Eric Jackson – EO Nashville Member Profile

Eric JacksonTell us about your company…

Keystone Business Solutions, LLC provides IT consulting and website development services to small business.

The IT consulting side of the business is primarily based around Windows Small Business Server in the professional services market (doctors, lawyers, accountants) with some clients in the small government and nonprofit space. We have a low tolerance for prospects or clients who want to cut corners. As a result, we have great clients that result in mutually beneficial business relationships.

The Web development side of our business is primarily the same market with services concentrated on Web design and implementation of the Kentico CMS. Most of our customers want some measure of control over their website presence and marketing…we make that happen for them.

Alma mater…

University of Tennessee, Knoxville (’90). Go Vols!

Tell us about your family, spouse, kids, pets…

My daughter is a brilliant (naturally) and beautiful sophomore at Hendersonville High School. She plays soccer on the varsity team and will (fair warning) begin driving soon. I’m divorced but happy in a relationship with my significant other. I’m of the opinion that a 43-year-old man shouldn’t use the word “girlfriend.” I have no pets. I’d love to have a dog, but I’m constantly on the go. Any dog of mine would have to fend for itself…and that’s not a good plan.

Where did you grow up? What brought you to Nashville?

I was born in Newport News, Virginia. In 1977, my father took a new job in Hartsville at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new nuclear plant. Nuclear power made me a Tennessean, despite the fact that nuclear power never came to pass at that plant. I grew up in Gallatin and graduated from Gallatin High School.

Non-profit I support…

I’m currently president of the Rotary Club of Hendersonville. Through Rotary, I help support about 15 other nonprofits around Sumner County. I’ve also provided some measure of financial and/or professional support to the National MS Society, Sumner COMPASS (Community Outreach Making Partnerships at Sumner Schools), Friends of Rock Castle, Shalom Zone, Nashville PAD, Bridges Domestic Violence Center, Leadership Sumner, Leadership Middle Tennessee, Hendersonville Samaritan Association, Gallatin Cares, Children are People, Learning Matters, and I’m sure I’ve left someone off the list. That’s a good list, right?

Favorite place to vacation…

Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Love it, winter or summer. I’m pretty good at falling down snow-covered mountains in expensive clothing.

What music are you listening to these days?

3 Pork Fatigue. Listening AND playing (I’m the drummer.) You’ve never heard of us…and if you get the chance, bring earplugs. The other two guys are fellow classmates from Gallatin High School. Our little project affords us the chance to get together, drink beer and talk about how great we were at one point in time. Aside from that, I’m listening to heavy doses of Pearl Jam (yes, they’re still around).

What have you read lately?

Currently reading “The Elements of Content Strategy,” a nerdy book on Web content and “The Thank You Economy.” Also trying to make my way through “World War Z” (who doesn’t like zombies?) and “The Five Thousand Year Leap.”

Favorite restaurant…

Café Rakka. It’s a Mediterranean restaurant in Hendersonville and I’ll put it up against any you can name. They were on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and were recently named in the “Best of Nashville 2011.” Yes, I’m a fan.

Favorite honky-tonk…

Not much of a honkey-tonker. I guess I’ll go with Tootsie’s…been there a few times. Not big on drunk crowds.

Best business advice you have ever received

“Do what you say you’re going to do and you’ll be successful.” Makes sense, right? I can’t remember who said it.

If I wasn’t an entrepreneur I’d be…

A writer.

Wish I had more time for…

Playing music in my band. Few things are better than playing music you’ve created…and doing that for a willing audience.

Finish this sentence, “I would do just about anything for a…”

World tour as Led Zeppelin’s drummer. Go big or go home, right?

The best thing about EO…

The business and personal growth I’ve realized in the company of lifelong friends.

Survey shows that EO Nashville members plan to increase staff & revenue this year

EO Nashville members who took EO Global’s Q4 2011 Economic Survey are optimistic about a profitable 2012. With the economic downturn stressing area companies over the past two years, member businesses are looking to increase hiring and returns this year.

Here’s a breakdown of the survey results, question-by-question:

Question 1: Change in number of full-time employees during the past 6 months, AND Predicted change in number of full-time employees during coming 6 months:

  •       Sixty-nine percent of EO Nashville respondents expect to increase their full-time staffs in the first half of 2012, that’s two percent less than the second half of 2011 and three percent more then EO global respondents.
  •       None of the EO Nashville respondents expect to decrease their full-time staffs in the first half of 2012.
  •      Regionally, Nashville ranks second in full-time hiring goals behind Knoxville (83 percent) and ahead of Charlotte (59 percent) and Birmingham (43 percent).
  •       None of the regional EO respondents expect to decrease their full-time staffs in the first half of 2012.


Question 2: Change in number of part-time or contract employees during the past 6 months, AND Predicted change in number of part-time or contract employees during coming 6 months:

  •       None of the EO Nashville respondents expect to decrease their part-time or contract employees in the first half of 2012, that’s compared to 14 percent of EO global respondents who plan to decrease them in the first half of 2012.
  •      Regionally, only EO Charlotte respondents expect to decrease part-time or contract employees by four percent

Question 3: Change in net profit during the past 6 months, AND Predicated change in net profit during coming 6 months:

  •  Seventy-six percent of EO Nashville respondent expect their net profits to increase in the first six of 2012, with the remaining 24 percent expecting net profits to remain constant. That’s two percent more then EO global respondents.
  •  Regionally, Nashville ranks second in predicated change in net profit behind Knoxville (100 percent increase) and ahead of Birmingham (71 percent increase) Charlotte (70 percent increase).

Question 4: Change in debt load during past 6 months, AND Predicted change in debt load during coming six months:

  • Twenty-one percent of EO Nashville respondents expect to decrease their debt load in the coming six months. That’s equal to the percentage of EO Nashville respondents expecting to increase their debt.

Question 5: Change in your business’s access to capital during past six months, AND Predicted change in your business’s access to capital during coming six months:

  • During the past six months, 34 percent of EO Nashville respondents saw an increase in their access to capital, and 38 percent expect access to capital to increase in the first half of 2012.
  • Regionally, EO East Tennessee respondents are highly optimistic with 83 percent banking on increased assess to capital, 37 percent of EO Charlotte respondents expect an increase, and 29 percent of Birmingham respondents expect an increase

Question 6: Change in your business’s revenue during past six months, AND Predicted change in your business’s revenue during coming six months:

  • Ninety percent of EO Nashville respondents believe that their revenue will increase in the first half of 2012. That’s the highest percentage regionally, and 10 percent higher than the global outlook.
  • None of the EO Nashville respondents expect revenue to decrease in 2012.

Question 7: Predicted change in your country’s economic environment during coming six months:

  •  Roughly three-fourths of EO Nashville respondents predict the economy will either improve or remain the same during the coming six months. That’s consistent with the outlook from the previous six months.

Question 8: Current proclivity to start a new business:

  •  Sixty-two percent of EO Nashville respondents would like to start a new business.
  •  Regionally, 83 percent of EO East Tennessee respondents would like to start a new business, 71 percent of EO Birmingham respondents and 59 percent of EO Charlotte.

EO Nashville Members in the News: Bert Lyles, JJ Rosen & Benjamin Goldberg

Last week, EO Nashville member Bert Lyles received some very exciting news — his company, Showhomes Franchise Corporation, ranked well in three categories of the recent Entrepreneur magazine Franchise 500 rankings: #256 in the overall Franchise 500 list, #100 in the category of Fastest-Growing Franchises and 45th for the second year in a row in the Low-Cost Franchises category. Read the full release here.

Venture Nashville Connections broke the news of JJ Rosen’s company Atiba acquiring Cabedge.com to add a design team to the tech company’s services.

And last (but certainly not least), Benjamin Goldberg’s newest venture, The Catbird Seat, received a shout out in the most recent issue of Bon Appetit. In the article, the author compares dining at The Catbird Seat to an experience “you’d expect to find in New York or even Copenhagen.”

EO Nashville Members in the News: JT Terrell, John Rowley & Michael Burcham

This week in the news, JT Terrell (Music City Tents and Events) was featured in a full-page Executive Profile in the January 6 edition of the Nashville Business Journal. In the Q&A piece, JT answered questions on his company’s expansion plans for 2012, his life as a touring drummer and how his wedding day boosted business.

EO member John Rowley (Fletcher/Rowley) has been busy talking presidential politics over the last couple weeks, with appearances on CNN, Maddow and FOX.

And finally, Michael Burcham announced this week that Joe Galante, former chairman of Sony Music Nashville, has joined the Entrepreneur Center as an entrepreneur-in-residence to help advise startups in the digital media and entertainment space.

Chapter adds eight new members to close out 2011

EO Nashville added 29 new members in 2011, making 2011 the most successful recruitment year in our 17-year history. This recruitment success comes on the heels of a banner year in 2010, when we added 19 new members. EO Nashville currently has 97 members, double the size we were just two years ago.

In addition to ranking second globally for percentage growth in 2011, EO Nashville also ranked third for adding the most new members, making the chapter one of the fastest growing in the world.

A special thanks to our membership co-chairs, Joe Freedman and Michael Burcham, who worked tirelessly to get the word out about EO Nashville and our peer support system for local entrepreneurs.

Meet the eight new members of EO Nashville that were added in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Adam James co-founded Wyndham Group, Inc., a consulting group specializing in enterprise resource planning solutions for the hi-tech and professional services industries. He previously worked as an independent consultant, providing SAP software for Fortune 1000 companies including IBM, Deloitte and Bertelsmann. He earned his master’s in accounting from the University of North Carolina.

Alan Young founded Armor Concepts, LLC, a manufacturer that develops and distributes security and repair products. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Alan played football for Vanderbilt and briefly professionally before founding ProQuest Sports Management. Alan also previously worked as an investment banker for Banc of America Securities.

Brian Biesman is director of the Nashville Center for Laser and Facial Surgery where he specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive eyelid surgery. He also serves as clinical assistant professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and clinical associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis. Brian is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Brian Prentice is founder and senior partner of Ingenuity Associates, an IT management consulting firm. With more than 20 years of experience in information technology and business management, Brian began his career on Wall Street. He later worked for Sony Music Entertainment, HCA and a private medication management company. He attended Fordham University.

Darek Bell is a partner of Corsair Distillery, which he started in 2007 with his wife Amy Lee Bell and Andrew Webber. Darek is a graduate of Bruichladdich Distilling Academy in Islay, Scotland. He has authored one book, “Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Techniques for the Adventurous Distiller,” which published in 2011.

Mark Deutschmann founded Village Real Estate Services in October 1996. He then formed Core Development Services in 2003, and in 2006 Mark partnered with Wells Fargo to create CityLife Lending Group. He serves as sustainability chair for the Nashville chapter of the Urban Land Institute, and on the boards of Greenways for Nashville and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

Randy Holland is founder and managing partner of Fitness Holdings, LLC. His personal training business Delta Coaching includes Deltatrac, the first online coaching product that uses an individual’s genetic profile to prescribe a workout program. He previously ran Bullet Recording and earned a Grammy in 1989 for his song “Giving You The Best That I Got” sung by Anita Baker. He is a graduate of Belmont University.

Peter Hermann is founder and managing partner of Belmont Software Services, an IT company that provides solutions for enterprise service automation and cloud infrastructure initiatives. His previous experience includes stints at Marimba and BMC Software. He completed his undergraduate degree at Bowdoin College and received an MBA from Duke University.