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Horizons November 2012

A publication of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce

Prestige Members Northside Hospital-Forsyth Premier Corporate Sponsor

Forsyth County Government

jTech Networks

The City of Cumming

Georgia Power

DeKalb Office


Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta

Anchor Home Mortgage

Please join in the parade M

ark your calendar f o r t h e s eve n t h annual Cumming Christmas Parade, sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth. This year’s event will be at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1 on Market Place Boulevard. In 2012, the event will be bigger and better than previous years, with more floats and a day full of family activities you don’t want to miss. Among this year’s floats will be high school marching bands, holiday music, dance troupes and local dignitaries. Santa will also be making a special appearance. There are still several opportunities to get involved in the parade. Sign up to have a float in the parade and begin your day participating in the Jingle Jog 5K.

Also on the agenda is the annual tradition of lighting the tree at the Celebration of Lights at Northside Hospital-Forsyth. As always, this event takes place after the parade at the Northside campus in Forsyth and includes a silent auction, refreshments, arts and crafts, entertainment, activities for children and of course pictures with Santa. Join the community in a celebration of the holiday season. For more information, visit

Forsyth businesses know the best of everything is close to home.



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Member Spotlight

Company keeping offices cutting edge D

eKalb Office has come a long way since opening its doors for business in 1952 as an office furniture supplier in Decatur. Today it is a creative, knowledgeable and collaborative partner providing innovative workplace solutions to a remarkably diverse client base. They serve some of the nation’s top corporations, hospitals and medical centers, as well as many colleges, universities, governmental agencies and private businesses large and small. DeKalb Office is nationally recognized for providing award-winning products and service. For 60 years, it has helped their clients create, specify, order, install, and maintain excellence in their work environments. John Rasper is owner and chief executive officer of DeKalb Office, a corporation, and the largest Steelcase office furniture dealership in the Southeast. Under Rasper’s leadership, DeKalb Office has grown into a 100-plus associate office furniture dealer. The company has a simple way of accomplishing complicated goals: work extraordinarily hard, invest in the company, and put faith in both proven methods and cuttingedge i n n ovat i o n . D eK alb


HORIZONS November 2012

Office has been repeatedly named as one of Atlanta’s Best Places to Work by the Atlanta Business Journal. They are proud partners with Steelcase, a leading global provider of workplace products and services. Recently, the DeKalb Office Customer Experience Center underwent a major transformation. “With so many changes occurring in the workplace,” said Rasper, “we knew we had to walk the talk, to create a kind of working laboratory to demonstrate to our customers how they can support changing work styles in their own facilities.” The CEC showcases the very latest collaborative environ-

ments, with technology embedded in furniture, and private offices that double as meeting spaces. There is also a working scale model of Steelcase’s classroom of the future called the Learn Lab, and more than 4,000 square feet of space dedicated to the display of ground-breaking furniture solutions designed for today’s innovative health care environments. DeKalb Office offers a broad range of services as well. There is a staff of 10 designers and product application specialists who provide customers with detailed specifications and photorealistic renderings of custom workstation designs. And there are more than 30 factory-trained installers,

supervisors and project managers who make sure that every project is seamless. Added to that are additional services, including move and relocation services, refinishing and refurbishing and asset management. Finally, DeKalb Office has a family-like corporate culture that encourages teamwork and a sense of belonging. They have a long tradition of giving back to the community where they live and work. The company and their employees support and volun-

teer for a broad range of organizations and programs designed to save, improve and enrich lives. These organizations include Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta Safehouse, March of Dimes and Junior Achievement, just to name a few. It’s their way of saying thank you and making a difference in the community. They would love to have you stop by for a visit. For more information, please call (770) 360-0200, or visit

Partners in Education

Again named one of ‘100 Best Communities’ F or the second time in two years, Cumming-Forsyth County was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People in the nation sponsored by ING. This national award was given to our community in recognition of its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis and for programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow. Cumming and Forsyth County provide support to youth through employment, mentoring, leadership and bullying prevention programs. Over 100 community leaders and members, elected officials and school administrators gath-

ered at the Forsyth County Board of Education building Oct. 18 for a program and reception in recognition of this national award. All communities entering the 100 best competition completed a rigorous application where their initiatives help deliver the “five promises,” resources identified by America’s Promise as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children: caring adults, safe places; a healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others. Applicants were also asked to describe how different sectors of their community work together to help children and families overcome challenges. Most importantly,

communities were judged on the strength and innovation of their efforts and programs to help young people graduate from high school prepared for college and the 21st century workforce. “Being named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community,” said Ruth Goode, executive director of United Way Forsyth County. “So many dedicated people and programs contributed to this win and it further reinforces our belief that a focus on youth pays dividends to the entire community. We are humbled and honored to receive this coveted award for the second time.”



From left: James McCoy, chamber CEO; Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt, Luis Abarca, America’s Promise Alliance; Buster Evans, s ch o o l s u p e r i n t e n d e n t ; Pe r s e p h a ny Peterson, NFHS student; and J. Russell Jackson, juvenile court chief judge.



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HORIZONS November 2012


Human Resources Council

Oh, ‘tis the season for holiday office misconduct By Tracy L. Moon, Jr., Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP, and Reneé Maxwell, Director of Human Resources, Hansgrohe, Inc.


mployers are not immune from legal and morale problems that can develop from office parties that get out of hand. A report by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 36 percent of employers nationwide have reported some type of employee misconduct at holiday parties. The complaints run the gamut from excessive drinking, sexual advances, offcolor and inappropriate jokes, vulgar language and even arguments and fistfights. Many employers today are a little bit nervous about the liability of hosting the traditional office party. Employers want to celebrate with their employees, but they also want the party to be politically and legally correct. They know that it can potentially cost thousands of dollars in attorney fees and lost-productivity if things get out of hand during a holiday party. To keep office parties safe and sane this holiday season, employers should incorporate in the planning and execution of holiday parties the suggestions set forth in “Holiday Office Party Tips.” In addition, employers should review their employee handbooks to make sure they address drug and alcohol

abuse, harassment, fighting, weapons and other forms of misconduct. E m p l oy e r s a l s o should educate supervisors and employees about policies dealing with sexual harassment, non-discrimination and retaliation against employees who lodge complaints. Importantly, they should consistently discipline or discharge employees who violate established policies and foster a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. The list of holiday office party tips includes restricting the availability of alcohol and dealing with situations before they get out of control. Employers should also ban mistletoe. Some employees may look at their employers like they are Scrooge, but it’s important to provide guidelines and to ensure that an open door or a doorway is not available where someone who has had too much to drink might make a choice he or she will regret later.

Mr. Moon serves as chair of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Committee. Ms. Maxwell serves as chair of the Chamber’s Human Resources Council.


HORIZONS November 2012

Holiday office party tips Suggestions for avoiding litigation and other unpleasantness: • Remind employees that normal work rules and standards apply to holiday parties. • Remind employees to drink responsibly and plan for safe transportation home. • Arrange for designated drivers, reduced cab fares or hotel room rates, or offer to pay for cabs or hotel expenses if employees are obviously impaired by alcohol. • Make it clear the party is a voluntary event and attendance is not mandatory. • Provide employees with a limited number of drink tickets. • Limit the length of the party and plan to close the bar an hour or so before the end. • Offer non-alcoholic beverages. • Do not serve alcoholic punch or other beverages that make it difficult to gauge how much alcohol one consumes. • Provide ample food and entertainment to prevent drinking from becoming the focus of the party. • Serve foods that slow the

absorption of alcohol, such as those high in protein or starch. Greasy or salty foods tend to encourage more alcohol consumption, so avoid them. • Make sure the bartenders have been trained not to overpour drinks, not to serve guests who appear intoxicated, to handle rowdy guests and take other actions to limit harm or liability. • Do not have employees involved in tending bar or providing alcohol. • Designate someone, preferably a supervisor, to refrain from drinking and to monitor the party with event staff to curtail excessive alcohol serving. • Schedule parties on a week night when employees may be less likely to overindulge. • Hire an off-duty policeman or security specialist to be present during and after the party. • Don’t hang mistletoe. • Make sure underage guests and employees are not served alcohol. • Review your insurance policies for alcohol-related exclusions.

HORIZONS November 2012


Month in Review

A look at recent chamber happenings: 2012 Healthcare Summit

Linda Cole, above, addresses the crowd on behalf of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Forsyth. Left, guests, from left, Pam Culberson, Burton Blackmar, Matt McClure, Crystal Johnson and Linda Pike enjoy a healthy lunch from Tam’s Backstage.

Business After Hours

From left, Joe Saxon, Tony Brown and Dave Striplin stop for a photo during Business After Hours at Hansgrohe. Left, guests relax in the company’s showroom.


HORIZONS November 2012

Month in Review

Behind the scenes on running a school During a breakfast Oct. 16, members of the business and educational community joined together to kick off “Principal for a Day,” an event that allows business leaders to run a school for a day and learn more about the Forsyth County school system. For more on the program, see Page 11.

Ann-Margaret Johnston enjoys breakfast provided by South Forsyth High School culinary arts students.

Community leaders interact with Forsyth County principals during a “Principal for a Day” kickoff event. Several business leaders will shadow principals to learn more about our great school system.

HORIZONS November 2012


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HORIZONS November 2012

Growing together and depending on each other.

HORIZONS November 2012



Direction for your business By Kevin J. McDonough, P.C.


here is a co mmo n management approach I encounter in many of the most successful companies I work with. These successful companies have managers, whether it be owners or employees, who direct their business and don’t let their business direct them. My goal for you in this article is to understand how to better direct your business to help your endeavors be successful. Successful managers direct their business through three fundamental steps. First, they identify the areas of a business which require attention. Second, successful managers identify goals they wish to achieve in particular areas of business. Third and lastly, successful managers create a system to make sure those goals are monitored and met. How does this work? First, you need to identify the various areas which exist in a business and decide what you want to focus on. As business managers know, there are so many aspects to business that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. To deal with this challenge, I have created five broad categories


HORIZONS November 2012

of business consideration consider. And though there are a host of topics under each category, some of the highlights are as follows: • Corporate governance — Operating consistently with a corporate structure and within the laws of Georgia; • Ownership and succession planning — Understanding ownership rights and restrictions as well as what happens to ownership in the future (whether due to retire-

ment or unexpected death); • Business operations — Examining bookkeeping, marketing, intellectual property, contractual obligations, leases, industry specific regulations, and measuring performance; • Employee considerations — Understanding employees versus independent contract o r s , h i r i n g a n d fi r i n g , employee policies, defining employee roles and goals; and • Corporate vision —

Taking time for the big picture of where you want the business to go and how you want to get there. This consideration directs all other considerations. With the above framework, you can focus on the areas that are most important to your business. Let’s say marketing is important to you. The next step is to set your marketing goal. For example, you might identify a goal of reaching 500 ideal

prospective clients within the next six months. After you have decided on your area of focus and created a goal for this area, the last step is to create a system to achieve that goal. If you want to reach 500 ideal prospective clients what will you have to do? A good indicator of an unreasonable goal is if you cannot outline a system to achieve your goal. If you can create a system to reach your goal, the sky is the limit. This system should identify steps to take, who is to take the steps, and when the steps must be taken by. This third step is the most crucial. Businesses and people have good ideas and goals all the time. What differentiates success from survival is the implementation of those good ideas and goals. The safest way to ensure implementation is to utilize the above system of identifying responsibilities and deadlines. In closing, I encourage you be proactive about business. Identify what matters to you, set a goal, and take steps to make sure you achieve those goals. I have seen time and again that this process yields success and fulfillment for the businesses that pursue it.



Barbecue event returning here W

ho will be the 2012 Grand Champion Bub-Ba-Q? What about this year’s Reserve Champion Cool Smoke? Who will take home prize money? All will be revealed at the upcoming 2012 National BBQ Cup: Que’n in Cumming. The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce is excited to have such a great event in our community for the second year in a row. The National BBQ Cup will be held N ov. 1 6 - 1 7 a t t h e C u m m i n g Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Road in Cumming. The entire family will enjoy arts and crafts vendors, product demonstrations, live entertainment and competition for over $23,000 in prizes for the winning Pro and Backyard teams. This event is a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event. The society sanctions more than 400 barbecue contests throughout the nation. KCBS provides networking, tracking trends and connections with other for organizations and media to

‘Principal for a Day’ to begin Courtesy the Forsyth County News

Judge Dennis Wellman prepares samples for guests at last year’s event.

help promote the event. Additionally, Cumming was named as one of the Top Best BBQ Cities by The bestowing states that there is a BBQ restaurant for every 1,000 residents based on the U.S. Census. So get ready for the best BBQ America has to offer! For more information visit


eginning in midO c t o b e r, t h e CummingForsyth County Chamber of Commerce kicked off a new program in the community. The “Principal for a Day” program, sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is an exciting new initiative promoting relationships between the Forsyth County school system and community business leaders. On the morning of Oct. 16, chamber board members, Chairman’s Cabinet members and Leadership Forsyth graduates attended an orientation breakfast. South Forsyth High culinary arts students provided delicious breakfast while the soon-to-be principals learned more about the program and got to know a principal from a Forsyth County school. During the month of November these leaders will serve as principal for a day in various schools throughout the county. The breakfast gave them the opportunity to meet the principal they

will be shadowing and to learn more about the school system as a whole. While the mood was light-hearted, the purpose was strong, as connections were made between the business world and those leading the workforce of the future. Forsyth County is continually ranked as one of the fastest growing communities in the nation. Much of this growth can be attributed to the rising number of new businesses that are relocating here. The principal for a day program allows our community’s business leaders to learn about how our local students are being trained for the jobs of the future. Additionally, the program also provides the leaders of our school system with an opportunity to develop private sector partnerships. After all leaders have an opportunity to shadow a principal, the chamber looks forward to hosting a celebration luncheon to discuss the new discoveries and connections made during the experience.

HORIZONS November 2012


Mark calendars for next year!


HORIZONS November 2012

Membership Information Welcome New Members

Member News

Tyson rolls out FarmCheck


yson Foods, Inc., the nation’s leading producer of meat and poultry, announced it is launching a program to personally audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. The effort is in line with the company’s core value to serve as a steward of the animals entrusted to it. “Our company is made up of ethical, responsible and compassionate people, and we believe the family farmers who supply us share our values,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. The FarmCheck™ program will be overseen by a new, external, animal well-being advisory committee that Tyson Foods is establishing.

Brand Mortgage opens newest office to serve Forsyth, others


rand Mortgage officially opened the doors in August to its newest Georgia office, located at 601 Tri-County Plaza in the heart of Cumming. This latest addition to the Georgia-based full-service lender is fully staffed with loan originators and loan operations personnel — all mortgage veterans with many years of experience. “We’re really excited

about this opportunity,” said Rick Darlington, senior vice president and area manager for brand mortgage. “This new b r an ch w ill s e rve a s a bridge between our existing Kennesaw and Gwinnett offices. I’m very happy that Bruce and his team are a

part of this latest chapter for our company.” The central location of the Cumming office along the Ga. 400 corridor affords Brand Mortgage the ability to provide mortgage services to homebuyers in north Fulton, Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties.

• Accel HR, Inc. • Angel Oak Funding • Arnold Gallivan Levesque P.C. • Coastal Health and Wealth, LLC/Colonial Life • Country Financial • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store • Deli Provision Co. of N.E. GA • Dennis Brown • EF Education First • Electro Optics US. Inc • Expand A Brand • Feed the Hungry Forsyth, Inc • Georgia Plastic Surgery Consultants LLC • Good For You Vending LLC • Gratitude Goodies • Health Plan Select • HealthGate, LLC • I.K. Hofmann USA Inc. • Infintech, LLC • Law Offices of Steven Leibel PC • Memento, LLC • Mercer • Moore’s Wealth Management • Nationwide Insurance Agent dba Perry Agency • North Georgia Institute for Wound Care • QMS Services, Inc • Rewarding Minds • Richmond Honan Development & Acquisition • Russell Medical • Solid Source – Dot Van Dyke • Southern Horizon Consulting • Speedpro Imaging Alpharetta • SPI, Inc • Strategic Business Solutions • The Kinsey Family Farm • Yates Estates GA

HORIZONS November 2012


Upcoming Events Oct. 30

Member Power Networking Lunch — Noon, Rooster’s Cafe

Member Power Networking Lunch — Noon, Rick Tanner’s Grill

Nov. 2

Dec. 1

Nov. 6

Dec. 4

Nov. 7

Dec. 11

Annual Dinner and Celebration — 6:30 p.m., Forsyth Conference Center

Member Power Networking Lunch — Noon, Slope’s BBQ

Women Who Mean Business Empowerment Series — Noon, University Center | GA 400

Nov. 8

Business After Hours — 5 p.m., Alliance National Bank

Key to the events

Nov. 13

Cumming Christmas Parade — 3:30 p.m., Market Place Boulevard

Member Power Networking Lunch — Noon, TBA

Member Power Networking Lunch — Noon, TBA

Dec. 12

Business After Hours — 5 p.m., Snap Technology Inc.

• Please visit our Event’s Calendar at to see a full list of events, more information and registration.

Member Power Networking Lunch — Meets every Tuesday at noon at a different location and includes casual networking for 20-35 other business professionals. Business After Hours — Meets the second Tuesday of every month from 5-7 p.m. at a different host location every month. The purpose is networking and to experience new businesses in the community. Women Who Mean Business — Meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30 a.m. This is a specialized networking group of over 50 female business professionals. Join them for breakfast.

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HORIZONS November 2012

Horizons 2012 Officers

Board of Directors

David Seago, Chair

Jerry Bowman

Tim Hopkins

John Kieffer, Past-Chair

Cris Burgum

Lynn Jackson

The Avenue-Forsyth

Northside Hospital-Forsyth

Conservation Resource Solutions

Drew Walker

Shawn LaFave

Royce Owens

Georgia Power - retired

Cumming Station LLC

Russ Wheeler, First Chair-Elect Hansgrohe

Linda Cole, Second Chair-Elect,

Cardinal Logistics Management

Keller Williams Community Partners

Alliance National Bank

North Georgia Promotions

Chuck Button

Scott Jordan

Tracy Moon

Scott Kuhn

Todd Moran

Bert Durand

Rep. Mike Dudgeon

Fran Forehand

Hon. Phil Smith

Sen. Jack Murphy

Alex Girrbach

Mimms Enterprises

Lipscomb, Johnson, Sleister, Dailey, & Smith LLP

Bruce Hagenau

Jim Boff

Stan Vangilder

Bobby Thomas

Sen. Steve Gooch

Laura Stewart

Rep. Amos Amerson

Jason Mock


Kevin Garmon


Bank of North Georgia

Dekalb Office

Ann-Margaret Johnston, Secretary/Treasurer

John Deruki

Cindy Mills

Tim Perry

Billy Wells

Bruce Longmore

John Rasper

Citizen’s Bank

North Georgia College & State University

Lenny’s Sub Shop

Randall Toussaint

Doug Derrer

Mike Caspar

Rick O’Brien

James McCoy

Mary Transue

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Johnston & Associates, Inc.

Rep. Mark Hamilton

Mary Helen McGruder


Bryan Properties

Chamber Staff

Dr. Buster Evans

Fisher & Phillips LLP

Jacobs Engineering Group

Deruki Construction


Bob Russell

Russell Landscape

Terry Smith

A.C. Smith Poultry Co.

Wells Fargo

United Community Bank

Ethan Underwood

Chairman, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners

Superintendent, Forsyth County Schools

Gainesville State College

Georgia Power

Georgia Power Dept. of Economic Development

Sawnee Mountain Foundation

Forsyth County Manager

State Court Judge

Chair, Forsyth County Development Authority

Paul Chambers

H. Ford Gravitt

John Hall

Bill Cupp

Blake House

Dr. Joanne Tolleson

Tom Cleveland

Jon McDaniel


AGL Resources

Chair, Forsyth County Board of Education

Mayor, City of Cumming

Sawnee EMC

Forsyth County News

Lanier Technical College

Forsyth County Public Library

President & CEO

Vice President of Economic Development

Director of Operations

Director of Communications & Events

Director of Small Business Services

Anna Brostrom

Director of Tourism Development

Jimmy Lane, Jeremiah Dickerson Sales Executives

Maggie Schmitz, Sherri Klug Administrative Assistants

Professional DeveloPment.

ContraCt training.

Classes, Workshops, and Seminars, led by quality instructors, are delivered in your community.

You choose the topic, and we bring knowledgeable, engaging instructors to your place or ours.

Photo by Roby Barrow

North Georgia Continuing Education University Center GA400 at Pilgrim Mill Road (Exit 16)

Your Solution is here. Now In Cumming. HORIZONS November 2012


In an emergency, experience matters Emergencies happen. And when they do, rest assured that you’ll get the best care close to home. Northside’s board-certified emergency medicine physicians and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certified nurses are just right up the road. We hope we don’t have to see you, but if we do, you’ll be in the best possible hands. Visit us online at


HORIZONS November 2012

Horizons November 2012  

Forsyth County's Horizons section for November 2012!

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