WBA Youth Engagement Initiative Kick Off Event

2018-02-07 10:00:00 2018-02-07 12:00:00 America/Los_Angeles WBA Youth Engagement Initiative Kick Off Event Whatcom Business Alliance Event: WBA Youth Engagement Initiative Kick Off Event | For more information, and to register, please visit WhatcomBusinessAlliance.com/Events/. Bellingham Technical College Whatcom Business Alliance membership@whatcombusinessalliance.com

Event: WBA Youth Engagement Initiative Kick Off Event

When: February 7, 2018 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Where: Bellingham Technical College


The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) launched the Step Up Campaign for Business Advocacy, Research and Education in September 2016. The vision of the campaign is to engage with the community through research, education and advocacy to support business success because business success drives community prosperity. The WBA has begun focusing on the education component of the campaign in earnest for 2017.

Youth Engagement Initiative

The goal of the Youth Engagement Initiative is to educate Whatcom County high school students on the opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship and to offer mentorship through the career decision making process.  The WBA is partnering with Junior Achievement (JA) to introduce the Job Shadow curriculum to Whatcom County high schools. In conjunction with the curriculum, the WBA will coordinate site tours of local businesses and provide opportunities for the students to engage in mock interviews and resume review with human resource professionals.

The Youth Engagement Initiative will begin with a kick off event held at Bellingham Technical College February 7, 2018, featuring a program of successful local business leaders and video introductions to employment opportunities in the County with local, national and international companies. Our program speakers include Mike Andes (Augusta Lawn Care/Business Boot Camp), Erin Baker (Erin Baker’s), Anne-Marie Faiola (Bramble Berry), and Kevin Menard (Transition Bicycle Company).


**QUESTIONS: contact maggie@whatcombusinessalliance.com**

Kickoff Event topics include:

  • Goal setting and hard work. Being thoughtful about the development of your future.
  • Where you start may not be where you end up. The value of persistence in achieving your goals.
  • Adding value to a team. Showing up and contributing helps make a business great.
  • Entrepreneurship and staying true to You.

Following the kickoff, the WBA Youth Engagement Initiative Committee will follow strategic plan of action that looks to build upon the college prep process in our schools and offers preparation for career opportunities for students and young adults in Whatcom County. In this initiative, WBA works in partnership with existing educators and organizations to create synergies which advance youth engagement in careers in Whatcom County. We highlight the role of business in creating a healthy, vibrant and prosperous community.

About our Kickoff Event Speakers:

Kevin Menard, Co-Founder, Transition Bicycle Company

Transition Bikes began over a friendly game of ping pong over 16 years ago. During that game and many others to come,  Kevin, along with co-founder Kyle, laid out the plan to create their own bike company. It started with a simple philosophy of making a true rider owned company that was always open and honest with it’s customers. Where a love for riding and making bikes resonated through every facet of the company. They are proud to say that after all these years, this philosophy has stayed with them while they have grown to reach more riders and connect in new ways.

In the beginning, both Kevin and co-founder Kyle had full time jobs for 3 years before they could quit and tackle Transition full time.  Kevin remembers, “When we started Transition we really always thought it would just be a fun side job to our normal job. If we could grow it so we could quit our jobs was always something we wanted but did not expect it to happen.”

They learned most of what was needed as we went, happy with slow small growth to give them the time needed to learn everything.  Today, located in downtown Bellingham and employing over 15 people with Worldwide sales & distribution, Kevin’s primary roles are heading up the Sales and Marketing teams and basically expressing our company culture to the world and why they love making bikes. Transition has loyal suppliers and customers that truly believe in the transition brand and have been supporting them from the beginning.

ERIN BAKER, CEO, Erin Baker’s

Erin Baker, Founder & CEO, Erin Bakers Breakfast Cookies

I am fortunate to have a very talented and smart mom who also happens to be a real foodie. I spent my childhood observing my mom doing it “old school,” growing food of all kinds and then canning, drying and preserving for eating all year long. There was a constant bowl of whole wheat bread dough rising on the heater vent along with passionate conversation about the difference between whole food and refined processed food and why we don’t eat “that margarine crap.” I learned about the high value of whole foods and the absence of value in refined and processed foods.

I lived in San Francisco Bay Area in my early teens and 20’s where I was inspired and educated by talents the likes of Alice Waters, Bradley Ogden and Emily Luchetti. They celebrated the importance of whole foods and demonstrated how to cook and bake with whole foods with wild success, this was in the 80’s… they were onto something! Exposure to this genius left me determined to cultivate my own brand of success.

I believe in my products like we believe in our kids… with all of my heart. And… I am just getting started.

 Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO, Brambleberry

from BusinessInsider.com , Mar. 2015

Anne-Marie Faiola had spent a year as a corrections officer when she decided that working in a prison — and witnessing the constant cycle of crime, neglect, and abuse — was not for her.

“It was not a good fit for my personality, which is sunny side up all the time,” Faiola says.

To cheer herself up, Faiola made soap every night. She was self-taught: By reading chemistry books and scouring online chat rooms, she learned everything she needed to know. Soon she was selling her soaps and making thousands of dollars at craft shows every weekend.

After months of deliberation, Faiola quit her corrections job in 1998, put $15,000 on a credit card, and turned her part-time soap business into a full-time gig. She was 20 years old.

It wasn’t an easy transition; she landed herself in debt and had to reevaluate her finances. But now Faiola is the CEO of two successful businesses: Bramble Berry Soap Supplies, a national retail company offering all-natural soaps and toiletries; and Handmade Beauty Box, a subscription service that delivers DIY beauty projects (now part of Brambleberry.com). She is also a author, blogger, and YouTube star.

Mike Andes, Founder & CEO, August Lawn Care Services

from Business Pulse Magazine, Spring 2017

Mike Andes is far from a conventional entrepreneur. Few have started a business at age 11 to earn money for college, where he enrolled at 13.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that his main current business, Augusta Lawn Care Services, takes a different approach from competitors in its sector. Andes oversees three divisions: lawn-care services, landscaping services, and bulk materials delivery (soil, gravel, and mulch).

Blaine-based Augusta Lawn Care Services launched in 2014 and took off like a rocket. Revenues totaled a modest $30,000 in its initial year, but quickly grew to $200,000 in 2015 and $550,000 in 2016, aided by the acquisition of Kenny’s Materials and Paradise Lawn Care. Andes projected sales to reach $1 million this year, and the opening of a second retail location Bellingham by early 2018.

Life as the owner of a lawn-care company strayed from the Andes’ original plan. “Originally I was going to go into the medical field,” he said. “I completed my bachelor’s degree and had applied to a medical school, then I went to Africa for a medical volunteer trip. Discouraged by the American medical system and insurance system, I opted to make a career in business.”

Andes already had a start in business, having created Andes Lawn Care with his brother in 2008. After founding Augusta Lawn Care Services, he bought out Andes Lawn Care and didn’t stop there.

He also is host of BusinessBootcampPodcast.com, founder of LandscapeBusinessCourse.com, and author of the book Millennial Millionaire: The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Breaking Out of the Middle Class. Further, he hires out as a consultant with other companies and conducts workshops.



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