Friday, April 23, 2010


Integrative Logic's John Gardner Awarded the 2010 Overall Gwinnett Small Business Person of the Year; American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America's Northeast Georgia Council and Just People, Inc. Received Pinnacle Non-profit Awards

Duluth, GA- Integrative Logic Owner John Gardner was awarded the 2010 Overall Gwinnett Small Business Person of the Year Award and was also the winner of Gwinnett's Small Business Person of the Year for the 10 - 99 employee category at the Gwinnett Chamber's Pinnacle Small Business Awards Luncheon on April 23. Additional Small Business Persons of the Year Awards were presented to Angela Cain with Nouveaute'/Angela Cain Interiors for the 1 – 9 employee category and Perry Tindol with Allgood Pest Solutions for the 100+ employee category. Twenty-two additional small businesses were also awarded Pinnacle Awards and named among the prestigious "Pinnacle Top 25" for demonstrating extraordinary growth and contributions to the community.

Formerly known as the Small Business Person of the Year Awards, the Pinnacle Small Business Awards Presented by Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) are among the Chamber's most prestigious awards. The celebration recognized both emerging companies as well as companies that have exhibited a substantial history as an established business.

The companies honored at the luncheon were selected from more than 300 nominations and from 50 finalists as Gwinnett's Top 25 Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners. Companies were selected based on steady and above average growth and profitability, growth in number of employees, contributions to the community, overcoming adversity, original entrepreneurship and more, as defined by the Small Business Administration for their statewide and national awards. Integrative Logic, Nouveaute'/Angela Cain Interiors, and Allgood Pest Solutions scored the highest combined scores in their respective employee categories.

From those three winners, Integrative Logic came away with the highest scores overall, winning Gwinnett's Overall Small Business Person of the Year, and will go on to compete as Georgia's Small Business Person of the Year.

The Gwinnett Chamber and Presenting Sponsor AJC also recognized Gwinnett's top non-profit organizations, whose generous and inspiring efforts can be seen and felt throughout Gwinnett. Receiving the Pinnacle Non-Profit Awards are the American Cancer Society for the top small non-profit category, Boy Scouts of America's Northeast Georgia Council for the top mid-size nonprofit category, and Just People, Inc. for the top large non-profit category. The non-profits honored at the luncheon were selected based on board of directors strength; staying power; growth in employees/volunteers and budget; innovation of service; response to adversity; and overall contribution to the community.

The Pinnacle Small Business Award Winners

Integrative Logic - John Gardner - Overall Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year (10 - 99 employee category)
Integrative Logic, a direct-to-consumer marketing company, was literally dreamed up in a garage in Lawrenceville and has grown to become an international company serving clients in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Integrative Logic has been recognized by both Inc. magazine and the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the fastest growing companies in the country and top agencies in Metro Atlanta, respectively. As a company that has grown its revenue by 139 percent over the past three years, they are also a generous company. On average, Integrative Logic donates almost 20 percent of its net profit to charity and employee-centric causes.

Nouveaute'/Angela Cain Interiors - Angela Cain - Small Business Person of the Year (1 – 9 employees)
Angela Cain, owner of Nouveaute'/Angela Cain Interiors has found unique ways to bring a positive light to the difficult economic climate allowing her company to achieve over $3.8 million in revenue in the past three years. Whether it's leasing furniture to builders for their projects, creating an avenue for the community to consign their home furnishings or offering the community the opportunity to benefit from wholesaler closeouts, Angela Cain has responded to economic adversity by reevaluating marketing strategies and implementing new avenues of doing business.

Allgood Pest Solutions - William "Perry" Tindol - Small Business Person of the Year (100+ employee category)
Allgood Pest Solutions' growth success story personifies the "Success Lives Here" slogan of Gwinnett County. In 19 short years Allgood has grown from first year revenues of nearly $100,000 to their 2009 revenue figure of $18.3 million. Even more remarkable was Allgood's foresight to expand their commercial services to mitigate declining revenue in their residential services due to the economic down turn. This growth strategy resulted in an 18.6 percent growth in their commercial services in one of the worst economies.

Aaron Plumbing - Timothy Adams
Timothy Adams built his company, Aaron Plumbing, from nothing. For Timothy, faith, hard work and having a catchy slogan – "A Flush beats a full house" - were essential to getting his company off the ground. By insisting on quality work, honesty, and respect for customers, Timothy has grown his company from two to 16 employees and increased his revenue by 30 percent for the past three years.

Advanced Diabetic Solutions - Greg Santulli/Jordan Benis
As a diabetic supply distributor focusing on supplies and therapeutic footwear, Advanced Diabetic Solution has carved out a niche in the marketplace by providing services for the visually challenged. Their commitment to education has made their company a preferred choice in the visually impaired community. By remaining debt free and by growing their revenues by 80 percent for the past three years, Advanced Diabetic Solutions is able to set their sights high and is investing several hundred thousand dollars to build and develop an infrastructure that will allow them to grow to one of the top providers in the US.

Alternative Apparel - Evan Toporek
At Alternative Apparel, a lifestyle apparel company offering a complete collection of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, there is no shortage of ideas and imagination leading the company to become known as an innovator in the fashion and apparel industry. Because of the creativity and unique company culture cultivated at Alternative Apparel, the company experienced 550 percent growth within its first six years – subsequently earning the title as one of Inc. magazines "500 Fastest Growing Companies in America."

ASK Staffing, Inc. - Pallavi Shah/Manish Karani
ASK Staffing's belief that innovation happens every day, and even more so in tough times, helped them through one of the worst years in the history of the staffing industry. Through their belief in innovations, ASK Staffing pioneered the "flat fee" recruiting model which was their answer to survival and growth. Their unique pricing structure that serves as a win-win for the company and their customers alike has led them to almost double their revenue in the past three years growing from $3.1 million in 2007 to $5.1 million in 2009.

Atlanta Flooring Design Centers - Donny Phillips
Atlanta Flooring Design Centers recognized that by developing their business plan and culture to service multiple markets, they could strengthen their supplier relationships, lower product costs, reduce overhead and flatten business cycles. By expanding their product lines by adding cabinets and countertops and by increasing their market share through acquisition during the economic downturn, Atlanta Flooring Design Centers managed a staggering revenue growth in 2009 of 42 percent while increasing jobs by an unheard of 44 percent.

Bardi Mechanical/Bardi Heating & Air - Alex Bardi
When the economy flattened in the fall of 2009 along with the construction industry that served as the foundation for Bardi Heating & Air Conditioning, Owner Alex Bardi and his management team had to think creatively to find new market niches. By shifting gears to observe stimulus support of government-funded projects, by the end of 2009, Bardi grew their revenue by 21.9 percent. Bardi's growth is a testament to savvy leadership and an outstanding team who embraced the company's family philosophy of "doing the right thing."

Bartimaeus, Inc. - Dave Newman
While most companies related to construction were just trying to keep their doors open, Bartimaeus, a leading and respected Southeast provider in high quality window treatment products to the commercial and residential building industries, performed two of the largest jobs in their 25 year history simultaneously in 2009. Their ability to have a profitable 2009, generating $8.5 million in revenue can be attributed to their over 100 years combined knowledge and experience and their commitment to understanding customers' needs.

Dan D. Dunwoody D.D.S., P.C. - Dan D. Dunwoody III, D.D.S.
Specializing in providing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics to Gwinnett's citizens for over 25 years, Dr. Dan Dunwoody recently found himself in the unique position of expanding his practice by opening a second office. With the help of dental colleagues, friends and Gwinnett Chairman's Club member Duke Realty, the 23,500 square foot building was preleased, developed and 100 percent financed with minimal upfront costs that has already been recovered. Dr. Dunwoody's two locations, coupled with the latest in technological advances, enable his practice to provide a quality service with a lifetime benefit to the citizens of Gwinnett.

E2E Resources - Raymer Sale
E2E has grown from a one-person, home-based insurance agency to a company that employs 15 people. The company has grown from one line of coverage – employee benefits – to a company that offers employee benefits, risk management, personal lines and human resources services. Much of this growth occurred during one of the worst economic downturns this country has ever seen, including last year when E2E generated $1.4 million in revenue.

Gwinnett Internal Medicine Associates, LLC - Jay R. Desai, MD
When Gwinnett Internal Medicine Associates opened in the fall of 1982, Gwinnett County demographics consisted mostly of rural, Caucasian, agricultural-based residents. As the demographics over the last decade changed, the practice changed with it by earning the respect and trust from those with different race and religious backgrounds and currently proudly serves a wide spectrum of ethnic backgrounds. Gwinnett Internal Medicine's acceptance in the community and their dedication to provide compassionate and comprehensive health services for adults has generated $9.6 million in revenue during the past three years.

HealthCare Partners - Ruddy and Rhonda Polhill
In 2008, HealthCare Partners, a medical staffing firm, noticed that hospitals needed help building and maintaining their ER and hospitalist departments. HealthCare Partners responded to this need by strategically adjusting their offering and began bringing creative solutions to hospitals that were seeking a "better way" to ensure their ER is always staffed with high-quality physicians. Since implementing this offering, HealthCare Partners generated over $26.1 million in revenue.

Logical Choice Technologies - Cynthia B. Kaye
When the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000, Logical Choice made an agonizing decision to cut half of its workforce to survive. The remaining employees took pay cuts and a few true believers stayed on…working for coffee and better times. Logical Choice used the hard times of 2000 as an inspiration to narrow its focus squarely on technologies that enhance learning. This strategy proved highly successful as the company reached $79.7 million in revenue in 2009 and has built a strong education practice that stands today at the top of its industry nationwide.

Marketing Workshop, Inc. - Jim Nelems
Since starting Marketing Workshop, Inc. in 1972, the company has grown from a small firm with three employees to a major national research firm and is within the top two percent of the more than 6,000 U.S. research firms. Marketing Workshop has achieved such growth by responding to market changes as was the case in 2008 when Marketing Workshop spun off one of their division's to another firm without any loss of jobs and at the same time entering into a new line of business resulting in decline of five percent and returned to profitability in 2009.

Premier Immediate Care - Dr. Philip Henderson
One of many hurdles faced by Premier Immediate Care this past year was the growing unemployment rate in Georgia that presented the practice with an ever-increasing number of patients without insurance. Premier Immediate Care met this challenge head on by reducing rates for established patients, working diligently with vendors to keep costs down, and being flexible with payment plans. Premiere Immediate Care refused to let the economy interfere with patient care and has, in many ways, sacrificed luxuries to care for those in the economy. Despite this, the urgent care practice has continuously increased both patient population as well as their service line and on top of that, grew revenue by 11 percent in 2009.

ProCare - Stephen A. Schulte
Prosthetic Care, Inc. or ProCare, a medical practice providing prosthetic devices for upper and lower extremities for amputees, goes above and beyond the call of duty for its patients. One of many examples of their care and compassion is the development of the C.A.R.E. Initiative. Under this program, referring physicians are informed that, whenever possible, ProCare would like to begin seeing patients before the scheduled amputation. This program has resulted in shorter hospital stays and faster rehabilitation saving considerable medical expenses. Through programs like C.A.R.E., ProCare reached revenues of $3.3 million in 2009 and has continued to increase its number of employees with plans to add three more employees in 2010. Congratulations ProCare!

Rocket IT - Matt Hyatt
Rocket IT, a full service technology management and support firm, has a very simple mission: to empower businesses and other organizations by making technology attainable, useful, and reliable. Like many other technology support providers, Rocket IT initially earned income by charging most clients "by the hour." Recognizing a number of pitfalls to this billing practice, Matt came up with a new billing concept, Always Mission Critical, with support fees that are tied to the number of devices managed under the program and not a specific number of hours. Empowering clients through the Always Mission Critical support program served Matt well as Rocket IT increased its revenues by 149 percent in 2009.

Rogers Construction Company - Roger S. Huggins
During Roger's 34 years as owner of Rogers Construction Company, he has personally overseen the construction of over 40 school projects, 20 office buildings, 30 long-term medical and assisted living facilities, over 25 million square feet of light industrial projects, along with numerous other commercial and multi-family projects. On top of that, during the economic recession Rogers Construction grew to $67 million in revenues in 2008 and generated close to this same amount in 2009.

Service Foods, Inc. - Keith Kantor/Trey Pounders
In 2007, Service Foods changed from a company that not only sold great food but a company that helps people build healthier lives. Transitioning to a natural food company has served Keith and Trey well as Service Foods made the Inc 5000 list for 2007 and 2008. Their business grew over 445% last year and even more remarkable, Service Foods has never had to lay off an employee in 29 years which earned them the number 15 Best Place to Work from the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2009.

Sun Technologies, Inc. - Ravi Damodaram/Anitha Ravi
Sun Technologies, which is a premier IT services and solutions company, has received many accolades in the 13 years that they have been in business that have surely led to revenues topping $15.5 million in 2009. Two successes that they are most proud of occurred in 2009. Based on their excellent performance, Sun Technologies was shortlisted to be one of 13 vendors from over 60 vendors providing IT services for a Fortune 10 global company. In 2009, they were also named one of the top 10 Asian American Businesses by the US Pan Asian American Council in the Southeast US.

Tara Fine Jewelry Co., Inc. - Buddy Anderson & Eddie Hazan
Tara Fine Jewelry Company, Inc. has been a landmark in the Gwinnett community of Buford, Georgia since 1985. Since first opening their doors, Tara Fine Jewelry has grown from a 525 square foot showroom to their recently expanded and remodeled state-of-the-art retail and repair facility that now exceeds 6,500 square feet. Their sales volume has also shown a steady and consistent pattern of growth almost every year in Tara's 25-year history. In addition, as a part of the fabric of the community, Tara Fine Jewelry has donated over $203,000 in cash and fine jewelry merchandise to 131 community projects and charitable events in Gwinnett and north Georgia.

THC, Inc. - Joe A. Carroll
THC, Inc, which provides land acquisition and noise mitigation services for airports, highway departments, utility companies, municipalities and governmental agencies, was the first firm in its industry to truly focus on following a Servant leadership model. Following this model helped THC to develop processes to assist property owners, whose homes THC was buying or acoustically modifying, feel comfortable. By establishing trust and rapport with property owners through Servant Leadership, THC grew its revenues by 105 percent in 2008 and by 12 percent in 2009.

The Myers Group - A.C. Myers
The ability to continually look to the future and not fall into the trap of doing what they've always done has enabled The Myers Group, which conducts healthcare survey research, to meet the changing needs of the market. At The Myers Group, they listen to their clients and always ask themselves the question, "What else does the client want or need?" Answering this question and meeting their clients' specific research needs led to a 37 percent growth in revenue in 2007 followed by 13 percent in 2008.

The Pinnacle Non-Profit Award Winners

American Cancer Society – Top Small Non-profit
For the American Cancer Society in Gwinnett, Relay for Life is the identifying event that sets the nationwide community-based volunteer health organization apart, not only in this county, but also nationwide. The Gwinnett Relay for Life is the largest Relay event in the world annually attracting over 12,000 people. In 2009, $2.1 million was raised in the fight against cancer. In addition to events such as Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society also works on creative and new ways to fight cancer on a local basis. The Society's Patient Resource Navigator at Gwinnett Medical Center is a great example of the leading edge solutions that are happening right here in Gwinnett. Through these services and many others, countless lives have been touched and saved in Gwinnett because of the tireless efforts of the American Cancer Society.

The Boy Scouts of America's Northeast Georgia Council – Top Mid-size Non-profit
The Boy Scouts of America's Northeast Georgia Council has served hundreds of thousands of youth and their families since its inception. In 2009, over 120,000 hours of community services were provided by the Northeast Georgia Council in Gwinnett County. These projects benefited food banks, local municipalities, schools, parks, and churches throughout the county. To service the needs of a growing county and a rapidly changing population, the Northeast Georgia Council has increased their budget from $3.8 million in 2007 to $4.1 million in 2009. Through these funds donated to the organization, more than 100,000 service hours are provided to the county at no cost each year benefiting countless numbers of Gwinnettians.

Just People, Inc. – Top Large Non-profit
Just People, Inc., a private non-profit agency developed in 1995 to provide a variety of support services to adults that are developmentally disabled, mentally ill, or have head injuries, was developed by one person who believed that "everyone has the ability to make a difference" even if it is only within a five mile radius. After 15 years, the program that was housed in a kitchen with one vehicle and serving seven people has grown to a program that services over 250 people in six counties and has 15 vehicles on the road daily. Just recently in 2009, Just People relocated their Administrative Office and Day support services to an expanded location in Norcross allowing them to service 40 to 80 consumers a day and open six new job positions. "Just" People's impact on the families it serves and the reach into the community can undoubtedly be attributed to the "why not" and "let's try it" attitude of the organization.

Additional sponsors include Platinum Award Sponsor: Delta Community Credit Union, Gas South, Merrill Lynch – The Cross Group, and Moore Stephens Tiller LLC; Gold Sponsors Gwinnett Business Journal, Logical Choice Technologies, and Sam's Club; Silver Sponsors GiANT Impact and The Sign Stop; and Bronze Sponsor Brand Banking Company.

For more information on the Pinnacle Small Business Awards, visit


About the Gwinnett Chamber

Named one of the top three metro chambers in the United States by ACCE, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's membership varies from FORTUNE 1,000 companies to innovative startups, and stretches across the Atlanta region, from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to UGA in Athens. Representing more than 7,200 members from more than 2,500 firms, the Gwinnett Chamber is the Southeast's 6th largest chamber and focuses on creating and growing quality job opportunities while enhancing the community's quality of life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


(Lawrenceville, Ga., April 13, 2010) - The public is invited to the final community meeting of the Engage Gwinnett citizens committee before the group presents its recommendations on future County services, service levels and revenue sources to the Board of Commissioners. The drop-in style meeting will be on Saturday, April 17, 2010, from 9 a.m. until noon at the Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. Commissioners will get the committee's final recommendations on April 27.

Meeting materials and video summaries of past meetings, including a series of four public meetings held last February, are available online at Four work groups have developed both status quo and declining revenue scenario recommendations for community services, law enforcement and judiciary, fire and emergency, internal services, and development and infrastructure.

The committee of 42 citizen volunteers represents 30 stakeholder groups in the community plus 10 self-selected citizen representatives. Their review process began last year at a public meeting on Sept. 9, 2009.

Engage Gwinnett is a partnership between Gwinnett County government and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Mike Levengood of McKenna Long & Aldridge and Bill McCargo with the Atlanta Education Fund are co-chairs of the committee, which seeks common ground, workable solutions and compromises as necessary for the greater good of the community to help guide the County government through the recession and its aftermath and over the next five years.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Gwinnett's best businesses and non-profits to be celebrated at the Pinnacle Small Business Awards Ceremony on April 23

Duluth, GA- In support of National Small Business Week, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce will recognize and honor Gwinnett's best small businesses and non-profits at the Pinnacle Small Business Awards Luncheon Presented by Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) on April 23 at the Atlanta Marriott – Gwinnett Place at 11:30 a.m. From these finalists, Gwinnett's top 25 Pinnacle Small Business Award winners, and its top Small Businesses and Non-Profits of the Year will be announced that afternoon for small, medium and large categories. United Way In Gwinnett Area Director Demetrious Jordan will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the Pinnacle Awards.

"Even in this tough economy, Gwinnett continues to have a vibrant small business sector. Our small businesses employ more than half the county's private work force, create three out of every four jobs, and generate a majority of our innovations," said Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran.

The Pinnacle Small Business Awards are among the Chamber's most prestigious awards. This year's celebration recognizes both emerging companies as well as companies that have exhibited a substantial history as an established business. With the challenges facing small businesses today, this year's awards also focused on the company's response to adversity and service to the community.

The following companies were selected from more than 300 nominations as Gwinnett's Pinnacle Small Business Award Finalists. Each company had exemplary scores based on steady and above average growth and profitability; growth in number of employees; contributions to the community; overcoming adversity; original entrepreneurship and more:

Aaron Plumbing, Inc.
Ace Truck Body & Trailer Repair, Inc.
Advanced Diabetic Solutions
Allgood Pest Solutions
Alternative Apparel
American Painting & Renovations, Inc.
Angela Cain Interiors - Nouveaute'
ASK Staffing, Inc.
Atlanta Flooring Design Centers, Inc.
Atlanta Housing Source At Solid Source Realty
Atlanta Special Events
Bardi Heating & Air, Inc.
Bartimaeus, Inc. & WindowCo
Community Bridge of Atlanta
Cornerstone Financial Partners, LLC
Dan Dunwody, III, DDS
E2E Resources, Inc.
EverDry Roofing
Foresite Group, Inc.
Forms Plus, Inc.
Franzen & Salzano, PC
GiANT Impact
Green Financial Resources, LLC / Roger S. Green
Gwinnett Foot, Ankle & Leg Center
Gwinnett Internal Medicine Associates, LLC
HealthCare Partners, Inc.
Hire Dynamics, LLC
Innovative Outdoors, LLC
Integrative Logic
Kart's Landscape Service
Laser Supply & Service, Inc.
Logical Choice Technologies
McClain & Company, PC
McMahan's Sartorial Clothing, Inc.
Mills Floral Company
Premier Immediate Care
ProCare-Prosthetic Care, Inc.
Rocket IT
Rogers Construction Company
Sandler Training
Service Foods, Inc.
Site ROI, Inc.
Sun Technologies, Inc.
Tara Fine Jewelry Company, Inc.
THC, Inc.
The Marketing Workshop, Inc.
The Myers Group
Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC
Vecoma at the Yellow River, Inc.
Veugeler Design Group

The Gwinnett Chamber and Presenting Sponsor AJC will also recognize Gwinnett's non-profit organizations whose generous and inspiring efforts can be seen and felt throughout Gwinnett. Often times, these organizations operate like small businesses, but with unique products and services for the greater good. The top small, medium and large non-profits in Gwinnett will be recognized from the following Pinnacle non-profit finalists who scored high marks in the areas of board of directors strength; staying power; growth in employees/volunteers and budget; innovation of service; response to adversity; and overall contribution to the community:

"Just" People, Inc.
American Cancer Society
Creative Enterprises, Inc.
Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett, Inc.
Goodwill of North Georgia
Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity
Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation
Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District
Hi-Hope Service Center
Hudgens Center for the Arts
LifeLink of Georgia
Northeast Georgia Council, Boy Scouts of America
Rainbow Village Inc.
Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett, Inc.
Turn Around Coaching

Additional sponsors include Platinum Sponsors Delta Community Credit Union, Merrill Lynch – The Cross Group, and Moore Stephens Tiller LLC; Gold Sponsors Gwinnett Business Journal, Logical Choice Technologies, and Sam's Club; Silver Sponsor The Sign Stop; and Bronze Sponsor Brand Banking Company.

For more information, to help sponsor the event, or to register, visit or contact Melissa Britt at 678-957-4958 or Members and guests may purchase individual tickets for $55 or a table of 10 for $550.


About the Gwinnett Chamber

Named one of the top three metro chambers in the United States by ACCE, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's membership varies from FORTUNE 1,000 companies to innovative startups, and stretches across the Atlanta region, from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to UGA in Athens. Representing more than 7,200 members from more than 2,500 firms, the Gwinnett Chamber is the Southeast's 6th largest chamber and focuses on creating and growing quality job opportunities while enhancing the community's quality of life.

Metro Atlanta Council for Entrepreneurship: Grow Your Company by Empowering Leaders

Empower those around you and those you lead rather than OVERPOWER them." This is the goal that GiANT Impact President & CEO Jeremie Kubicek has for those attending the Metro Atlanta Council For Entrepreneurship's (MACE) second track of workshops. As a MACE strategic partner, GiANT Impact will be presenting the upcoming Leadership & Management track beginning on April 28 from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Chamber. The first workshop will feature GiANT Impact COO Linda Sasser who will be discussing how to develop a leadership culture for growth.

Commenting on Linda, Jeremie says that their COO is excellent at celebrating successes and showing empowerment. "Her style is very natural and fun. Her uniqueness comes out in her communication letting people know she is authentic, which is important when empowering and leading others around you."

Linda's enthusiasm for leadership began over 20 years ago as the small business owner of a franchised staffing firm in Austin, Texas. As the business quickly grew, Linda realized that she needed to focus less on the day-to-day demands of the business and more on its long-term success, which depended on her ability to develop leaders within her own organization. Her focus turned to building and leading a top-producing team and resulted in the Austin office growing to become among the top-ranked franchises in the company.

In 2004, Linda sold her small business and moved to Oklahoma City where she joined the franchised staffing firm's parent company. Serving as the franchisor's vice president of sales and marketing, she developed and grew several key programs that helped the company reach a record 1.9 billion in sales during her tenure. In addition to directing the corporation's sales and marketing efforts, Linda served as a frequent speaker at franchisee and client training events on the topics of leadership and team development.

Today Linda's leadership expertise reflects her experiences as both a small business owner and a corporate executive. She maintains leadership is not a technique, position, or title, but rather who you are, and stresses that it is the responsibility of current leaders to coach and develop each new generation. Over the years she has remained resolute in her belief that leadership isn't reserved for top-level executives or those with a title, but is open to anyone in any role with a heart for influencing and serving others.

Empowering others and leading those people to do the same, in the way that Linda does, Jeremie says will lead to growth for companies. "The paradox of overpowering leadership is that a controlling leader actually receives what they are most afraid of, lack of control. An empowering leader on the other hand brings peace, clarity, fun and results through giving control away."

Learn how to empower those you lead and develop a leadership culture for growth for your company at the April 28 MACE workshop. Register online at

Lessons Learned As Principal for a Day: Principal for a Day Brings Businesses and Schools Together

"Being a principal is far more today than what it used to be," commented Gwinnett County Public Schools CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks on a video presented at the December 2009 Principal for a Day Celebration Luncheon. "Just think about what all could happen in a day."

During last year's Principal for a Day, Gwinnett Technical College Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Mary Beth Byerly found out that just about anything can happen when you are a principal and for that reason you must be prepared for anything and everything.

On the morning of Mary Beth's day as principal at Sweetwater Middle School, the school's real principal, Georgann Eaton, armed Mary Beth with a slew of items, and explanations to go along with them, to prepare Mary Beth for her day. Those items included…a radio that is to be kept on at all times, a rather heavy necklace of keys because you never know when you will have to unlock a door, a flash drive because you never know when a student will just have to show you something, a list of emergency numbers just in case, and a name badge with the word of the day inside – the word of the day when Mary Beth served as principal was supplemental angles. And the list goes on…a Blackberry because there is important information that could be coming at any moment and finally, a clipboard because in education you have to have a clipboard. This clipboard also holds a very important piece of information – a calendar, but keep in mind that what is on this calendar may not be on your calendar when you are principal.

During her day as principal, Mary Beth wondered if perhaps she would be handed a pair of roller skates along with the rest of her newly acquired items. "Do I have roller skates, because I think I need them? This has been a busy day from the very beginning," Mary Beth commented midway through her day as principal. "I haven't slowed down and by the look of my calendar on my clipboard I don't think I will."

Being prepared for anything and everything when you are a principal was one of many lessons Mary Beth learned. Above all she, and the over 100 business and community leaders who participated in Principal for a Day, learned that in order to prepare Gwinnett's future workforce, the business community and the school system must work together.

Gwinnett's business and community leaders will again have the chance to experience being principal for a day during American Education Week, November 14 – 20, as the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce hosts Principal for a Day with Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS).

Principal for a Day, a joint venture of the Gwinnett County Board of Education and the Gwinnett Chamber, offers CEO-level business and community leaders the opportunity to get a firsthand, authentic look at the operations of today's schools and the principals who lead them. Those chosen to participate in the program, will experience GCPS's amazing leaders, outstanding teachers, and the sights and sounds of quality teaching and learning.

During American Education Week, a business leader is paired up with the principal at one of the participating Gwinnett County Public Schools, elementary through high school, where the CEO will shadow the principal.

Although Principal for a Day will not be held until November, the selection process is already beginning. If you would like the opportunity be considered for Principal for a Day, please contact Gail Macrenaris at 770-232-8803 or As this is a popular program with limited space availability, spots go fast! Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Nurturing the Spirit of Enterprise

By: Jim Maran, Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO

When you think about all of the assets that make Gwinnett County great, what do you think of? Solid infrastructure? Good schools and government? Visionary leadership? A safe and prosperous quality of life? A pro-business atmosphere?

These all immediately come to mind and we see every day how we benefit from these assets that are the envy of other communities throughout the United States.

But I believe our greatest asset is our people; especially our entrepreneurs and small business owners. These are the unsung heroes of our success. Without these risk-takers and pioneers, the Chamber and our community would languish in mediocrity.

Often times, it is the massive relocating corporations like NCR that capture the headlines and generate the most buzz in our community. And while we certainly love to land – and all benefit from – these highly visible opportunities, the hidden truth is that it is our home-grown small businesses that create most of our new jobs each year. And it's those same small businesses that make up more than 85 percent of the Chamber's membership. That's why we invest a significant amount of our programming and resources into developing and growing small business.

But there is more to the legacy of Gwinnett's small businesses than job creation.

In my previous career with Motorola, I spent more than 30 years traveling the globe, working with communities and peoples from Asia Pacific and Western Europe to South America and here in the United States. In all of my travels, I can affirm that Gwinnett exemplifies the highest standards for entrepreneurial spirit and energy that exist anywhere in the world.

And the benefits of our people's spirit and energy are enormous. These are the people that built our Chamber – both figuratively and literally. These are the people that made Gwinnett Georgia's most powerful and influential county. These are the risk takers who used their creativity, talents, wealth and hard work to ensure the success for hundreds of community events and nonprofits from the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life to the Hi-Hope Service Center to Rainbow Village and countless others.

On April 23rd, we'll celebrate the best in small business and non-profits at our Pinnacle Small Business Awards Presented by AJC Media Solutions. This is an opportunity to celebrate our community of innovators, entrepreneurs and risk-takers (and their non-profit counterparts) that built the dynamic economy and community we enjoy today.

Nothing characterizes the Gwinnett community and our Chamber better than its small business members. And we have much to learn from them.

In these economic times, we need to do all we can to ensure the spirit of enterprise flourishes throughout the entire community, state, and nation. It is exactly that spirit that is quietly laying the foundation for tomorrow's recovery and our brightest future hopes, dreams and opportunities.

For that, small business owners deserve not only our appreciation and gratitude. They deserve our business.