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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Midtown Studio

Mountain View Group and My Professional CFO

Midtown Business Radio

Alan Conner and Thom Gonyeau talk integrity

Mountain View Group and My Professional CFO

This week we continued our bi-weekly series with Life University’s Dr. Gilles LaMarche, focusing on business leaders who exemplify integrity, in a lead-up to Life University’s LIFEtalks World Congress, May 12-13, discussing integrity for life with a number of well-known speakers on the subject.  We were joined in the studio by Thom Gonyeau and Alan Conner, of Mountain View Group and My Professional CFO, respectively.

I met Alan a few weeks ago in the hall of our office building.  After learning about how he helps physicians, I knew we needed to have him stop by to talk about it.  In addition to providing basic accounting/payroll functions, Alan also helps physicians develop effective, legal tax strategies, including self funded insurance plans to reduce their tax burden and risk at the same time.

Alan shared the story of a family member, an ER physician in Florida.  He explained the fact that his family member, as do many physicians, work as 1099 contractors for the respective practice they serve.  In this relationship, the doctor receives a gross paycheck with no tax withheld.

In this situation it is vital for the provider to plan for their tax obligation and pay it in a timely fashion (at least quarterly) or they face between 5-10% penalties, which can quickly add up to significant amounts, based on the numbers they’re working with.

Alan explained several options available to physicians that work as 1099 contractors, including self funded insurance plans, pension plans, SEP IRA’s, and others, that will help them preserve their hard-earned revenue for later while protecting them from risk such as loss of medical license should that occur.

It’s clear after speaking with him that it is advisable for our colleagues in the community to partner with experts such as Alan to develop a solid plan for managing their tax obligations as well as helping to secure their financial future.

I met Thom Gonyeau ~five years ago.  Equal parts right-brain and left-brain, he’s an operational guru.  He works with clients to solve their business needs.  Thom is an avid photographer, tennis player, runner, and writer. H had his first brush with fame at age 8, when his poem “Things That Are Beautiful” was published in Highlights magazine.

We talked about the media production work he and his team execute to help their clients, which includes the likes of GE, Coca Cola, and numerous other well-known enterprises, tell the story of their brand both internally and externally.  Thom draws on his love of writing and his curiosity to get to know his clients very well and then be able to craft engaging, award-winning media productions across a variety of platforms to share it with the target audience.

Special Guests:

Dr. Gilles LaMarche, DC, VP of Professional Relations at Life University  youtube logo linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  facebook_logo_small3  smugmug LOGO

Life University

  • Doctor of Chiropractic, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
  • Author, The ART of Responsibility, Insight Publishing 2012
  • Certified Six Advisors Coach, Six Advisors Coaching Academy
  • Previous Vice President, Parker College of Chiropractic

Alan Conner, CEO, My Professional CFO  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  facebook_logo_small3

My Professional CFO

  • MBA, Finance, Nova Southeastern University
  • Previous Investment Banker, Orosey & Pepe Capital Markets
  • Former Investment Manager, Arduus Asset Management

Thom Gonyeau, CEO, Mountain View Group  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1

Mountain View Group

  • MA, Communications, The College of Saint Rose
  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Creative Education Foundation


Solution Road and Mosaic

Life University

Stu Sheldon and Gilles LaMarche talk integrity

Solution Road

Sarah Smith raising awareness about HIV

Solution Road and Mosaic

This week marked the beginning of a bi-weekly series we’ll be hosting with Dr. Gilles LaMarche, VP of Professional Relations at Life University where we’ll be focusing on integrity in the business community and personal life.  This series will be leading into the Life Talks World Congress event coming up May 12-13, 2016.

Life Talks is about empowering leaders to create social change, make a transformational impact on the world and remove the interference to maximize their perfection within.  The event includes thought leadersin business and productivity, physical health, nutrition, compassion, forgiveness, vitalism, quantum healing, and more.

We will be featuring business leaders who are known to value integrity in their professional and personal lives, and we will introduce several high school students from the community who have also been recognized for exemplifying the trait in their personal and academic endeavors.

We were joined in studio by Sarah Smith and Stu Sheldon, of Solution Road and Mosaic, respectively.  Sarah has spent numerous years helping non-profit and for-profit organizations raise funding and public awareness for their respective work.  She draws on experience from healthcare as well as media and is very selective in the clients she and her team take on at Solution Road.

Stu is an expert in experiential marketing, in which brands look to engage a targeted subset of their customer base.  Their goal is to create an immersive experience that has a measure of exclusivity and hands-on interaction with elements of the brand.  In this way, the client company is able to leverage Earned Media to get people talking about their experience.  I first met Stu on the Midtown Business show talking about Escalate, the experiential marketing company that was recently acquired by Mosaic.

Special Guests:

Dr. Gilles LaMarche, DC, VP of Professional Relations at Life University  youtube logo linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small-e1403698475314  facebook_logo_small3  smugmug LOGO

Life University

  • Doctor of Chiropractic, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
  • Author, The ART of Responsibility, Insight Publishing 2012
  • Certified Six Advisors Coach, Six Advisors Coaching Academy
  • Previous Vice President, Parker College of Chiropractic

Sarah K. Smith, CEO/Founder, of Solution Road 

Solution Road

  • Masters Degree, English, University of Essex
  • Previous Director, Corporate Marketing, Emory University
  • Former Vice President, The Emmy Awards Foundation
  • Previous Director, Special Projects, TEDx Peachtree

Stuart Sheldon, Chief Advocacy Officer at Mosaic  Linkedin  Facebook  Twitter  vimeo logo  youtube logo  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)


  • BA, English and Journalism, Washington and Lee University
  • Former Senior Brand Manager, Coca Cola Company
  • Founder and Former Evangelist Prime, ConnectUs Marketing
  • 2006 Coca-Cola North America Big, Bold & Inspiring Marketing award; Coca-Cola Worldwide Marketing Excellence award finalist

P Marshall and Associates

P Marshall and Associates

Carrie Dimino talks PM&A culture


Brett Davis explains distributed antenna systems

P Marshall and Associates

On this week’s episode I featured long-time acquaintance, Carrie Dimino, and Brett Davis, of P Marshall and Associates, an Atlanta-based engineering firm.  The company initially started with a focus in telecommunications, providing services around antenna systems and other telecom needs.

As their relationships with their clients grew, their happy customers were frequently asking if the firm could provide engineering support for needs in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and others, prompting P Marshall and Associates to expand their repertoire to include experts in these areas as well.

With Atlanta currently placing focus and energy on becoming a Smart City, and many builders and commercial property owners looking to integrate technology into their buildings, the firm is uniquely positioned to play a key role in helping to achieve these goals.

Brett explained how PM&A is able to design and install distributed antenna systems that integrate with existing structures and architecture as well as new construction.  So, they’re able to make a cellular antenna that becomes part of a light pole, for example, but is essentially unnoticeable.

We also talked about how the company places great attention to the culture of the company.  They have purposefully maintained a low-key, fun work environment to maximize employee satisfaction and creativity.  Carrie shared some of the characteristics the firm is looking for in engineering experts who are looking to join their growing, innovative company.

Special Guests:

Carrie Dimino, Catalyst, P Marshall and Associates facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1

P Marshall and Associates

Brett Davis, Director of Wireless Initiatives, P Marshall and Associates  linkedin_small1

P Marshall and Associates

Workman’s Compensation and Small Business Expo

Ken David and Associates

Jennifer Smith talks workman’s compensation

Workman’s Compensation

This week I sat down with attorney and workman’s compensation expert, Jennifer Smith, of Ken David & Associates to talk about important considerations employers should  think about to reduce their risk.  Workman’s compensation can present a real financial exposure for any company.  So, it’s vital that company leadership take steps in advance to handle employee injuries effectively when they occur.

Jennifer shared numerous tips that employers should be mindful of relating to the new hire process, to educate incoming employees about options for care should injuries occur.  We also discussed how managers and employers should handle employee complaints that could possibly related to work place stressors or injuries.  A major element of this is documentation about details of conversations about physical complaints or over injuries.

We talked about ways employers and managers should handle communications with employees and care team when an injury has occurred and employees are out of work or placed on limited work duties that can hasten employees returning to work, as well as decreasing likelihood of litigation.

The Small Business Expo is the largest multi-city expo of its kind.  I spoke with founder, Zach Lezberg about his inspiration for starting the event and how its grown to be so large.  I caught up with Zach leading into the 12/10 Atlanta show at the Atlanta Convention Center.

The free-to-the-public event featured over 100 exhibitors and offered numerous break out sessions and learning presentations, along with access to business experts for an opportunity to get questions answered.

The pro-business expo will be coming to 14 cities in 2016 and is so effective for fostering business relationships, several exhibitors travel to most or even all the event locations throughout the year.

Special Guests:

Jennifer Smith, Senior Associate, Ken David & Associates  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1

Ken David & Associates

  • Juris Doctor, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Previous Intern, Georgia Justice Project
  • Former Director of Reimbursement, Resurgens Orthopedics

Zach Lezberg, Founder of The Small Business Expo  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  google-plus-logo-red-265px  youtube logo  linkedin_small1

The Small Business Expo

Woman Owned Business

business radio

Marie Hunter and Kenzie Biggens join CW Hall on Midtown Business Radio

Woman Owned Business

On this week’s episode I continued my monthly series with NOWaccount.  CFO Archie Jones stopped by to talk about woman owned business.  He introduced us to two female entrepreneurs who are working on disrupting their respective industries.

KRG Oil Company is a family and female owned fuel and petroleum products business.  The company has positioned itself to serve the needs of small to mid-sized clients that require quantities of fuel and petroleum products that are below what larger fuel companies are willing or able to fulfill.  Marie described how she and her father, who had spent numerous years in the fuel business, decided to start their own company together after Marie was laid off from a previous job.

They determined their mission is to provide excellent customer service that goes above and beyond their competitors.  Marie shared how KRG’s corporate  philosophy is to treat all of their customers with professionalism and respect, no matter how big or small the client company.  KRG Oil was started because its founders felt that the fueling industry was missing good and old fashioned “customer service.”

We talked about how Marie and her team want the success of this business to be used as a platform to encourage others to “think outside of the box” and to give back to our community.

Kenzie Biggens explained how her earlier work in the social media arena opened the door to an unexpected opportunity to launch her virtual assistant business, Uniquely Virtual.  She explained how an executive she had been working with on social media services was retiring and suggested she start the business she had been contemplating for some time.

Kenzie got her business started and began to see a true niche and need for virtual assistants, particularly for executives who are serving in a contractor/consultant role.  Eventually, she designed an effective database and client management platform that has empowered her to allow her production partners to work remotely, helping to accelerate scaling and growing the company.

The Uniquely Virtual solution allows executives to gain access to professional assistant services while saving many of the employee expenses that come with employing workers.

My guests shared strategies they have used to help them get a toe hold in their markets and how they chose to distinguish themselves from their competitors, particularly with strict focus on customer service.

Special Guests:

Marie Hunter, President/CEO of KRG Oil Company  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1

KRG Oil Company

  • BA, Journalism and Telecommunication Arts, University of Georgia
  • Previous Internet Sales Manager, Lewis & Sheron Textile Company

Kenzie Biggens, CEO/Founder of Uniquely Virtual  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  facebook_logo_small3  google-plus-logo-red-265px

Uniquely Virtual

  • MFA, Luxury and Fashion Management, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Committee Member, Atlanta Regional Commission, Strategic Implementation Innovation Subcommittee
  • Member, Board of Directors, ArtsATL

Midtown Alliance and Blue Goblin

Midtown Alliance

Shannon Powell joins CW Hall to talk Midtown Alliance

Midtown Alliance and Blue Goblin

I hosted Shannon Powell and Ben Hirokawa of Midtown Alliance and Blue Goblin, respectively.  Shannon Powell is the COO for Midtown Alliance and Ben Hirokawa is founder and President of Blue Goblin, a plastic foam recycling company.

Created in 1978, Midtown Alliance has been a significant force in the revitalization of Midtown Atlanta, a district that runs from ~Pine St. on the south end to the Peachtree Bridge over I-75 entering Buckhead on the north end, and east-west from I-75 to ~Piedmont Ave.

Midtown Alliance is a not-for-profit membership organization and consists of a coalition of local business and community leaders.  Each member is committed to establishing Midtown as a leading destination for commerce, culture, education and living.

Midtown Alliance is led by a 71-member board of the district’s leading private sector executives and their mission is to improve and sustain the quality of life for those who live, work and play in this thriving business and residential district.  The Alliance fulfills is mission through a comprehensive approach to planning and development, including numerous initiatives to enhance public safety, improve the physical environment, and strengthen the urban amenities giving the area its distinctive character.

Guided by a visionary master plan – Blueprint Midtown – and in partnership with the Midtown Improvement District, Midtown has become a national model for urban excellence.

Blue Goblin

Ben Hirokawa of Blue Goblin

Ben Hirokawa has been a leader in three different start-ups, including a recent one in South Carolina focused on recycling a variety of household appliances.  That enterprise developed technology that would allow them to dispense with the noxious coolant materials and associated fumes/gases safely, allowing them to reclaim the metals and plastics.

Founded in 2014, Blue Goblin is an innovative, environmentally-sound solution for disposal of plastic foams.  These versatile foams – found in products ranging from commercial roofing and wall insulation, to refrigerated transport units, to mattresses and other furniture, to many types of packaging – pose significant challenges at end-of-life: they are bulky and difficult to transport and compact, and they can emit significant greenhouse gasses.

Both the U.S. EPA and the California Air Resources Board have recognized emissions from PUR, XPS, and ISO foams
as significant environmental challenges, but currently virtually all of these foams are landfilled.  Blue Goblin offers a solution:

• Mobile Service: Blue Goblin brings its processing unit directly to its customers, and begins the process of compacting and recycling these foams on-site, significantly reducing transportation and waste disposal costs

• Environmental Responsibility: Greenhouse gasses are captured and properly disposed

• Convenience and Customer Service: Blue Goblin works with each customer to define the scope of the job and maximize convenience and value

Special Guests:

Shannon Powell, COO, of Midtown Alliance  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  Blogger 2  linkedin_small1

Midtown Alliance

  • BA, Urban Studies/Affairs, College of Charlston
  • Master of City Planning, City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ben Hirokawa, President/founder of Blue Goblin  linkedin_small1

Blue Goblin

  • ME, Engineering Management, Dartmouth College-Thayer School of Engineering
  • Former President/CEO, Reclaim
  • Co-founder/Previous VP of New Business Development, MicroPore Plastics


Coach Mark Speaks

professional coach

CW Hall and Coach Mark Speaks (Mark Todd)

Coach Mark Speaks

This week I sat down with entrepreneur, coach, and mentor, Mark Todd of Coach Mark Speaks.  He shared his story of how he longed to be an entrepreneur as a young kid, tried as a college student and failed, then found a talent he possessed and leveraged it into a successful business.

We talked about how he and a friend decided to start a night club while they were college students, with hopes of building on their love of DJ’ing.  Unfortunately, with no experience, no mentors, and limited capital, the partners could not support the business to keep it open during the early start-up phase.  While trying to keep the business open, Mark lost his car, used his student loan funds, and was doing anything he could to make his rent.

While trying to save money promoting his business, Mark began creating the graphic design pieces he would distribute about his club.  It was then he realized he had a knack for it and once the club shut down, he pivoted and started working to build his graphic design business.  15 years later he came by to talk about what it was that made him achieve success and have the life he always wanted.

He is now spending much of his time authoring (and reading) books on how to succeed and overcome challenges and giving away his time to coach and mentor entrepreneurs and individuals looking to improve their lives.

Coach Mark isn’t an athletic coach although he can help you win the biggest race of your life. He isn’t a life coach, but he can help you live the best life you could ever possibly imagine. Coach Mark is a believability coach. He helps others to increase what they believe is possible for them. That self-belief will help determine how far anyone can go in life.

As a successful entrepreneur over the last 15 years, Coach Mark has built 2 exceedingly successful million-dollar businesses. Driven by his desire to acquire and share knowledge, Coach Mark retired from the day to day operations of his businesses before the age of 40 and decided to spend the rest of his life serving others by sharing his philosophy of continual self improvement. It’s Coach Mark’s belief that life gets better when you get better, and his goal is for each and everyone he encounters to continually get better. You can stay in touch with Coach Mark by visiting or on FB – Mark Starr, or on IG & Twitter @coachmarkspeaks

Special Guest:

Coach Mark Todd of Coach Mark Speaks, Inc  twitter_logo_small

Buying or Selling a Business

 IRC Wealth

Dave Ragland and Joe Schum talk Buying/Selling Businesses

Buying or Selling a Business

We continued our monthly series with IRC Wealth, talking about buying or selling a business. Dave Ragland and Joe Schum came by with Chet Burgess of Burgess & Associates to share some expertise regarding how to approach choices that arise when coming into a large sum of money through the sale of a business. An example of this was an IRC Wealth client company that was an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) that sold.

In this case, the employees were seeing pretty sizable amounts of money coming their way from 5 figures to as much as $500,000-1,000,000 or more. Dave and Joe talked about the importance of sitting down with a financial expert to identify the best plan for what to do with those funds to get the greatest value for the employee’s needs.

The group also talked about the importance of establishing a sound operating agreement for partners in a young business that will accommodate the various possibilities for separation for the partners, whether it’s a sale, or a partner opting to leave, or other potential situations.

Chet, a CPA and tax expert, shared how important it is to select a corporate structure that provides the greatest long-term flexibility for a business that will facilitate selling later or transitioning a business to heirs or other partners.

We also discussed options for the business owner who would like to offer rewarding compensation plans that inspire a sense of ownership and increased productivity, without having to give away shares of stock in the privately-held company.

Special Guests:

David Ragland, CEO/Founder of IRC Wealth  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  feed logo

IRC Wealth

  • Masters of Accounting, University of Georgia, Terry College of Business
  • Former Manager–Tax, Ernst & Young
  • Previous CFO, Allied Foods, Inc
  • Previous CFO, Afterburner

Joe Schum, VP of Business Development of IRC Wealth  linkedin_small1  

IRC Wealth

  • Bachelor’s of Science, Economics/Commerce, Niagara University
  • Previous VP of Sales, Midwest Medical Enterprises, DVT/Lite
  • Board of Advisors, Safe Haven Museum & Education Center
  • Board Member, Visions Anew Institute

Chet Burge, Founder of Burge & Associates  linkedin_small1

Burgess & Associates

  • BS Accounting, Bob Jones University
  • Previous Senior Accountant, Price Waterhouse
  • Former P/T CFO/Partner, Three Taverns Brewery

The Ice Box and Encore Recycling

Business Radio

Gary Blase and Jordy Gamson talk shredding autos and effective brand marketing

The Ice Box and Encore Recycling

Guest co-host, Bo Wilkins from SoundRiver Advisors sat in with me as we interviewed one of the founders of The Ice Box, Jordy Gamson, and his good friend, Gary Blase, of Encore Recycling.  Learn how valuable the right promotional product can be for keeping your company top-of-mind for your customers.  And, learn about technology that can grind a car—yes, a CAR, into bits in 8 seconds.

Check back soon for more info!

Special Guests:

Bo Wilkins, Partner, SoundRiver Advisors  Linkedin    

SoundRiver Advisors

  • Former Executive Managing Director, Wealth Management, Reliance Trust Company
  • Former Partner, Nease, Lagana, Eden, & Culley
  • BA, History & German, Hampden-Sydney College
  • CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter; ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant; CAP – Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy

Jordy Gamson, CEO/Co-founder, The Ice Box  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook  Pinterest  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)  

The Ice Box

Gary Blase, Managing Member of Encore Recycling  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1 

Encore Recycling


Veteran Owned Small Businesses


Melinda Coker and Kit Walker talk Veteran Owned Businesses

Veteran Owned Small Businesses

This week I was joined in studio by friend of the show, Lara Hodgson, CEO of NOWaccount.  We focused this episode on veteran owned small businesses.  Lara introduced us to Kit Walker, a combat-disabled veteran who started his own small business, EBS-4U, after spending several years in the corporate world.

His company provides professional cleaning services for businesses and has begun to expand into construction clean-up.  After completing certification as a minority business enterprise and combat-disabled veteran, Kit began to expand his business through fulfilling federal contract opportunities.

We also met Melinda Coker, of Small Business Access Partners, of Gainesville, GA.  This non-profit organization works with small business owners, helping them get access to available small business loans for their particular needs.

In our discussion on veteran owned businesses, Melinda explained there are numerous options for business owners today, and shared some information about veteran owned businesses.

Coker explained a resource available through the Veterans Administration.  If you go to the VA’s website which is and click on the resources link and then select businesses, there are several helpful links for veteran small business owners who are seeking financing for their businesses.

VA’s website also allows business owners to customize their search criteria by zip code to find financing options applicable to their area of operation.  SBA’s website also has a special tool now for small business owners known as SBA Linc that allows small business owners to fill out a survey for the financing they are looking for and then SBA distributes that information to a network of lenders who can then
respond based on the financing need requested.  The applicant is also provided the contact information for the lenders interested in their request.

Special Guests:

Lara O’Connor-Hodgson, CEO of Nowaccount Network Corporation  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

Nowaccount Network Corporation

  • MBA Harvard Business School
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Finance, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Board of Directors, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
  • Owner, Insomnia Group
  • Chairman of the Board, Atlanta Heights Charter School
  • Second Language–Japanese

Kit Walker, CEO/Founder of EBS-4U  linkedin_small1


  • MBA, Management & Organizational Behavior, Woodbury University
  • Combat-wounded veteran
  • Previous VP Relationship Manager, Bank of America
  • Former Consultant, Migration Project Partner, Wells Fargo Bank

Melinda Coker, of Small Business Access Partners linkedin_small1

Small Business Access Partners