LBCC business adviser dedicated to Sweet Home

Sean C. Morgan

As a new adviser with the Linn-Benton Community College Small Business Development Center, George Medellin is available free of charge to help Sweet Home businesses to improve.

“We’ve been working with George since he arrived,” said City Manager Ray Towry during the Nov. 14 City Council meeting. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful relationship for the community having the SBDC here locally.

“I shared with George this morning my past life with the Grant County Economic Development Council. A lot of our successes were based on the fact that we had an SBDC representative inside of our organization. So they were a part-time SBDC employee and a part-time business retention employee with the EDC that I was with. It was a wonderful relationship. The network and what the SBDC can bring to the table is pretty powerful.”

Medellin, 47, has been in Sweet Home for about 15 months, and he has been working with the SBDC since the summer.

Medellin grew up in southern California before moving to Silverton where, he said, he met the woman of his dreams while they worked at the Christian Renewal Center, a retreat center. That was 22 years ago. They married 20 years ago.

“My wife (Wendy James Medellin) is from Sweet Home,” Medellin said. “We got married over 20 years ago and moved to the Seattle area over 20 years ago. During that time, we started a business, had kids and thought ‘You know what, we want to go back to Sweet Home.’ Finally, we said, ‘Boom, we’re doing it.’ We offloaded my business, which we had for 12 years, sold our house and here we are. We came last summer.”

They have a daughter, Avrie, 16, and a son, Noah, 9.

Medellin earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2000 at Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash. He earned his master’s of science in organizational psychology in 2014 at Walden University, an online school.

In addition to his work at the SBDC, Medellin is pastor of a small church, Mossyrock Fellowship, which meets in Lebanon.

“We wanted to move back to just be close to family,” Medellin said. In the Seattle area, he owned and operated a small faith-based service business, Pacific Northwest Maintenance.

“We created beauty and peace of mind,” Medellin said. “Unique selling proposition there.”

Customers didn’t so much buy the services but rather the convenience of avoiding working on the roof, for example, he said.

For eight years, Medellin was part of the Business Network International, Medellin said. “I grew in my business and how to be a business owner.”

He completed a master’s degree in organizational psychology in hopes of becoming an educator and business consultant.

“Getting hired on with the SBDC over the summer was like a dream come true,” Medellin said as he is able to live in Sweet Home while doing the kind of work he wanted to do.

Until now, he said, “there was no resident SBDC person in Sweet Home” and he thinks that having a resident SBDC representative may improve the local connection to the SBDC.

He has joined the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, he said.

“I’m really excited about that opportunity just going forward.”

The SBDC “does two main things,” Medellin said. “One, provides no-cost business advising for business owners and provides classes for small businesses ranging from social media for small business all the way to Quickbooks to conflict management to building teams.”

With the SBDC, “my goal is meeting with five businesses per week to get their views on Sweet Home business,” Medellin said. He helps provide “networking and no-cost advising for small businesses. The goal with business advice probably number one is to let business owners know they’re not alone. Help is available. Two, help smooth out their opportunities.”

A lot of consulting and advising is built on listening to business owners, Medellin said.

In his own case, “when I worked with consultants myself, they listened to me,” Medellin said, with a little tongue in cheek. “I didn’t know what I was doing. They helped me develop a unique selling proposition, and I learned how to take care of myself so I didn’t have to get a divorce or become an alcoholic.”

His coursework in psychology definitely influences the way he advises, Medellin said. “I can also listen to people talk about their feelings about their business.

“People don’t have to work with me. If there seems to be a better fit with other advisers, I can refer them.”

The SBDC has about eight advisers, he said. They have a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from small startup businesses to the Fortune 100. They have backgrounds in social media, with Ford Motor Company and in the U.S. Army.

Some have managed budgets up to $25 million, he said. “We’ve got the firepower.”

In addition to the SBDC’s regular work, Medellin said, LBCC is launching a small business management program funded by a Ford Family Foundation rural grant.

The program, which starts Feb. 20, 2018, will focus on “all different types of aspects of business – procedures, HR, financials” over a nine-month period, he said.

“We’ll wrap it up with what we’re calling a CEO round table, a gentleman who grew a business from $1 to $2 million to, when he left, it was doing over $20 million with lots of overseas markets. We’ll start it with a personality assessment of everybody who’s part of it, just help people see how their personality impacts what they do.

“Our goal with this, the Small Business Management Program is to help business owners take their business to the next level, whether that be just making more money, more bottom line, increased market share or increase with employees. Each of the business owners will be able to make their own business goals and they can just measure their own improvement.”

The program will be introduced in January, with the actual kickoff on Feb. 20, Medellin said.

“We’re really looking forward to what we’re doing out here, and I’m really excited just to be here in Sweet Home after so many years doing what I love, working with business and people.”

An introduction and overview of the program is set for 5 p.m. on Jan. 16 at LBCC’s Sweet Home Center, 1661 Long St. Food will be provided.

“We’ve got a couple other things,” Medellin said. “We want to stir new business in town, which means that we’ll be partnering with Key Bank to do a free going-into-business seminar. Our goal is to coordinate these maybe every other month with Key Bank.”

From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Jan. 24, Key Bank, located at 10th and Main, will host “Going into Business” with Medellin to help people start their own businesses.

For information about any of these programs or for no-cost advice, call Medellin at the LBCC Sweet Home Center, (541) 367-6901, or just stop him on the street.