CEO Sounding Board
What are your hiring plans for 2011 and what has propelled your business?
"We provide engineering design services to manufacturers. There are very few jobs being added by them. That's why they come to us. We have 11 employees. We will add four in 2011. In 2011, I'm going to go into a new market — smart energy. I have some staff who will be good at it. Business actually is going pretty well. Absolutely no complaints."
RESTAURANTS / ENTERTAINMENT
Helen Back Café / Shoal River Lanes / D'wons Bayou Cafe
Fort Walton Beach / Crestview / Navarre
"I have just under 150 employees. I expect, particularly at the north store, I'll probably hire a couple more servers. I think there are two major aspects that are going to help. One is the incoming special forces group in the north part of the county. The TDCs (tourism development councils) are getting their acts together to remarket the (area) in the wake of last year's disaster. Instead of seven different messages, I think it's going to be one strong message. They're going to get the message out there that our beaches are still beautiful. I'm working to open up other stores. I'm franchising my concept. I'd like to open them tomorrow."
Allied Kitchen & Bath
"We're looking to do a small amount of hiring. The high-end market has come back strong for us. I think we're going to be busy." Feinberg employs 40 at his retail and design and remodeling business. "We grew slowly. I'm not a big risk-taker. Every day I preach to my employees, ‘Set us apart. Concierge service.' "
RegisterPatient (patient registration software)
"We're hoping to probably double (from seven employees). I wound up being at the right place at the right time. What's propelled (us) was the opportunity was there. It's unparalleled the amount of money being pushed at the economy for this purpose." This month, RegisterPatient is set to complete a proof of concept for integrating its product into a major, undisclosed company's electronic medical records product line. If such integration opportunities pan out, employment will grow substantially.
Morrison Commercial Real Estate
"We aren't trying to be the largest company. Our goal is to be a smaller but high-producing group. If we grow, it will be because of an opportunity to serve a client or an opportunity to add a great broker."
Oak Haven Farms
"We have no full-time employees. We have part-time employees — retirees and students. In season, we have eight to 10 part time. We're a you-pick strawberry operation. We (also) sell strawberry shortcake and milkshakes. Families view us as affordable entertainment. We have a playground, two ziplines and hay rides. We're in the process of starting a winery here. Our success all depends on the weather and the quality and quantity of the crop. A good lending partner is very important. They've helped us through some tough times every now and again." He has no plans to add staff in 2011.