Previous Speakers and Programs



Nancy Tawes of Nancy Tawes Photography 

Nancy shared techniques and software advice for ways to get excellent images using your smart phone. A few pieces of advice included to not zoom as this can cause loss of resolution. If you want to zoom, get closer to the target.

Nancy also teaches classes on photography through the Gwinnett Parks and Recreation "Gwinnett L.I.F.E." Program.


Ken Fehner, The Social Gloo

Ken presented "Turning Leads Into Customers" where he covered the topic of Facebook Lead Ads. The use of Emal plus Social Media can lead to 73% more customer engagement, 57% more new customers and 39% more business referrals. If you are already using Constant Contact, check out the Integrations feature, where you can easily design ads for Facebook. Go to Ken's website and sign up for his free 30 Day Social Media Challange.


Attorney Kevin Almeroth, a managing partner with Deming and Parker Hoffman Campbell and Daly one of the largest in Gwinnett county with about 55 attorneys, provided the following advice: 
  • If you get pulled over – be nice to the officer – most have not decided to give a ticket until they have met you.
  • Believes people do best in accident settlement situations who have long term relationships with their insurance carriers.
  • Don’t be seen with your hands on your cell phone after July 1st.
  • The best advice – drive carefully, pay attention and remember it just takes a second to change lives, including yours forever.
Note this firm's clients include Legal Shield subscribers.


Marketing coach Joe Schlosser 

Joe presented "The Essential Guide to Social Marketing Campaigns" with 5 ways to drive business growth. 1. Build trust and awareness by incentivizing fan referrals.2. Gain new fans, followers and email subscribers with exclusive content. 3. Engage your customer by boosting interaction and building brand advocacy. 4, Use Social Media Marketing campaigns to drive sales ad increase web traffic. 5. Make your marketing smarter by analyzing your web traffic data.


Elyse Archer

Elyse Archer of Six Figure Sales Coaching/Partner, Southwestern Consulting

Elyse gave us some great tips for "Generating unlimited referrals". These included use a transition statement such as asking for help; ask for an "introduction" rather than a referral;  it is ok to say "no" but would like to meet anyway to paint a picture for them of your target demographic such as Sales Manager of 3 or more; at a networking meeting identify your targets; shut up after asking for a referral as the person is thinking; after the first name ask who else should I be talking to; find out the best "preapproach"  for a business sell - how do you know them, when to contact, does the person like to chat or get to the point, what do you respect about them.


US Representative, Rob Woodall, 7th District of Georgia

Congressman Woodall, who explained the tax reform's impact on small business. He also shared the challenges the lawmakers encountered in developing this legislation. The goal of lowering taxes on business is not to lower the taxes collected, but to empower business to flourish and grow. The lowering of the corporate taxes has now placed the US in the top 5 in the world for competitive business tax codes. Pass-through businesses, which includes sole proprietorship's and LLC's, will be receive up to an additional 20% deduction off their personal tax rates up to a limit. He also discussed legislation in the works that could streamline and simplify IRS disputes. There are many stories of citizens doing their due diligence to honestly file their taxes and a form is missed or a calculation mistake sends them down the IRS rabbit hole of problems. These small issues can easily balloon and cause multiple years of problems.  He described an option that would be similar to a small claims court. The congressman has championed the Fair Tax method that would change the tax collection system to one that is based on consumption rather than productivity. Currently there is about 25% support in congress, but would need a supportive president.

Brent Bohannan

 Brent Bohanan, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Gwinnett

Brent shared information about Habitat International as well as Habitat for Humanity Gwinnett. The Burns Rd project had a delay resulting in a Duluth Project moving ahead of Lilburn in the schedule. The Lilburn Project should happen at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019. Companies that contribute money to a project are allowed a certain number of volunteer slots. If on a given week they cannot fill all of their slots, the slots are opened up to other groups of individuals. Habitat also has a home repair program called A Brush With Kindness  which includes painting, landscaping and minor repairs for qualified (often elderly) .homeowners. Stay tuned for information on the Lilburn Project later this year.He 

Jay Bell

Attorney Jay Bell

Jay's practice covers general business, transactions, litigation for small/medium size businesses. He described the importance of forming a business entity such as LLC or S Corp (favored by IRS over LLC).  S Corp needs a corporate minutes book and annual minutes while this is not required by an LLC. He advises to not co-mingle funds. Have a business account to collect funds and pay business expenses. Always use the full name of the business. You form an LLC to protect your personal assets but the LLC can be challenged if the business is inconsistently present under names different from the LLC.



Image of Gene Hammett

Inspirational speaker, Gene Hammett

Gene shared with us on how to "Be THE Choice, Not A Choice". An important point Gene made, is that a business can't be all things to all people. Become focused in a particular area and know your target audience. Gene has an excellent website where you can access his blog posts and checkout his book "Be The Choice, Not A Choice". Also be sure to explore his website  Leaders In the Trenches where you can access his podcast interviews of entrepreneurial leaders.


Doug Stacks, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Lilburn 

Doug shared an update of current and near future construction in and around Lilburn.  On Arcado Rd between Killian Hill and Hwy 29, there is one single family home development and 2 townhouse developments. The old City Hall-Annex will have a 9 home cluster neighborhood with shared green space. A large parcel across from the Library-City Hall will be a senior living development by Noble Village. The former Wexelbury development is now being referred to as "Trig Square". The development will have an old town feel and is is expected to be similar to the development in Suwanee with businesses fronting the main streets and parking and townhouses behind the commercial area. A higher living density will attract more restaurants to the area. This is just a few of project coming our way. 


Brian Abner, Market Strategist * Economist * Business Planner * Author * Business Owner 

Who knew cryptocurrency, blockchain, and digital wallets would be a huge meeting draw! Well it was and Brian Abner did a great job with his presentation. Brian is part of the iPro Network an eCommerce training and cryptocurrency advocate (contact Brian if you have questions or interest). As I understand things, cryptocurrency is a digital currency using blockchain technology (allowing money to transfer without using a trusted 3rd party, lowering the cost of fees) for transactions while mobile wallets are used to store the digital currency. Blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger in which transactions made in cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly, therefore reducing the incidence of fraud.


Clay Cox

Clay Cox, GA Representative for District 108

Clay Cox, GA Representative for District 108, was our May luncheon speaker. You may recall Clay was a representative in 2004 - 2011. He gave up his position to run for Congress which he lost. Fast forward 6 years and he is back as a state representative as a "retread" rather than a "freshman". This gave him a unique prospective particularly when it came to the state budget. Georgia is required by state law to have a balanced budget. His previous stent covered the economically very difficult period of recession and the need to make painful cuts in the state budget. This time around the economy has much improved, the budget process was smooth. Our state budget came out to  $25 Billion which puts Georgia at 49th in per capita spending, an indication of good stewardship. The #1 budget item was k-12 Education at 38%. Clay is on the Transportation, Energy, Communication and Juvenile Justice Committees. When asked about what is happening legislatively to help small business, he mentioned a couple of items where some are in place and others are in the draft process. These include tax incentives for hiring people receiving government aid, refurbishment rather than new build on low vacancy strip malls, etc. If you have questions or ideas related to legislation that will help small business, please contact Clay. Face time with state and local government officials reinforce the notion of how state laws and regulations impact us more on a day to day level them federal laws.


Brad Stevens of Entreholic 

Speaker Brad Stevens of Entreholic spoke on “Using Innovative Strategies and Tools to Grow Your Business on a Budget”. This guy has so many great ideas and tools to help run, grow and market a business, it is like drinking from a fire hose to hear him speak. 


Speakers David Will & Cara Sullivan shared information on the Parkview Cluster Foundation. The Foundation operates under the Gwinnett County Schools Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All contributions are tax deductible and are distributed to Parkview HS (30%), Trickum MS (30%) and 10% to each of the 4 feeder elementary schools. Operating expenses are covered at the county level, so all donations go to the schools. Teachers at the schools submit grants on projects for academic enhancement. Athletics are not covered under this organization. 


Mike and Peggy Levengood of the Gwinnett Parks Foundation (GPF) were our speakers. Government organizations cannot receive grant money but a Foundation can. The GPF supports Gwinnett County Parks, but not the City parks. They sponsor several events and programs. The Parknership program allows people to volunteer for park beautification projects, with the next one March 4th at Graves Park in Norcross. There is also the Commemorative Program where items such as benches, bike racks, fountains, etc, can be donated in honor or memory of someone. Take a look at the website and follow them on facebook.



Lobbyist Lindsey Scott. Lindsey works for Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgen as a Legislative Liaison. She helps keep legislators in check, lobbies for legislative issues impacting insurance and helps promote (or stop) specific legislation. She covered a number of interesting topics. Insurance Agents can get certified as health councilors and can charge a fee for this service in situations where there is no commission. "Surprise Billing" happens when you have an emergency visit to an out-of-network hospital or have a procedure at a network location but an out-of-network person participates and you get a bill. Instead of the consumer dealing with these type items, there is legislation that will let this be handled at the insurance level rather than placing the burden on the consumer.


Visit to BAPS Mandir

The BAPS Mandir in Lilburn a Hindu place of worship. The word "Mandir" stands for "mind at peace". The property is large (30 acres) and open with an infinity pool and 4 buildings. The temple is constructed of hand carved pieces of varying types of stone which took artisans 18 months to prepare followed by 18 months of assembly on the property. The temple was dedicated in August 2007 and included 1.3 million hours of volunteer service in its construction. Some individuals left their jobs to devote their entire effort to this cause. There are no signs giving credit to individuals or companies for sponsorship.


GA Senator PK Martin

State Senator (District 9) PK Martin's legislative duties focus on insurance, economic development and higher education. How insurance companies behave and how much health insurance costs are of concern at the state level. There is legislation related to provider directory accuracy. This is especially difficult in rural areas which often use "Rental Networks". Businesses that send workers out-of-state need to notify their agent, as states like Florida require a Florida workman's comp policy. Ask about work-based learning discounts (i.e, Drug-free workplace).


Author and columnist, Carole Townsend was a staff correspondent for 12 years with the Gwinnett Daily Post and the last 3 years with the Gwinnett Citizen where she writes a column (Not So) Common Sense. She published her 4th book in April, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, a departure from the Southern Humor of past 3 books to cover the investigation of the 1978 Gwinnett shooting of Hustler Publisher Larry Flynt . This case went unsolved for 5 years until the shooter devised a plan to be moved from a maximum security prison for a different crime. He contacted the Lawrenceville Police claiming to have information on the shooting. Good read my friends.

Monitization of Pokemon GO

We had a very informative discussion of how a retail store could use Pokemon Go to increase foot traffic. First there needs to be a "Pokestop" in proximity to your business. In the future there should be a way to purchase one if there are none in your vicinity. A "Lure" can be purchased which will place Pokemon for capture in your area. A "Lure" is good for 30 minutes and can be had for a minimal cost. Visitor Brian Sheffield of Legacy Station mentioned there was a Pokestop at the Firehouse Subs, 4145 Lawrenceville Hwy, near his business.


Lilburn Policeman Mike Johnson, How to Protect Your Business

Officer Mike Johnson, Community Outreach Liaison for the Lilburn Police Department, gave a very informative and well attended presentation on ways to improve the safety of our businesses. Businesses can request a Security Survey for existing businesses or those in the planning stages. The survey will result in a 5 to 6 page report which will address problems and suggest plans for correction. He covered concepts such as the use of hostile vegetation (bushes with thorns), placement of female bathrooms, lighting quality, dumpster placement, walkability, sustainability, law code versus advice and loss prevention. A property owner (ie a strip mall owner) may be held responsible for crimes made easier from their negligence.


David Turney, Digial Marketing and Analytics

The take home message was that measuring AND understanding the traffic to your website is essential for making the best marketing decisions. Even big companies don't always do a good job with this even though they spend the big bucks. There are many free tools and a great place to start is Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics Academy. See more at .

Nakia Sanford, Smartphones and Business Social Media

Nakia Sanford, LBA President, Primerica Rep and self-identified "Millennial" lead a discussion of smartphones and social media for business. Basically the meeting was a "safe space" for those of us past 40 to ask questions related to social media, such as the purpose of "#". The discussion focused on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LInkedin. She explained those accounts can be linked, but be carefully the posts are appropriate across platforms.


John Tronolone, Berkmar HS Career Academies and Community Involvement

John Tronolone, the Berkmar HS Academy Liason, was our May speaker. Berkmar HS is the 5th Gwinnett HS to move to a College and Career Model. By 10th grade, students are channeled into 1 of 5 academies. The entire curriculum will incorporate aspects of the individual academy and frequently uses project-based learning. For example, math in the Construction academy will include calculations involving concrete. Every student is expected to have a real world type experience before graduation. This can be accomplished a number of ways including internships, externships (where work is done at the school), shadowing, mentored projects, etc.

getsocial Gwinnett

Suzanne Najbrt, Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Business

Suzanne Nijbrt of GetSocial Gwinnett lead our table top discussion on the use of Social Media to promote our businesses. She had great ideas on ways to use Facebook and LInkedin, free and paid options. She also teaches classes on this Social Media, so check out the schedule at her website.


Emory MorsburgerThe Lilburn Community Improvement District

Executive Director of the Lilburn CID, Emory Morsberger, was our April Luncheon speaker. When an area has the visual appearance of decline, this is often due to a few irresponsible landlords. A Community Improvement District is a State sanctioned method to impose a special tax on ALL businesses in the CID for the purpose of addressing goals agreed to by the businesses in the CID. It feels somewhat heavy handed, but if enough business in a district agree to the formation of the CID, all businesses in that district pay via taxation for the improvements.These improvements have the goal of reversing the visual decline and increasing the overall standard of living of the area. Also see .


Brian Burchik, Lilburn Future Plans to Help Small Businesses

Lilburn City Councilman Brian Burchik give an inspiring and hope filled vision for Lilburn's future. He already lives downtown and noted there were 7 young families with 13+ kids. The goal is to welcome particularly millennial entrepreneurship without pushing out other groups. Lilburn continues to develop many of the elements proven to be essential for a thriving small town, including a central gathering place, diversity, increasing "hipness", strong schools and community. It is a great place to raise a family, but also a great place for empty nesters.


Art Wood, How Networking Can Help Your Small Business

Art Wood who wears many hats including the one that started Fuse Networking explained the different strategies for business development including the advantages and disadvantages of each. "Closed networking" is a great way to build a sales team but had expenses and restrictions associated with it. You can "purchase" sales leads, but the final sales depends heavily on the bottom line and less on the personal relationship between the sales person and the purchaser. The effort can end up being more time intensive and risky lowering the ROI. Art particularly likes "open networking". He finds it to be cheaper, ends up with better clients and has a wider pool of individuals with which to get and give referrals. He encourages each person to audit how you are spending your networking time and evaluate if those efforts lead to the types of connections you want.


Chris McJunkin, What Small Businesses Should Be Doing in 2016

Chris McJunkin and Collin Berggreen of Advanced Benefit Solutions shared with us the concept of a PEO or Professional Employee Organization model for providing benefits to small and medium size businesses. Under a PEO model your business comes under the tax id of the benefits provider but the business retains operational independence. This gives your small business (typically 10+) access to Fortune 500 level benefits.



Fielding Alderman of Virtual Properties Realty spoke on "Why Hire a Commercial Realtor?"  Fielding gave a great explanation about the differences between Real Estate Agents, Realtors and  Commercial Realtors. The differences have a lot to do with the level of training, board memberships and specialization (often expensive). His business partner Martin Birkbek is a business broker. Businesses usually do not put a For Sale sign on their business when they are looking to sell. 


Jack Marder of Zanacore Technologies had great tips and information about the scary world of cyber security. There are a number of things he suggested to protect yourself including don't use debit cards for online purchases (FDIC does not protect against this type of fraud), do not open suspicious emails, us a dedicated PC for online banking, use email alerts from your bank and credit card companies and spread your money across multiple accounts.

In case you missed our August breakfast, Doug Dorough of Dorough Landscaping Company. Doug's advice to get the most impact from your landscaping budget is have an attractive sign. He suggested using $30/9 sq ft as a good estimate of cost for materials, soil prep and installation.


Mayor Johnny Crist "packed the house" at our July luncheon at A Taste of Paradise. His talk included the many positive aspects of our community including good financial stewardship (no debt and 6 month cash reserve), high rating as a great place to retire, 6 miles of walking trails and our excellent police force. He also talked about the challenges and need of attracting the Millennial demographic to our community. This group prefers "urban dwellings" (code for expensive high end apartments) and high end homes on small lots. The eight acres surrounding the new City Hall/Library complex will include apartments above retail shops. The mayor has recommended everyone to read the book "Love Where You Live: Creating Emotionally Engaging Places".


"Coach Judi" Harris of Cirrus Business Group spoke on  Human Resources for Small Businesses". Judi and her co-worker Martha Kanaday gave us some great tips on things to watch for in the HR area.  She recommends every business have an attorney and liability insurance. In hiring, do it right the first time. Too many people get mis-classified.


Chuck Douglas of Busness Success Training spoke on  "Tripling Your Results Without Working 3 Times Harder".  He spoke about talent versus skill. Talent gets you to a place, while skill helps you stay and be successful. Check out his website. The next seminar in Atlanta will be Oct 21, 2015.


Stephanie Sokenis, Director of the Small Business Development for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, was our speaker. The chamber offers a number of opportunities for business representatives to learn and network. Many events do not require Chamber membership. The LBA is now a Small Business Coalition member. That means LBA "members" get Coalition pricing for these events.


Stan Hall, Executive Director of The Gwinnett Sports Commission and the Gwinnett Championship Foundation which oversees the PGA TOUR Champion’s Tour event at TPC Sugarloaf each year, spoke to us about this year's Greater Gwinnett Championship presented by Mitsubishi Electric.


Rick Kent of Creative Insurance Solutions presented an excellent talk on "What's New in the Healthcare Exchanges". As a Federally Certified Agent, Rick is able to help individuals navigate the Healthcare Exchanges and select the best plan for their needs. As an agent, he can also bundle an exchange plan with add-ons that could save the client money over a higher level exchange plan.

Lilburn Business Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.

Mailing Address: Lilburn Business Association, P.O. Box 1537, Lilburn, GA 30048


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