The Do More in 2024 Conference and Expo, sponsored by Augusta Business Daily, drew a cross-section of nearly 50 vendors to SRP Park in North Augusta on October 19.
Attendees strolled the concourse of the stadium under clear skies and sunshine, stopping to learn about new products, services, and businesses from vendors.
John Boudreaux, owner of Hargrove Inspections, is a veteran of the expos. He had a booth at the Fall 2022 event at the Kroc Center on Broad Street and returned for the Spring 2023 expo when it moved to North Augusta.
“It’s a great networking event. Lots of great companies are represented here, it’s an enjoyable time for me to kind of mix and mingle with them. Because we don’t always get to see each other. We’re all out working on our craft most days,” he said was one of the reasons he participates. “I especially love the format where you get to hear from industry experts and get an idea of what’s going on, both locally and nationally.”
Educational institutions were well represented with booths for Augusta Technical College, Webster University, the Hull College of Business, and the Graduate School at Augusta University.
“One of the reasons, obviously, we want to promote Augusta University. We also want to promote the Graduate School and the graduate programs that AU offers. But also, the community engagement aspect of this, you know, getting to see other business partners that we don’t necessarily have relationships with,” said Matthew Brocato, Student Recruitment Coordinator for the Graduate School.
The information and networking session started at 8:45 a.m. At noon, breakout sessions were held in individual suites outside of the WOW Club. Those included Auben Real Estate on investing in Augusta properties. Katrina Golden of Lil’ Mama’s Sweets and Treats shared advice on how to start an entrepreneurial journey. The third breakout session was on sales and marketing tips led by Kevin Hyatt of the Hyatt Agency. Attendees could visit their breakout session of choice.
Ronald Skenes, director of Communications and Development for Christ Community Health in Augusta, said he attended the expo because it was a good venue to make contacts in the local business community. It allowed him to meet organizations they can work with, and perhaps, even provide health care for their staff.
He chose the sales and marketing breakout session to learn how best to present his nonprofit organization.
“There’s still marketing that goes on even in the nonprofit environment. And the content, the concepts, the principles apply to the nonprofit organizations, as well as the commercial organizations,” he explained. “I’ve had a lot of experience in marketing and advertising, but I’m always looking for new tips, new ideas, and new ways to get the word out about Christ Community Health.”
He added he’s particularly interested in learning how all the different social media platforms may be useful for his organization.
An hour later, EXPO attendees filtered into the WOW Club for the panel discussion featuring Cal Wray, Augusta Economic Development Authority, discussing 2024 Manufacturing Growth; Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Augusta Technical College, discussing workforce education and 2024 partnerships; Angela Swarts, Spherion Staffing, discussing hiring surveys and 2024 predictions; Tabitha Hollimon, Hollimon Advisors, discussing how to increase profits and cash flow in 2024; Patrick Reynolds, Cross Link Consulting, discussing AI and cybersecurity in 2024 and Dr. Rick Franza, AU-Hull College of Business, Business Operations and Supply Chain Issues.