BIG Small Business Event ~ Featured Speakers

     Kirk Bates is a self-described hopelessly-passionate entrepreneur who says he would have a very hard time imagining himself working for someone else! Now in his third business, Kirk is the founder of MARKET 248 - a rapidly growing website marketing company that provides ethical Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click Management Services in an industry plagued with questionable practices.

In the past 14 months, Kirk's company has evolved from a one-man operation to a distributed team of six - but not without a few growing pains and some excellent lessons learned along the way. When asked how he likes working with team members from all over the country, Kirk explains that this is the new way to work! In fact, his own personal assistant lives just 30 miles away and yet they have never met in person!

      While a student at the University of Virginia, Catesby Jones started a company called Peace Frogs selling multi-colored shorts with international flags.  After graduation with a BA in International Relations with minors in Economics and History, Catesby needed to make a decision on which career path to take.  The easy path was to take a job in New York or Washington, DC, but Catesby chose to return to Gloucester to be an entrepreneur and bootstrap his fledgling business.

With his parents protesting that he needed to get a “real job” or go to law school, he rented a farm house in Gloucester and gradually built up the company.  Eventually the company outgrew the farm house and he moved into a warehouse in Gloucester County where Peace Frogs, which designs, manufactures, and distributes clothing around the world, still operates today. Catesby has been featured in People Magazine, Fortune, on CNN and many other business channels and publications.

Workshop Presenters

Andrew Ansoorian, Shenandoah County Public Schools
Megan Argenbright, Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP
Jayne Armstrong, U.S. Small Business Administration
Jaye Brumfield, The Hatchery Design Company
Dennis Burnett, Augusta County Economic Development
Christina Cain, Staunton Creative Community Fund
David Denman, Cottonwood Commercial
Dan Fraser, Beam Brothers Trucking
Amanda Glover, City of Staunton Economic Development
Greg Godsey, Union First Market Bank
Susan Grossman, SPHR, Society for Human Resource Management
Gregory Hitchin, City of Waynesboro Economic Development
Emma Hollister, Small Business Majority
Bridgett Knupp, Clear Chanel Media & Entertainment
Misty Lester, Valley Bank
Ian MacRae, E-N Computers
John Meck, Rockingham County Economic Development
Scott Parsons, Virginia Small Business Financing Authority
William Roy, Immerge Technologies
Vicki Shortt, Union First Market Bank
Brian Shull, City of Harrisonburg Economic Development
Lee Simon, Small Business Development Center
Erin Steigleder, Virginia Consumer Voices
Troy L. Suter, CPCU, LD&B Financial Services
Steve Turner, Daily News Record
Elizabeth Wilson, Business Finance Group, Inc.