantra. On days when I

was dragging because of prospects I couldn’t close; or, it was hot, cold, raining, or snowing; or, I was tired, wornout, burned-out, or, jonesing to go home early on a Friday afternoon; or, when I was coming up with really good justifications to knock off early for the day, this mantra, “when it is time to go home, make one more call,” kept me going for one more call (and sometimes two, three or four). It kept me focused on paying for my success, in advance, with hard work. The impact of those extra calls was mind blowing. So many of my “one more calls” turned into sales. It was as if the universe was rewarding me for sticking to it. That final push paid off and kept paying off in my performance and my paycheck. Five more calls a week, resulted in 20 additional calls a month, resulted in 240 additional calls a year. At a 34 percent closing rate, that produced an additional 82 deals a year, almost $2 million in incremental revenue, and, an extra $100,000 in my pocket – income I would never have generated if I had not developed the discipline to make one more call. That, by the way, is called Sales Gravy. Over the years, I’ve shared this mantra with the sales professionals

who’ve worked for me, and I continue to share it with the new generation of sales professionals I teach and coach. Some adopt it as their own, others… go home. I get hundreds of calls, text messages and emails each year on Friday afternoons or near dark from top tier sales pros that say things like this: “Hey Jeb, you are not going to believe this. I was about to give up, but decided to make one last call and the guy bought from me right on the spot – can you believe that?” This kind of sales serendipity happens every day across the globe to the sales pros that are fanatical about making one more call. Of course, there are those who will tell you that this is bunk. They’ll argue that working harder is stupid. “Why work harder when you can work smarter?” they somehow say with a straight face. Here is a brutal truth: “Working smarter” is the hobgoblin of mediocre salespeople. Like all losers, they use “working smarter” as an excuse for their lack of achievement. Top sales professionals have the self-discipline to do the hard things in sales. Do these top performers get tired,

cold, hungry, burned out, and feel their resolve wavering and want to give up and go home? Of course they do. Do these top performers love prospecting or the other difficult activities required for success in sales? Of course not! They don’t enjoy these activities any more than the salespeople who are failing. What top performers in sales (and, frankly, all walks of life) understand is that to succeed at the highest level they’ve got to pay for their success in advance with hard work, sacrifice, doing things they hate and making one last, final push over the finish line. The salespeople on the bottom know this, too. But, instead of making one more call at the end of the day when it is time to go home, they make excuses. Don’t make excuses, make one more call. Jeb Blount is the founder of Sales Gravy in Thomson. He helps sales teams across the globe reach peak performance fast through keynote speeches, boot camps, seminars, and on-site and online training experiences. Hire Jeb to speak at your next sales meeting or conference. Call at 1-888-360-2249 or visit for more information.

State, Augusta economy should be robust By Gary Kauffman The economy in Georgia, including Augusta, will be robust in 2015 – at least that is the prediction of economists who spoke at the Augusta Marriott Jan. 15. The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business – one of the leading businesses colleges in the country – toured the state in January with its Economic Outlook series and made the stop in Augusta. “I’m more upbeat about Augusta’s prospects than at any time I can remember,” said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo. “There’s a lot of potential for upside surprises.” The numbers for Augusta look good, with an increase of 9,000 jobs. But Vitner said that isn’t accurate. A year ago, the predictors had shown a job growth lower than it actually was, making this year’s numbers inflated. The Georgia Outlook Report instead predicts a job growth rate of 2.1 percent for Augusta, still an addition of 4,600 jobs. “When you get away from the numbers and look at what’s happening in Augusta, it’s hard to not get excited about it,” Vitner said. He was especially pleased with efforts toward downtown development. “Downtown development is happening all over the country,” he said. “I think it’s a byproduct of social media. Downtown development does especially well if there is water to build around.” Things aren’t quite as rosy on the South

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Carolina side of the CSRA, where there hasn’t been job growth for three years. The outlook for Georgia as a state continues on a fast track upward. “For the second straight year Georgia will outpace the United States in both GDP and in job growth,” said Dr. Benjamin Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business. Georgia’s GDP for 2015 is expected to be 3.3 percent and job growth 2.4 percent. He also expects Georgia’s unemployment rate to drop by a full percentage point. “The good news is that there are absolutely no signs of runaway inflation,” Ayers said. He expects inflation to be a miniscule 0.4 percent in 2015, a sharp drop even from 2014’s modest 1.6 percent. Ayers also believes the chances of seeing another recession this year are slim. “The reason for our optimism is the higher rate of job creation in the private sector,” he said. The fastest-growing industries in Georgia in 2015 will be construction, professional and business services, mining and logging, health services, transportation and the emerging field of health information technology. Lagging behind will be jobs in government, information and financial activities. The one potential fly in the ointment for Augusta and Georgia as a whole is the heavy impact of the military. Should the federal government go into sequestration again, cuts in federal spending could hit the military bases – and their surrounding commu-

Manufacturing will rebound

By Gary Kauffman There is a renaissance in manufacturing in Georgia, according to Dr. Benjamin Ayers, Dean of the Terry College of Business. Ayers was a speaker at the University of Georgia’s Economic Outlook event at the Augusta Marriott on Jan. 15. He forecasts a reversal of the trend over the past few years when Georgia lost four of every 10 manufacturing jobs. The upward trend is evident in other parts of the United States as well. Ayers said a few things favor the United States right now, including the low cost of natural gas and the increased cost of doing business in China. There are also concerns about the quality of products manufactured in other countries and concerns about intellectual property rights. Favoring Georgia is the relatively low cost of doing business in the state. However, the return of manufacturing doesn’t mean a return of the same jobs or even more jobs. “A lot of the manufacturing we’re adding is not nearly as labor intensive,” Ayers said. “They need fewer workers who need higher skills.” Key economic policies will help continue this upward trend, Ayers said. One of those is developing a highly educated and skilled work force capable of using today’s technology. “Access to a skilled work force is important in site selection,” Ayers said. Another key will be to support economic development legislation that makes Georgia competitive in landing large projects. Construction and real estate development is also expected to rise in Georgia in 2015. That will have a three-fold effect to the economy – increasing construction jobs, but also increasing jobs in the manufacturing and transportation of building materials. nities – hard. “If there are federal spending cuts to the military, Georgia would be hit twice as hard as other states,” Ayers said.

Other factors that could mitigate the predicted growth are capital availability to entrepreneurs and any shifts in the Federal Reserve policies.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Deeper Thinking Eddie Kennedy

Health Checkup

A healthy organization will give you the advantage Patrick Lencioni opens his book, The Advantage, with this statement: “The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free and available to anyone who wants it.” He goes on to say “organizational health will surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportu-

Business Online Jeff Asselin


Professionals can get your software to peak efficiency Almost all businesses today rely heavily on some sort of software solution in their day-to-day operations. These software programs perform a multitude of functions from order entry and fulfillment to billing/collections and customer relations management. A big challenge for almost all companies is having experienced and productive developers and programmers on hand to help streamline business processes and increase operational efficiencies. Take, for example, the organization that is keeping up with sales activity and revenue performance by sharing spreadsheets among the team through email. One can quickly see the formatting challenges and opportunities for errors with this process, not to mention the work (ie: time/expense) required in order to keep the “master” document clean and constantly up to date. How about the business that was started 15-20 years ago and has been collecting large amounts of information

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nity for improvement and competitive advantage.” What? Are you thinking what I was thinking when I first read that statement? I thought, what is organizational health and why is it so import a n t ? L e nc i o The Advantage ni’s bold Patrick Lencioni state216 pages ment intrigued me so much that I bought the book to discover what he was saying. Lencioni describes a healthy organization as one that has integrity, not in the ethical or moral way, but when

it is whole, consistent and complete, as when the management, operations, strategy and culture fit together as one and make sense. It’s easier to think and say than to do, but it is critical to having a healthy organization. It starts with the leadership team working together to make things clear. This requires leaders that buy into the vision and then cooperate with each other to accomplish it. These leaders must trust one another to be transparent and honest with each other. They must clearly define the core values of the organization and share them with the organization. There are six key questions that enable the leaders to define and provide purpose to many of the day-to-day operations. • Why do we exist? • How do we behave? • What do we do? • How do we succeed? • What is most important, right now? • Who must do what? When the leaders have answered these questions and clearly commu-

nicated them, then anyone in the organization can operate effectively and efficiently in alignment with the organization’s goals and values. More important than getting the right answer is having an answer that leads to agreement and commitment from the employee to accomplish the assignment. The task of creating a healthy organization will take time and energy, but it will positively impact the company, the customers, the vendors and even the families of the employees. Having a strong leadership team that works together as one, communicating the vision, purpose and values of the organization clearly, will empower everyone in the organization to do their part to make the whole operation successful.

regarding their clients’ orders, preferences, billing and contact data? This information is typically stored on outdated databases on older servers. Having a company’s data migrated to state of the art technology will streamline processes, solve company challenges and ultimately increase operational efficiencies, not to mention improve scalability and security. Technology challenges facing many businesses (regardless of size) can cost time and money. Many companies simply do not have the time to quickly recruit a good team or have the internal resources to effectively qualify and manage the workload. Given the highly technical nature of skills required, most Human Resource departments are not qualified to fill these positions. These hiring decisions are often passed to senior level managers or a company’s top Internet Technology executive. Often, the very people who are qualified to make the appropriate hiring decisions are too busy running the day-to-day operations of their company and don’t have the time to effectively recruit, interview and manage a new development team. Qualified employees need to be recruited, negotiated with, hired and put through the HR process, not to mention the significant on-boarding process that comes with any new hire. This long, drawn-out process can quickly bring up to the total investment of obtaining one single technology resource. Additional costs to consider are com-

pany benefits, company resources and equipment, as well as office space and paid time off. So, what is a company to do? What can they do to streamline their work processes? Seek out a reputable software development company that possesses world-class software engineers. These developers and engineers are in high demand and are difficult to find, attract, hire, motivate, manage and retain. Finding a company to assist with your “on-demand” software needs at an affordable rate allows business own-

ers to focus on running their business operations efficiently and easily. Having a web-based solution tailored specifically to your business can transform your work experience for the better.

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

Jeff Asselin is Director of Sales and Marketing for Powerserve, a web development company that focuses on websites, custom business software, search engine optimization, graphic design and social media marketing. For more information , visit or his office at 961 Broad St., Augusta. Contact him at or706-691-7189 or 706-826-1506, ext 122.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Career and Education Getting the Word Out Well-rounded approach works well in promoting our Career Expo

I approached our Career Expo marketing efforts like I would for any of our clients – target our message to reach as many of our “applicant/ customers” in as many solid media outlets as possible. This year, we’ve been recommending more digital options to our clients like buzzon. biz,  our e-newsletter, Facebook and on-line ads. Our talented volunteer PR and marketing person Kelsey Morrow carefully updated, managed and boosted our posts on our Facebook Page at Buzz On Biz/Career Expo. We increased our likes by a few hundred and got more than 100 people to share our posts – all for a nominal cost.

CAREER EXPO continued from page 1 e-bay-type of business that seeks sales representatives similar to Mary Kay. “This was one of the best events I’ve ever participated in,” she said. “We have a lot of names on our sign-up sheet. Men and women alike were talking to us.” She was already looking forward to the next Buzz on Biz Career Expo. “I’ll come to every one you do,” she said. Gordon was pleased with the turnout and

Kelsey also took about 180 registration forms from our attendees. Included in the survey was this important question: “How did you hear about the Expo?” The biggest share of our attendees mentioned “word of mouth” as how they heard about the Expo. Word of Mouth doesn’t happen by accident – it is a mix of people seeing different messages at different times and passing on information. Here is our breakdown by Percentage:

If I can help put together a plan to reach your target market – or if you’re interested in signing up to be a vendor at our next Expo – call me at 706-589-6727. 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.

the positive comments from both job seekers and employers. “I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “We have quality employers in the CSRA and obviously a lot of good employees. I’m glad we could bring them together.” Gordon has not set a specific date yet for the 2016 Buzz on Biz Career Expo but expects it to be in February again. “February seems to be a good month for hiring in this area,” he said.

Robert Kelly of Augusta Staffing talks to a job seeker at the Expo. Photo by Gary Kauffman

24 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Mark Lockard receives resume tips from Lee Powell and Meganjoy Whalen of GRU at the Buzz on Biz Career Expo. Photo by Gary Kauffman

Job seekers find lots of choices at Expo By Gary Kauffman Potential job seekers coming through the doors of the Buzz on Biz Career Expo on Feb. 12 had a variety of reasons for being there. Jay Williams, who recently moved to Augusta from Maryland, is seeking a job to establish himself in the community. Although he would prefer to be in sales, he doesn’t want to limit himself and found plenty of options at the Career Expo. “There was a lot available,” he said. “Some job fairs have just one thing, like industrial.” Candidates at the Career Expo had an impressive lineup to choose from, including health care, real estate, industrial, insurance, car sales and hotels, plus staffing agencies looking for a wide range of potential employees. Several schools were also represented, looking to help those seeking to further their career potential. Danielle Yavorsky of Martinez was seeking a career to better utilize her education. She is currently employed at McDonald’s but has a degree from Augusta Tech as an administrative assistant. “I found some things that I think will work,” she said. “One place asked me to come in next week, and several places said they’ll call me.” Others were looking into job options. Ashley Bell has been a stay-at-home mom but is looking to rejoin the workforce. “I’m getting cabin fever,” she admitted. “I’m looking for something in sales or customer service.” Jessica Thigpen will be graduating from Georgia Regents University in May and is considering graduate school. She came to the Career Expo because she might take a

year off before grad school. On the other end of the career spectrum, Stephen Johnson is in the process of selling his business to his son but isn’t ready to retire. “I want to find something else to do,” he said. “I’ve got the qualifications. I was an electrical maintenance chief in the Army for 20 years, so I’m looking along those lines.” Like Williams, Mark Lockard is looking to re-establish himself after coming to Augusta. A high school teacher in Iowa, he moved to Augusta to care for his mother. He found himself a bit under prepared for the variety of jobs available. “If I could do it again, I’d take more time to go to websites beforehand to see the specific jobs they’re looking for and tailor my resume to that,” he said. In addition to the job search, the job candidates also found some helpful tips during the informational sessions. Lockard attended a session presented by GRU Talent Acquisition about creating resumes. “That was really helpful to know what HR professionals are looking for, like keyword searches,” he said. Williams was impressed with not only the variety of potential jobs, but also with the laid-back atmosphere. “I go to some job fairs that feel stuffy,” he said. “This didn’t feel stuffy. The people were nice.” During his three months in Augusta, Williams has attended several job fairs. He gave the Buzz on Biz Career Expo high marks. “I’ve gone to a lot of job fairs and this is probably the best one,” he said. “It was a good time.”

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Business Advice Larry Rudwick

Before You Say I Do Searching for a job can be a lot like dating and marriage

In many ways, having a job is like being married, or being with a significant other. And looking for a job or an employee is like dating! If you are looking to hire someone, or looking for a job, here are some similarities to think about that may help you through the process. They are both really important: For many people, two of the most important things in life are 1) having a good

Mike Herrington

Will Power

Drawing up a will now can save headaches for heirs What Are the Implications of Dying Without a Will? People who die without a valid will, die intestate. In this event, the state in which they resided effectively provides a will through the state’s intestacy law. This means that the

26 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

job and 2) having a good relationship with a life partner. If you don’t have both of them, you probably won’t feel fulfilled and you may just be plain miserable. You need to really work at it: Finding a job (or a life partner) takes work. If you are unemployed and serious about finding a job, consider that finding a job is your full-time job. In this economy, a good job is not likely to just come to you on its own. If you have a job you like and want to keep, cherish it and do your best to keep your employer happy. Your employer should treat their employees with respect as well. Looking for a job is like dating: If you want to become attractive and desirable for employers (or a possible life partner), it is best to: 1) know who you are: what you’re good at and like to do, and where you are weak at and what you prefer not to do, 2) don’t embellish or exaggerate 3) come across with confidence and not arrogance, 4) be very interested in the other party, 5) do some research before the interview, 6) ask appropriate questions, 7) be willing

to learn and grow, 8) be articulate, 9) be open, honest and helpful, and 10) have a good attitude, even if you have some baggage (who doesn’t?) Use Google! The Internet has anything you can imagine, and more. Google things like “Lists of Jobs and Careers.” It’s amazing what pops up, and how it may help you figure out what really interests you. It’s not just about your technical skills: How well you communicate and

state dictates who will receive the estate owner’s property and in what proportion. While state intestacy laws do attempt to provide for a “fair” distribution of property, the state’s “one-size-fits-all” will simply cannot reflect the specific wishes of the estate owner in regard to either property distribution or the unique needs of the estate owner’s heirs. In addition, state intestacy laws require that the probate court appoint a guardian for any minor children. The court-appointed guardian, who may not even be a relative, may be required to post bond and the guardianship will be supervised by the probate court. Finally, when a person dies intestate, the probate court appoints an administrator of the estate. This administrator can be anyone of the court’s choosing and is required to post bond, an addi-

tional expense that must be paid by the estate. The Advantages of Having a Will: • A will allows property to be transferred according to the estate owner’s wishes, avoiding state intestacy laws. • A will permits a parent, instead of the state, to name the guardian for any minor children or other dependents, such as a handicapped adult child. • A will enables the estate owner to name an executor to administer the estate which, in some states, minimizes probate and its related expense. • A will can lower estate settlement costs by minimizing estate taxes, waiving probate fees and bonds and streamlining the disposition of estate assets. • Provisions in a will can defer distribution of a minor child’s remaining share of the estate to a more mature age than 18 or 21.

How well you communicate and get along with people is often more important than how good your technical skills are.

get along with people is often much more important than exactly how good your technical skills are. Working for a business, like being in a marriage, means you must know how to communicate, negotiate and help solve all types of challenges. Don’t sell yourself short: Some people tend to take the easy way out. They might take the first job offer that they get, even though the job isn’t a good fit. Some people accept marriage proposals because they don’t think they can attract someone better for them. Get some professional assistance: Whether you are looking to hire someone, or looking to find a good job, there are professionals who can help. Make appropriate use of them. Doing some role playing with them can make a big difference! Larry Rudwick is a business and relationship coach. For more information, visit where you can sign up for a free newsletter or listen to podcasts. Contact him through the website or call him for a free consultation at 571-331-6102.

• With a will, an estate owner can be certain that bequests of money or personal property to specific individuals or charitable organizations will be carried out. • If the estate includes a business, a will can authorize the executor to operate the business until the estate is settled, with no exposure to personal liability on the executor’s part. The choice is yours... you can draw your own will or the state will do it for you! Fiscal Fitness 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 or mike@

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Career and Education Missie Usry

Community Spirit Community colleges offer many things at lower costs

When high school students and parents are searching for the perfect school, most often it is based on specific wish list factors, such as faculty that is well educated, an environment where students can have fun and where tuition is affordable. Instead of jumping completely into a big name university, why not consider starting with a community college? Community colleges are a great launching pad to prepare students for the full college experience away from home. Many community colleges offer small class sizes so that the faculty-to-student ratio is much lower. This means the student has access to one-on-one tutoring from that faculty member when they struggle in a course. Students attending larger college campuses may find auditorium seating in a lecture hall with only a graduate school

assistant to help. Community colleges also adhere to the same standards in hiring faculty with the proper credentials as larger universities to maintain their regional accreditation, which makes their credits transferrable to major college down the road. Often those same community colleges hire adjunct faculty with not only the proper credentials, but also years of experience in their fields. This offers students a hands-on approach where they can gain real life experiences to enhance textbook theories. Although community colleges may not have an entire pledge week or homecoming parades that are filled with grandeur, there are still plenty of opportunities for students to be involved on campus. In fact, the likelihood that any and every student can be involved in some club or organization is higher in a community college than in a large university where cliques may exist. There is no lack of excitement on a community college campus because many still have sports teams and student governments that promote student activities. The cost of education continues to rise and many larger universities are seeing a drop in enrollment. However, community college enrollment has increased and there is a huge reason for it defined by dollar signs. Community colleges like Georgia Military College focus more on the

experience of the student, rather than on making large profits. They are conscious of spending, work hard to eliminate waste and try to keep overhead costs low. Students who choose community colleges appreciate the lower cost of tuition and the shorter list of fees associated with attendance. Community colleges like Georgia Military College are typically half the cost of attending a four-year university each year. Other programs in place, such as book rentals systems and free tutoring, increase the savings even further. Staying at home with parents eliminates the need for providing housing or meal plans. In the long run, students graduate college with lower stu-

dent loan debt, which is good news for everyone. Students owe it to themselves to take a hard look at community colleges to find out more about requirements and transfer options. It may be the wisest choice ever made. The Southern Association of Colleges accredits Georgia Military College and Schools, which means that all credit earned at the institution is transferable to other accredited schools. Missie Usry heads up the Admissions department and advises the Community Involvement Club at Georgia Military College’s Augusta campus. For questions about Georgia Military College, call 706.993.1123 or visit our website at www.

Aiken Tech builds Center for Energy, Manufacturing Center designed to train future work force

Aiken Technical College is building a 36,000-square-foot, $8.5 million Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing. And they’re doing it debt-free. The college recently completed its Putting Knowledge to Work campaign, raising $2 million toward the project. That, coupled with grants and other contributions, allows the project to be paid for without any loans. “We are proud to announce the successful completion of the Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign and we are so grateful to the many industry and community partners who recognized the value of this important facility and made the campaign’s success possible,” said ATC President Dr. Susan Winsor. “This facility, and the results of the campaign, are a reflection of our community’s commitment to the economic vitality of our region and the employability of our citizens.” ATC held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility in July 2014 and began construction immediately. Con-

28 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

An artist rendering of the new Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing.

struction has progressed steadily, and the facility is on-schedule for completion in August 2015. “A skilled and well-trained workforce is the lifeblood of a community,” said Putting Knowledge to Work co-chair and director emeritus of the Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership Fred Humes. “This new facility will not only provide a way for the citizens of Aiken County to obtain new skills or reach a new skill level, but

will ensure that for decades to come, our manufacturers and businesses will have the best possible workforce.” The Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing was designed by Greenvillebased McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture and is being constructed by Augusta-based contracting firm R.W. Allen. The facility will contain bays (labs), classrooms, a multiuse training space and faculty offices. The building’s flexible design will allow for easy

changeover between spaces to accommodate evolving training needs in the future. ATC launched the Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign in 2012 to raise required matching funds after receiving a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Contributors to the Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign represent a diverse cross-section of area employment sectors, including manufacturing, nuclear, healthcare and business, as well as many private donors and civic organizations. The campaign’s largest contribution was donated by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and the Bridgestone Trust, which have collectively contributed $250,000 toward the Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing. In addition to the Putting Knowledge to Work campaign, ATC also received support from the Aiken County Legislative Delegation through a $2.445 million allocation secured for the Center during the 2012 legislative session. “The Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign was a collaborative effort between many individuals, companies, and organizations in our community who came together to support the future of Aiken County,” said ATC Foundation Director Mary Commons.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Career and Education

North Augusta STEM students pull off upset Win robotics contest, move on to Texas regional

By Gary Kauffman It may not have been as epic as David vs. Goliath, or even the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s gold medal, but what a team from North Augusta High School accomplished on the last day of January was highly improbable. On that day, three robotics teams from North Augusta entered the South Carolina State Robotics Championship. The teams had only formed in September and this was their first competition. Teams from Greenville and neighboring Aiken High School, with several years of experience under their belts, were heavily favored. But when the dust settled, it was one of the North Augusta teams that emerged the victor. Six of those students now move on to the Super Regional competition in San Antonio, Texas, March 11-13. The state championship greatly exceeded teacher Jane Monroe’s expectations. “I was thinking this would be our ‘lessonlearned’ year,” she said. In the “robotic Survivor” format, contestants had to rely on forming alliances, pairing with other teams who had robots with better skills in an area where their team was weak and vice versa. North Augusta didn’t have the best robot in the contest, but it was good enough to keep being chosen for alliances and accumulating points. By the end of the contest, one of the teams – Won and Done – had amassed the most points and earned the state championship. “Strategy was critical in our success at state,” said Won and Done team captain Jonathan Grimm, a senior at North Augusta High. “We realized the importance of scouting other robots before we started playing

each match. Our team would work with the other alliance partners to create the best team we could.” Monroe decided to push for such a team after attending a training session in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs. “One of the recommendations was that you need to get your students working on this or they’ll fall way behind,” she said. Forty students responded to the call, forming three teams to build robots. The goal was to build a robot that would fit into an 18-inch by 18-inch box, that was mobile

and could shoot balls into a target. The school district provided $3,000 in seed money, and the team raised another $9,000 in funds that was used to buy the necessary parts and computer programs to build and control the robots. Funding was critical, but just as important was the mentoring. Craig Pratt of Almost Heaven Lawn Care and three engineers from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, did most of the mentoring. The teams were set up like small companies. Some team members worked on the business end, performing such tasks as rais-

ing money, tracking inventory and marketing. Others were “hired” to design and build the robots, while others had the task of programming the computers. They met three days a week to build and test their creations. Grimm said their research led them to build a robot with a solid frame to withstand collisions from other robots during the competition. “We researched every idea that came to mind until we found the best option possible,” he said. “This led to the creation of our lift system, which utilizes many gears in order to raise our hopper over 90 centimeters in less than four seconds, much faster than anyone’s at the state competition.” The state championship was held at Gaffney High School, with 21 teams from around the state. The three North Augusta squads and two others were the only rookie teams in the field. All three North Augusta robots made it to the finals. Six members of the winning team – four seniors and two sophomores – will represent North Augusta in San Antonio. Monroe said a win there could lead to many scholarship opportunities for the students. Already she has seen a boost in their self-esteem. “You should see the confidence level of these kids walking down the hall,” she said. She thinks it will make science, technology, engineering and math more important to the students. More than 50 students had initially joined the team, but some dropped out because their math and science skills were inadequate. “A lot of times kids say about science and math, ‘When are we going to use it?’ In this program, you have to apply it,” Monroe said. “These kinds of programs will make them think a little different. My plan is to really push it for that reason.” STEM programs like this will also continue to build a bridge between academics and the real world. The North Augusta teams will continue to need mentors, as well as funding. For more information about how you or your business can help, contact Monroe at

crease by 16 percent by 2025. Growth in incorporating robots into the workforce has been around 2 or 3 percent per year, but that could increase by 10 percent in the coming years. BCG said there is a confluence of events that is triggering that growth. One is the declining costs of robotics. For example, a robotic spot welder cost $182,000 in 2005, but sold for $133,000 in 2014. The cost is expected to continue to decrease. A second factor is the increased perfor-

mance of robotics systems, which makes switching to robotics more attractive for some companies. Advances in vision sensors, gripping systems and information technology are driving the improvement in price and performance, making robots smarter, highly networked and more useful in a wider range of applications. This will make robotics attractive to even small manufacturers, who will start switching to them, increasing the robotics market. While all of this will be a boon for manu-

facturers and consumers – lower labor prices could mean lower product prices – it may not be good for the traditional workforce. BCG said that companies generally shift to robots over humans when there is a 15 percent discount in automation over a worker. That means it would make sense to switch out a $20-an-hour wage earner when the cost of running a robot reaches $17 or less per hour. Because robots can work non-stop through three shifts, that could in some cases mean one machine would replace three human workers.

The robot the North Augusta High School robotics team used to win the South Carolina state championship. Photo contributed.

Robot use expected to increase over next decade

News from a global consulting firm has eerie overtones of The Terminator movie series. It could have a big impact on manufacturing in the future and the job choices of a new generation. A study by The Boston Consulting Group found that the use of industrial robots will grow dramatically in the next decade. By 2025, robots will be performing about 25 percent of all factory tasks. Currently, that number is about 10 percent. As a result of this increased automation, labor costs in the United States could de-

30 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Business Benefits Russell Head

More Paperwork IRS releases forms for 2016 reporting of information On Feb. 8, the IRS released final versions of forms and instructions that employers will use to report information about the health plan coverage they offer (or do not offer) to employees. These forms are not required to be filed for 2014, but reporting entities may voluntarily file them in 2015 for 2014 coverage. However, employers should be preparing now for early 2016, when forms for tax year 2015 will be due. Why are the forms necessary? The IRS requires the information reported on these forms to determine if employers who are required to offer health coverage are

complying with the requirements of Healthcare Reform (the employer mandate). Employees and others covered under healthcare plans will use these forms to complete their 2015 tax returns, confirming whether they have had qualifying coverage and when (the individual mandate). Who is responsible for filing these forms? Reporting responsibilities are shared by employers, carriers and other providers of healthcare coverage such as government entities. In general, however, for self-insured plans, the employer will be responsible for filing these forms. For smaller groups of less than 50 full-time equivalent employees with fully-insured plans, the carrier will file them. For larger groups of 50 or more full-time equivalent employees with fully-insured plans, the employer and the carrier each have filing responsibilities. What information should I be tracking? • The employer’s return filed with the IRS must include the following information: • The ALE’s name, address and employer identification number (EIN). • The name and telephone number of the ALE’s contact person. • A certification of whether the ALE offered to its full-time employees (and

their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage (MEC) under an eligible employersponsored plan, by calendar month. • The months during the calendar year for which MEC under the plan was available. • Each full-time employee’s share of the lowest cost monthly premium for self-only coverage providing minimum value offered to that employee under an eligible employer-sponsored plan, by calendar month. • The number of full-time employees

for each month during the calendar year. • The name, address (including country code) and Social Security number (SSN) or other taxpayer identification number (TIN) of each fulltime employee during the calendar year and the months (if any) during which the employee was covered under the eligible employer-sponsored plan during the calendar year. Key Dates to Remember: January 2016 All full-time employees must receive their 1095-C February 2016 1094-C forms being submitted by mail are due March 2016 1094-C forms being submitted electronically are due. If more than 250 copies of 1095-C are issued, the 1094-C must be sent electronically For further explanation of the ACA/ PPACA provisions outlined in this article, please refer to the following resources:,, healthcare. gov and Russell T. Head is President/Managing Partner with Group & Benefits Consultants, Inc., Augusta’s largest, privately held, locally owned employee benefits consulting firm. He can be reached at 706-733-3459 or rthead@gandbc. com. Visit Group & Benefits Consultants at

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Humor Nora Blithe

Without Guile

Business would change if all were as honest as a 4-year-old If people in business were as honest as children are every day, it would so radicalize the marketplace that only the greatest ideas would survive. Children aren’t afraid to tell the truth – unless they think they’re in trouble. Then they’re capable liars. (I once knew a used car salesman who filmed his nine-year-old son’s explanation of why his report card was so poor so

he could use it as study prep for selling clunkers to an unsuspecting populace.) When you ask a child for their opinion, they’ll give you the hard, honest truth. Take my 4-year-old niece for example. While visiting over the holidays, she asked me for a cup of hot chocolate. I don’t keep hot chocolate mix in my house for fear I’ll eat it straight from the package. I can make hot chocolate from powdered cocoa, coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey. It’s low in sugar so naturally, I knew she wouldn’t like it. I quadrupled the amount of honey and hoped for the best. “How is it,” I asked her. She thought carefully. “It’s a little bit.” What, I thought, too hot? Too sweet? Too chocolaty? “Yucky,” she finished. “It’s a little bit yucky.” I considered how I might make it less “yucky” and stared into the pantry for inspiration while briefly lamenting what commercialized hot chocolate has

Business Lunch Review Bird Dog Grille Alexandrea Daitch

Dog Show

Bird Dog Grille average, shows unmet potential Variety seems like a great thing when describing a restaurant; it means that there will be something for everyone to eat. However, as a colleague and I learned when dining recently for a business lunch, variety can have its limitations. When a restaurant focuses on trying to provide the ultimate diverse menu they may lack the ability to put their focus into the quality of every item. This can make or break a meal. Some restaurants can pull that off; Bird Dog Grille did not, at least on the day we visited. Eating at the Bird Dog, I felt that everything was average, but had the potential to be great. We started with queso dip and tortilla chips. The queso was nice and thick like I like it (my colleague thought it was a tad too thick) but the taste was, well, average. I ordered the peri peri chicken bowl while he ordered the jerk chicken panini. The peri peri chicken bowl had a lot of mashed potatoes topped by chicken, peppers, onions and spinach. It lacked gravy or some other type of

32 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

sauce. I thought it was average. The jerk chicken sandwich, according to my colleague, wasn’t bad. He described it as, of course, average. Peri Peric Chicken Bowl

done to our youth – and my waistline. Then, I spied my inspiration: confectioners’ sugar. I loaded her chocolate down with powered sweetness and handed it back. “That’s better, Aunt Nora.” She gave it her stamp of approval and chugged. I considered the quantity of sugar she was bolting and was relieved that she wasn’t spending the night with me. Yep, I’m that aunt. When I consider my niece’s brutal

We finished by sharing a New York cheesecake with strawberry sauce (I ate mine plain). This usually delectable item was average, maybe even a shade below. Nothing stood out as the wow factor we were searching for all through the meal. Not that every dining experience has to send me over the top, I just expected more because of the variety of items on the menu. But for a place to conduct a low-key business meeting, it has a great atmosphere. Even though the table/booth layout is an open concept, the distance

honesty, I wonder how many products would never make it to market if they had been tested by kids first. Kids will tell you that birthday cards for dogs are dumb. Dogs can’t read. They know that while grandpa probably needs a nose hair trimmer, he isn’t going to use a nose hair trimmer. Grandpa stopped wearing a shirt and brushing the hair on his head four years ago. Why would he care about a little thing like two-inch nose hairs? And I’m certain that children could have stopped the great New Coke Debacle of the 1980s. In a taste test between Coca-Cola Classic and New Coke, my niece would have deemed New Coke, “A little bit yucky,” and saved the company a lot of hassle. 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

Jerk Chicken Panini

between them and the background music kept us from overhearing any conversations, even in the booth directly across the divider wall. Yet we were able to converse easily. The location, next to the Walmart Neighborhood Market at the intersection of Furys Ferry and Evans To Locks roads, makes it a convenient meeting spot for Evans-area businesses, and a nice getaway location for businesses in other areas of the CSRA. The price for the two meals – appetizer, two entrees and a dessert – was less than $40, not a bad price for a business lunch. The waitress was attentive and answered our questions. I believe Bird Dog Grille has the potential to make a lasting impression, it just hasn’t quite reached it yet. But if location and ease of holding an informal business meeting rank higher than the taste of the food, Bird Dog could be the place for you.

Outlook good for continued restaurant growth

Georgia expected to be one of leaders

PR Newswire – America’s 1 million restaurants will continue to be a leading job creator in 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast  released recently. (Restaurants helped lead to a big job increase in Augusta in 2014. See story on page 2.) While the operating environment will remain challenging, total restaurant industry sales are expected to reach a record $709.2 billion in 2015 – a 3.8 percent increase over 2014, marking the sixth consecutive year of real sales growth for the industry. 2015 also will mark the 16th  consecutive year in which restaurant industry employment will outpace overall employment growth. Restaurants will employ 14 million individuals this year as the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, representing about 10 percent of the total U.S. workforce. “Our nation’s restaurants continue to be an essential part of Americans’ daily lives and play a vital role in every community across the country,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “Although operators will continue to face a range of complex challenges in 2015, the restaurant and food ser-

vice industry remains a fundamental driver of the nation’s economy, while providing valuable careers and opportunities to 14 million Americans.” “With the economy slowly improving and national employment trending upward, signs are pointing in the right direction for restaurant industry growth,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “Certain components of the business climate remain a challenge, accelerating industry sales in some regions and putting a damper on them in others, but the overall industry is definitely in a better place now than several years ago.” Workforce Outlook • Eating and drinking places are expected to add jobs at a solid 3.2 percent rate in 2015, a full percentage point above the projected 2.2 percent gain in total U.S. employment. • Eating and drinking places added jobs at a solid 3.1 percent rate in 2014, outpacing total US employment, which grew at 1.9 percent. • Restaurant industry employment will reach 15.7 million by 2025, an increase of 1.7 million positions during the 10-year period. • While every state is expected to see their restaurant industry workforce expand during the next decade, the top five states are: Arizona (23.8%), Florida (22.4%), Texas (22%), Georgia (21.1 %) and Utah (21%).

Challenges and Opportunities Operators will continue to face a range of challenges, including food costs, building sales volume, the economy and recruiting and retaining employees. • Average wholesale food prices jumped more than 5 percent in 2014, which represented the fifth consecutive annual increase. During the last five years, average wholesale food prices rose roughly 25 percent. Operators can expect to get pricing relief on several of the major commodities in 2015, including dairy and pork. • With the economy steadily improving and the jobless rate trending downward, restaurant operators are finding that the competition for employees is intensifying. • Labor costs will remain a concern for operators in 2015. Challenges with Affordable Care Act implementation and minimum wage increases have made a significant impact on restaurant bottom lines, as typically one-third of restaurant sales is spent on labor. • Consumers continue to have substantial pent-up demand for restaurant services: 38 percent of consumers say they are not eating on the premises of restaurants as frequently as they would like; 41 percent say they are not purchasing takeout or delivery as often as they would like. Consumer Trends • Roughly one-quarter of consumers say

technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant (up from the nearly one-fifth that said the same the year prior). • While restaurants are more rapidly starting to adopt various forms of consumer-facing technology, a gap remains between what consumers want and what restaurants currently offer. That gap is beginning to narrow and will further close over the next several years as restaurant technology evolves and more options enter the marketplace. • Despite increased consumer use of technology options, personal service will continue to be the hallmark of dining out. Consumers still want people as part of their restaurant experience, yet look to technology to increase service speed and convenience. • 8 in 10 of consumers say restaurants offer more healthful menu options now compared to two years ago, and 76 percent say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthful options. In addition, 67 percent of consumers say they also order more healthful options in restaurants than they did two years ago. • Consumers are showing increased interest in local sourcing and more restaurants are taking notice, with more than 8 in 10 tableservice operators saying their guests are more interested in locally sourced items this year, compared with 7 in 10 that said the same a year earlier.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Health and Fitness Katie Silarek

Clean Up Your Act

Eating clean, healthy foods doesn’t have to cost a fortune There is this idea society has that to eat clean you have to spend a lot of money. The reality is eating clean can be less expensive than buying all the junk. This month I want to give you my 10 ways to eat clean on a budget. 1. Make a list and stick to it! Before you hit the grocery store make a list and only buy what is on the list. This will help you to remember what it is you need for the week so you eat clean and will also keep you focused. 2. Don’t be sucked in by sale items! Most items that will suck you in are items that are processed, full of sugar and will be found in the aisles. Stay out of the aisles and shop the perimeter. 3. Don’t buy junk food. But what about the kids? They need to eat clean too! As parents, it is our responsibility to create habits in our children’s lives that will benefit them for life, and eating clean is very important. 4. H2O! Instead of sugar-loaded drinks in your kids’ lunches, pack mini waters! A pack of “lunch box drinks” can run close to $3 for a box for 10. A 24-pack of mini waters is about the same price and will last you 24 lunches. Not only do you save money, you teach the habit of drinking water. Personally, I keep two beverages in my home, almond milk and water. Sodas and sugary drinks are expensive and have no health benefits. A side note to packing lunch: Use reusable containers instead of plastic zip bags. This will save money and the earth! 5. Portion control! America has got out of control with portions. Yes, eating clean can be expensive when you are

eating too much. Talk with your trainer or nutritionist about what a good portion of meat is for your meal plan. Meat can be expensive but when the right portion is consumed the price per serving is less, making each meal affordable. Drink a glass of water before and after each meal. This will help your learn the difference between hunger and habit. And slow down when you eat. After each bite lay down the fork and give yourself time to enjoy your meal. 6. Buy more greens, eat what is in season and shop local farmers markets. By doing this you will support local farmers and eat organic veggies that are fresh and full of nutrients your body craves. Talk to your local farmer about what vegetable and herbs are easy to grow, then start your own garden and get the kids involved. 7. Show your food. Too often the healthy fruits and veggies get pushed to the back of the refrigerator by to-go boxes and the unhealthy items. Keep your refrigerator just as clean as your meal plan. Keep all the good foods at eye level in clear plastic containers. Prep your food at the beginning of the week and label your containers. 8. Eat in and let a night out to dinner be a “Cheat Meal.” Having a cheat meal will help in your weight loss goals but only when done at the right time. This is something your trainer or nutritionist can guide you on. 9. Apps! Download apps to all the local grocery stores. This way you can compare prices and keep up on the specials the stores are running. Shop store brands, ask about a rewards program, check the unit price on items and ask for any discounts offered, i.e., military, student, teacher or senior citizen. Shop the “Club” Store and buy in bulk or share the cost with a friend who is also eating clean. 10. Breakfast. Start your day with a good, solid breakfast and eat every three hours. Eating throughout the day

will keep your metabolism running and keep you from eating something unclean. In 2012 Augusta was ranked as America’s fifth-fattest city. Let’s fight the battle of obesity and became the Fittest City in America. Together we can beat obesity and raise children who will know how to eat clean and live fit.

Katie Silarek has been a personal trainer for four years and is the owner of Be Bella Fitness Boutique in Martinez. She became interested in fitness after struggling to get back in shape after the birth of her youngest child. Her goal is to help people develop training plans and to live healthy lifestyles. She wants to inspire men and women who don’t know where to start, what to do or are scared to fail. For more information, call her at 706-589-4113.

New gymnastics center will focus on kids C&C Gymnastics owners Candice Kobert and Cassie Hayden aren’t exaggerating when they say that their gym is a childhood dream. The lifelong best friends grew up in the 1990s competing on the same team, training under Olympic coaches and racking up first-place medals at meets throughout the U.S. Now women in their mid-20s, Kobert and Hayden have established careers as gymnastics coaches and opened a new gym on Jan. 31. Though their new state-of-theart gym may not be located “on the beach” as they hoped when they were 10, the multifaceted facility in central Augusta — 1340 Augusta West Parkway — offers a unique sense of fun that originated from the minds

34 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

of experienced instructors who understand their young protégés: It’s a gym with kids in mind. “We really geared ours towards the cutesy/trendy side,” Kobert said. “Lots of pink mats, striped walls — and sparkles!” C&C offers a Mom & Me program that caters to the little ones ages 18 months to 3 years old as well as a preschool program for ages 3-4. Classes combine physical awareness and development, as well as promoting progressive cognitive and social skills.   Young gymnasts with professional potential can be tracked to compete on the gym’s official team. C&C’s Compulsory Program offers an all-inclusive rate for USAG levels

2-5. The program includes seven competitions that take place in August through December. An optional, all-inclusive program for levels 6-10 takes competitors to seven meets plus regionals, Easterns and Nationals. In addition, C&C Gymnastics offers a non-competitive, developmental program for all beginning gymnasts, ages 5 and up. “We have all USA Gymnastics-regulated equipment,” Kobert said. “We also use many progressions and drills to learn skills in order to insure that all of our gymnasts have the safest experience possible while learning gymnastics.” For more information, visit

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Sports and Leisure Glenn Campbell

Awesom Career

Bill Elliott’s race dominance leads to Hall of Fame

NASCAR drivers are identified in many ways by their fans. Some are known for their car numbers, others for their sponsors, but some are known by their nicknames. When you think about the later, none has been more popular than the man they called “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” – Bill Elliott. Raised in a small town in North Georgia, the 1988 NASCAR Champion dominated the racing world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His home-based team was small in size but big in performance. “Growing up in a small town like Dawsonville and thinking about it, dreaming about it, listening to the guys on the radio that carved the way, that paved the direction of where you needed to go and the things you needed to do, it’s just incredible,” said Elliott on what influenced him to pursue a NASCAR career. Now 27 years after his Championship season, Awesome Bill from Dawsonville has been inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame beside some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Elliott’s rise to the sports highest honor was not done alone. For most of his career, he and his two brothers produced some of the most powerful race cars in the sport out of their small family shop in Dawsonville. “We had to go to the racetrack and I was the one that got out and changed the springs,” said Elliott about those early days. “My oldest brother, Ernie, did the engine work and that’s the way we worked.” Despite competing against teams that were far better funded, Elliott’s famous No. 9 Ford Thunderbird was the car to beat most weekends but especially when it came to Superspeedways. “When Ford came out with the Tbird, it was a very aerodynamic car and I think we kind of understood it very well,” said Elliott on why his small team was so dominating. However, it was the power in those Ernie Elliott engines that allowed Awesome Bill to make up two laps on the field under green in 1987 at Talladega. “I do feel like my brother was so underestimated at the engines,” Elliott said. “I just feel like he was one of the greatest engine builders there ever was.” Despite his accomplishments on the race track, Elliott’s greatest achievement has to be what he did off the track for others and his fans. His 16 consecutive Most Popular Driver awards indicate what his fans thought of Awesome Bill. He would have won more awards but he humbly withdrew his name from the ballot so that other drivers could have a chance

Bill Elliott making his Hall of Fame speech. Photo by Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images

of winning. “In sport, there’s not many names that transcend a sport,” said longtime friend and former car owner Ray Evernham. “Even the casual fan knows the name Bill Elliott because of the things he’s done.” Now as Elliott settles into his new role as Hall of Fame member, he can focus on the next chapter of his racing legacy as his son Chase moves into a Sprint Cup ride in 2016. “I’ve said all along that he’s better than I ever thought about being as far

Augusta Sports Leagues add 4 spring sports

Former GreenJacket player Rojas returns as manager The Augusta GreenJackets announced a new manager and pitching coach for the 2015 season. Nestor Rojas, who played for Augusta during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, is the new manager. He is the first former GreenJackets player to become manager. He managed the Giants’ Arizona Rookie League team in 2014.

36 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

Jerry Cram, who spent four seasons in the Major Leagues with Kansas City and the New York Mets, is the new pitching coach for the GreenJackets. Coach Hector Borg and hitting coach Todd Linden return to the GreenJackets for 2015. The GreenJackets open their 27th season in Augusta on April 16 against the Charleston RiverDogs.

According to the old saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The Augusta Sports Leagues (ASL) has announced some new ways to get in some play time. ASL has added four new spring sports to its adult recreational sports calendar this year: Coed softball, men’s flag football, coed basketball and coed ultimate disc. It will also continue to offer coed kickball, coed flag football, men’s basketball, coed indoor and sand volleyball and cornhole. Spring sports start the fourth week of March. Adults can register for one or more sports, as an individual or as a team. Registration fees vary depending on the sport. The sports are played Monday through Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons at gymnasiums and parks in Richmond and Aiken counties. Expansion in Columbia County is planned for this summer. For more information, visit

as driving a race car,” said the proud father. “The way he processes knowing the things he wants out of the race car will take him far at the next level.” Well, one thing is clear. The name Elliott has reached the pinnacle of the NASCAR world with Bill’s induction into the Hall and the future of the Elliott name will continue with his son Chase for years to come. Glenn Campbell is a syndicated columnist and radio and TV show host. For more information, visit

New fitness gym opening For those wanting to get fierce about their training regimen, a new fitness training center will be opening soon in Evans. Bethany Roley, who has run Bikini Fit Camp for eight years, announced on her Facebook page that she will soon be opening Fierce Fitness Training in conjunction with Blake Crewe. The new center will cater to women and youth. Crewe has 15 years of experience working with youth at Evans Middle and High schools. Roley said they share the same vision and hold to same core beliefs in their training. Roley’s first Bikini Fit Camp began with 11 women, but has grown over the years. It is designed to help women gain confidence and change their lives through fitness and wellness. The new gym is on Columbia Industrial Boulevard between Old Evans Road and Evans to Locks Road.

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


Real Estate L.J. Novak

The Time is Now

If you want to sell your home this spring, start prepping it If you choose to own a home, there are always risks and rewards. Markets are cyclical. What goes up must come down. What goes down must go up. Over the long haul, however, a good investment will yield good returns. Ten years ago, we were in the height of explosive growth. Then we all know what happened. It has taken several years to recover, but I think it is safe to say that locally, we have been slowly recovering for some time. In fact, in the price points that most homebuyers can afford, it is no longer a buyer’s market. New construction pricing is rapidly rising. The inventory is shrinking. Is it still a great time to buy? Yes! It is also a great time to sell.

38 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

During the recovery period, people who had wanted to trade up or down had to put their plans on hold. Others who were upside-down might stay out of the market for a while longer. The outlook for resellers is getting better and better, but buyers still have high expectations. Preparing your home to make it stand out will get you the most interest and the best offers. The home selling process should begin months before a house is made available for sale. If you are thinking about selling this spring, now is the time to look at the interior of your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer. Determine what needs to be cleaned, painted or tossed out. The goal is to present a home that looks good, maximizes space and attracts as many buyers as possible. Cosmetic improvements and overall cleanliness make a big difference in helping a home show well. Mechanical repairs that demonstrate that all systems and appliances are in good working order are necessary to assure that a closing occurs. Nothing impacts buyer confidence more than a home inspection report with a long list of repairs or defects. As the weather improves, working on the curb appeal will be necessary. That first impression is so important. Prop-

erly trimmed and pruned plants, fresh mulch, bright flowers, a welcoming entry and a freshly painted front door are essential for attracting buyers. The condition of the exterior impacts what buyers will think of the interior. Ideally, you want to be sure your home is competitive with other properties for sale in the area. Every home seller wants the same thing: the best possible deal and a smooth transaction. Interestingly, so does every buyer.

A real estate agent who sees many homes in the marketplace can be your best source for advising you on what to do to get your home ready for sale. If you are thinking about selling in the near future, I recommend consulting with an agent now. LJ NOVAK is a RealtorÂŽ at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Executive Partners. She is a top producer with 10 years experience in the real estate industry. She can be reached at (706) 533-6473 or

Feb. 19-March 18, 2015 Buzz on Biz


40 Buzz on Biz Feb. 19-March 18, 2015

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