Small Business Forum to feature dynamic speakers

May 10, 2017
Small business owners and managers throughout the region will want to block a half-day on Wednesday, June 7, for the fourth annual Small Business Forum to be held in Brenham at the Fireman’s Training Center from 8:30am-1:30pm. 
Sponsored by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Brenham National Bank and Citizens State Bank, this annual forum provides a local opportunity to gain leading-edge knowledge and professional contacts to help businesses thrive.
It is being co-hosted by the Washington County Chamber, Navasota-Grimes County Chamber and Burleson County Chamber. Attendees will hear from several powerful speakers who have been recruited by these three Chambers.
            The keynote speaker during the Small Business of the Year luncheon will be Doug Pederson, owner of Twin Cities Properties in Bryan/College Station.  Pederson has been a resident of the Brazos Valley for over 35 years.  Originally recruited out of Minnesota and brought here as a freshman in 1976 to play basketball for Shelby Metcalf at Texas A&M, he never left. 
            He graduated with a Business Management degree, purchased his first "fixer-upper" in 1989, and began a career of renovating older properties that today numbers 750 “front doors” and 20 employees.
            In 2007 Doug bought 14 run down four-plexes in what is now called "The Green Buildings" on the corner of Broadmoor and Briarcrest in Bryan, completely renovating and transforming the neighborhood and selling them in 2011.  
            2010 was his "Midtown" gentrification of an entire neighborhood on South College Avenue in Bryan that culminated in the BCS Apartment Association's creation of the Pederson-Threadgill award.  First given in 2010 to Doug Pederson and Jack Threadgill, it recognizes 20 years of property and community improvement, and the reduction of neighborhood crime rates.  
            As part of this honor, Pederson helped set future award criteria. New awards will be given to individuals whose revitalization efforts are a catalyst for other projects, lower crime rates, transform neighborhoods, and improve the community’s quality of life.
            Active in many ways in the community, Doug is a member of the "Renegades Bible Study." He has also served on the boards of the Better Business Bureau, SOS Ministries, The Museum of Natural History, Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center, the Government Relations Committee of BCS Apartment Association, and is a frequent guest lecturer at Texas A&M University. 
Other speakers at the forum include CV Rao on the topic of Cyber Security. Rao is the founder and owner of TechOne Centre LLC, a full service information technology company that began in 2002 and has offices in Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin areas.  The company offers a full range of I.T. services including planning, installation, maintenance, support, and training to businesses, schools, colleges, government agencies, and places of worship.  Notable clients include ConocoPhillips, Houston Independent School District and METRO Houston. With customers in eight states, TechOne Centre has been recognized by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston's “Fast 100” companies.
Rao is actively engaged in his community, holding past and present board roles in Spring Branch ISD (technology committee), Art Directors Club of Houston and Houston Area Apple Users Group.  He is also an active member of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Alumni Program, and speaks on business topics at the UH Bauer College SBDC. 
Also speaking will be Lara de Leon. She represents employers of all sizes in all aspects of employment law, and will speak on employment litigation and counseling.  She has extensive experience defending clients in federal and state courts, arbitrations and before administrative agencies, including actions alleging wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, disability, leave of absence, and wrongful termination claims.
            In addition to litigation, de Leon regularly advises, counsels and trains clients on a wide array of employment-related matters, such as terminations and reductions in force, employee discipline, pre-employment screening and hiring, internal investigations, leaves of absence, workplace accommodations, wage and hour compliance, pay equity and other matters of legal compliance. She spent ten years as in-house employment counsel for two large publicly-traded companies. 
            Other presenters include Bill Kickham, Paul Turney, and Byron Haney from BVCOG, plus Charlie Adams of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
            A major highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Small Business of the Year Award for 2017.  Last year, the 2016 honor was awarded to Kwik Kopy Business Center and to Glasco & Company Landscaping. The 2015 winner was Home Sweet Farm Market & Biergarten, and in 2014 Brenham National Bank and RE/MAX Advantage were the winners.
            This year, Johanna Fatheree of RE/MAX Advantage will be the MC of the 2017 forum. 
            Tickets to the Small Business Forum are $49 until June 1 ($59 after). Corporate Sponsor tables are available for $499, which includes tickets for 8 people plus your company name will be displayed at the event, online and included on the printed program.
Doors open at 8 a.m. and the program begins at 8:30.  A buffet lunch is included, and the forum will conclude by 1:30 p.m. For more information, contact the Chamber at (979) 836-3695 or
Shae Janner, Business Programs Manager