Montgomery Business Journal

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Companies benefit from Total Resource Campaign participation

September 2015
By David Zaslawsky
Photography by Robert Fouts

As a vice president and co-owner of a staffing agency, Beth Walker McBride invests capital to grow her business – Workforce Walker Personnel.

She buys advertising in the Montgomery Business Journal, a publication of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. She invested $2,500 last year to join the Chairman’s Circle, which is a Chamber initiative.

Walker McBride plans to make similar investments in Montgomery Business Journal ads and the Chairman’s Circle, which are products in the Chamber Total Resource Campaign (TRC). The 10th annual TRC, which began in late August and runs to late October, funds Chamber events, publications, programs while helping to recruit members.

Make no mistake about the reason for Walker McBride’s investment in the TRC – it’s to make money.

“The Business Journal is a great publication,” she said. “It is everywhere. You can go into almost any type of business and you’re going to see a Business Journal on the coffee table.” There were Business Journals in the company’s lobby and on a table at an executive’s office.

“We felt it was a great opportunity to advertise our business and show people the wide variety of services that we offer,” Walker McBride said. “I feel like we have definitely gotten our money’s worth out of the advertising. It’s been a good investment for us.”

She likes the idea that the magazine is mailed to business owners and executives – just the type of decision-makers that Walker McBride hopes to reach with her advertising. “That is the exact market we’re trying to target,” she said.

Edward V. Welch Jr., president and CEO of Welch Hornsby, an investment advisory firm, is the presenting sponsor for the Chamber’s 143rd Annual Meeting later this year. It is the organization’s highest-profile event.

“First and foremost, it truly is an investment back into the community,” Welch said about the firm being the presenting sponsor for the Annual Meeting. “We’ve been a quiet company for 25 years. Now, we’re a Southeast firm and it’s probably time that Montgomery realizes that we exist here. Selfishly, we hope to get a little exposure out of this, but I can’t stress enough that it is kind of a gift to the community – that’s our first priority.”

The firm has quietly grown to $4 billion-plus in assets under management with clients in 16 states and offices in Birmingham and Charlotte, N.C., in addition to its downtown Montgomery headquarters on the top floor of the eight-story building at One Commerce St.

Monte Burney, general manager of both Capitol Chevrolet and Classic Buick GMC Cadillac, sponsored eight different Chamber products in last year’s TRC. For Burney, the goal was exposure – introducing the dealerships, which are part of Sonic Automotive that also owns Capitol Hyundai and BMW of Montgomery. Sonic Automotive, a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, N.C., has 122 dealerships in 14 states and 25 major metropolitan markets. Burney oversees 215 employees.

“I wanted to reach out and let people know my vision – what I believe in – and how you run a good dealership and run a business the right way,” he said about hosting a Chamber 60-minute coffee event earlier this year at Capitol Chevrolet. Of course, the event brought hundreds to his car lot and to the showroom. Some of those attendees returned to the dealership and bought vehicles.

“The more you invest and do and show your face and show your business – the more it’s going to bring people in,” Burney said.

He introduced himself at the 60-minute coffee as well as the company and staff. That’s important, because as Burney said, people in Montgomery are used to family-run dealerships. “If you look at Sonic Automotive, it is like a family-owned dealership because everybody here mostly lives in Montgomery.”

The 60-minute coffee is a popular networking event. Walker McBride sees the Chairman’s Circle as a great opportunity to network – chatting with others at various events. “At the Chairman’s Circle, I have the opportunity to talk to other business leaders about their business and share information about my business,” she said. “There have been many times that I’ve been able through networking to gain prospects. Membership in the Chairman’s Circle has been a wonderful experience.”

At one event, she said another member of the Chairman’s Circle told her that he was having a difficult time finding qualified employees. That person is now a prospect.

Some of Burney’s TRC products have more to do with being a good corporate citizen – giving back. He was the presenting sponsor for the Military Salute at Riverwalk Stadium and the Wright Flyer Annual Meeting. He said that the military has a special place in his heart with family members in the military. He said that seeing all the military personnel in the uniforms around town “touched me.” Burney, who moved from Tennessee to Montgomery, said, “I wanted to make sure that I would have a direct impact on giving back to not only the military, but their families and the community. With all of our support, we show how much we do care and respect our military.”

He also advertises in the Montgomery Business Journal as part of the dealerships’ marketing/branding campaign.

Workforce Walker Personnel, which has been around for 58 years, has two divisions. Walker Personnel is the clerical and office staffing as well as professional placement. Workforce is the industrial division.

“When it comes down to it, staffing is a relationship business,” said Walker McBride, who has 18 employees, but employs on average about 2,500 people a year. “Membership in the Chamber, especially involvement in the Chairman’s Circle, has allowed us to nurture old professional relationships and foster new ones.”

For Welch, being the Annual Meeting presenting sponsor was all about giving back to the community. “Montgomery is my home,” Welch said. “I grew up here. I graduated from public schools here; raised my family here. I started a business here. While we do have clients in 16 different states, early on it was really our Montgomery clients who gave a young firm an opportunity. They really invested in us. I think it’s right and appropriate that we’re now capable and able to invest in Montgomery and this is just one small way to do that.”

Welch Hornsby, which has 26 employees, has three business lines: high-net worth individuals and families; institutions, endowments and foundations; and retirement services, which deals strictly with 401(k) plans.

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