Podcast

Podcast 20: Russell on Becoming a Writer at age 8 to The Mason Jar

James Russell's novels are on sale in book stores worldwide.

Lingerfelt's writings have been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines such as The Huffington Post, A New Mode, Thought Catalog, The Elephant Journal, Elite Daily, Good Guy Swag, and The Good Men Project. Lingerfelt keeps readers briefed at his blog, which has garnered over 6 million views.

In December 2019, Lingerfelt's third novel, Young Vines was released in book stores world wide. His fourth novel, The Portrait of Samantha Yale, was published in November 2021. If you would like to write James Russell Lingerfelt or book him for a speaking engagement.

https://jamesrussell.org

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Podcast 19: A Non-invasive Approach to Optimum Health (Ft. Dr. Philip J. Crane, D.C.)

Dr. Philip J. Crane, D.C., is an Applied Kinesiologist and Chiropractor who partners with athletes and individuals who seek physical peak performance.

Phil’s non-invasive approach to optimum health focuses on a full-body approach to care getting to the root cause of your problem fast.

He grew up watching how much chiropractic and AK helped his dad’s patients and wanted to grow up helping people in the same way. His exposure to chiropractic care started when he was born when his father (also a chiropractor) “caught” Phil because the midwives didn’t make it on time. And his first words were “occiput,” “vertebra,” and “subluxation” because of his exposure to the benefits of chiropractic care at a young age.

He is a graduate of McIntosh High School and a graduate of Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina. During his studies, he became certified in Applied Kinesiology, was involved in the X-Ray Intern program and Sherman College Lyceum. Additionally, Dr. Crane served as President of the Applied Kinesiology Club.

Today, he is a resident of Peachtree City, where he and his wife, Dr. Gillian J. Crane, have a love/hate relationship with home improvement. They have two fur babies, Beau (mixed breed) and Zeus (Italian Greyhound) and can be found at Line Creek Brewery when he is not playing video games in their downtime.

Learn more at https://sentinelptc.com

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| Podcast 18: Have a Less Sucky Divorce By Using This Service (Ft. Gail Nankervis)


Gail Nankervis' goal is to turn the divorce industry as we know it upside down!

She wants to create an environment where the divorce process is not adversarial, financially confusing, or unreasonably costly.

She believes that by providing thorough written financial analysis, recommended solutions, advice on negotiation, and a shoulder to lean on, she can help turn fear and uncertainty into peace and confidence at an affordable price. She is committed to a kinder, gentler, less sucky divorce process for all involved.

She helps clients who want a pro-se divorce (do-it-yourself, but with educated guidance and support from me). She also works with clients who already have lawyers, to help them best understand their financial position and make informed decisions. Her goal is to provide peace of mind through a difficult process.

Learn more on how you can have a Less Sucky Divorce at: https://lesssuckydivorce.com

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Podcast 17: They're Kind of Like Your Doctor's Office (Ft. Kelly Hines of Coweta Samaritan Clinic)

They could do nothing without the willing hearts and hands of those in our community.

Having received support from so many friends of the Clinic, they are intentional in finding creative ways to give back. Their timeline highlights milestones in the Clinic’s history, the benchmarks that fulfill our strategic plan, and the mutually beneficial relationships that make Coweta County a better, healthier place to live.

Learn how you find or give help at https://csccares.org

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Podcast 16: Dreaming of Becoming an Entrepreneur at 15 (Ft. Latha)

Latha Ravi and her husband Ravi Somasundaram co-own The Flying Locksmiths South Atlanta. They have lived in the South Atlanta area for over 15 years.

Ms. Latha Ravi graduated with an MS in Computer Science and Engineering from Oakland University, MI, and a BE in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Anna University, India.

She is an entrepreneur and has 25+ years of experience in technology and customer service with American businesses of varying sizes, from startups to corporate Fortune 500 companies.

As an owner, Latha work to anticipate and understand the needs of their customers by building long-term relationships and quickly offering the best solutions to keep you, your loved ones, and your business safe and secure. They started this franchise location together to offer locksmith and security solutions you can trust and rely on with the power of a great name brand brought to you with family values and professionalism.

https://flyinglocksmiths.com/south-atlanta/

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Podcast 15: Ron in Serving in Vietnam to Becoming a Professional Photographer

Glen, COO of Dry Cleaning Connection, interviews Ron Kupferberg of ARKAY Studios.

ARKAY (RonKupferberg) Studios offers clients 30+ years of design and photography experience, creating printed material and visual elements to promote products, businesses and people.​​

Photographic servicesare offered in the areas of executive and family portraits, model portfolios, product promotion, corporate and private events, editorial and environmental assignments.​

Graphic designis offered in the areas of promotional elements, such as: package design; direct mail pieces; advertising; logo design; sales material; corporate identity. Completion of assignments incorporates the follow-through responsibility at the quality control, production, and distribution levels of each assignment as required.​

Learn more at https://arkaystudios.com.

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Transcript

00;00;00;02 - 00;00;19;22
Glen Gould
Welcome to the Connections. My name is Glen Gould with Dry Cleaning Connection, and we're here today with my good friend Ron Kupferberg of RKO Studios. Ron, I'm really excited to hear more about your studio and what you do. And of course, you know, I know you and but our friends don't. So why don't you tell me a little bit about you and what RKO Studios is?

00;00;19;24 - 00;00;54;13
Ron Kupferberg
Okay, that's a long story, but I'll try to keep it as short as possible. RKO Studios is a it's basically my name and initials spelled out A R for R and K, k y for K, Kupferberg. And it's here in my the studio is here in my home and I've been doing photography for probably 50 years professionally for probably 35 years.

00;00;55;00 - 00;01;06;21
Ron Kupferberg
And so I've been in the business for quite a while. I started in New York City where I was. My career started as a graphic designer.

00;01;06;25 - 00;01;09;14
Glen Gould
Oh, really? Now where who were you working for there?

00;01;10;12 - 00;01;23;07
Ron Kupferberg
When I got out of college. I got a job with a small design studio that was doing a little drawings for newspapers and magazines to advertise Mattel toys.

00;01;24;13 - 00;01;26;09
Glen Gould
I probably saw a lot of your work.

00;01;26;21 - 00;01;27;24
Ron Kupferberg
I don't know. I don't.

00;01;27;24 - 00;01;32;00
Glen Gould
Know. I was individual toys about that time. Yeah. Oh, wow. Absolutely.

00;01;32;01 - 00;01;56;27
Ron Kupferberg
Okay. Well, it was a short lived program, and it was like two guys and me. They hired me out of school. So the money was I think I don't even think I made 65 bucks a week at that time. Anyway, the point is that they started me and with the knowledge or they refined the knowledge that I had from college and helped me get a little bit more further in my life.

00;01;56;27 - 00;01;57;24
Glen Gould
And where'd you go to school?

00;01;58;07 - 00;02;13;19
Ron Kupferberg
I went to New York City Community College. Okay. It's a two year program. I didn't have the desire to go to a four year college. Sure. Because I was always interested in creativity, doing creative stuff around the house. Yeah.

00;02;13;29 - 00;02;19;04
Glen Gould
And you got the world's greatest college when it comes to creativity right in your backyard. New York. Oh, my gosh.

00;02;19;13 - 00;02;31;17
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah, sure. I was blessed that way. And yeah, so I said and it's a very it was very expensive. You know, schools and college was very expensive for my family. Sure. And I'm an only child.

00;02;32;09 - 00;02;33;15
Glen Gould
Did you grow up in New York?

00;02;33;15 - 00;02;35;05
Ron Kupferberg
In Jackson Heights, Queens.

00;02;35;05 - 00;02;43;07
Glen Gould
Jackson Heights, Queens. I've I've been through there a couple of times in a past life. I lived on the island and toured once while going to the city.

00;02;43;07 - 00;02;45;08
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah, we were very close to LaGuardia Airport.

00;02;45;08 - 00;02;45;26
Glen Gould
Yeah. Yeah.

00;02;47;21 - 00;03;23;24
Ron Kupferberg
So anyway, so I went to school there and started in this little studio and within six months I was out looking for another job because they couldn't afford to keep me. And I started with an advertising agency that I happened to be in line for extra courses in the local schools, for art schools. Right. And the guy in front of me was one of the graphic designers that worked for this advertising agency that was also looking to perfect timing.

00;03;23;28 - 00;03;39;04
Ron Kupferberg
Perfect timing. So we got together. He introduced me to the art director at this advertising agency, and they hired me. And it was I was a good program for the first seven months that I worked there and then I got drafted.

00;03;39;11 - 00;03;44;22
Glen Gould
Oh, my goodness. So you you went where where? I mean, as far as service.

00;03;45;19 - 00;03;54;18
Ron Kupferberg
I went to basic training at Fort Gordon. Okay. And that was my introduction to Georgia and my first time doing anything outside of New York City.

00;03;54;20 - 00;03;55;04
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;03;55;17 - 00;04;13;01
Ron Kupferberg
And within another seven months of that, oh, after I was I went through basic training. I was immediately assigned to the provost marshal's office as a clerk typist.

00;04;13;13 - 00;04;13;19
Glen Gould
Yeah.

00;04;14;22 - 00;04;25;02
Ron Kupferberg
Okay. And, but actually what they had me do was graphic design for them. I was making little desk plaques.

00;04;25;02 - 00;04;35;15
Glen Gould
So once again, your experience and your and your passion kind of fit it and then it kept you out of being deployed, I guess. Wrong. Oh, well, there we go.

00;04;36;10 - 00;05;06;27
Ron Kupferberg
What I was about to say is that I was working directly for the provost marshal and he liked me, wanted me to proceed in that vein of what I was doing through my career as a two year inductee and he was ready to pull the plug and keep me there. And he died of a heart attack.

00;05;06;27 - 00;05;07;23
Glen Gould
Oh, no.

00;05;07;27 - 00;05;14;06
Ron Kupferberg
It was during the lunch time. I'll never forget it. Within a week or so of that, I got my orders for Vietnam.

00;05;14;29 - 00;05;16;15
Glen Gould
And how long did you spend in Vietnam?

00;05;16;26 - 00;05;18;21
Ron Kupferberg
365 days.

00;05;18;27 - 00;05;25;03
Glen Gould
Well, thank you for your service. I know it wasn't your choice, but maybe. Maybe you were happy to do it. But either way, thank you.

00;05;25;08 - 00;05;33;26
Ron Kupferberg
Well, yeah, I wasn't my choice for sure. I would want I would have wanted to go to Germany because my parents actually spoke German and they were.

00;05;33;26 - 00;05;36;08
Glen Gould
Oh, yeah. Well the last. I didn't even think about that. Yeah.

00;05;36;08 - 00;05;40;24
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah. I mean I would have, of course it would have been ideal, but it didn't work out there.

00;05;40;25 - 00;05;42;15
Glen Gould
Now, were they from Germany or.

00;05;42;27 - 00;05;49;09
Ron Kupferberg
My father was from Poland or Czechoslovakia. Okay. My mother was born in East Africa.

00;05;49;09 - 00;05;49;24
Glen Gould
Really?

00;05;49;27 - 00;06;18;15
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah. She was born in what is now Tanzania, but it was Tanganyika at the time and my grandparents on her side, or my father's grandparents parents were import export. They owned an import export company out of Germany. So they spoke German. Right. And they moved back to Germany when my mom was only four years old.

00;06;18;22 - 00;06;38;25
Glen Gould
Wow. So, I mean, you, you know, you find out people who live in New York and, you know, so many of them have such rich history in their background. And and you're no different. It's, you know, a lot of different influences that came into your life. So so you got out of you. You were discharged after Vietnam. Yes.

00;06;38;25 - 00;06;40;13
Glen Gould
Okay. Yes. And where did you go?

00;06;40;20 - 00;06;47;19
Ron Kupferberg
I went right back to that advertising agency that hired me. Yeah. It was a law that they had to hire.

00;06;47;19 - 00;06;48;19
Glen Gould
Right? Right.

00;06;48;19 - 00;07;17;23
Ron Kupferberg
And I worked for them for another year. And the some of the people have had changed employees that and some one especially. It was somebody that I had to work for and with. And I didn't care for him at all. So I started looking for another job and I got one with another design studio and long story short, again, my, my experience was expanded.

00;07;17;24 - 00;07;18;03
Glen Gould
Yeah.

00;07;18;07 - 00;07;36;27
Ron Kupferberg
And I had some interesting accounts that don't ask me what they were, but they, they just kept me my mind thinking and the people that I was working in the small studio was, it was like for other people, they were pretty creative and they just, you know, they just kept me sharp.

00;07;37;04 - 00;07;37;24
Glen Gould
Interesting.

00;07;37;24 - 00;07;55;09
Ron Kupferberg
And so from there, I went to a a pharmaceutical advertising agency, which was huge. It was William Douglas MC Adams. If they're still in existence, I'll be I'll be surprised. But they were in New York City.

00;07;55;10 - 00;07;55;22
Glen Gould
Right.

00;07;55;27 - 00;08;12;11
Ron Kupferberg
And they they handled millions of millions of dollars of advertising and promotion for their clients. But I was only doing a very segmented part of design, and I didn't care for that. So I kept looking for this.

00;08;12;11 - 00;08;16;21
Glen Gould
Since this seems like a recurring theme in your in your you like change.

00;08;16;27 - 00;08;21;00
Ron Kupferberg
I yeah I get bored pretty quickly I guess you could say that, which.

00;08;21;00 - 00;08;25;10
Glen Gould
Is good if you're a photographer because you're always changing and always seeing different things.

00;08;25;10 - 00;08;29;10
Ron Kupferberg
Well, here's the caveat now. I have not started even into my photography.

00;08;29;10 - 00;08;35;05
Glen Gould
Yeah, I know. I'm just. I'm John. I'm saying you're obviously it's gone forward. So it will be good, but.

00;08;35;06 - 00;09;00;22
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean from William Douglas Macadams I moved to corporate through I don't even remember how I got to know the job. I think it was The New York Times was looking for a graphic design and art director capabilities, and I said, I'll try and what have I got to lose? So it was Chesebrough-Pond.

00;09;01;08 - 00;09;01;26
Ron Kupferberg
You probably familiar with it.

00;09;02;11 - 00;09;08;23
Glen Gould
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Pounds cold cream. I know that one. Yeah, that's right. There's lots of products.

00;09;08;23 - 00;09;25;08
Ron Kupferberg
Like not only lots of products in the health and beauty products area, which is what I was responsible hired to be responsible for in terms of packaging and promotional design, the that that particular company owned prints rackets at the time.

00;09;25;09 - 00;09;34;18
Glen Gould
Oh, okay. So that was during the time when, when the big corporate conglomerations where they, you know, you got RJR Nabisco and things like that all running together.

00;09;34;18 - 00;09;59;20
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah, correct. Yeah. And they were in Greenwich, Connecticut, I was living with my then wife and in Retail Park, Queens, and it was taking me about an hour to get to work every day. And I said, We got to move now we did have my daughter shortly after I got hired. So that kind of convinced us that, yeah, it's time to move, okay?

00;09;59;28 - 00;10;26;19
Ron Kupferberg
And we were able to find a house in Norwalk, which was about a half an hour away from Greenwich. And I stayed there for eight years. And then I said, I'm going to try my own do my own thing. Either way, when I was at Chesebrough they I had the opportunity to work with a lot of photographers in the work that I had done.

00;10;26;29 - 00;10;32;14
Ron Kupferberg
And these photographers were in New York City and it was a short commute because right on the border.

00;10;32;14 - 00;10;32;25
Glen Gould
Right.

00;10;32;26 - 00;10;39;11
Ron Kupferberg
People live in New York on the island or have shorter or have longer distances to travel.

00;10;39;15 - 00;10;39;27
Glen Gould
Sure.

00;10;40;07 - 00;10;44;25
Ron Kupferberg
So that's what gave me my experience in terms of techniques.

00;10;45;04 - 00;11;02;25
Glen Gould
Yeah. So you've got all this graphic design and advertising background, so you know how to make things look good and you know what people want to look at and where they want to look at it. And things like that. So I guess jump forward to where you got into photography.

00;11;04;22 - 00;11;09;08
Ron Kupferberg
I was I would say I got into photography when I went to Vietnam.

00;11;09;13 - 00;11;09;27
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;11;10;13 - 00;11;32;26
Ron Kupferberg
The problem is I've never had an expensive camera. So I was using a box camera at the time. I think it was a brownie. And I just shot the environment that I was in. And I have a I have a an album here somewhere of the pictures that I shot around the camp. Okay. And so you always.

00;11;32;26 - 00;11;33;17
Glen Gould
Kind of had that.

00;11;33;17 - 00;11;35;03
Ron Kupferberg
Interest. Oh, it was pine.

00;11;35;11 - 00;11;47;23
Glen Gould
And so I know that you had obviously a very extensive and rich corporate career. You tried to do your own thing. Did that pan out?

00;11;47;23 - 00;11;53;00
Ron Kupferberg
I didn't try to. Well, no, it didn't pan out to what I thought it could be.

00;11;53;00 - 00;11;53;12
Glen Gould
Right.

00;11;53;12 - 00;12;00;08
Ron Kupferberg
But it became a freelance job based. Okay. So it was yes, it was my own job, sure. But it was.

00;12;00;17 - 00;12;09;11
Glen Gould
What they would have called you get a gig? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So you you obviously it sounds to me like you stayed in the corporate world until you retired.

00;12;09;21 - 00;12;13;20
Ron Kupferberg
No. Yeah. No.

00;12;13;24 - 00;12;17;16
Glen Gould
Were you how did you end up in Georgia? I guess that's really the question.

00;12;17;16 - 00;12;38;29
Ron Kupferberg
Okay. That's the question. Then I can answer that through a lot of other changes in job functions. I was in Green Bay, Wisconsin, working for a company called Shopko, which is a something like a Walmart.

00;12;39;05 - 00;12;39;14
Glen Gould
Right.

00;12;40;02 - 00;13;15;09
Ron Kupferberg
And they were not doing well and had to let me go. I was actually hired by somebody who recommended me and hired me as she was an executive at Kellogg, which is another department store right in the Northeast. Shopko is basically in the Midwest to the West Coast at the time. And so she got me a job there when the calendar went out of business and I started there for about a year.

00;13;15;09 - 00;13;32;13
Ron Kupferberg
I was there and and they had been losing money also. So I found myself looking for another job and I found I didn't want to stay in Green Bay. Right. So I found a job in Peachtree City called Goody Products.

00;13;32;21 - 00;13;33;05
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;13;33;15 - 00;13;37;08
Ron Kupferberg
All right. So I worked for Goody Products for a while, and.

00;13;37;25 - 00;13;41;05
Glen Gould
Now that's like nail clippers and homes and stuff like that.

00;13;41;05 - 00;13;55;15
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah, hair products for especially women and stuff like that. And now they stay here. They're in the north side of Atlanta. Okay. They were they're a division of Newell Rubbermaid.

00;13;55;16 - 00;13;55;28
Glen Gould
Right.

00;13;56;21 - 00;14;07;22
Ron Kupferberg
So anyway, I didn't want to move with them and I just said, you know, I'm going to leave. And at that point, I was 55.

00;14;08;07 - 00;14;10;21
Glen Gould
And is this where you made the big change?

00;14;11;08 - 00;14;19;07
Ron Kupferberg
This is where I started. Yeah, yeah, that's where I started. I but my change wasn't in photography. It was whatever I wanted to do.

00;14;19;07 - 00;14;19;19
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;14;19;21 - 00;14;44;03
Ron Kupferberg
Okay. And I didn't it's hard to explain because what I got into was what I was doing something off when I was in the military. And that is I was I got into security when I was hired by the provost marshal. That's part of the the piece. I had to do some MP work like traffic control and and this kind of thing.

00;14;44;03 - 00;14;49;15
Glen Gould
And so you got into security and then you decided that it was time to be a police officer.

00;14;49;25 - 00;15;22;23
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah. Well, yes, actually, I started as an armed security officer and then I said, you know, the money is where armed officers made. Yeah, got some. So I started working as an armed officer for the for some government agencies in Atlanta and. And some private agencies are private companies. Sure. And some of the guys I was working with at one point said, hey, you know, College Park is looking for police officers.

00;15;22;24 - 00;15;30;13
Ron Kupferberg
Are you, you know, interested? And I said, you know, I'm 59 years old.

00;15;30;24 - 00;15;34;22
Glen Gould
59, and you're going to become a police officer. Well, go to the academy.

00;15;34;22 - 00;15;58;07
Ron Kupferberg
Yeah. They said, you know, I said, well, who's going to hire me at 59? Yeah, especially the police department. And they said, oh, what have you got to lose? So myself and three other guys took the test. Two of them flunked out myself and another guy passed that particular test. We went on through taking psychological tests, physical tests, blah, blah, blah, unimportant item.

00;15;58;12 - 00;16;02;29
Ron Kupferberg
And finally, the guy, College Park Police Department offered me a job.

00;16;02;29 - 00;16;04;04
Glen Gould
And how long did you serve?

00;16;04;17 - 00;16;26;05
Ron Kupferberg
I served in College Park for a year. Yeah, and then I went to Palmetto for four and a half years. Okay, Palmetto. And after that, I went to Fairburn and rode out. The last part of that was 65 at the time. And I said, Now's the time that I'm going to start my photography.

00;16;26;05 - 00;16;47;24
Glen Gould
So you started you started when you retired from the police force? Yes. And and it's always been here. Yes. Oh, that's great. Now, tell us a little bit about the types of work that you do. You know, who like a you know, a typical client is what they're looking for. And and, you know, kind of this. Give us that background.

00;16;48;03 - 00;16;48;13
Glen Gould
Well.

00;16;50;00 - 00;17;00;10
Ron Kupferberg
I advertise that I shoot headshots. I started doing fashion. I've done fashion.

00;17;00;10 - 00;17;01;29
Glen Gould
And you do product, too, don't you?

00;17;01;29 - 00;17;05;15
Ron Kupferberg
I do product photography for catalogs or promotional material.

00;17;05;15 - 00;17;05;24
Glen Gould
Right.

00;17;06;16 - 00;17;11;13
Ron Kupferberg
How what else do I do? I take shoot events.

00;17;11;27 - 00;17;34;13
Glen Gould
Right? You did. As a matter of fact, Ron did served us with Southeastern Assistance and health care for a big casino night last few thank you very much for that beautiful pictures. So I mean, mostly you're a people photographer, though. Yes, for the most part. I mean, because because landscapes don't necessarily pay you. Well, people do get you get the pun.

00;17;34;21 - 00;17;55;27
Glen Gould
So but I mean, you can pretty much do anything if somebody wanted a particular photograph of a particular landscape, you're happy to do that. Briefly, how challenging is it? Because. All right. A lot of our viewers are people who are in business. And we've all had some interesting challenges. Certainly, I'm sure COVID was interesting for you, just like it was all of us.

00;17;56;08 - 00;18;21;29
Glen Gould
But in just the after world or the before world, let's not focus on COVID. It has to be challenging in your industry, especially because everyone walks around with a camera nowadays and everybody thinks they're a photographer. Yes. And of course, these companies are selling these products based on I mean, like I've forgotten the one that I guess Android that had the big low light thing recently a couple about a year ago.

00;18;21;29 - 00;18;50;18
Glen Gould
Cell phones. Yeah. With, you know take pictures in low light and stuff. So those are great for capturing those in life moments. But I just I think that you really have to understand that when you're capturing something that's going to be a permanent fixture, something that, you know, you want to remember for the rest of your life in a way that was, you know, different than just a look.

00;18;51;01 - 00;18;53;26
Glen Gould
Right? That's when you become a professional photographer.

00;18;54;13 - 00;19;19;25
Ron Kupferberg
If there was. Yes. Yeah. There's certainly a difference between, I think, a professional photographers view and equipment than a cell phone. You can get lucky with a cell phone, don't get me wrong. And I've taken many shots with cell phones, but it's it's limited. And in the variety of lenses that you have the ability to change the lens.

00;19;19;25 - 00;19;35;00
Ron Kupferberg
Sure. Take a very close macro shot of something that could be very interesting and or, you know, just a flower and how you can put it on something like Photoshop and make it, you know, a piece of art.

00;19;35;07 - 00;19;54;22
Glen Gould
Yeah. I first noticed the difference when my son invested in an expensive camera. Obviously, it's been a lot of years now, so it's it's not quite a state of the art as it was. But then he started taking photographs of events that I was working when I was with the Newnan-Coweta Chamber. And he would take pictures of of like table settings and things like that.

00;19;54;22 - 00;20;14;19
Glen Gould
I was just like, wow. I mean, it's so much different. It's so much different. It's almost like for me, it brings it brings things to life. They I guess it's the contrast. I don't know. I mean, I don't have an eye for it, but I'm sure that, you know, there's a reason for it. But it's just it's just there.

00;20;14;19 - 00;20;22;16
Glen Gould
So if if somebody were to want to have some photographs by you, how would they get in touch with you?

00;20;23;08 - 00;20;44;16
Ron Kupferberg
Well, they could go on my website arkaystudios.com And there is a place at the after you can review all the pictures and kind of genres that I take in my career. There is a place for contact information.

00;20;44;16 - 00;21;03;09
Glen Gould
Cool. You know, one of the great things about your place being in your home, I know that, you know, some people might think that's a little unusual. They would have a long time ago now. It's probably not. But the great thing is, is that it's you see, everything is here, you know, that everything necessary to do a great job is here.

00;21;03;16 - 00;21;15;29
Glen Gould
And yet you don't feel that uncomfortable feeling of walking into a retail location where it's a little stiffer, it's a little more controlled. I mean, it's a very comfortable atmosphere here.

00;21;16;00 - 00;21;21;02
Ron Kupferberg
Oh, I. I appreciate it. Yeah. Now, that's not to say I don't do things on location.

00;21;21;03 - 00;21;38;02
Glen Gould
Oh, no, I'm sure you do. Yeah, I'm sure you do. Yeah. And as a matter of fact, you like I said, you did for us. And you I've heard you've done so many other organizations, little personal real quick and then we'll we'll wrap up. You've lived here in this area, what, eight years?

00;21;38;29 - 00;21;39;25
Ron Kupferberg
20 years

00;21;39;26 - 00;21;59;29
Glen Gould
Yeah. Okay, 20 years. But in this in this in this location. How are you living? 20 years. In what? Yeah, that's right. I'm sorry. I got confused. So you've lived here 20 years, and I'm sure that you've been to a lot of places. What's your favorite thing about living in in the area that you live in, in between Peachtree City and Newnan in the Sharpsburg region?

00;21;59;29 - 00;22;30;10
Ron Kupferberg
I think the I've learned to really love this area because first of all, I've I've grown to know a lot of people. Right when I was doing security at Pinewood, Atlanta Studios, I was the person that people would come. And if they went to the Hanna Brother's Cafe, they would see me first because they'd have to sign in.

00;22;30;24 - 00;22;49;15
Ron Kupferberg
And on Wednesday mornings they have the services, the religious services at in the head brothers. And I just realized how many more people I've met doing that for the four years that I was there. Wow.

00;22;49;15 - 00;22;49;25
Glen Gould
Yeah.

00;22;50;17 - 00;22;59;14
Ron Kupferberg
And while I now on my own, I see them walking around, so I feel very comfortable. It feels like home.

00;22;59;14 - 00;23;15;27
Glen Gould
It really it's it it's it's an interesting area how easy it is to to feel comfortable. Yeah, well, the people are pretty, pretty, doggone great here. And so I asked this when every once in a while favorite restaurant in the area I liked.

00;23;16;11 - 00;23;30;29
Ron Kupferberg
I don't have much. Let me qualify that. There is a Japanese restaurant that I have never been to, but I know the owner, Alvin. He just opened up a restaurant called Sensu and Trilith.

00;23;31;01 - 00;23;31;15
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;23;32;05 - 00;23;48;14
Ron Kupferberg
Town of trilith. I haven't been there yet because it's. I couldn't get a reservation, but I'm sure if he's anything like he is and was at Ginza, which was his place. Okay city that would be my favorite place.

00;23;48;15 - 00;23;49;08
Glen Gould
Well, super.

00;23;49;08 - 00;23;50;04
Ron Kupferberg
Simple as that.

00;23;50;10 - 00;24;17;21
Glen Gould
So Ron, thanks so much for taking time today and giving us the history of you. You know, what has you know, everybody's background develops and then it has an impact on what they do in the future. We're the sum total of our interactions and thoughts and to have such an unbelievably diverse background, it really probably makes it more easy for you to bring out the diverse backgrounds of other people when you shoot them.

00;24;17;21 - 00;24;38;17
Glen Gould
So I'm sure that and I've seen your work, it's it's amazing. So I want to thank you for taking time with us today. And once again, if somebody wants to get in touch with Ron Kupferberg, they have some work done. It's our studios that's arkaystudios.com. And Ron, just thanks so much. I hope you have a wonderful day.

00;24;38;19 - 00;24;39;10
Ron Kupferberg
Thank you.

00;24;39;10 - 00;24;42;19
Glen Gould
Appreciate it by now. Thanks so have a great afternoon.

 


Podcast 14: A World Class Educational Center in Our Backyard

Mark Whitlock is the CEO of Georgia's first College and Career Academy, Central Educational Center (CEC). CEC has been replicated at least 51 times in Georgia. CEC became the first program in the U.S., ever, to incorporate a certified German Apprenticeship Program that allows student apprentices as young as age 15 to begin the program, and then complete the program during the high school years.

 

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TRANSCRIPT

00;00;00;04 - 00;00;30;21
Mark Witlock
The flags in the lobby represent countries that have sent people here to study what we do. So each flag has a story. The Japanese flag two researchers came and wrote a story that's in Japanese higher education literature. I always tell people, you know, there are more people in Japan that know about CEC than there are people in this area.

00;00;32;20 - 00;00;54;15
Glen Gould
Welcome to Connections on Glen Gould. And this is our video series where we get to interview and meet people of influence and importance in our community, people that we've come across that we have known. And I have the great delight of introducing you to Mark Whitlock, the CEO of the Central Educational Center. Mark, you and I have known each other a long time, so I know what you do.

00;00;54;15 - 00;00;59;26
Glen Gould
But why don't you share with our audience what you do and the impact that it has in this community?

00;00;59;27 - 00;01;02;25
Mark Whitlock
First, Glen, thanks for having me on Connections. I appreciate it.

00;01;02;25 - 00;01;03;09
Glen Gould
Thank you.

00;01;03;18 - 00;01;30;10
Glen Gould
What you guys are doing with this? What I do. The Central Educational Center is a joint venture that connects local business with the Coweta County School System and West Georgia Technical College. So that by the age of 18, people in our community can have much higher level technical skills to be ready for today's economy. So that's what we do.

00;01;30;21 - 00;01;52;21
Mark Witlock
We make those connections. We help bring the educational providers together to listen to business and to follow what business needs to have done, especially for people at younger ages. We also serve adults, but our focus is on those students who are still in high school.

00;01;52;28 - 00;02;16;14
Glen Gould
Okay. And so students that come here. Are they on a more, I guess, what we would have called technical college track back when I was growing up? Are there more learning skills that they can immediately put to work once they get out? Or are they also training for perhaps to go into a more specialized field once they hit college?

00;02;17;00 - 00;02;17;14
Mark Witlock
Yes.

00;02;17;18 - 00;02;18;00
Glen Gould
Okay.

00;02;18;21 - 00;02;49;24
Mark Witlock
So the answer is yes. Yeah. So you'll find a range of options that students take when they're students at CEC. Some are on a traditional university path, but they know an area of focus for their college or university major. Some are on a technical college path, so they know that they may want or need something all the way up to an associate degree or something shorter, like certificates.

00;02;50;19 - 00;03;08;24
Mark Witlock
They know they want to go directly into the workplace, but they need high level skills. Some are exploring, so they may be in some of the high school technical areas of study in order to rule in or rule out areas that they thought they might be interested in.

00;03;09;02 - 00;03;27;12
Glen Gould
Well, you know, of course, the you mentioned the economy of today. And, of course, you know, we've spent most of my adult life, you know, focusing on making sure your kid goes college, gets a good degree, goes off and, you know, has a secure job. But there's been a real focus in the past, I would say, ten years.

00;03;27;18 - 00;03;29;01
Glen Gould
You guys have been doing this. How long?

00;03;29;17 - 00;03;32;11
Mark Witlock
We've just finished our 22nd year.

00;03;32;23 - 00;03;38;19
Glen Gould
And is this I mean, is this a pioneer program where you guys the first.

00;03;38;19 - 00;03;58;21
Mark Witlock
We were the first. Okay, we are the first. Yeah. And we were created by this community. And this is a concept that was developed in this community, a local steering committee led by Dr. Joe Harless. Sure. You knew Joe. And Joe was well known around the world.

00;03;58;25 - 00;03;59;12
Glen Gould
Yes, he was.

00;03;59;12 - 00;04;19;25
Mark Witlock
Work in training and development. Joe, helpped the community analyze the need of business, design programs that meet those needs, develop those programs, implement and then begin the process of evaluation and redesign reanalysis and redesign.

00;04;19;27 - 00;04;22;10
Glen Gould
And that's known as the ADI process. The ADI process, right.

00;04;22;25 - 00;04;52;09
Mark Witlock
So that's an iteration that keeps flowing. That's why we keep changing. We keep changing to keep up with the economy as needs of business change. But so what we were designed to do 22 years ago was of such interest to the state of Georgia that then Governor Barnes later on, in particular, Republican Lieutenant Governor Casey.

00;04;52;19 - 00;04;55;27
Mark Witlock
Governor Barnes, a Democrat. So a bipartisan.

00;04;55;27 - 00;04;57;14
Mark Witlock
Effort.

00;04;57;21 - 00;05;30;21
Mark Witlock
We don't see much anymore. Yeah. But over the years, the state said we need to replicate this. So, Glen, the state has spent approximately $160 million to replicate this 54 times across the state of Georgia. We've had other states who've done replications, most notably for me, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, San Antonio, Texas. We've had people from other countries come here and begin to do replications in their country.

00;05;30;24 - 00;05;39;05
Glen Gould
Well, that's that's an incredible impact that this community had with it, with a great idea. And people who decided to do something about it.

00;05;39;06 - 00;06;04;25
Mark Witlock
A great idea in this community. It started with the business community and started with the notion that we're changing. Business is changing. We don't have as many supervisors. We use more automation and machinery. We have a global supply chain or a global customer base. And so we need people who can work at younger ages in that kind of environment.

00;06;04;25 - 00;06;08;00
Mark Witlock
And produce and that's what this was all about.

00;06;08;05 - 00;06;34;19
Glen Gould
So let's shift a little bit and talk about the recent past. People are always interested in the things that the impacts of things like COVID 19 and things like that. The things that you had to go through. And since your, you know, right here with the students, there's some concern that maybe the year of extended learning is kind of a lost year.

00;06;34;20 - 00;06;35;13
Glen Gould
Do you see that?

00;06;35;14 - 00;07;01;04
Mark Witlock
Yeah, Glen, it's clear that students suffered during that time. That was not optimal learning. Right. We know that. What we know is we tried to ensure that it wasn't a total loss and there was some success there, but not in these technical areas. Can you as easily do extended learning?

00;07;01;10 - 00;07;03;25
Glen Gould
Well, I guess a good example is that is what we have behind.

00;07;03;26 - 00;07;09;28
Mark Witlock
What we have behind this this this full motion aviation simulator. You can't do that.

00;07;09;28 - 00;07;22;22
Glen Gould
I mean, I can do a computer simulator, but I don't get the feel and I don't get the impact. And certainly I want somebody who has learned in a real simulator how to fly an airplane. Flying my airplane anyway.

00;07;23;04 - 00;07;49;27
Mark Witlock
Correct. Aviation industry, one of the pioneers in the use of simulation in our in our country and our world and aviation for decades has been using simulation like this. But it's a real simulator. And when you get in, you have the motion that you feel flying the aircraft. You have the instrumentation that you use flying the aircraft, and it's as close to flight as you'll get.

00;07;50;13 - 00;08;03;22
Mark Witlock
But you have to get in the simulator, do that. And by doing that, you know, we find some great, great learning. Again, in aviation, a pioneer in that and in our world.

00;08;03;23 - 00;08;18;16
Glen Gould
Yeah. Well, you know, one of the great things about the students that you have for the most part, I know students are students everywhere. But the students you have for the most part, they want to be here. Yeah. You know, a lot of students in a lot of schools, they they they end up in the system. They end up kind of bored.

00;08;18;16 - 00;08;24;05
Glen Gould
They haven't found their spot. And so your students and I imagine they were excited to come back on campus.

00;08;24;05 - 00;08;55;11
Mark Witlock
Our students were excited to come back. In all our schools. We our students were excited to come back here in particular because of the hands on style of learning that is central to what we do at CEC. Our students were excited. Maybe not as excited as our teachers. Yeah. And so the, the the opportunity to pick back up in that hands on technical education, we can't.

00;08;55;22 - 00;08;57;00
Mark Witlock
Yeah, you can't substitute.

00;08;57;04 - 00;09;11;28
Glen Gould
So it's, it's been an incredibly challenging couple of years. Not only did we have COVID 19 and we've had economy problems, but of course, we had a horrible tornado come through and completely destroyed in high school. What impact did that have over here?

00;09;12;04 - 00;09;40;17
Mark Witlock
Yeah, so we've had more students in the ninth grade and then in high school in CEC than we've ever had because in in high school, ninth grade is right behind us here. We have 580 students. Wow. In mobile classrooms on this campus, they'll be here for two more years. We've already had one year of that. Mm hmm. And that'll be here for a couple more years.

00;09;40;17 - 00;09;58;04
Mark Witlock
But that's ninth graders. Because of their proximity, we can get more of them involved in programs here. We will like our whole school system is done. We'll like lemonade out of lemons. And we will have more in in in high school students go through this program than we've ever seen.

00;09;58;18 - 00;10;04;08
Glen Gould
And so you you are you going to you expanding or is the campus changing or?

00;10;04;10 - 00;10;18;14
Mark Witlock
Yeah. So we're on the list for next expansion and ESPLOST and the new ESPLOST collections will start in July of 2022.

00;10;18;29 - 00;10;19;21
Glen Gould
So right now.

00;10;19;21 - 00;10;33;04
Mark Witlock
So right now. Yeah. And those collections for the next five years will help to pay for an expansion here that so far is budgeted between expansion and renovation at about $20 million.

00;10;33;10 - 00;10;52;02
Glen Gould
So this is one of those things where when you go and vote for a SPLOST, you know, this is what you get. And I think it's important to point that out that, you know, you may not be so, have so much in favor of extra taxes, but this particular one actually is an extra because it was already there and it's still doing great things.

00;10;52;02 - 00;11;00;19
Mark Witlock
So and we have lots of visitors because of the great economy here. We have lots of visitors to Coweta County who eat in our restaurant.

00;11;00;19 - 00;11;01;05
Glen Gould
That's right.

00;11;01;08 - 00;11;02;22
Mark Witlock
Who pay that tax?

00;11;02;23 - 00;11;11;18
Glen Gould
I've forgotten that when I was involved with the chamber, I know that there was a a numbers and it was a surprisingly large number of of tax dollars.

00;11;11;21 - 00;11;14;00
Mark Witlock
Estimates are close to 40% to 50%.

00;11;14;00 - 00;11;15;23
Glen Gould
I say. That's what I thought it was. But I wasn't going to say.

00;11;15;25 - 00;11;33;01
Mark Witlock
Yeah, 40% to 50% of the tax paid by people who don't live here now that's a good thing because they help pay for our schools. They the impact of their visit is sometimes they move here.

00;11;33;02 - 00;11;34;10
Glen Gould
That's right. That's right.

00;11;34;10 - 00;11;38;09
Glen Gould
And that's a great thing. We're growing and growing and we're growing so that ESPLOST helps.

00;11;38;11 - 00;11;43;16
Glen Gould
So tell me just a little personal stuff. How long have you been in Coweta?

00;11;43;26 - 00;11;51;16
Mark Witlock
Yeah, I was born and raised in Coweta County. I left after high school, after graduation I was gone.

00;11;51;16 - 00;11;52;01
Glen Gould
Did you go to Newnan?

00;11;52;09 - 00;12;17;02
Mark Witlock
I went to Newnan High School. I was in the ninth grade here at Central Educational Center. That was during the early days of desegregation. And so I was part of the group that helped desegregate our schools, that worked really well in Coweta. And Central was a part of Newnan High. I spent my ninth grade here.

00;12;17;02 - 00;12;33;18
Mark Witlock
10th, 11th, and I graduated in half a year in the 12th grade, went off to the University of Georgia, on to a consulting role post graduate school, and then to Bank of America for 18 years.

00;12;33;20 - 00;12;35;23
Glen Gould
And some of that was international?

00;12;35;25 - 00;13;01;05
Mark Witlock
Yes, some of that was international. About half the time at Bank of America was spent traveling around the world, working primarily in some some really innovative trade finance types of service for manufacturers worldwide, and in particular, trying to help American manufacturers. And we worked with a consortium of banks from around the world.

00;13;01;10 - 00;13;08;11
Glen Gould
And so then you take that experience. How do you end up back here in Coweta? I guess you didn't leave Coweta, probably.

00;13;08;18 - 00;13;18;16
Mark Witlock
Well, we did not live here until the early 1990. Okay. We moved here. My wife, not from this area.

00;13;18;17 - 00;13;21;05
Glen Gould
Okay. And how did you end up in this role?

00;13;21;13 - 00;13;56;23
Mark Witlock
Yeah, I ended up in this role because when I was still with Bank of America and was traveling internationally, we decided to move here. Our daughter was young, my wife from a military family. We wanted to raise our daughter in a home town. And it became a great place for Erin to grow up and to live when we did that, I got involved as a volunteer in the school system looking at this new state law called Charter School.

00;13;57;03 - 00;14;20;25
Mark Witlock
And among the things that happened out of that was an interest in getting into school choice, educational change. And when that opportunity came, as the community was looking at CEC, it was a great opportunity for me to raise my hand and say, I think I'd like to be part of that.

00;14;21;13 - 00;14;24;01
Glen Gould
So now were you the CEO from the beginning?

00;14;24;01 - 00;14;38;16
Mark Witlock
I was the first employee. And so 22 years ago, August 10th, 2000, I'd been on board for about close to five, six months, and we opened CEC.

00;14;39;28 - 00;14;49;16
Glen Gould
That's amazing. So it wasn't I didn't realize that. I mean, I guess it's been here for about six, seven years when I came down with it for the first time. Still, it's surprising.

00;14;49;20 - 00;15;02;13
Mark Witlock
Yeah. So by that time, six, seven years in, we were starting the the work directly with the state on the replications around the state of Georgia.

00;15;02;15 - 00;15;04;09
Glen Gould
That's really great. And you said 50.

00;15;04;21 - 00;15;06;04
Mark Witlock
54 others.

00;15;06;04 - 00;15;06;25
Glen Gould
So we got 100.

00;15;06;25 - 00;15;08;26
Glen Gould
And 70, soon to be 57.

00;15;08;26 - 00;15;09;07
Glen Gould
Counties?

00;15;09;14 - 00;15;13;12
Mark Witlock
We have 159 counties. 180 school.

00;15;13;12 - 00;15;18;22
Glen Gould
So about 30. About 30% have access.

00;15;18;23 - 00;15;31;01
Mark Witlock
Yeah. When you count some of the regional college and career academies, you're getting to 40 plus percent of school districts in Georgia that are part of the state.

00;15;31;02 - 00;15;43;10
Glen Gould
That's fantastic. So tell me if you know, I always I always like to ask people so that they can kind of share their experience in Coweta. If you if you had to pick like a restaurant you really like.

00;15;43;11 - 00;15;53;21
Mark Witlock
Yeah. Oh, gosh. I've always liked Mama Lucia's. Among others. Certainly. I could. I could. The list is long.

00;15;53;23 - 00;15;58;05
Glen Gould
That's right. That's right. And if you had to say one of the best things about living in Coweta?

00;15;59;17 - 00;16;14;08
Mark Witlock
I think it's the opportunity Glen, when I grew up in Coweta, a great place. Not as many conveniences as we've got today. We can be close to Atlanta, but we don't have to go to Atlanta.

00;16;14;20 - 00;16;15;06
Glen Gould
That's right.

00;16;15;23 - 00;16;17;26
Mark Witlock
That was not true when I was growing up.

00;16;17;28 - 00;16;18;29
Glen Gould
Yeah, I would imagine.

00;16;18;29 - 00;16;45;00
Mark Witlock
There were many things that you had to go to Atlanta to get. Yeah, still a great place to live and to grow up. But the conveniences now, it's pretty amazing. And that leads to a diversity of the economy. That just continues to bring in investment, new jobs, new opportunities, new technologies and things that create great opportunities for our students.

00;16;45;00 - 00;16;54;18
Glen Gould
And you're helping create an atmosphere where there are good, high paying jobs that are in demand, that are going to be filled so that our young people don't have to leave the community.

00;16;54;19 - 00;17;23;28
Mark Witlock
Our young people don't have to leave the community. Our employers understand that they need this generation who are in incredibly bright. And since my days in school, we now have pre-K through 12th grade. You've got a couple of extra years of school. These students are incredibly bright. They're ready to take on the next opportunity more quickly than my generation was.

00;17;24;07 - 00;17;42;22
Mark Witlock
The technology's there. And just some tremendous opportunities locally for these students. I can tell you that we've got any number of jobs just thinking about the manufacturing industry, where we did a lot of work, $40,000 to $80,000 a year at age 18.

00;17;43;04 - 00;17;43;25
Glen Gould
It's amazing.

00;17;43;25 - 00;17;44;13
Mark Witlock
For these students.

00;17;44;14 - 00;17;49;19
Glen Gould
That is incredible. Yeah. And not only that, but opportunity to grow.

00;17;49;19 - 00;18;12;09
Mark Witlock
Opportunity to advance within the industry, opportunity to help define Coweta as a place where companies continue to want to invest more and create more jobs for our citizens so that we don't have to commute so much outside of Coweta for those jobs and great careers.

00;18;12;09 - 00;18;26;02
Glen Gould
So somebody like you and this will be my last question. Somebody like you has access to a lot of information that the average public does not. You know, you talk to people and you're you're in the know you're you're the not only are you the CEO here, but you're also...

00;18;26;03 - 00;18;28;15
Mark Witlock
The Director of Public Policy for the County County School System.

00;18;28;15 - 00;18;46;00
Glen Gould
So there you go. I mean, so you have a lot of knowledge not only about the school system and CEC, but just about the community in general. Is there anything that you heard recently that you said, hey, that's exciting. And I you know, and you've told other people about or, you know, just something that's going on that maybe the average citizen doesn't know about.

00;18;46;04 - 00;19;11;10
Mark Witlock
Well, let me tell you what I'm hearing generally from from friends around the state, from friends at the Capitol, do a lot of work there. Great folks that I get to interact with, Glen, I'm hearing that Coweta is on the radar screen. It is considered one of the great places to live and work in the state of Georgia.

00;19;12;20 - 00;19;25;03
Mark Witlock
I can tell you from the work to replicate CEC, this community started something that people literally around the world have been looking at.

00;19;25;03 - 00;19;26;27
Glen Gould
Yeah you were share with me, like Japan and...

00;19;26;27 - 00;19;32;00
Mark Witlock
Japan, India, Australia, Germany.

00;19;32;08 - 00;19;34;06
Glen Gould

00;19;34;06 - 00;19;34;17
Glen Gould
Don't we have the German Apprenticeship Orgram?

00;19;34;17 - 00;19;35;02
Mark Witlock

00;19;35;03 - 00;20;04;26
Mark Witlock
We have the first working German certified apprenticeship program ever in America that begins at age 15. Yeah, that's never been done before. And get a chance to work with friends in Germany and elsewhere. But the the the opportunity that I hear about is keep building, keep building, keep doing what you're doing. Keeping innovative in Coweta, that's something that people keep saying about this community.

00;20;05;04 - 00;20;32;08
Mark Witlock
It is innovative. We are not afraid to try something a little bit different. To take the next step. And we do it all because I think our heart's in the right place. We want to create great opportunities for our citizens here locally. It's not about attracting everybody else. It's about doing things that are good for our citizens in Coweta County.

00;20;32;12 - 00;20;34;28
Glen Gould
And if they come well that's that's that's even more.

00;20;35;00 - 00;20;35;10
Mark Witlock
All the better.

00;20;35;10 - 00;21;03;01
Glen Gould
That's right. Oh, that's that's wonderful. Well, Mark, I just want to thank you for taking time today and sharing with us. I mean, I've had the privilege of knowing you for for better than ten years now, and you've always been willing to help me with any project that I've had. And I know that's just your nature. You do that with the entire community, and we're grateful, I mean, to have somebody of your experience and expertize, to be able to lead this type of thing really just makes this a great community and you're a leader in it.

00;21;03;01 - 00;21;03;19
Glen Gould
And I'm grateful.

00;21;03;19 - 00;21;20;28
Mark Witlock
You're leader, I appreciate what you do and what you have been doing and what you will do. And let me tell you something. I have fun doing this. I know this is fun. It's great to be around these young people who are the brightest generation we've ever produced.

00;21;21;04 - 00;21;46;18
Mark Witlock
Well, that's it's encouraging to hear, because I know we don't hear a whole lot of encouraging things. So thanks so much and thank you for watching. I'm Glen with Dry Cleaning Connection. This is Connections. My guest today was Mark Whitlock with the Central Educational Center. And we thank you for watching and hope you have a great day bye now.

 

 


Podcast 13: Smile Big, Dream Sweeter

In this new episode of Connections, we sit down with Amanda Moberly of SweetDreamCampers.com.

Amanda is a girl on the go. It’s a rarity to see her still. Her mind is always turning with new brilliant ideas and she has a desire to be pushed out of her comfort zone in order to grow. In her free time, she is the President of the local elementary PTO and has become an avid tennis player. She and her husband, Matt, live in Georgia with their daughter and 3 cocker spaniels.

TRANSCRIPT

00;00;00;01 - 00;00;15;22
Amanda Moberly
Like, OK, it's ready. And to catch their surprise when they walk in the room is the best feeling. Like I've gotten hugs from these little kids. I'm not much of a hugger. Oh. So I'm like, Oh, my goodness, this is so great. So it's adding smiles every day. What I'm doing is awesome.

00;00;25;16 - 00;00;46;19
Glen Gould
Hi, I am Glen Gould. Welcome to Connections. It's an opportunity for us to get together with some of our friends and clients and introduce you to them and introduce you some ideas that maybe will enrich your life. Today. We've got one of our friends, Amanda Moberly with us, and she is the owner of Sweet Dreams Campers. Tell us a little bit about your business and and how you got started.

00;00;47;04 - 00;01;10;16
Amanda Moberly
I started about a year ago, and I got started because I was looking for something for my daughter's birthday and this business is out there all over the country, but there was nothing local to us. And so that's why I decided I can do this so it is a sleepover tent rentals, indoor tent rentals. So they have a twin sized mattress, a cute little tent, and they all have themes.

00;01;10;17 - 00;01;26;19
Amanda Moberly
So the kids love it. Because like their favorite unicorn theme or Starry Night. And then since then we've got started, we have added picnics for the daytime and a daytime rental option for the tents as well for like the little kids, you know, for a play date or something like that.

00;01;26;23 - 00;01;30;19
Glen Gould
Now, does this happen at your home or do you send you set up at their home?

00;01;30;20 - 00;01;32;02
Amanda Moberly
I go to their home OK.

00;01;32;02 - 00;01;47;13
Glen Gould
As I said, that takes a lot of interesting work to make that happen. So you go to their home. Yeah. And you set up this really cool events of the kids. And then I presume you leave. Yes. And they have a great time. Yep. And then you come back and clean up. I mean, what a great thing for parents.

00;01;47;13 - 00;01;48;01
Glen Gould
Yes.

00;01;48;11 - 00;02;03;20
Amanda Moberly
It is really nice. Everybody seems to love it. The best is when the kids are not home. So and I'm setting up on a Friday and they're at school and then I see the video of the reaction of the kids when they walk into their living room. That's completely transformed with all these tents for all their friends to sleepover.

00;02;03;20 - 00;02;19;23
Glen Gould
So. So is it typically on a weekend? I mean, yes. Yes. In the summertime. I guess you can do it any time. Yes. Right. Yeah. And and so I didn't even think of that. But, you know, the kids are at school or whatever they they may or may not know this is even happening. Right. They know they're going to have a sleepover.

00;02;19;23 - 00;02;20;09
Amanda Moberly
Yes.

00;02;20;15 - 00;02;22;24
Glen Gould
They may not know that. It's going to be like the coolest sleepover ever.

00;02;22;24 - 00;02;38;14
Amanda Moberly
it has been lots of surprises. And that is the best I've had. A few were set up where they've been in a different room. And then I I'm like, OK, it's ready. And to catch their surprise when they walk in the room is the best feeling. Like I've gotten hugs from these little kids. I'm not much of a hugger.

00;02;38;22 - 00;02;46;02
Amanda Moberly
Oh. So I'm like, oh, my goodness, this is so great. So it's adding smiles every day. What I'm doing is awesome.

00;02;46;07 - 00;02;51;14
Glen Gould
So you mentioned that there was nothing local like this how long have you been in the air?

00;02;52;13 - 00;02;55;11
Amanda Moberly
It will be seven years in October.

00;02;55;13 - 00;02;56;09
Glen Gould
And where were you from?

00;02;56;22 - 00;02;57;22
Amanda Moberly
Annapolis, Maryland.

00;02;58;03 - 00;03;04;17
Glen Gould
Oh, goodness. Oh, goodness. I'm just kidding. Now. And how do you end up down here?

00;03;04;20 - 00;03;06;09
Amanda Moberly
My husband flies for Delta.

00;03;06;11 - 00;03;13;14
Glen Gould
Oh, OK. So that's that's wonderful. And so were you working before this?

00;03;14;03 - 00;03;31;29
Amanda Moberly
No, not since before I had my daughter. I have a ten year old daughter. I have my own personal training business back in Annapolis. And so I kind of took time off. I really had no intention to start a business at this time. I was like, oh, I'll just wait till she gets older. But when this came about, I just went with it.

00;03;32;04 - 00;03;34;04
Amanda Moberly
Yeah. I just keep on rolling.

00;03;34;14 - 00;03;37;06
Glen Gould
And how do people find out about you? I mean, how are you promoting?

00;03;37;12 - 00;03;49;01
Amanda Moberly
Everything's on social media. So we have a Facebook page, an Instagram page, what is it? TicTok page? And then we have our website. So we do everything on social media.

00;03;49;06 - 00;04;10;27
Glen Gould
So now one of the things that really kind of surprised us when Amanda started using us was that she posted an Instagram photo of herself with our bags saying that she was excited about being at the point where you'd grown. And so I want to kind of for our for our business folks kind of cover what has the growth pattern been?

00;04;10;27 - 00;04;20;11
Glen Gould
I mean, you said even this is about a year. Yes. I would imagine this was one of the things you thought, well, I can't wait till I can send this stuff out to be clean. But it was one of those milestones for you.

00;04;20;16 - 00;04;46;00
Amanda Moberly
Yes. I mean, there's two things. It's the professional side of it of having the laundry professionally clean versus in my laundry, I have dogs at home. So, you know, when I'm kind of growing this very grass roots and I've gotten to the point where I'm having three to four parties a weekend and with my own family's laundry to do, I just want to sit it outside our door and say goodbye and then pull it back and pack it away for the next weekend.

00;04;46;02 - 00;04;46;13
Amanda Moberly

00;04;46;13 - 00;05;06;29
Glen Gould
And that's one of the things that a lot of folks don't think about. We actually it's funny because we have a linen company that we, we own as well that does restaurant linens and things like that. And most people don't know. But if it's if it's restaurant linens or like sheets from a chiropractor or something like that, they use a lot of oils and stuff.

00;05;07;06 - 00;05;08;14
Glen Gould
That stuff can combust.

00;05;08;14 - 00;05;08;28
Amanda Moberly
Yes.

00;05;08;28 - 00;05;29;09
Glen Gould
And so, you know, people doing stuff at home and not only do we have the equipment and the expertize to do it better, but also there's a risk factor as well doing it, like you mentioned with the dogs and all that professionalism really does make a difference. Yes. You say you didn't really set out to start a business, but kind of fell in your lap.

00;05;29;28 - 00;05;42;27
Glen Gould
Now, when you did decide, OK, I'm going to make a business out of this, did you do the typical things that everyone else or they say that you should did did you write a business plan and all those things and and really drill down that way?

00;05;43;03 - 00;06;10;03
Amanda Moberly
I did do a business plan. It's very generic just to get my thoughts together. I am a very organized person and I am a visual person. So I have to see it to believe it. And I have set the process in motion for trademarking the business and also patent pending our tent frames. So a lot of businesses similar to mine, they purchased the tents from a third company.

00;06;10;08 - 00;06;29;24
Amanda Moberly
I mean, you can buy it on Amazon. You can buy them anywhere but our tents. My husband designed the frame of it. It's an A-frame and it locks into place. So when they're set up, they can't slide out from underneath of each other. And then I had a good friend of mine who was started off as a business partner, but she life is too busy for her.

00;06;29;24 - 00;07;03;12
Amanda Moberly
So but she still sews the canopies. She designed the canopies. Where they tie and then it just kind of all came together that way. So it's I like to say that I set myself up separately because we have those design tents. Also, when people see them in person, they're like, wow, this is so much bigger in person than the photos because I've had I've walked into homes and it has been like a five by five space and I like six tents are not going to fit there sorry.

00;07;03;16 - 00;07;14;00
Amanda Moberly
So our tents are full size twin mattresses, so we need about three to six feet of space to put all the tents. And then those frames go over the top

00;07;14;11 - 00;07;16;25
Glen Gould
You say a twin match. I mean, is it a real mattress?

00;07;16;25 - 00;07;18;04
Amanda Moberly
It's an air mattress. OK, so.

00;07;18;04 - 00;07;20;21
Glen Gould
It's an air mattress, as I say. How in the world transport that stuff?

00;07;20;22 - 00;07;21;01
Amanda Moberly
No, Yeah.

00;07;21;01 - 00;07;39;24
Glen Gould
Yeah, but yeah, I mean, their mattresses are great for you know, for this type of thing. I can see where, you know, somebody would look at what you're doing and think, oh, you know what? I can do that for my kids until they got into it. Yes. It's kind of like, you know, I can I can change the oil of my car and, you know, in the past, I could, but now, I mean, they're so complicated.

00;07;39;24 - 00;07;55;06
Glen Gould
And what you've described here really, though, I mean, I never even thought about. But what what an awesome thing where you've got this special design for the tent. You know, I didn't even think about it till you were saying it. But I can see those little cheap little tents you buy a Walmart or whatever online collapsing on a kid.

00;07;55;06 - 00;08;12;04
Glen Gould
And you know, and who knows I mean, you could have somebody get hurt, right? And then, you know, you think that you you've got the expertize to look at the spacing, OK, spatially, that's not going to work. And somebody else has bought all this stuff. And now where do I put it? The kids in the kitchen or whatever you take care of.

00;08;12;08 - 00;08;12;21
Amanda Moberly
Yes.

00;08;12;27 - 00;08;28;02
Glen Gould
That's cool. Tell me a little bit about your experience. Obviously, Annapolis is a lot different than Fayetteville. Tell me a little bit about your experience locally. You know, the things you found that you like and maybe a restaurant or two that you frequent.

00;08;28;16 - 00;08;52;00
Amanda Moberly
I live in a neighborhood that is very social and quite a few people from the military life that we used to be a part of have moved into our neighborhood. So we kind of found friends very quickly and settled down here very quickly. We love to go out to eat. So I have girlfriends of mine that are we're frequent Casa Vieja fans, every Friday for lunch, you will find us there.

00;08;52;02 - 00;09;14;17
Amanda Moberly
And sometimes you'll see me in my pajamas. That's my uniform because I've set up a party and then I've gone to lunch. But I also play a ton of tennis. I think I started back in 2019, and this past season I was on four teams. It was way too many and then I have I just last year gave up.

00;09;15;09 - 00;09;37;16
Amanda Moberly
I was the coordinator for our neighborhood swim team. We live in Wood Creek and for last five years I was running that organization. It's Mad Chaos for the month of june and then this is my final year as PTO president at People's Elementary School, which we just finished up, the biggest fundraiser we've ever had. We raised over $61,000 in two weeks.

00;09;37;16 - 00;09;40;15
Glen Gould
So incredible so what do you do with all the extra time?

00;09;41;02 - 00;09;42;18
Amanda Moberly
Yeah, I know. I like to stay extremely busy.

00;09;42;18 - 00;09;54;15
Glen Gould
That's, that's wonderful. It's wonderful. Well, if somebody wanted to get in touch with you, wanted to have an event for their children or grandchildren, how would they reach you? How would they find you?

00;09;55;07 - 00;10;15;29
Amanda Moberly
We have a website which is SweetDreamCampers.com. We also have an Instagram that is the same thing at our Facebook. Everything is Sweet Dream Campers, right? So if you were to Google us, you'd find us very easily. And I answer all the direct messages and the inboxes for the social media for both are all the pages.

00;10;15;29 - 00;10;42;12
Amanda Moberly
And then our website has everything laid out and it's very easy, you just select your theme and then you select your package. We have three different kinds of packages for our sleepover tents. We have the happy camper, which is the middle one, which comes with everything that you see in the pictures. And then we've dropped one down where it's a roughing it because it's just the frames, the mattresses, and the bedding - no pillows or decor.

00;10;42;19 - 00;11;09;08
Amanda Moberly
And surprisingly, a lot of people like that, especially for the boys and then our glamping package is what is offered in our happy camper, but it adds one of our add ons so we have a deluxe spa, we have a candy buffet, balloon garland, activity kits, and we have even the ability to make custom cupcakes, a dozen cupcakes to go with a theme that you choose.

00;11;09;08 - 00;11;26;15
Glen Gould
So you just have to hear it because just thought of this. If somebody kind of went and saw all the opportunities, I mean, first of all, who would even think of, all right, well, let's say somebody said, you know what, I'd like to add something special that you don't offer. I mean, are you able to?

00;11;26;15 - 00;11;52;28
Amanda Moberly
Aboslutely! Yeah, I have big goals. One is to be like a one stop shop for any of your parties. So connecting with other business owners I've done one with the board room at of Senoia for their charcuterie boards. So Sweet Pops for cake pops for as like a little add on treat for each one. So I try to connect with local businesses to provide those services and just work here.

00;11;53;07 - 00;12;07;24
Glen Gould
That's all. That's awesome. And if somebody I mean, I know it's premature because you're not quite there yet, but let's say somebody wanted to get to the front of the line and wanted to, hey, I'd really like to talk to you about maybe being a franchise owner. I presume they can contact you through the website.

00;12;07;29 - 00;12;09;08
Amanda Moberly
Yeah, absolutely. Yes.

00;12;09;13 - 00;12;36;04
Glen Gould
Yes. Well, I just you know, I got to tell you that I knew that your industry was out there because we have other clients who who have done it. But this is unusual and it's not exactly the same. They never are. Don't get me wrong, they're all different. And yours is certainly I think that, you know, one of the most interesting things is that a lot of these businesses, like our business, in all honesty, started out as you know, I need to solve this problem.

00;12;36;27 - 00;12;56;27
Glen Gould
I need to solve this problem. There must be other people have this problem. Oh, look, there's people asking me about this problem. I guess I'm in business now, but most people don't go to the trouble you've gone to. Right. And so I want to commend you on that, where you've actually gone down and written a business plan and and you say it's rudimentary, but it's light years beyond most of us.

00;12;56;27 - 00;13;07;23
Glen Gould
Right? Right. I had to go through that a couple of years ago when we were looking for an SBA loan. And it's it's work, right? It's it's the hardest thing to think of. We hadn't thought of.

00;13;07;23 - 00;13;08;21
Amanda Moberly
Right.

00;13;08;21 - 00;13;17;07
Glen Gould
Yes. And so so that's that's awesome. And the idea that you're going to grow, I'm just so excited to watch it and part of it. And we're grateful that you're a client.

00;13;17;07 - 00;13;18;05
Amanda Moberly
Thank you!

00;13;18;05 - 00;13;31;11
Glen Gould
And so thanks for coming in today. Remember, folks, that if you want to get a party together that Amanda can help you. It's SweetDreamCampers.com, right? Yes. And we look forward to seeing you on another Connections real soon. Bye now.

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How David is a Retired Pastor Serving Clients in His New Job | Off the Press Podcast

We continue our Off the Press series with our team member David.

David is a father and retired pastor who loves working with us here at Dry Cleaning Connection.

He has fit into his driving role perfectly well.

Visit our Website: https://www.drycleaningconnection.com/

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Podcast This is How Our Team Member Marcia is Helping us be Successful | Off the Press


Today we have Marcia on our Off The Press Series.

Marcia is an essential part of Dry Cleaning Connection's success. She is our accountant and personal friend. She took time out of her day to come by the studio to give us some insight into how she is building her personal business. Let’s find out together.

You can reach Marcia by emailing marciasmws@gmail.com or calling 678.953.0261.

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