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Stellar Consulting Solutions and Orange Theory Fitness


Sugra Naqvi and Varun Jhanjee talk IT

Stellar Consulting Solutions and Orange Theory Fitness

Today I had the pleasure of talking to Sugra Naqvi and Varun Jhanjee, founders and consultants for the growing boutique technology consulting and staffing firm, Stellar Consulting Solutions, LLC.  I also caught up with CEO/Founder of Orangetheory Fitness, Dave Long to talk about their very effective approach to helping their members achieve a higher level of fitness, regardless of their fitness level when they start.

Varun brings seventeen years of experience beginning as an engineer moving rapidly into the technology field working with several major Fortune 500 companies and has been in the Atlanta area for the past fifteen years.  I

Sugra makes contacting Stellar Consulting Solutions personal….letting potential clients/clients know she is only a click away from a response through any chosen media…a rarity in today’s depersonalized business world.

Our guests are two upwardly mobile entrepreneurs who saw a growing need in the business community: maintaining traction in the rapidly changing world of IT. Using their combined business acumen, they developed Stellar Consulting Solutions to help businesses alleviate the stress and strain of staying current in the IT world; imperative in today’s market.

SCS, LLC specializes in the IT field offering a resource pool of experts to assist on technology projects, provide experienced consultants, and deliver end-to-end recruiting staffing solutions, and the list is only the beginning of what this company can offer. Concentrating on the H2H factor allows Stellar to bring the right solution with the right talent to its clients. Varun feels the importance of not only providing quality IT answers but takes their expertise into the personal realm allowing companies to blend their needs with Stellar to build the perfect profile.

Sugra shared that Stellar Consulting assists those in the job seeking market to connect with companies looking for people to fill sort-term projects, fill full time positions, or fill contract jobs. Because the resource pool for specialized IT professionals is limited, SCS can offer businesses the freedom to concentrate on business while SCS provides quality staffing to respond to the data driven issues that arise daily.

Sugra and Varun also foster diversity in the workplace, as Stellar is a minority business enterprise (MBE). Authenticity matters to SCS. Our guests shared that SCS can bring the personal and the professional into the IT field of constant change and guarantee quality results.

Stellar Consulting Solutions also addresses specialty areas: ERP Systems Database, Social, Mobile Analytics, Cloud Project/Program Managers, Infrastructure technologies to name a few.

A little over a year ago, a long-time friend of mine began talking about Orangetheory Fitness.  I had heard of the fitness concept brand before but as I watched my friend’s physical and personal transformation before my eyes, and heard her rave about her experience with them, I wanted to learn more.

David Long graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy and an MBA from the University of Florida. David has an extensive, successful past as an entrepreneur and visionary. He has had management roles with GNC, Massage Envy VP of Operations, and is Partner and Founder of Orangetheory Fitness.

David has been immersed in personal fitness since he hit the retail scene in 2001 as a Director of Operations with Lifestyle Family Fitness. Reviewing David’s extensive professional background, it is apparent why he again is instrumental in leading the fitness industry to a unique new concept: Orangetheory Fitness.

Orangetheory Fitness combines interval, cardio, and a floor workout into a one hour session. What sets this concept apart is focusing on the individual working out within a community and using a Heart Rate Monitor for each client. Each studio is a “boutique fitness” location. Studios are conveniently located, franchise driven, and staffed with hand-picked experts in a variety of fields. Clients are exposed to a non-intimidating climate, a community, and can quickly blend in, therefore, removing the stigma of being “different” because they are newbies, walked in from a sedentary life style or have no clue about the world of physical fitness.

Personal is a key word at Orangetheory Fitness. Someone can go from zero experience in working out or be a seasoned fitness buff. No one is competing with anyone else: an important component to individuals hesitant to even walk into a fitness location.

Orangetheory Fitness empowers members to have more control over their effort level by having clients wear a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to track progress while working out. We have all heard “Get that heart rate up!”, but Orangetheroy Fitness makes tracking the heart rate an active component. Clients work toward a target zone that stimulates metabolism, increases energy, promotes extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.

Clients WANT to return to the Orangetheory Fitness studio; the dread, lack of visible results, and overly aggressive tactics are gone. Simply stated: it works.

You can hear Dave Long’s Orangetheory Fitness interview on its own below:

Special Guests:

Sugra Naqvi, Vice President of Sales, Stellar Consulting Solutions  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1


  • BS, Sociology, Georgia State University
  • BS Nutrition Sciences, Kaplan University
  • Active Wellness/Lifestyle Coach
  • Fluent, Urdu/Hindi

Varun Jhanjee, SVP, Stellar Consulting Services  linkedin_small1


  • BS, Electronics, University of Pune
  • Former Senior Programmer Analyst, Microtek International
  • Previous Development Lead, CAD Images, Government of India
  • Fluent, Hindi, Punjabi, English

Dave Long, CEO/Founder, Orangetheory Fitness  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  youtube logo  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)  Pinterest-logo  


  • BS, Health Science/Physical Therapy, University of Florida
  • MBA, Management, University of Florida
  • Developer and Owner, European Wax Centers
  • Former Regional Developer–NY, Massage Envy

Yacht Rock Revue and Ignited Entertainment Group

Emerging Artist Network

Peter Stroud & Dave Sutton talk Emerging Artist Network

Emerging Artist Network

Nick Niespodziani and Sonny Del Grosso talk about the business of music.

Yacht Rock Revue and Ignited Entertainment Group

I sat down with co-founders of Emerging Artist Network, Dave Sutton and Peter Stroud to learn about the cool technology platform they created to pair bands with brands that are looking to integrate music into their marketing efforts.

They brought along Nick Niespodziani, lead singer and co-founder of the popular Atlanta-based, Yacht Rock Revue, and Sonny Del Grosso, founder of Ignited Entertainment Group, and former manager for the Zac Brown Band in their early days.  Nick and Sonny shared their stories and how their respective businesses evolved to where they are now.

check back soon for more information!

Special Guests:

Dave Sutton, CEO/Co-Founder of Emerging Artist Network   twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • MBA, Marketing, George Washington University
  • Published Author
  • President/CEO, TopRight Partners

Peter Stroud, Co-Founder/ Artist Relations of Emerging Artist Network  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • Guitarist, Musical Director for Sheryl Crow
  • Co-Founder/Partner, 65amps
  • Founder of the band, Big Hat

Nick Niespodziani of Yacht Rock Revue  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  youtube logo  soundcloud logo

Yacht Rock Review


  • BA, English, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Previous Director of Business Development, Camp Jam
  • Former President, Jamling

Sonny Del Grosso of Ignited Entertainment Group  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3

Ingnited Talent


  • BA, Communication, Florida State University
  • Former Manager, Zac Brown Band
  • Previous Senior Marketing Manager, Turner Broadcasting System/Turner South

Talking IT Strategy with Atlanta’s CIO Samir Saini


IT Strategy in Atlanta

This week I had the special treat of sitting down with a long-time acquaintance of mine, Samir Saini, Atlanta’s recently-appointed CIO (2014).  He shared the story of his professional journey, beginning as an IT program manager with General Electric and his experience of successful completion of their 2 yr leadership training program.
He spent 10 years with this well-respected organization before accepting the opportunity to step into the role of VP, Corporate Strategy in IT for the MGM International Resorts in Las Vegas.  They were in the middle of tackling the IT challenges that come with acquiring several established companies into an existing enterprise, in this case, several well-known hotels.

He was able to successfully lead them through the process of moving the hotels onto a common platform, allowing the company to begin to leverage their company’s size through its expanded buying power and maximize efficiencies in numerous other areas.

Samir returned to Atlanta several years ago, this time bringing his leadership and IT expertise to bear in the public sector, taking a role with Atlanta’s Housing Authority.  Four years later he was appointed to be the new CIO for the City of Atlanta by Mayor Kasim Reed.

We talked about the challenges a municipality the size of Atlanta faces, balancing budgetary constraints against a myriad of government agencies, the world’s busiest airport, large population and infrastructure necessary to support them, along with a fast-growing business sector.

Samir discussed several of the tech solutions he and his team are working on and several that are already implemented to the benefit of Atlanta residents.  Until we spoke I wasn’t aware that the city provides free Wi-Fi access in Piedmont Park, Grant Park, and numerous other hotspots (with more coming).

He shared the city’s plans to update the fiber optic network to allow for numerous tech upgrades such as synchronized traffic lights to alleviate gridlock, applications that allow drivers to easily locate available parking, and more.  I also had the chance to ask him about the priorities he has laid out for the city going forward to address the enormous tech needs of our city to prepare us for the years to come that will make the city a better place to live as a resident and a solid choice for businesses looking for a place to plant their flag.

Special Guest:

Samir Saini, CIO, Commissioner, City of Atlanta  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  feed logo  youtube logo


  • BS, Civil Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Previous Director, ERP, General Electric Energy Services
  • Former VP, Corporate Services, MGM International Resorts
  • Past SVP/CIO, Atlanta Housing Authority

Humor Wins

Humor Wins

Humor Wins

This week I sat down with Marshall Chiles, Founder and Dudeman of Humor Wins, a business that helps companies looking to improve team dynamics among their staff.  As the owner of one of the first comedy clubs in Atlanta, Laughing Skull Lounge, he has been in the humor business for years.  He decided to take his knowledge of comedy to help business people learn to add an element of humor to their client interactions and sales presentations.  Humor Wins’ team also provides corporate roast services, adding a memorable, interesting element to company events.

Marshall talked about how they take their clients through the process of learning how to develop some humorous comments or jokes that help disarm prospective customers, facilitating relationship building that can lead to a sale.  His team also facilitates team building by teaching self-deprecating humor that can foster better communication and reduce tension among the business’s staff.

He brought along Jeremy Wing, Co-CEO of Payscape Advisors, a merchant services and financial technology company.  Payscape Advisors provides an array of services and technologies for companies ranging from online invoicing, an online registration platform for schools and camps, access to AR capital, payment processing, and more.  Jeremy shared how he came to know Marshall through providing their payment processing services, ultimately becoming a client of Humor Wins.

I met Kimyung Kim, a comedian and word smith who uses improvisational free-style rapping to provide entertainment services for corporate events.  We got a demonstration of his skill with him rapping while we gave him random words he integrated into his lyrics.

If your company is looking to attract young, motivated millennials, reduce turnover, and help build closer relationships among your sales force, executives, and administrative staff, you need to get to know these innovative experts.

Special Guests:

Marshall Chiles, Founder/Dudeman Laughing Skull Lounge and Humor Wins  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1

Humor Wins

  • Bachelor of Business Administration, Management Information Services, University of Georgia
  • Founder of Southern Fried Supernova
  • Founder of the the world’s smallest comedy club (Laughing Skull Lounge)

Jeremy Wing, Co-CEO of Payscape Advisors  facebook_logo_small3  google-plus-logo-red-265px  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1

Payscape Advisors

  • Previous Director, MTV
  • Director, RegPoint Solutions
  • Investor in numerous businesses such as FINSYNC, KidsLink Inc., Bayan Investment Group
  • Recipient of numerous business awards including Top 40 Innovative Company, Atlanta, Top Workplace, AJC, Inc 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies, and others

Kimyung Kim, Speaker/Rapper Kimyung Kim Speaks  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1


  • Former teacher, Social Studies, Magnolia Science Academy
  • BA, History, Georgia State University
  • National Speakers Association volunteer
  • Active comedian



Outsourced IT Solutions

Midtown Business Radio

Outsourced IT Solutions

This week I sat down with two experts from Zydexo to talk about the variety of supplemental and outsourced IT solutions they provide.  Going in I knew the company placed a focus on providing supplemental and permanent placement of the gamut of IT professionals.  What I didn’t know before talking with Sugra Naqvi, Business Developement Manager, and Jerry Lawrence, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, was the breadth and scope of the IT solutions they provide.  These include contract staffing of vital IT talent experts for key time-limited projects, but also software development, educational offerings, and IT consulting services.

Both of these folks have been with the company for over 11 years, a testament to the professional culture within the company.  And as you listen to this fun interview you can clearly appreciate their respective passion for their work and the brand they represent, as well as the pride they take in delivering what they know is a high level of professional service and customer experience.

Let’s face it–supplemental staffing can be a rather vanilla subject on some levels.  It can be as bland as, “I need an X Technician.”  “I find good ones.”  But when that sort of engagement is coupled with a measure of personal buy-in to the importance of what the “X Technician” will be doing and its financial impact on a client’s business and a high level of customer service, those can be long-term relationships.  And those are engagements companies readily feel as though revenue dollars invested to secure the X Technician was absolutely worth it.

Special Guests:

Sugra Naqvi, Business Development Manager,  Zydexo  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  google-plus-logo-red-265px  linkedin_small1


  • BS, Sociology, Georgia State University
  • BS Nutrition Sciences, Kaplan University
  • Active Wellness/Lifestyle Coach
  • Fluent, Urdu/Hindi

Jerry Lawrence, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Zydexo  linkedin_small1


  • Bachelor, Business Administration, Atlanta University
  • Former Licensed Commodity Broker, (Series 3 Certification), Risk Capital Trading
  • Previous Director of Admissions, Mithani Education Group, University of Atlanta



Government Contractors Association, Modavate, Amyra Tutoring Services, and SuiteLife Systems

Government Contractors Association

Government Contractors Association, Modavate, Amyra Tutoring Services, and SuiteLife Systems

I got to sit down with experts from Government Contractors Association, Modavate, Amyra Tutoring Services, and SuiteLife Systems this week.  Recently on LinkedIn I read a great post by Abe Xiong, of Government Contractors Association.  I related to much he shared in his article about his pleasant surprise encounter with a stranger who had hit his car while he was on a trip.  The stranger who had bumped his fender was kind enough to leave their contact number and had already contacted their insurance company about the incident when he called.  I thought it was a great story to share and that inspired me to look into what Government Contractors Association was all about.  Given their expertise in the steps required to secure a contract with a government agency I thought it would be great to have him join us on the show.  Abe shared some excellent information about the association and if you have a business that has a potential to grow through doing business with the government (as Abe points out, the largest customer in the world), membership with Government Contractors Association is a must.  They provide coaching along the way and serve up an array of tips and information that increase the likelihood a company can successfully do business with a government agency.

Abe introduced us to Buki Opanuga, of Modavate.  They’re a digital marketing and technology company.  They help businesses develop a plan for and executing a marketing strategy across the full gamut of digital platforms.  Their suite of services includes web design, SEO, SEM, social media marketing, and more.  They work with a wide range of companies and even organizations such as CDC.  Buki talked about how Modavate came to be and how they had hoped to grow by expanding to include government agencies as clients.  She linked up with Government Contractors Association and took advantage of the helpful services they provide, ultmately becoming 8(a) Certified, which has lead to even more opportunity.  She gives some great advice for business owners thinking about vying for a government contract.

Barbara Culp, of Amyra Tutorial Services, also a member of GCA and benefactor of their expertise, joined us to talk about their K-12 tutoring services.  She shared how she became inspired to open her business and the meaning behind the name she chose.  It’s clear she has a passion for helping children learn and now, by being able to effectively engage with the public school system, she is starting to see great potential for her company to grow.

Kenny Miller is the National Director of Sales for SuiteLife Systems.  They offer a software solution that gives an enterprise a platform through which they can monitor mission-critical equipment for trouble in an effective, easy-to-use interface that lets their users achieve efficiencies in how they monitor/react to problems, and even how they consume power.  Data their solution provides empowers users to moderate the way they manage their power consumption in ways that lead to substantial cost savings overnight.  SuiteLife Systems solutions make sense for a wide variety of enterprises and even organizations like schools and churches that have large operations and/or media networks/content generation services.

Special Guests:

Abe Xiong, President of Government Contractors Association  Linkedin  Facebook  Twitter  Blogger 2

Government Contractors Association

  • Bachelors, Business Management, Minor in Leadership, Shorter College
  • Former President/Founder, Metro Furniture
  • Co-Founder, Fmr. President, Government Business Consultants
  • Fluent, Hmong

Buki Opanuga, CEO/Digital Marketing Strategist of Modavate  Twitter 16x16  Facebook  Linkedin  google-plus-logo-red-265px


  • Masters, Internet Marketing, San Francisco University
  • Former Product Support Specialist, Onity
  • Successful Freelance Web Designer
  • Second Language, Yoruba

Barbara Culp, President of Amyra Tutorial Services Facebook  

Amyra Tutorial Services

  • Certified National Trainer, Time To Teach
  • Former Clinical Supervisor, School of Education, Brenau University
  • Retired Principal, Atlanta Public Schools
  • MA, Education, Clark University

Kenny Miller, National Director of Sales of SuiteLife Systems and NFB Consulting  Twitter  Facebook  LinkedIn  

SuiteLife Systems

  • Former Senior Account Manager, Comprehensive Technical Group
  • Former Manager, Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers
  • Former Senior Account Manager, Niche Video Products