HBA seeks growth in community

HBA members Tommy Daspit, Alan Farmer and Daniel Dearing show their hands-on exercise visuals from the Branding presentation by Laura Joseph. Businesses were encouraged to rethink and re-strategize. (Contributed)

HBA members Tommy Daspit, Alan Farmer and Daniel Dearing show their hands-on exercise visuals from the Branding presentation by Laura Joseph. Businesses were encouraged to rethink and re-strategize. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

The Helena Business Association is growing in a purposeful way and seeking to bring more to the Helena community, as well as add new blood to the organization.

Throughout the past year, monthly meetings have included speakers such as Damian Carson of Operation Hope who spoke about disaster planning and recovery, and Laura Joseph who gave a very entertaining presentation on branding.

Mayor Mark Hall shared an update on Helena’s growth and progress, and HHS Principal Jay Peoples, along with HHS Counselor Kim Bailey, spoke on the upcoming My Future Program, a four-year business education path.

HBA President Bob Van Loan said after this presentation, “You cannot go anywhere in America without being involved with business in some way. Knowing that, we will be supporting and adopting Helena High School as our signature non-profit for the My Future Program.”

Cris Nelson, Essential Solutions, kicked off 2015 with an informative presentation on tax filing tips and tax law changes.

Details of the upcoming Founder’s Day celebration on April 18were presented by Charity Miller. Along with the 150th Naming Celebration, this event will focus on Helena’s rich history with a food and craft fair, musical entertainment and historical re-enactment­.

Van Loan, who will be retiring as president in April, looks to fill three HBA board positions at that time.

“By April,” Van Loan told members, “we will be able to show you a clear comprehensive plan for our HBA including an updated website and other social media presences created by Ben Williams of Kudzu Studios. We will then have a solid plan that can be successfully followed by whomever is running HBA.”

An exciting opportunity for Gretchen Birdwell, owner of Gretchen B Photography, was announced at the most recent meeting.

In conjunction with The Brock School of Business at Samford University and Assistant Professor of Marketing C. Clifton Eason, Birdwell’s business will be the focus of students enrolled in the Entrepreneurship, Management and Marketing program.

Students will create plans and marketing ideas specific to this real small business.