Small Business leaders enjoy informative Summit at VGCC
Oct. 28, 2013
Representatives of area businesses and community leaders gathered in the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center on Oct. 22 for the second annual Small Business Summit, organized by the VGCC Small Business Center in partnership with the Granville County Chamber of Commerce, the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County and the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The event, presented by sponsor Duke Energy, was entitled “Know What’s Vital to Your Business Today.” Attendees used the evening to network with other business leaders and to learn more about issues related to health-care, marketing and leadership.
Hal Muetzel of Express Employment Professionals in Oxford, a member of the VGCC Small Business Center advisory committee, served as master of ceremonies. To start the summit, Muetzel recognized Duke Energy district manager Tanya Evans, who announced her company’s new Small Business Energy Saver program. He then introduced three guest speakers. The first was Amy Wood Pasquini, marketing development director for Our State magazine. She offered tips for small businesses on how to market their products and services in simple, inexpensive ways, including ideas for how to pitch stories to publications such as her own. The second speaker, Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, discussed leadership qualities, emphasizing inspiration, motivation, trust and authenticity. She is vice president of corporate public affairs for Duke Energy, as well as a member and former chair of the State Board of Community Colleges. Pinnix-Ragland said that small businesses are “the backbone of America,” noting that she is “a product of small businesses,” as her father was a farmer and had a welding business. Finally, Harry Ponder of Carolina Business Services discussed the federal Affordable Care Act and how it will affect small businesses. The health-care reform was signed into law in 2010, and most of its provisions will go into effect by January 2014. Ponder is the former director of the Small Business Center at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and has taught courses for the VGCC Small Business Center.
To conclude the event, the three speakers participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from attendees before several door prizes were awarded.
In addition to presenting sponsor Duke Energy, the Small Business Summit was supported by “gold sponsors” CenturyLink, The Daily Dispatch and Wake Electric Membership Corporation; “silver sponsors” Express Employment Professionals and The Franklin Times; and contributing sponsors Cornerstone Facility Services, Inc., Farm Bureau of Vance County, Screen Master, The Support Center, the Butner-Creedmoor News, the Oxford Public Ledger, Lakes Media/ US 98.3 (WLUS) Radio, WIZS Radio and The Warren Record. The City of Oxford and the School of Graphic Arts also made in-kind gifts to support the summit. For more information, call VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Seated, from left, Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, Amy Wood Pasquini and Harry Ponder were the three guest speakers at the VGCC Small Business Center’s second annual Small Business Summit and participated in a panel discussion. (VGCC photo)