By Jeanne Theismann
Alexandria, VA – Bill Reagan is not a incredibly great salesman. However, that is the profession route he set upon following the active-responsibility armed forces company that took him all around the world and first released him to Alexandria.
“When I was in the Military, my specialty was logistics,” explained the native of Harlingen, Texas. “At 1 stage, I was designated main of protocol and dealt with a great deal of dignitaries. This was through the Vietnam era, so I interacted with individuals like Henry Kissinger and Al Haig. I came by the DC space typically and was fascinated with what transpires right here, so when I remaining energetic obligation, I realized this is wherever I needed to be.”
Uncertain of what he wished to do in the civilian world, Reagan was recruited for hi-tech product sales with the federal government. “I recognized in retrospect that when I favored engaging with people today, I was not a good salesman mainly because I did not like pushing folks to purchase,” Reagan claimed. “This was the early ‘90s and I was living in Alexandria and driving every working day to a job in Bethesda. In buy to expend more time right here, I resolved to get into consulting for small businesses. It was then that I found out that there had been no resources to aid me with the procedure.”
Reagan started speaking with then-Town Council members Lois Walker and Bill Euille about the worth of little corporations to Alexandria. Jointly they put in location the construction that grew to become the Compact Business enterprise Growth Middle, which opened in December 1996 as portion of the Virginia SBDC network.
“While there was a large amount of enjoyment driving the SBDC, there was not a good deal of funding,” Reagan reported. “At the commence, I was a 1-person procedure and it was overpowering hoping to place alongside one another this infrastructure. It took a even though to get ample funding to seek the services of another person and then expand ample to provide in consultants. My to start with seek the services of was Jack Parker as a organization analyst and then Gloria Flanigan as assistant director. They have both equally been with the SBDC for about 20 years now and are a huge part of our successes.”
According to Reagan, about 90 percent of organizations in Alexandria have fewer than 20 staff members, and they produce about half of the city’s gross receipts.
“These firms are spread out all more than the town, so you really do not see them in any single cluster,” he claimed. “They match properly into our nooks and crannies and historical buildings, but they are a impressive pressure for our financial state. It is the little businesses that you feel of when you walk down King Street in Aged Town or Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. Which is what offers Alexandria its flavor and character as well as staying a essential part of the economic climate.”
Reagan’s successes above the a long time are numerous. According to earlier Chamber of Commerce Board chair Charlotte Hall, Reagan has spearheaded or championed numerous group-oriented outreach efforts that tumble outside the house of the normal SBDC actions of assisting little firms to get set up, expand and prosper.
“Bill made the Nationwide Harbor Process Force in anticipation of the opening of the Gaylord Resort and Conference Middle to choose advantage of the several people that would arrive to the Town,” Corridor said in her nomination of Reagan as a Living Legend of Alexandria. “He also began the month-to-month Small business Affiliation meetings to give all nearby companies a forum for facts trade. And Invoice commenced the Organization/Council Exchanges wherever groups of compact company house owners who do not in any other case get their voice heard have the opportunity to meet with two City Council members in a smaller team location to explore concerns that are essential to them. These are just a few of the matters that have tied the Alexandria SBDC to our group in ways that many other SBDCs are not.”
In addition to functioning with smaller enterprise entrepreneurs, Reagan has worked with Company Training teachers at Alexandria Metropolis High Faculty (formerly T.C. Williams) to current information and facts to learners who could be future company leaders in the neighborhood. And for 20 yrs, he has labored with a professor of operations in the Virginia Tech MBA Application to enable MBA learners and Alexandria small businesses to operate alongside one another on tasks that benefit both equally the scholar and the modest enterprise. This exertion has fostered about 100 jobs and produced a romance that will carry on with the institution of the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria.
“Small firms have all of the complications that important organizations have,” Reagan mentioned. “But significant firms have lawful, internet marketing, and accounting staffs. With a modest organization, it’s one or two people building all people conclusions. That’s exactly where modest companies need a resource to enable them. We have the attorneys, the accountants, the specialists in human methods, government contracting, social media, and nonprofits – we have the authorities to aid.”
Reagan grew up on the exact same block in Harlingen right up until leaving for the College of Texas. He analyzed all-natural resource economics and did put up graduate do the job in regional setting up. Whilst in the military services, Reagan served in West Germany, Thailand, and West Berlin. His army expertise has been precious as he expands the SBDC systems for veterans transitioning to civilian occupations.
“SBDC has served hundreds of veterans above the years,” Reagan reported. “When serving on energetic duty, your counterparts are in the business planet networking and building professions. We are below to mentor and suggest younger and more recent veterans who may possibly need a little help in transitioning.”
Reagan credits metropolis leaders and elected officials for recognizing the essential role small companies enjoy in the neighborhood as he strives to assist them continue to be aggressive in today’s evolving business ecosystem.
“We try to high-quality-tune each individual working day what we are executing at SBDC,” reported Reagan. “While we are not confident what the following new detail is – co-doing work spaces, solopreneurs – we just attempt to continue to be in advance of the curve and assume what compact companies will have to have in sources to preserve up with these new traits.”
Not one particular to relaxation on his laurels, Reagan exhibits no indication of slowing down and is excited about the potential for compact firms in Alexandria.
“I see a great deal of enthusiasm in the community with Amazon’s HQ2 and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus coming to the place,” Reagan mentioned. “Amazon initially found in Seattle since Microsoft was there, so there is a excellent development likely listed here that all spins off to Alexandria’s tiny corporations, and I am thrilled to be a aspect of that.”