AT L A N TA
Sept./Oct. 2020 Volume 1 Issue 7 FREE
Rodney Blackstock Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
On November 3rd #huamimagazinevote
The Lessons of Life Do Have A Purpose A Letter From The Editor
There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!
I am not a spring chicken, and what that clearly means is that I have been around the track a few times. That also indicates that I have seen afrom fewthe things, A Letter Editorsome good and some bad. My decisions haven’t always been correct, and there have been moments of difficulty where my actions didn’t make any sense to me. But tomorrow arrive? your plans, hopes throughWhat it all,ifthere is one didn’t constant thatAll hasofnever changed; the andthat dreams have a street to park on. What if lessons onlywouldn’t life can provide. everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? be and no reason toalong save for rainy Though I haveThere been would battered bruised theaway, day, Iand could itspare someone thehas trouble of making because am you still here, proves that God a purpose for my promises. if your last opportunity seemingly adversity and a What reason for my existence. Though it mayexpired be hard at today? would times, I haveWhat realized thatyou mydo? purpose is attached to those lessons. I’ve been toldinthat I often seemroad like Iindo toobut much. There is comfort taking the easy life, the easy way Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm is out doesn’t offer growth. One of the biggest misconceptions believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything me that silence means that everything is alright. That is not on always thatbecause I couldn’t handle. sometimes wonder how life confusion, would correct silence canImask hurt, disappointment, be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I and disconnection. Just because someone doesn’t voice their haveand found that toitbe very boring. In my opportunity feelings opinions, doesn’t mean they doopinion, not have any to say. is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge It could possibly indicate the exact opposite. They could have a tocircus me is an adventure. Whatand is the worst thatitcan happen? whole going on the inside never show because it has If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learnGod become easier to remain silent and emotionless. However, something about myself. Relinquish your pride and in desires for us tonew speak. return acquire life.
In the holy bible, in the book of Psalms 34:1 NLT, it says “I will The Lord best at advice ever given to me happened someone praise the all times. I will constantly speakwhen His praises.” told me to make tomorrowfrom happen In our doing so This verse offers clearmy instructions Godtoday. on what I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only responsibilities are as Christians. We can’t stay silent when faced hope provided. I have also learned the difference between with adversity; we must speak out. Even during difficulties, there what and Godpromise blesses me with life can burden me with is resolve when weand callwhat on God. as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when be quiet, Living in ato world that isbecause someone maychaos get itand confused filled with so much with being arrogant. misunderstanding, being silent only
fuels the problem. When you have Make you tomorrow an opportunity to speak, you must happen today, but most do so with the love of God in your importantly make it count. heart, and on your lips. Though your Life is but a whisper and pain may seem endless, love has the we must put ourselves in a ability to fix a lifetime of brokenness. position to hear what it is telling us.
www.huamimagazine.com Terry L Watson Publisher www.huamimagazine.com Editor In Chief Writer Dawn C. Thornton Terry L. Watson Terry L. Watson Writer Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Laci Ollison Writer Writers
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Terry L. Watson 4
Terry L. Watson Atlanta - Editor/Founder Sept./Oct. 2020
On The Cover
Photo by Shaw Photography Group
A Promise Kept
On The Cover
Blackstock Insurance Agency Rodney Blackstock
Presidential Concrete LLC
Shamika and Jason
Get Fit Atl
Aleta Danielle Realty
Danielle Bertrand Do you know what time it is ladies? Girl It’s Go Time! Meet the face behind the magic. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Cory L Walker From ideas to solutions. Meet the founder of Pinnacle Solutions Group Little Rock, AR
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
Aubrie Tate She is the cutest, and has been selected as Huami Magazine’s Cutest Baby.
Rodney Blackstock 6
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Rodney Blackstock If you are living in the Atlanta Metro area, and in need of insurance, there is coverage available for you. Rodney Blackstock is the owner of Blackstock Insurance Agency located 2951 Piedmont Road in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Rodney has lived in several different places throughout his life. That experience he says has given him a better perspective on the world, and an innate ability to connect with people of all different backgrounds. “I’m a kid who grew up in a foster home. I bounced around and lived with different people growing up. I lost my mom at the age of 12, after only seeing her three times. To say my childhood was rocky, is an understatement. Losing my mom gave me so much drive. I wanted to be successful and establish myself, and my family where she wasn’t able to. And what better tool to use, basketball. Basketball was my saving grace. Because of it, I was able to play sports collegiately and professionally. When I was finished, I pivoted into entrepreneurship. I did all this without having the stability of a two-parent household. I had to create the change I wanted to be. I had to work for everything I have, and because of that, I don’t like excuses,” he shares. Basketball is his first love. First as a player, and then as a sports agent, basketball took Rodney around the globe and exposed him to different people and various life experiences. After six years in the game, Rodney decided to pivot to a career where I could have an even greater impact on his people. That was insurance. Rodney is a brother, friend, son, athlete, speaker, agent, and connector. As a Principal within the AAA network, he’s able to provide a number of products that can be tailored to fit the needs of any individual or family. These include auto insurance, home/condo insurance, renter’s insurance, and perhaps the most important one of them all, life insurance. They also provide umbrella liability coverage and RV, motorcycle, and boat insurance.
“Basketball was my saving grace. Because of it, I was able to play sports collegiately and professionally. When I was finished, I pivoted into entrepreneurship. I did all this without having the stability of a twoparent household. I had to create the change I wanted to be.”
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Blackstock Insurance Agency opened in August 2020. Though the location of Rodney’s business is fairly new, he has been in the insurance industry for four years. “I began with the State Farm Agency to perfect my craft. I learned everything there is to know about the industry and obtained both my property and casualty, and my life and health licenses. It was a years’ long grind, which, at times, was quite humbling. Yet, it was a strategic move and I realized I needed that step to get started and help me to arrive at where I am today,” he shares. Rodney has a genuine care and love for people and for helping others. He shares why he decided to open an insurance agency in the first place. “It was to help people build and maintain the lifestyle they desired. When I discovered that I could make money by helping others, it was a no-brainer. I was also inspired by the idea that insurance is a recession proof business, and an essential product and service that people will always be in need of. However, the most important reason for me to start my agency was to create a stable business for my family and establish something that could be around for generations to come,” he says. Rodney also uses his platform to educate others about the importance of being insured. “Miseducation can be a huge challenge for me as an agent. Some people don’t understand the value that insurance brings to their lives. As a black man, I’ve seen first-hand how many of our people in particular, have been taught to believe that insurance is a waste of money, or that it’s not necessary. In actuality, wealthy people view insurance as a risk management tool to make sure they maintain their wealth. My job is to educate as many people as possible while I bring them along on this journey toward peace of mind and wealth generation,” he says. Educating people about the importance of being insured is one of the top priorities for Rodney. In the future he plans to get the Blackstock Insurance Agency name out there and reach people, save people money, and help to protect families.
Blackstock Insurance Agency 2591 Piedmont Road NE Suite 1120 Atlanta, GA 30324 404-835-0131 www.aaasouth.com
His advice to others who may follow in his footsteps is to hustle. “With respect to my career success, hustle has been the number one differentiator. Lots of people are talented, but few are driven enough to show up early and leave late. Few are willing to come in on Saturdays or Sundays to perfect their craft. The hustler mentality helped me in basketball and in business. No one will out-work me. I’d tell anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps to trust the process and to put the work in,” he says. h
A Better You
By Terry L. Watson Photos by DeAndre Cannon It’s time to get into shape Atlanta. DeAndre Cannon is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Better You ATL, located in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, DeAndre holds a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska, and a Masters degree in Nutrition. Additionally, he is a Men’s IPE Physique Pro + NPC National Qualifier and competes often in bodybuilding competitions. For almost a decade, DeAndre has worked with a multitude of clients including beginners, athletes, and professional bodybuilders. “Working with and utilizing my skill sets as your personal trainer and nutrition coach will guarantee you transforming results. As the owner of A Better You ATL Fitness, my goal is to help my clients feel their very best, without regard to their fitness level,” he says. DeAndre shares that for years, the fitness industry has relied on ineffective workouts, unrealistic diets, and do-nothing supplements as quick and temporary solutions. Yet, he offers a different approach. With his education and experience, DeAndre employs a signature training methodology that includes customized workouts and nutrition plans backed by science, as well as trial and error. DeAndre launched his business 10 years ago. “In college, I trained people in the gyms of apartments, and in parks to save money to open my own gym,” he says. He opened his first gym in Omaha in 2013 and kept the citizens of Omaha fit for five years before moving to Atlanta. Since doing so, he has incorporated a mobile app into his program to better meet the needs of his clients. “With my app, I have gained a broader reach over my current and future clients with my personalized online program,” he says. DeAndre offers various products and services, mainly because of the diversity that his clientele represents. These include a Personalized Online training program, and habit forming, weekly workouts designed specifically for each individual client that can be purchased separately or together with his personalized meal plans. He also offers Personalized Meal Plans that are specifically for each individual client and can be purchased separately or together with personalized workouts. DeAndre also has training guides designed to address general fitness goals and levels. These guides can assist clients who aren’t ready for personalized training but still want to focus on the importance of having sound fitness and eating habits to optimize their body goals. DeAndre is naturally driven and he shares his compassion and love with his clients in the form of change. “I love helping my clients go from where they are today, to achieving their body goals, and gain confidence while growing physically and mentally,” he says. He is also inspired by the achievements and accomplishments of his clients. He offers some advice to those who may follow in his footsteps. “Stay away from fads and gimmicks. Be yourself and focus on helping your clients achieve their goals,” he says. h
DeAndre Cannon www.ABetterYouAtl.com 11
A Love For Real Estate
By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by B Smith Photography Aleta Danielle has always been interested in helping people. Encouraging others through tough decisions and supporting them in achieving their dreams is constantly on Danielle’s heart. “I’ve had the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and experience, from various positions which have assisted in my development as a Realtor,” says Danielle. She worked in Corporate America for over 20 years in various roles and gained the experience from each of those positions and applied them in serving her clients. When she assisted customers in the past, she wasn’t sure what the end goal would be. She was only a small part of the process and oftentimes left unfulfilled. Choosing real estate has been one of the best decisions she’s made. In upstate South Carolina the housing market is red hot. The area has been booming within the last few years and Danielle is taking advantage of the opportunities. “With real estate, I’m involved beginning to end. That fulfillment is there because I’ve helped them attain a home,” Danielle explains. In the Greenville/Spartanburg area, several Fortune 500 companies have relocated there due to the growth which has allowed homebuilders to increase their construction exponentially. With these large companies hiring, college students who have traveled here to attend one of the many colleges, stay and vie for those jobs upon graduation. Those same new grads will soon be in the market to purchase a new home and Danielle is ready to serve them. The state of South Carolina also boasts 12 beaches. With this new pandemic that has confined families to their homes while working and schooling, living in a vacation home with warm sand at your feet has become a desire. “As a Realtor, there are so many avenues to this position that I want to be able to accentuate about myself and the services I offer.” Though it’s an interesting time, business is still flourishing. It’s certainly a seller’s market, as Agents have seen multiple offers on the same home and even homes selling within hours of going live. Neighborhoods are being built on every livable space one can think of which means the population is also increasing in record numbers.
Since venturing into a new arena she has learned that knowing how to manage yourself, having a solid plan, and pursuing your interests are the first things to consider. Most importantly, having strong faith has gotten her further than she could’ve ever imagined. “Live your dreams, is my motto, because it’s never too late to do that. But use wisdom when making decisions. Be ready to think out of the box and then get out there and make things happen.” A quote that Danielle admires is “Just as the Caterpillar thought the world was ending, she became a Butterfly.” -Barbara Haines h
Aleta Danielle Realtor
When Danielle isn’t making dreams come true, she works from home as an Account Manager for UPS. The University of South Carolina Alum has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management and is taking steps to grow her brand using what she learned in college. The ability to work from home as well as set her own hours is quite beneficial to this mother of two. “My three year old daughter can feel that I’m home more now. She and my 14 year old son love that we get to spend so much time together,” says Danielle.
Danielle Bertrand Girl, Itâ€™s Go Time
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Crowned Photography, LeAnn Nicole Danielle Bertrand is a native of Baton Rouge, LA, but now resides with her husband, Lance in Dallas, TX. “I am the daughter of the King of Kings. I know my purpose is to manifest Heaven on Earth,” she says. She is also the daughter of Kelvin and Sharon Duncan. Danielle graduated from Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge and earned her B.A. in Business Management with a concentration in Small Business and Entrepreneurship from Southeastern Louisiana University. Additionally, she earned her Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Grand Canyon University and is a certified business educator in the states of Louisiana and Texas. She has served as a high school teacher for seven years, teaching various business courses. Yet, Danielle’s most impressive feat is having authored and being the founder of “Girl, It’s Go Time”. The purpose of the book Danielle says is to empower women to get off the sideline and pursue their dreams boldly. The theme of the book is traveling from your current routine to the life you were designed to live. The business component for “Girl, It’s Go Time” serves as a platform that she uses to coach and speak. “This originally was just the title of my first book, but has now turned into a national brand,” she says. Danielle shares that her writing journey began by journaling daily. “It was a release for me and a chance to get my thoughts down on paper. When the idea of writing a book came about, I rejected it. That is not what I wanted to do. However, the Holy Spirit continued to say that was my next assignment. I would start writing and then stop. This happened multiple times. One day, I asked God what my next assignment was? He said, “Finish the book”. At that point I knew what I had to do and got serious about completing the book. In July of 2019, it was published and available for purchase,” she says. “Girl, It’s Go Time” is available in autographed paperback and digital download. The book also includes a 21 Day Devotional. Danielle also serves as a start-up business coach for female entrepreneurs. While doing so she has merged her degree in business, her Master’s in teaching, and her relationship with God to give her clients a unique growth experience in their businesses. She shares, “I help my clients eliminate fear and create a strategy for success to win in the marketplace. Female entrepreneurs can connect with me through consultations, coaching sessions, and coaching packages and are invited to share more about their businesses and current struggles. I help them get clarity and provide guidance on what their next steps should be.” Continued on the next page
As a speaker, Danielle makes herself available for conferences, brunches, virtual webinars, and more. She speaks on the topics of purpose, not settling, empowerment, business start-ups, and self-confidence. Even more, she designs inspirational apparel including t-shirts, masks, and mugs that encourage others to take their lives to the next level. All her products and services are available on her website. Danielle has a genuine love for what she does. “I love helping female entrepreneurs win in the marketplace. Many women have amazing products and services, but they need a coach to help them position themselves for success. When the light goes off in my client’s head, I know that I am making a difference,” she says. As a child of God, and a believer in His mighty works, Danielle says it has been her relationship with God that has impacted her life the most. “I was introduced to Christ at an early age, and through the years, that relationship has grown stronger. My mom always was praying over me and my brother, and now my husband leads us in prayer daily. My pastors have always guided me into a deeper relationship with God and have taught me how to use my words to manifest my future,” she says. She finds inspiration in any woman who is living for Christ and making a positive impact on the marketplace. She describes these as women who have multiple businesses and acknowledge that it was God who got them to that place. Danielle offers some sound advice to others who may follow in her footsteps “Stay the course. Every day might not look like you are winning. Perhaps, you might just be in training. Above everything else, be sure that you are being led by the Holy Spirit. When you have multiple ideas at once, instead of letting them overwhelm you, write them down and focus on one at a time. Give each idea six months of dedication. Once that is rolling, move on to the next idea. Remember to invest in yourself, and not just your business. You can accomplish this by taking courses, reading books, and utilizing the services of a coach. And try to and attend events. By doing these things, your value will increase overall,” she says.
Danielle Bertrand www.girlitsgotime.com email@example.com Instagram: @girlitsgotime Facebook: @girlitsgotime
Moving forward, has plans to increase the amount of clients that she coaches on a monthly basis, and do more speaking engagements. She also plans to expand “Girl, It’s Go Time”to become a household name. There are also plans for her to host a two-day, power packed conference. “The most important plan I have is to live my life as an example of what it means to say ‘yes’ to God when He says, “Girl, It’s Go Time.” h
Pinnacle Solutions Group, LLC
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Cory L Walker
According to Cory Walker, who is also affectionately known as Cory The Coach, the definition of a fulfilled life must include humility and service to others. He is an innovator and prides himself on being a daring risk taker. “I have been first in a lot of things in my life, now I am learning to finish strong,” he shares. “My life’s works are about service and empowerment to many. There are a lot of people whom I have been fortunate enough to help realize their true potential and thrive both personally and in business.” TThe Arkansas native, who also lived in Georgia and in Texas, has committed his life to service. Being firmly planted on a foundation of integrity, Cory describes himself as a man of his word who goes above and beyond to help people win. He is a believer, a loving husband, father, entertainer, and serial entrepreneur who does not mind telling you the truth. Public speaking and training are two of his specialties, but he is impressively multi-talented and a critical thinker. He is certified in DISC Communication & Behavior Styles and in the Motivators Models. “Training is like a ministry to me. The feeling is amazing when I take the floor and begin to speak. It’s beyond me how people’s lives are literally being changed while I am presenting,” he says. Cory has also been blessed with the ability to think forward. “I’m an innovator. I have been blessed with an incredible gift to make things better, and seemingly, to operate in the future,” he says. In 2001, he created Arkansas’ first online business directory, (www. ResourceAR.com). Its purpose was to give people …access to information for personal, business, entertainment, and worship needs. From any location in the state, users could find what they were looking for with the click of a mouse. Today, Cory is the owner and face of Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC. His company is a unique business solutions provider domiciled in Arkansas, providing services to small and medium size businesses nationwide. “We are a onestop solutions shop for making the right things happen and getting results that create opportunities for success. I have an amazing team that does outstanding work. Even better, the services we provide are customizable and affordable,” he says. Currently, Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC is well underway in its peak season of employee benefits enrollment. They are simultaneously targeting minority owned business for management consulting, employee development and training, beginning in early Spring of 2021.
My life’s works are about more than money and success, they’re about service and empowerment to many. There’s a lot of people whom I have been fortunate enough to help realize their true potential and thrive both personally and in business.
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Cory shares that he believes a significant number of minorityowned/operated businesses stunt their growth because they are not prepared for growth. “Running a business entails more than just selling products and services. It entails operations management, excellent customer service, and quality control. A company’s management and staff must operate in tandem to achieve peak performance and perpetual success.” Cory’s journey as a ‘serious’ entrepreneur began in 2004, out of necessity. “I was hungry for more. I was college educated, broke, and fresh out of a job.. Ironically, the answer to my prayers came in the form of a business opportunity in October. I had to borrow $149 investment amount to get started. I had no idea I was beginning a transformation journey that would change the rest of my life,” says Cory. As a platform to add value to his business in pursuit of expanding his target market, Cory began developing a membership platform for small businesses in 2008. It never really got off the ground, but he shares it was a cool concept that eventually lead to other opportunities. In 2013, he began selling life insurance on a part-time basis. After relocating home to Arkansas from Texas, he began hosting networking events for professionals and entrepreneurs under the title of IBO (Independent Business Owner) Partners. That happened while working full time as a professional development trainer, and still selling life insurance. In that experience, he says he discovered a void that needed to be filled; small and medium sized businesses were lacking access to training and services that could help to protect and grow them. In December of 2017, he ‘accidentally’ pre-launched Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC. Though the business is fully operational and attracting new clients, the official launch event for PSG and the Southern MinorityBiz Network will take place on January 4, 2021. “This is significant because we are beating the odds for most newly established businesses,” he says.
Running a business entails more than just selling products and services. It entails operations management, excellent customer service, and quality control. A company’s management and staff must operate in tandem to achieve peak performance and perpetual success. Continued on the next page
Some of the services offered by Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC are Professional Development and Leadership Training, Small Business Consulting, Voluntary Group Benefits, (Arkansas and Texas - Tennessee pending), access to Telemedicine, LegalShield Group Benefits and ID Shield Group Benefits (Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma), Certified Business and Life Coaching, Freight/LTL Management, Bookkeeping & Taxes (Arkansas only), Notary Public (Arkansas only), and COVID-19 Response (South Region, Midwest, East Coast). Just as any other business, Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the quarantine presented an opportunity for Cory to position the company as a valuable resource. “So many times, I have been ahead of the market, and here I am once again, doing the future now. This time around I am better prepared to handle the demands and obstacles of introducing a unique, multifaced business platform to the market. With a portion of my target market attempting to recover, there is plenty of opportunity for us to serve businesses that need our help. However, the ability to provide individuals and families access to many of the same services is currently playing a major part in creating stability,” Cory says.
For anything to be successful, authenticity and love must be involved. Cory has them both. “I love the feeling I get from being able to design and create solutions through consulting. It’s an amazing feeling to help someone find the right path for themselves and show them how to pursue their goals in a time and costeffective manner. We are helping both entrepreneurs and professionals on various levels with various services and resources that meet their needs. It’s rewarding and exciting to think, we are just beginning to make noise in the market.” Cory is mostly inspired by his parents, Houston and Mildred Walker. He says they weren’t business professionals, but had a natural ability for conducting business. “Even in their struggles, they produced what we needed and still managed to help a lot of people in the College Station (AR) community, and beyond. Even though they are with the Lord, thinking about their accomplishments through all of their personal challenges, continue to drive me. Because I have a sincere appreciation for their drive and ambition, I am equipped to inspire others as I pursue my passion to serve and achieve success on various levels of human endeavor,” he says. “I love my parents and cherish my memories of them. They were the world’s greatest,” he says. Cory offers some advice for others who may follow in his footsteps and are planning to start a business. “You must pray and believe. Determine who you are. Love who you are. Decide what you want to do and do it no matter how many times you have to start over. Focus on your passion and let the haters and nay-sayers help fuel your fire. Don’t act like a boss – be the boss. Be humble, grateful, and serve others. Moreover, you must invest your time and money in not just your business, but into your personal growth and protection. Network and meet new people. Seek out a mentor. Do not limit your thinking and know when to let go of things that hinder you. Fight to fulfill your purpose and for the things you truly desire.” Cory is excited and optimistic about the future for himself and for his business. Presently, PSG is in the process of pre-launching the Southern MinorityBiz Network, powered by Pinnacle Solutions Group, beginning October 1, 2020. “I am expecting this network to spread across the state of Arkansas fairly quickly and with fanfare. While there is no cost to be a part of the social media group, there is a paid membership that will give minority entrepreneurs access to free and discounted services, resources, training, and referral opportunities. There will also be a chance to have some serious networking fun, with all roads leading to January 04, 2021,” he says. Along with the network, they will continue to provide services that make a difference for all small and medium size businesses. “Lastly, I will continue to speak and train, while pursing growth and success as a business leader and CEO of Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC,” he says. h
Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC www.pinnaclesolutionsgroup.net 501-487-1842 23
Presidential Concrete LLC By Laci Ollison Photos by Joseph Merrill When you hear the term “power couple,” you may immediately begin to think of celebrity couples like Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z, or Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. But in Huntsville, there’s one couple who is breaking barriers and establishing their own definition of the term power couple. Jason and Shamika Minisee are the owners of Presidential Concrete; a residential and commercial concrete business located in Huntsville, Alabama. Their business mainly provides flatwork services which includes driveways, parking lots, curbs, gutters, and slabs. However, they will soon become a full-service concrete business offering coffee tables, concrete countertops, and more. The dynamic duo have been in business together since 2005. However, they both have a foundation in entrepreneurship and ties to the concrete business that extend much further than that. “I learned the skill trade of concrete finishing from my father,” said Jason. “Before I moved to Huntsville, I used to run their concrete business. I only had a little bit of business skills, but I had a lot of experience with this skill trade.” And that’s where his wife Shamika steps in. The St. Louis native holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University as well as a master’s degree in Business Management with an emphasis on Acquisition and Contract Management from Florida Institute of Technology. “My wife always wanted to be a business owner and entrepreneur, and that’s what she studied in college.” Jason said. “When we started our business, we were just married, and our daughter wasn’t even two years old.” At the time, Shamika was working on her master’s degree and working a job that paid $11.63. Jason was working an Continued on the next page
unfulfilling job making $10 an hour. “I came home and told my wife that I quit my job and I wanted to start my own concrete business and she was game.” Although Shamika supported her husband’s dream of starting a business, she still found herself somewhat nervous. “I like structure. So, him quitting his job on Friday and filing LLC paperwork on Monday scared me,” said Shamika. “But I understood his vision. The company he was working for wasn’t paying him his worth. I agreed because I knew the best way for him to be paid what he was worth was for him to pay himself.” And now, the couple has built a successful business with clients to include Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church, Alabama A&M University, and Oakwood University just to name a few. “It’s taken a while to reap the fruits of our labor because we didn’t start out with loans,” Shamika said. “We didn’t build from loans or angel investors; we built this business ourselves.” The couple said that at the time of starting their business, they would use Shamika’s refund checks from school to reinvest in the business. “We didn’t know about outside funding,” said Shamika. “I remember having our first business account and my husband asked for a line of credit, but we were denied. We didn’t look into it any further and we were so laser focused on building that we didn’t take time to Google or do more research into outside funding.” But they didn’t let the lack of outside funding stop them from pursuing their dream of building a successful business. “The biggest thing I heard was ‘90% of businesses fail in the first year,’” Jason said. “I was determined to make it through that first year without failing.” And because of their determination, they can now show their children what it looks like when perseverance and hard work are combined. Their three children actively participate in the family business; visiting contract sites and making suggestions on designs. “It feels good to have them watching us,” Shamika said. “They take in everything we do and even make suggestions on how to market our business. My husband even took my son out to one of the job sites and it was so cute to see him with a construction hat on.” Although they value their clients, it is more important for Shamika and Jason to be role models that their children can look up to. “It’s not just about the clients for me,” said Shamika. “It’s about my kids seeing their father never give up.” Continued on page 10
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
Shamika and Jason have been married since 2003 and reside in Huntsville, Alabama with their three children (pictured from left to right) Payton, Jason, and Jayden. Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
The couple also value personal family time as well, making it a habit to not miss important moments in the lives of their children. “I try to make sure to take them out one at a time or altogether to spend quality time with them,” the mom of three said. “They’re not little for long and I don’t want them to look back and think that our business consumed us.” Outside of being parents and business owners though, Jason and Shamika are both involved in their community through professional and philanthropic avenues. Shamika is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and she sits on the board of directors for North Alabama Free Dental Clinic, Sickle Cell Leadership Consortium, and Girls on the Run. The couple are both members of Huntsville Madison County Builders Association. Jason has been gifted with a knack for management. His gift has led him to gain contracts and lead efforts from Alabama all the way to Michigan. He has acted as the project manager on projects like pole barns, grain bins, and storage facilities. During a small employment stint as a Superintendent he led the efforts on Friendship Commons, a multi-use retail and residential complex and plaza. With their busy lives as business owners, parents, and local community figures, the two both agree that they would be no where without their faith. “You have to have guidance in The Lord,” said Shamika. “For me it’s scary that Jason is so confident, but I know where his help comes from. You have to constantly pray over your business. The Lord didn’t give us a spirit of fear.” For others who would like to start their own business, Jason encourages them to not be nervous. “Just have supreme confidence in yourself and in your business,” he said. “No one is going to be as confident as you.” Shamika also tells aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap and “just do it.” “Create a roadmap,” she said. “Don’t do it like us. We jumped headfirst not feet first. Don’t take forever but make it make sense. Don’t stop at no. Guestimate how much startup capital you will need. And if the bank says no, search for other avenues.” Shamika reminds people often that she came from humble beginnings. “If I can do it, they can too. Don’t be like me, be better than me.” h
www.presidentialconcrete.com (256)226-7152 (256)226-7103 28
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
“A Promise Kept” 30
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
By Dr. Marrrissa Dick Photos by JLG Photography How often do you keep your promise(s)? If you are like most people, you make commitments to others all the time without really considering the ramifications of following through on your word. It can be a daunting task to follow through on every single promise you make in life, but how many you break and how you handle it when you do is key to understanding yourself. According to Wikipedia, A promise is “a commitment by someone to do or not do something. As a noun a promise is a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. As a verb it means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. A promise can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future.” Meet Pastor Anthony Knotts, husband, father, entrepreneur, restaurant owner, community leader, and promise keeper. Pastor Knotts understands the integrity connected with keeping your word. He shares, “This all started because I made a promise to my children. I told them if they ever decided to go to college that a part of me giving them a head start is that they would not have to pay for it. So my baby girl took me up on that promise and told me she wanted to go to college and all I remember thinking was that I had no money to send her, but I see her steady applying to all of these institutions because she’s expecting me to keep my promise. All I could do was pray because I didn’t know where the money was coming from.” Spiritually, Pastor Knotts understands that prayer is like a sweet perfume for God. He knows that God’s ears and heart are always open to listen to our petitions especially when that prayer comes from a place of humility and sincerity. As a pastor, he also knows that Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, ““Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God” and so, instead of being anxious as he watched his daughter, Destiny, submit application after application to attend the college of her choice, he prayed without ceasing. As a father, Pastor Knotts recognizes the importance of keeping his word to his family. When we make promises and do not keep them that signals to the person, we made the promise to that they cannot count on us and
“This all started because I made a promise to my children. I told them if they ever decided to go to college that a part of me giving them a head start is that they would not have to pay for it.”
Continued on the next page 31
Some of the menu items offered are:
Crab Leg Broil George Floyd BroilBo’s Crab Cake AK 47 Lobster Broil Shrimp Mac & Cheese King Crab Broil.....and more!
Seafood Destiny also offers their own line of sauces
Dribble Sauce, Destiny Sauce, and Errythang Sauce 32
that our words are void and without value. Just as committed as his daughter was with submitting college applications, he was equally determined to hear a Word from the Lord. And what a Word he received, “I came up with this idea while I was at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I went outside to speak with one of my spiritual daughters and get something to eat and while we were out there I heard the Holy Spirt say, “Look around” and as I looked around the Holy Spirit asked me, “What’s missing?” and I repeated, “What’s missing?” and He said, “There are no seafood trucks here” and that’s when it all began. After that I began to notice more food trucks and so I talked about it to my daughter and she was excited about it, too. So, I started cooking in my backyard; then I moved to the indoor porch and my wife finally felt sorry for me and allowed me to bring my idea into the kitchen! I would invite people over and let them sample the food for free and then I started selling and delivering from my kitchen so that started me thinking about purchasing a food truck especially after I had that conversation with the Holy Ghost and things were going well cooking from home.” Pastor Knotts tried to find other locations but nothing seemed to really fit his need. We all know that “Favor Ain’t Fair” and in Pastor Knotts case here’s, why, “I got this building that we are in right now debt free because my contractor knew Alexander Devereaux. He reached out to Alvis on my behalf and it was God ordained because Alvis let me use his facility to prepare my food and didn’t charge me a dime. That kindness afforded me the opportunity to grow my business. I took every dime I earned from selling the seafood boils ad reinvested it straight back into the business and we remodeled this location and on July 9, 2019 we had our grand opening in spite of this pandemic we just celebrated one year of being in business. It’s something else because during this pandemic other restaurants have gone out of business but our business has flourished. We have gone from one person to over 25 employees both full-time and part-time. When I look back at it all I shake my head and I give God all the glory because all of this happened from a promise I made to my daughter. God is good, he heard and honored my petition. He provided for me so I could keep my promise to my daughter. I am happy to say that
she completed her first year of college debt free and we were able to give away our first scholarship to another deserving college student during the pandemic.” One man’s promise to his daughter in actuality became a blessing to many other students in the community who had desires to attend college. According to Pastor Knotts, “So the original concept was for my baby but now we have been able to work on scholarships for other students. There’s this young girl from my church who was recently accepted into medical school, so we were able to bless her with $2,500 scholarship to help her get started. We also hosted Ben L. Smith High School’s graduation ceremony here. We fed the students, the administrators, and the teachers. The students were able to wear their caps and gowns and we did all of this during the pandemic.“ The Bible teaches us that we are blessed so we can be a blessing to others and that is exactly what Pastor Knotts is doing. He is grateful for the private donations. Because of his work and their contributions, he is able to assist seven to eight students this fall 2020 – spring 2021 academic year. Pastor Knotts recognizes that his promise was a part of God’s master plan because he is truly able to perform outreach ministry in the hedges and highways during this pandemic. Since he cannot preach the Gospel in the traditional sense, from the pulpit of his church, the Embassy Church, he has established what he has dubbed, a Market Place Ministry. He shares, “God blessed us immensely, so we have been able to feed about 2,500 essential workers from first responders, schoolteachers, hair stylists, postal workers, and bankers. You know I have always cooked fish. When I started our church, I fried fish for the college students and gave it to them. So, what we are doing now is no different. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when we serve them a platter because they are receiving mana during this pandemic. All of the hard work we put into preparing the food from slicing the turkey sausage to seasoning the food is God ordained because believe it or not I have never tasted any of this food. God called me on a fast a year ago and He hasn’t released me from it yet, so I have to trust Him with seasoning the food. We all pray, and some people know that so when they place their order some customers will actually ask us to send up a prayer for this person or that person. So, you see our ministry is so much bigger than just the food. God knew there would be a need for what we have to offer, and He put us in the direct path to be able to fulfill it. At this moment and time, I’m proud to be a part of God’s master plan. I just want to remain true to God’s plan and I want to use Seafood Destiny to continue meeting the needs of the community. This is a community business. It is a way for us to do ministry. At the end of the day it’s all about impacting people’s lives. Last June I started preaching to our church that God said He wanted to strengthen our ability. He said that He wanted to move in their lives. So now the church has become non-essential, but Seafood Destiny has become essential for our community. This whole thing is bigger than us.”
Continued on the next page Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
Within the last couple of years seafood restaurants have converged on the Triangle Area, in particular, Greensboro has become the home to many other seafood chain restaurants. One might wonder how the good Reverend intends to compete with these conglomerates. What does he have that is going to set his family owned seafood restaurant apart? He says, “I am proud to be a black independent family owned business in an industry that is dominated by corporate and chain seafood restaurants. You know God gave me this idea before all of the other crab places were here but when they opened up, I realized that I was not in competition with them. My goal was to set out to have the best crab leg boil in the Piedmont Triad area. I really believe that nobody in this area has a better crab boil than Seafood Destiny. I am not in competition with anyone especially when God is seasoning the food! You know my son came to me one time because he noticed all of the seafood restaurants opening so he said, ‘dad we need billboards’ and I said son we cannot afford billboards but what we are going to do is take what we have and use it. One of those things we had to use was giving the food away like I’ve always done so people could try it. Everybody thought I was crazy but when I did that people started talking and then the folk just started coming. Word of mouth is much better than any billboard. I think it’s amazing because people come from everywhere Virginia, Mississippi, New York, Maine, and Los Angeles. We actually had a lady from Raleigh place an order and actually drove here to pick it up. People come to taste the food and that’s why I am not in competition. There’s enough for all of us.” The menu at Seafood Destiny is intentionally diverse from the types of seafood served. You won’t find any fried fish in this establishment. What you will find; however, are upscale seafood platters named after individuals who have been impactful in his life. Through his bountiful platters Pastor Knotts is mindful when naming his platters. For example, he recently added a George Floyd Platter. One dollar from each of these platters goes towards African American males who desire to attend college. Pastor Knotts shares, “You know this situation with George Floyd is familiar to me. In 1993 Angelo Robinson was killed at a Waffle House in Concord, NC. He said, ‘I can’t breathe’ too after being pepper sprayed. When Angelo died thousands of people were there and it was amazing but one year later his mother invited me to come back and speak at his memorial service and it wasn’t 50 people there and that had a lasting impact upon me because I was like how can we go from thousands of people and all of the major civil rights leaders but a year later only a handful of people were there to console his mother. My takeaway from that is people are quick to forget but they can be memorialized in small ways. So, I decided on a Sunday morning that I was going to create a platter with George Floyds name
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
Pictured below with Pastor Knotts are his son Jalen, wife Byrdzetta, and daughter Destiny
â€œMy goal was to set out to have the best crab leg boil in the Piedmont Triad area. I really believe that nobody in this area has a better crab boil than Seafood Destiny. I am not in competition with anyone especially when God is seasoning the food!â€? Continued on the next page 35
Byrdzetta and Anthony Knotts are a great example of what teamwork can accomplish. 36
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
but also in the back of my mind it has Angelo’s name there, too. I give a dollar from each platter we sell and set it aside to provide scholarships for African American men and women so they can go to school. I also name platters for people who have impacted my life like my Uncle Bo who was a big influence on me. I named my crab cakes after him. They’re called, Bo’s Crab Cakes because my uncle was an avid cook. He’s almost 90 years old now and living in a retirement home. I can’t go in there to see him, but what I can do is take him and his friends platters of food that are his name sake. So, this gives me the opportunity to honor people like him.” One of the things Pastor Knotts looks forward to is returning to his neighborhood, South Side Village in Lexington, North Carolina and giving back to that community. He concedes that God has always placed people in his life who believed in him much like his foster parents Billy and Katie Bird who took him in as a child. He recognizes that everything he endured from being a foster child to becoming homeless helps him remain humble and in pursuit of helping others find their better angels and of course introducing them to Christ through keeping a promise to his daughter, Destiny. According to Bible Gateway there are 8,810 promises in the Bible. Which one is yours? h
Seafood Destiny is on the go with the Seafood Destiny food truck. Catering services available also. Call (336)337-9296 for more details.
Seafood Destiny 4705 W. Gate City Blvd - Greensboro, NC 27407 336-283-7291 order online @ www.seafooddestiny.com Hours of Operation Wednesday - Saturday (4:00pm till 9:00pm) Sundays (2:00pm till 9:00pm) Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
The daughter of Aleta Danielle Tate
Atlanta - Sept./Oct. 2020
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