Local Entrepreneur Receives “Steve Nesbitt Award”

February 23, 2018

Steve Nesbitt was in the banking business in the Shoals for just under 40 years.  He was a long time Board member and advocate for the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center (SEC).  Steve had a true passion for both the Shoals and its business community.

Following his untimely passing in March of 2017, the SEC Board of Directors formed a committee to evaluate the right approach to honor his service to our Center and the community.  To this fact, the “Steve Nesbitt Award” was created to recognize a current SEC client based on their innovative and or creative concepts related to their business processes.  The winner will be selected via an ad hoc committee of community leaders and awarded each year in February.

The inaugural “Steve Nesbitt Award” was presented to Ashley Morrow as part of the Shoals Shift Future Awards held Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  Ashley was recognized for her innovative concepts in promoting her business and products, her outstanding community involvement, and her overall entrepreneurial spirit.

Giles McDaniel, the SEC’s Executive Director”, stated “This is certainly a fitting way to honor Steve’s memory and to keep his passion for small business in the Shoals alive.”

Upon accepting the award, Ashley Morrow commented, “Steve was a business and community leader that I personally admired, so to be given this award in his memory is a huge honor for me. I can only hope to impact the community and leave a legacy in the way that Mr. Nesbitt did.”

From left to right:  Kimberly Nesbitt, Shawn Nesbitt, Ashley Morrow, and Giles McDaniel

NextGen Shoals Innovation Awards 2018

January 22, 2018

Nominations are open for  2018 NextGen Shoals Innovation Awards.  There are ten categories honoring local cutting edge businesses that drive the spirit of innovation in the Shoals. Winners will be recognized during Innovation Week at the second annual NextGen Shoals Innovation Awards, an event sponsored by the Shoals Chamber of Commerce and the UNA Department of Continuing Education & Outreach.
NextGen Shoals Innovation Awards
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
at Singin’ River LIVE
Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2018
Please note: A completed nomination includes both a nominee and reason for nomination. This is the information that will be reviewed by the judges to select a winner. The chances of your nomination being selected are greatly increased when a reason for nomination is provided. Take a moment to brag on the company/person and why they deserve this award! Tell why you think they fit the category and explain their applicable accomplishments, achievements, and contribution to the Shoals community. Feel free to include your name after your reason for nomination. If your nominee is chosen, you too could be recognized for your kind words about a successful individual/company!
Visit Shoals Innovation Awards to submit your nominations.

Shoals Area No. 16 on the list of 20 metros most at risk from automation!

October 11, 2017

Shoals Area No. 16 on the list of 20 metros most at risk from automation!!

Dalton, Georgia, has long been known as the “carpet capital of the world.” In the early 2000s, Dalton produced almost half of the world’s carpet. Walking down the city’s carpet row—a stretch of carpet mills that spans a portion of Interstate 75—you could see miles of carpet mills, whirring activity as wool was spun and knots were tied. There were more than enough jobs for anyone who needed work.

Things are very different today. The economic crisis of 2008 hit Dalton’s carpet industry hard. Under the pressure of global competition, its carpet manufacturers laid people off and replaced human labor with robots. Although it still remains the nation’s “Carpet Capital,” that no longer means good jobs that require a low skill level to perform.

If the present is bleak, the future may well be bleaker. According to new analysis by my colleague Shade Shutters, of Arizona State University, more than two-thirds of Dalton’s jobs—37,574 out of 55,400—are at risk from automation, the highest proportion of any metro in the country. Shutters used occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the types of jobs most at risk from automation across all US metros.

If the previous era of “robot shock” struck hardest at manufacturing workers and communities, the next wave promises to hit as hard or harder at even more vulnerable and lower-paid service workers and their communities across the nation. Indeed, the jobs most at risk from future automation are routine service positions like waiters and bartenders, taxi and limousine drivers, and retail jobs in clothing stores, department stores, sporting good and musical instrument shops, and jobs in the motion picture and video industries. Each of these positions are significantly more at risk than blue-collar jobs in the auto industry. Shutters’ findings extend this catalogue of at risk jobs to account for the people and places that are most vulnerable to automation.

While these findings conform to some broad and well-documented geographic patterns—the metros most at risk tend to be in the Rustbelt and the Sunbelt, while those least at risk are on the East and West Coasts—the divides themselves are far more granular. The Bay Area metros of San Francisco and San Jose are amongst the least vulnerable to automation, while Madera, California, just three hours away, and is among the most vulnerable metros. Furthermore, more than half (54 percent) of voters in Madera County voted for Trump, compared to just 9 percent who did so in San Francisco County

Check out for more on this story.



September 7, 2017

ConventionSouth editors reviewed their 16 state coverage area and selected 30 destinations to be in the running for “Top Music Meccas of the South”!  They recently  posted the nominees on their social media to begin voting! Please spread the word: share, like, and comment on our image in order cast your vote to be featured in the upcoming November  issue of ConventionSouth’s Music and Meetings feature!  We all know how powerful social media is so lets spread the word and make that November issue!!!!!

CONTEST IS LIVE NOW @ ConventionSouth  and will close on Sunday, September 17th!!!

ConventionSouth image

SEC Graduate Assists with Relief Supplies for Texas

August 31, 2017

As soon as the weather allowed, a nationwide relief effort kicked into high gear. State and local governments, private companies, their employees and regular citizens put their lives on hold to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Nobody knows for sure just how long the mission might be, but many people from The Shoals have headed into the zone.

An example of the kind of selfless giving that is coming out of Northwest Alabama comes from Service One Transport. Robert Walker tells the Quad-Cities Daily that Service One, in coordination with FEMA and Federal Express, has sent 35 tractor-trailer loads of relief supplies into Texas.

For more on this story visit



August 15, 2017


Do you have an idea for a new business? You could win some money at the Shoals Idea Audition. Part Shark Tank, part The Voice, this contest allows you to present your idea in front of a panel of business leaders and experts — and if your presentation is the best, you win! We’ll even teach you how to pitch your idea. We promise it will be fun, and it could be very profitable!


Click here for more information and/or to register.

Partially Funded by a Grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission

Brentwood Services Seeks Claims Trainees

August 2, 2017

Brentwood Services Administrators Inc. Exploring Options

For New Florence/Muscle Shoals Area Claims Office;

Seeks Applicants for Claims Adjustor Trainees


BRENTWOOD, Tenn., August 1, 2017—Brentwood Services Administrators Inc., a provider of claims management and loss control services, is considering the potential for opening a new claims office in the Florence/Muscle Shoals, Alabama, area, according to Jeff Pettus, president and chief executive officer of Brentwood Services Administrators Inc.

Pettus explains, “We’ve been handling claims for over 27 years. Due to our company’s business growth and increasing opportunity in the market, we are considering locating a physical office in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area and are immediately recruiting applicants.”

Pettus continues, “We are actively seeking applicants who desire to be trained in claims adjusting, and who preferably have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.”  Additional information regarding the position can be found at Claim Trainee – Florence Alabama or at Interested persons may apply through www. or may submit resumes to:

Brentwood Services Administrators, Inc.

Human Resources Coordinator
P.O. Box 1125
Brentwood,TN 37024
Fax: 615-760-2121

Pettus, having grown up near the Florence/Muscle Shoals area, believes the community and the people will be a great fit for the Occupational/Accident Claims office.  “I know this area well and am confident that an office here would allow our company to grow its employment and effectively support our rapidly-increasing client base,” Pettus said.

Brentwood Services Inc. is an independent employee-owned company headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., specializing over the past 27 years in structuring and managing alternative market solutions for employers and insurance providers.

Brentwood Services Administrators Inc., a third-party administrator, provides claims management and loss control services for Workers Compensation , Occupational/Accident and other casualty lines throughout the contiguous 48 states. BSA’s aggressive coordinated approach to claims administration and loss control has a proven track record of reducing the cost of claims for its clients. BSA also provides underwriting, policy management and accounting services to association-sponsored pools and mutual insurance companies.

Social Media Marketing Stats for 2017

May 24, 2017

Social Media Business Statistics

1. Instagram earns $595 million in mobile ad revenue per year, a rapidly increasing number.

2. Despite news of layoffs and executives leaving the company, Twitter’s revenue is up 8% YOY

3. 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved.

4. Over 50 million businesses use Facebook Business Pages.

5. 2 million business use to Facebook for advertising.

6. Facebook’s total revenue grew 56% in 2016, and advertising revenue grew 59%.

7. 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases.

8. 39% of LinkedIn users pay for monthly premium accounts.

9. Pinterest drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic.

10. More than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform.

Reciprocity of Social Platforms

Social Media Content Statistics

1. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than tweets without images.

2. 100 million food and 146 fashion boards exist on Pinterest.

3. On LinkedIn, 98% of posts with images receive more comments and posts with links have a 200% higher engagement rate.

4. There are about 81 million fake Facebook accounts and about 5% of twitter accounts are bogus.

5. 100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook daily.

6. More than 1 million LinkedIn users have published long-form content, with 160,000 long-form posts being published weekly.  and over 19.7 million SlideShare presentations have been uploaded to the platform.

7. 88% of businesses with more than 100 employees use twitter for marketing purposes.

8. The user-submitted YouTube video with the most views is “Charlie bit my finger” with over 845 million views.

9. Pizza is the most widely instagrammed food, directly ahead of steak and sushi.

10. Blogging continues to grow, with over 409 million people viewing more than 23.6 billion pages each month on WordPress alone.

**This information is an excerpt from an article published on

For more interesting stats check out this cool infographic from Red Website Design.



Did You Know 24% of Businesses Don’t Use Social Media!!!

May 23, 2017

Sometimes, small businesses are quick to adopt new technology. Other times, they’re slow or hesitant or skeptical or too busy to even know it exists.

It’s that way with social media.

According to the Clutch 2017 Small Business Social Media Survey, 24 percent of small businesses have zero social media presence. That’s just about one in four small business owners.

A deeper dive into the Clutch data shows that less than half of all small businesses are actually using their social media presence on a consistent basis. Sure, a restaurant might have a Facebook page, but there’s a good chance its last post was the Wednesday night special in late July 2016.

Clutch found that only 41 percent of small businesses are on their social media sites multiple times a day. Another 23 percent are updating their social sites daily.

If a company isn’t active on social media on a consistent basis, its message will be lost. Followers are more likely to see posts and updates from companies and people who are more active on the site. A relatively dormant page is more likely to go unnoticed.

Based on this data, of the companies with a social presence, about one-third of them aren’t using social media enough.

If a company is inconsistently or sparsely posting about their business, the reach will be low even if the following is pretty high. If they’re using social media to respond to customers, they’re allowing their customers to wait too long by only visiting weekly, at best.

Visit Small Business Trends to learn more about the importance of social media in growing your business.

5 Tips to Live Your Dream

May 11, 2017

You don’t wanna be that old lonely man at the bar…..

Regard the old man at the bar. He’s boisterous and jolly, a merry old fellow with ruddy cheeks. But, in quiet moments, there’s a wistful look in his eye that begs explanation. It’s the one that got away.

I’m not talking about the girl—she’s back home watching her stories. I’m talking about his Everest.

This old man, Greg, in particular, wanted to be a baseball player. He claims to’ve had the fastest pitch in all of Pennsylvania—you really should have seen it. His words, of course.

In between the brags and tall tales of his glorious youth, the subtext of his story reads a little different: “I don’t know why, but I didn’t stick with it. And I regret it every day of my life.” My words, not his, of course. But the look says it all. The eyes glaze over enough to look tearful. But it’s the gaze. He’s staring a million miles ahead. Or back. And he’s seeing all the things he just knows he could’ve done.

Another beer, he orders. Another beer. Ironically, the drink that lured him away from the game is his only consolation.

You’ll find Greg at the Stone Face Tavern in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But you’ll find Frank, and Cecil, and Henry, and Don, and Pete, and 50 million others at different bars across North America—all with different variants of the same sad story.

How do you avoid joining the sad-lonely-old-man club of America? You are wise to ask. It’s pretty simple, actually. You just have to persist in your passion. On the road to your dream, never stop.

Visit for 5 Tips You Can Count on to Help you Live Your Dream