You volunteer with SCORE. What does the organization do?
I’d love to tell you about SCORE, and our local chapter located at the Wells Fargo building at 2nd Avenue and 13th Street.SCORE is a nonprofit organization founded in 1964 with the mission of helping American entrepreneurs start and grow their enterprises. Since 1964, SCORE has served over 10 million small business owners. October 2013 marks the kickoff of SCORE’s 50th Anniversary celebration.SCORE is dedicated to growing 1 million American small businesses by 2017. SCORE has a network of more than 11,000 volunteer mentors in more than 340 chapters across the country who offer free one-on-one counseling for starting and growing successful small businesses and nonprofits.1.158 million volunteer hours are donated each year. In 2012, SCORE clients started 37,054 new businesses and created 82,207 jobs in the American economy. SCORE mentors are there for the life of a small business; from creating and evaluating business plans to purchasing equipment, leasing real estate, franchising, even selling and exiting. By logging on to www.SCORE.org or on Facebook at SCORE Columbus, GA, entrepreneurs can easily:
Request a face-to-face mentoring session
Request an email mentor
Find a local chapter
Download thousands of free templates and tools
Register for free live webinars
Listen to recorded webinars
Find a local workshop SCORE’s Simple Steps for Starting Your Business and Simple Steps for Growing Your Business educational programs are available throughout the country and help entrepreneurs determine the viability of their idea or assist in the growth process of existing businesses.
What is the best part of helping someone develop a business?
The entrepreneur is the hero of this story. They are the one taking the chance to step out and build something from scratch. I enjoy the process of engaging with these business creators, learning about their dreams and goals, and finding out where they need advice and guidance. The best part is building a long term relationship and seeing their progress over time. It is a wonderful feeling that comes from being a valued partner in their success.
How did you end up working for IBM?
My good friend John Illges, another Columbusite, was already with IBM and helped get me introduced to the hiring manager. It was a good fit for my previous role and what IBM needed at the time. IBM taught me many of the skills that I use today to provide advice and guidance to our entrepreneur clients.
You left Columbus for Georgia Tech in 1976 and came back to live 20 years later. How did the city change in the time you were not living here?
Those 20 years were a time of significant change. Coming out of the backdrop of some urban neglect for our downtown area, moving to the excitement and positive investment the community was making for the 1996 Olympics was a huge change. Visibly, the new infrastructure was evident. But their was also a tangible new excitement in the citizenry of the area about a brave, new Columbus coming online.
What is the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
Two things. First, I’ll have to say that the generosity and giving spirit of our citizens, as evidenced by all of the philanthropic organizations and volunteering organizations, such as SCORE, are the “secret recipe” of our town. I’ve lived in other cities in the Southeast, and none compare to the big hearts that people in Columbus have for serving the needs of others. The other is our local Columbus Chamber of Commerce. The leadership there in bringing new jobs and industry to this area is remarkable and rare.