The Nashville Business Journal hosted the 2013 Small Business Awards during a luncheon at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. This years small Business Awards finalists were asked What do Middle Tennessee businesses need most right now? EO Nashville finalists featured in the article included: Ricky Scott [The Kingston Group], Jerry Baker [Conexess Group], Chris Corby [School Facility Management], Alex Tolbert [Bernard Health], John Kepley [teknetex], Mike Rustici [Rustici Software] and James Fields [Concept Technology].
What do Middle Tennessee businesses need most right now?
Alex Tolbert, owner
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? To continue to concentrate on expanding our value proposition to our clients.
Conexess Group LLC
Jerry Baker, Co-Founder
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? People — the right people.
Concept Technology Inc.
James Fields, president
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? Nashville needs more (and better) IT people. Particularly in the areas of systems and network administration and engineering, Nashville's talent pool isn't keeping up with the economic growth. This isn't an earth-shattering revelation — everyone knows this, and alot of smart people are working on making it better. In the meantime, we've taken our unique approach to hiring and creating a one-of-a-kind IT staffing company called Scout Staffing to meet our own needs as well as the needs of other forward-thinking companies in the area.
Rustici Software LLC
Mike Rustici, president
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? I think Middle Tennessee is a great place to grow a business. We have a vibrant entrepreneurial community, plenty of talent and a great place to live and work.
School Facility Management LLC
Chris Corby, CEO
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? Prospective clients call on us when change in their existing facility management structure is imminent. So for the most part, it is a waiting game for us. On the other hand, we need to have a strong-enough presence in the market for those prospective clients to know that we exist when they are faced with change.
John Kepley, president and CEO
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? Guy Kawasaki (formerly of Apple) said that the single biggest reason for Silicon Valley’s existence would be Stanford University —specifically, the School of Engineering. It had a steady pipeline of top talent feeding into the growing tech industry there. I see that need here in Middle Tennessee to foster and put to work IT talent. We have such a need already, so just imagine what we would be capable of if we could fill those positions. This is one of my passions and led me to co-chair the Nashville Technology Council's T3 Workforce Initiative, which connects universities here and their curriculum with the businesses in the community. This literally creates a win-win-win; it ensures that companies in Middle Tennessee will have a talent pool with relevant experience to their human capital needs, ups the job placement after graduation for universities and puts our graduates to work here in our community.
The Kingston Group
Ricky Scott and Robbie Edwards, owners
What is the one thing you need most to grow your business in Middle Tennessee? Small business support from our government. We need resources to be utilized to ensure that we're competing on a level playing field. Our industry is plagued with unlicensed, uninsured workers that don't play by the same rules we do. Our local government resources are in place to manage those that play by the rules, while having no way to account for those who ignore them.