Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief for Thursday, August 25th

 

 

Need a loan for your business but don’t know where to turn?

The Chamber is hosting a program this Friday on Capital Investments for your business!

 The Chamber has created a program Friday morning especially for our retailers and small businesses who need an injection of cash for their business.   The last three years have taken a toll on many lake businesses, and while things are improving and sales are headed in a positive direction, many of our businesses may need short-term financing to get back on track.

On Friday, August 26th from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. the Chamber will coordinate a program at the Chamber on the Capital Access program.  Several local banks in the region including Aquesta, BB&T, blueharbor bank, Citizens South, First Citizens Bank and Trust, and Piedmont Bank participate in the program and are expected to be part of the session.   N.C. Representative Rodney Moore is also expected to speak on the program along with Tom Wall, the Associate Director of NC – CAP.

The North Carolina Capital Access Program is a small business lending program ramping up across North Carolina and being managed by the NC Rural Center.  By reducing risk, it encourages banks and other qualified lenders to consider loans that otherwise fall just outside conventional underwriting standards. To date, fifty-six banks have enrolled in the program including many with branches in the Lake Norman/Charlotte area.

The program will enable up to $800 million in business lending over the next several years, freeing capital in a tight credit market.  NC-CAP is made possible by $46.1 million in federal funding under the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  Gov. Beverly Perdue designated the Rural Center to administer the program in all 100 counties

If your business, or someone you do with business with, is interested in small business financing, please consider attending this informative program.  There is no cost and the Chamber is allowing any business to attend.  This event is part of our Focus Friday Program and is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net.

Chamber Business Networking Event at The Galway Hooker this evening

80% of all Chamber members cite the opportunity to establish relationships and to network is the number #1 reason they look to the Lake Norman Chamber for assistance.  We have strived to provide those opportunities and tonight (Thursday, August 25th) there is no better venue than The Galway Hooker at Waterford Hall located at 17044 Kenton Drive in Cornelius.  The Chamber Mixer event 5:30 – 7:00 pm will give you an opportunity to network with other local businesses in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  Join us this evening!

Chamber’s Leadership Lake Norman Program has “one” open position

The Chamber has  one spot open in the 2011-2012 session of Leadership Lake Norman.  Leadership Lake Norman, comprised of 21 business leaders, is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The tuition for the nine-month course is $425 for Chamber members and $500 for non-members. 

Payment plans can be arranged by contacting the Chamber.   All applicants will be notified in writing regarding acceptance in the program on Friday, August 26, 2011.  To download the on-line brochure visit Leadership Lake Norman.

Charlotte Women Entrepreneurs Summit to be held Sept 15th

Lake Norman Women business owners are invited to attend a summit which will explore business challenges facing women entrepreneurs; promote dialogue among the women’s business community; guide national policy recommendations for Congress; and provide networking opportunities for women business owners.

This event is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and will begin at 8:00 am until 1:00 pm at the Federal Reserve Bank 530 East Trade Street Charlotte.  To register visit the Summit Registration on the website.

Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent to speak at Chamber Luncheon

Join us as the Interim Superintendent for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Hugh Hattabaugh discusses the state of the public school system and education trends and priorities for the year at a luncheon to be held Thursday, September 15th.  The Luncheon will be held at Kabutos of Lake Norman 11:45 am until 1:30 pm.  To register for the event, visit the PowerLuncheon registration on the website.  The event is sponsored by Park Avenue Properties.

Lime Energy Relocates Headquarters to Huntersville

Lime Energy, a leading provider of clean energy solutions, announced Monday the relocation of its headquarters from Chicago to Huntersville, NC. The company will consolidate IT, accounting and engineering functions along with corporate management with the move. The company anticipates that the headquarters move will be completed in OctoberThe move brings 50-75 jobs to our region.

Chamber sets dates on fall candidate forums

The Chamber has planned local candidate forums this fall for the three North Mecklenburg Towns.  The Cornelius Forum will be Tuesday, October 4 from 7-9 pm. held at the Cornelius Town Hall.

The Huntersville Forum will be held Thursday, October 13 7-9 pm at Huntersville Town Hall.

The forum for Davidson will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7-9 pm at the St. Albans Episcopal Church Sanctuary in Davidson   The event is co-hosted by the Chamber, the St. Alban’s Neighborhood Committee and sponsored by DavidsonNews.net.

The Cornelius forum is the only event which will include the candidates for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District at large candidates.

 Final Thoughts

Last month, I had the chance to speak to our new Lake Norman Jaycees chapter which has been established here at Lake Norman.  The group is composed of young people (21-39) who gain leadership training as they conduct community service programs.  It was exciting to hear about their planned activities.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended an orientation of the Chamber’s new Junior Leadership program.  While we will host the 15th year of our Leadership Lake Norman program, the graduates of that program have created a program for High School Juniors similar to the curriculum of the adult program.

They will hold a retreat at Historic Rural Hill with sessions over seven months on History and Education, Government, Health Care, Economic Development, Community Infrastructure, and Travel and Tourism.

We have 17 students from 4 area High Schools including Hopewell, Hough, Pine Lake Prep and Lake Norman Charter.  We are indebted to a great many of sponsors who have made the program possible:  Presenting Sponsor Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville, Retreat Sponsor McIntosh Law Firm, P.C., Graduation Sponsor Park Avenue Properties, L.L.C.; and session sponsors National Financial Services Group, Time Warner Cable, Lake Norman Infiniti, The Park – Huntersville, Shelley Johnson & Joyce Fox Team – Keller, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.  We are also indebted to Scholz and Associates and The Range at Lake Norman.

Most of the costs of the program is being absorbed through sponsorships by area businesses rather than assessing the students.  We lack two (2) $200 sponsors which would allow us to pay for the program and offer one more scholarship to a student to participate in the program.  If your company would be willing to participate please call me (Bill Russell) at 704-892-1922 and I can share what exposure your businesses would receive for the investment in the program.

Seeing the energy in the room last month with our new Jaycee Chapter and the excitement on the faces of the student attending the orientation, I could not help but feel a renewed sense of optimism for our region and our nation.

Driving home from the event, I remembered attending a national conference in 1992 and having a chance to meet and have lunch with President Reagan.  He was four years removed from office at the time but Reagan stirred my blood when he spoke to our group talking about how some people looked back toAmerica’s “Good Old Days.”  When times were simpler but people seemed to be happier.  However, Reagan gripped the podium, paused for a moment, and then looked us in the eyes with his steel resolve,  “I believeAmericais a country of tomorrow and her best days lie ahead of her.”

I have a Reagan quote on my refrigerator at home.  I look at it every morning when I wake up for breakfast and perhaps it is one of the last things I see before I go to bed.  I guess that betrays my habits a bit.  But the sticker says, “It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams.”

Looking in the faces of the young people in the room at the Jaycees and Junior Leadership program, I see more than dreams.  I see words which speak boldly of our intentions and actions which will speak louder than the words.  I know, just as Reagan prophesied, our best days are ahead of us and we all have a great opportunity to play a role in it.  Today, it’s time we realized that.

Have a great rest of the week at the lake!

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Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief for August 21, 2011

Chamber Members and stakeholders

Lake Norman Chamber to host local financing program for area businesses

On Friday, August 26th from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. the Chamber will coordinate a program at the Chamber on the Capital Access program.  Several local banks in the region including Aquesta, BB&T, blueharbor bank, Citizens South, First Citizens Bank and Trust, and Piedmont Bank participate in the program and are expected to be part of the session.   N.C. Representative Rodney Moore is also expected to speak on the program along with Tom Wall, the Associate Director of NC – CAP.

The North Carolina Capital Access Program is a small business lending program ramping up across North Carolina and being managed by the NC Rural Center.  By reducing risk, it encourages banks and other qualified lenders to consider loans that otherwise fall just outside conventional underwriting standards. To date, fifty-six banks have enrolled in the program including many with branches in the Lake Norman/Charlotte area.

The program will enable up to $800 million in business lending over the next several years, freeing capital in a tight credit market.  NC-CAP is made possible by $46.1 million in federal funding under the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.  Gov. Beverly Perdue designated the Rural Center to administer the program in all 100 counties

If your business, or someone you do with business with, is interested in small business financing, please consider attending this informative program.  There is no cost and the Chamber is allowing any business to attend.  This event is part of our Focus Friday Program and is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net.

Chamber’s Leadership Lake Norman Program Accepting Applications

The Chamber is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 session of Leadership Lake Norman.  Leadership Lake Norman is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The tuition for the nine-month course is $425 for Chamber members and $500 for non-members. 

Payment plans can be arranged by contacting the Chamber.   Applications were due by today August 19th, however there are still four spots available and we will accept applications until those spots are filled.  All applicants will be notified in writing regarding acceptance in the program by August 26, 2011.  To download the on-line brochure visit Leadership Lake Norman.

Charlotte Mecklenburg School Superintendent to speak at Chamber Luncheon

Join us as the Interim Superintendent for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Hugh Hattabaugh discusses the state of the public school system and education trends and priorities for the year at a luncheon to be held Thursday, September 15th.  The Luncheon will be held at Kabutos of Lake Norman 11:45 am until 1:30 pm.  To register for the event, visit the PowerLuncheon registration on the website.

Chamber sets dates on fall candidate forums

The Chamber has planned three local candidate forums for the North Mecklenburg Towns.  The Cornelius Forum will be Tuesday, October 4 from 7-9 pm. held at the Cornelius Town Hall.

The Huntersville Forum will be held Thursday, October 13 7-9 pm at Huntersville Town Hall.

The forum for Davidson will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7-9 pm at the St. Albans Episcopal Church Sanctuary in Davidson.   The event is co-hosted by the Chamber, the St. Alban’s Neighborhood Committee and sponsored by DavidsonNews.net.

The Cornelius forum is the only event which will include the candidates for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District at large candidates.

Final Thoughts

Years ago, I heard the story about a critical barber who never seemed to have a positive thing to say.  He was always grumbling how business wasn’t so good, times were tough, the roads needed fixing, schools could be better, and things just were not going well for this gentleman.  One day a salesman from Lake Norman came in for a haircut and mentioned that he was about to take a trip to Rome, Italy.  “What airline are you taking and what hotel will you be staying with?” asked the barber.

When the salesman informed him, the barber criticized the airline for always losing his baggage, delays causing missed connections, and lousy service from the attendants.  “You’d be better off staying at home,” he advised.

“Well,” said the salesman, “I’m looking at closing an international deal that could bring business back home and perhaps much-needed jobs for the folks in my community. Then I’m off to see the Pope.”

“You’ll be disappointed trying to do business in Europe, especially in Italy,” said the barber, “and don’t count on seeing the Pope.  He only grants audiences with dignitaries and politicians.”

Two months later the salesman returned to the barber shop, “And how was your trip?” asked the barber.

 “Outstanding!” replied the salesman.  “The flight was perfect, the service to the hotel impeccable.  We landed the account and will begin building a plant back home bringing jobs to the area … oh, and I had a chance to meet the Pope.”

“You met the Pope,” asked a surprised barber, “What happened?”

The salesman replied, “I even bent down and kissed his ring.”

“No kidding,” remarked the barber.  “What did he say to you?”

“Well, the salesman pondered thinking how he’d answer the question.  He said to me, “My son, where’d you get such a lousy haircut?”

It’s true in life that when you are critical of others, they are often critical of you.  If you have a bad attitude, you often see that attitude returned to you.  Just as keeping a positive attitude will result in positive things happening for you and people around you.

Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”  One of the prices we all pay as being business leaders is we are subject to criticism. Yet if we are to stand apart from the crowd, to achieve what some said could not be done, we must be willing to take that criticism.

As we near the end of the week and beginning of another, remember to compliment rather than criticize, help rather than hinder, working together, as we build a better community and stronger region.

Have a great day at the lake!

Lessons Learned Along The Way #6 “Knowing when to stop”

The following is the sixth a ten part series of “Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way…”

Bill Russell, CCE Lake Norman Chamber

 Knowing when to stop 

While I lead a non-profit Chamber of Commerce today, my first occupation after graduating from college was a marketing representative for an office and furniture supply company.  Sales isn’t really a subject you can learn from a text-book.  It really derives from natural and learned abilities, experience, knowledge of your product, customer needs and expectations and competitor information as well as good advice or coaching from a mentor or professional coach.    One of the first golden rules I learned from sales was that most people have a tendency to try to pack too much information into their delivery.  We tell them how to build a watch instead of just what time it is.  Sometimes the best sales approach are the simplest ones.

Public speaking is another area where people get caught up in their message and say way too much when they already have their point made.  When I was a teenager, I was terrified of getting up in public and giving reports.  Eventually though, I overcame that fear through practice and experience.  In 1992, I addressed a convention with a 35 minute speech to 3,500 delegates.  That would not have been possible without practice and preparation.

I learned to craft talks on a subject and rehearse it over and over until I had the delivery just right.  Then one day, one of my mentors from the Junior Chamber, Charlie Madsen, gave me some simple advice.  “Bill, when you give one of your motivational talks, look around the room.  If you see them eating out of your hand, you know you got them hooked, finish it.  Don’t go into another story or make another point no matter how good you think it is.”

Bill Russell and Charlie Madsen

Charlie reminded me of the young politician on his first campaign speech.  He booked a big auditorium hoping for a great crowd, but he found only one man sitting alone  in a chair.  He waited and waited but no one else showed up.  Finally he looked at the lone guy and he said, Hey, you think I should get started?”  The man looked at the politician and said, “Sir, I’m just a farmer and all I know are cows.  But if I take a load of hay out and only one cow shows up, I’m still gonna’ feed it.”

So the politician reared back and gave him his best.  He talked on and on for an hour, then two as the farmer shifted back and forth in his seat.  Finally when the politician  wrapped up with his big delivery, he asked the old farmer just how he did.

Once again, the farmer pondered and then said, “Sir, I’m just an old farmer.  All I know are cows.  Of course, I do know that if I took my whole load of hay down to the pasture and only one cow showed up, I wouldn’t dump the whole load on him.”

Charlie winked at me as he made his point.  Your talks, speeches, and sales presentations are defined as much by your audience as your product.  I learned to tailor talks to groups using the people in the room.  Reading expressions to see whether my points had been made or needed to be expanded upon.

The bottom line know your product, know your competitor, most importantly know your audience, and finally know when to stop.

Lake Norman Chamber e-Brief for August 1, 2011

Chamber’s Leadership Lake Norman Program Accepting Applications

The Chamber is accepting applications for the 2011-2012 session of Leadership Lake Norman.  Leadership Lake Norman is a program to develop a group of informed, committed, and qualified individuals capable of providing visionary and progressive leadership for the Lake Norman region.  The tuition for the nine-month course is $425 for Chamber members and $500 for non-members. 

 Payment plans can be arranged by contacting the Chamber.   Applications should be received by August 19, 2011 to be eligible for the program.  All applicants will be notified in writing regarding acceptance in the program by August 26, 2011.  To download the on-line brochure visit Leadership Lake Norman.

 Junior Leadership Created for High School Students – Business Sponsors Sought

Alumni Graduates from Leadership Lake Norman have created a Junior Leadership program for High School Juniors for the upcoming year.  Applications have already been made available to High School students.  Junior Leadership applications are due August 1, 2011.  The cost of the program is largely paid for through business sponsorships.  To view sponsor benefits download the sponsor investment form.  All contributions are paid to the Lake Norman Chamber Foundation and tax-deductible.

2011 National Night Out

The Town of Cornelius asks you to take a stand against crime building Police and Community Partnerships with the 2011 National Night Out.  The event will take place Tuesday, August 2nd from 7-9:00 pm at Cornelius Town Hall 21445 Catawba Avenue.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information see Cornelius Night Out.

Magistrate for North Mecklenburg still a focus for Chamber

Obtaining a magistrate for North Mecklenburg remains a priority in the Chamber’s 2011 Legislative Agenda.  Last week, the Chamber held a Focus Friday on the topic of a Victim’s Advocate.  The towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville, along with Mecklenburg County and United Family Services, are contributing $15,000 each to pay for the position. The Victims Advocate position will likely be the first step in making the business case for a magistrate.

 Charlotte Mayor Foxx briefs Lake Norman Businesses on 2012 DNC

 Mayor Foxx was greeted to a sell out chamber luncheon last week when he met with business leaders throughout the Lake Norman region and spoke about issues ranging from next year’s National Convention to regional transportation needs.  Mayor Foxx led the briefing, sponsored by Peoples Bank, with discussion on the 2012 DNC which is expected to bring 30,000 to 35,000 delegates, media, dignitaries, and CEO’s to the Charlotte region beginning the week of September 3, 2012.  Early estimates have $150-200 million in economic impact for the region and giving international and national exposure to recruit new businesses and families to Charlotte

 Legislature wraps up session on redistricting

The North Carolina General Assembly on Thursday finished its work session on redistricting and addressing Gov. Beverly Perdue’s recent vetoes. The Legislature adjourned two weeks after they began work in earnest to redraw the state’s congressional districts and those for the state House and Senate. The Legislature completed its redistricting task by finalizing new maps for North Carolina’s 13 congressional seats, the state House and Senate.

The boundaries set the stage for the state Republican Party to preserve or expand recent political gains while giving more influence to metro Charlotte and Raleigh. All three maps are now law, but next they’ll be presented to a federal court andU.S.attorneys to decide whether they meet anti-discrimination laws before they can be used in the 2012 elections.

Chamber sets dates on fall candidate forums

The Chamber has planned local candidate forum this fall for the three North Mecklenburg Towns.  The Cornelius Forum will be Tuesday, October 4 from 7-9 pm. held at the Cornelius Town Hall.

The Huntersville Forum will be held Thursday, October 13 7-9 pm at Huntersville Town Hall.

The forum for Davidson will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7-9 pm at the St. Albans Episcopal Church Sanctuary in Davidson   The event is co-hosted by the Chamber, the St. Alban’s Neighborhood Committee and sponsored by DavidsonNews.net.

The Cornelius forum is the only event which will include the candidates for Charlotte Mecklenburg School District at large candidates.

 2011 Plan of Action / 2010 Year End Report Published

 The Chamber has published the 2011 Chamber Plan of Action as well as the 2010 Year End Report on the Chamber’s website.  We encourage our members to view what we accomplished together last year and what the Lake Norman Chamber is focused on in 2011 as we work together to grow our business community!  View the plan and report on our website at Chamber Plan of Action.

 Final Thoughts

Dennis Coogle

Last Friday I attended a memorial service for Dennis Coogle who lost his courageous battle with ALS earlier in the week.  Many of you may know Dennis and Sherry who have operated a PostNet store in Cornelius at Jetton Village.  I met the couple in 2000 when they joined the Chamber and began building their small business.  About five years ago, Dennis discovered he had Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).

 Many of our Chamber of Commerce members participated in a fundraiser that was held for Dennis and Sherry hosted by Aquesta Bank in 2009.  The event raised close to $42,000 with $18,000 going to the Coogles’ to cover medical expenses.  The public out pouring of support was a testament of how compassionate the Lake Norman business community is as well as how much Dennis and his wife Sherry are thought of by customers and our businesses here at the lake.

I had a chance that evening in 2009 to drop by the Aquesta Bank Gala.  Even then, Dennis was challenged and his strength was impacted by the cruel, debilitating disease.  I remember Dennis sitting at a desk in the front lobby, a bright smile across his face, as he witnessed how much he and his family were thought of by the many patrons who made contributions.  It was the same smile he displayed that first time I walked into PostNet to talk with him about his business.

The Chamber stresses how we all need to “Buy Local” and support each other particularly when things get tough.  The love, compassion, and friendship I witnessed at the Aquesta fundraiser in 2009 and the community and business leaders who gathered together for his service Friday speak volumes about not only the Coogles’ but about the character of the people who make up the Lake Norman region. 

I am fortunate I had the opportunity to know a man like Dennis Coogle.  His courage, tenacity, and love of family was never diminished by the disease that attacked him so savagely.  Please consider a special prayer for his wife and the two daughters he leaves behind as his legacy.  In closing, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to witness a community at its best.

Whether its hosting children at a Big Brother – Big Sisters outing at Big Day at the Lake or reaching out to a family in need, we continue to demonstrate the generosity and compassion that makes the lake Norman region such a special place to live, work, and visit.