Union County CEO Class Held At Courthouse


Union County CEO Class Held At Courthouse

JONESBORO—The Union County CEO program held its January class meeting at the Union County Courthouse.  CEO board chairman Rollie Hawk was the guest speaker and discussed his experiences in consulting, government, communications and how those sectors have intersected in his business, Union County Technology Solutions.

“In many ways, it’s one of the smallest businesses you can have with only one full-time employee,” explained Hawk about his company.  “But that also means a lot of variety and getting to spend time doing the things you enjoy while constantly tackling new challenges.  There are a lot of things you can’t do in a solo operation but you also avoid a lot of the hassles you’d otherwise face.”

Even though his core business revolves around information technology and communications, Hawk described the greatest challenges in consulting as being more interpersonal in nature.

“When you come in as a consultant, it’s a different kind of management.  You are charged with managing a project or task of some sort but you aren’t the boss of the people you are working with so you have to build those relationships and that takes time.  The people who contract you will care how much you know but the people you interact with the most are more interested in how respectful you are and how you will interact with them.”

Acting contractually as Union County’s Chief Information Officer takes that relationship building to a whole new level, according to Hawk.

“County government has a different authority structure than a typical business client.  When you have different elected and appointed officials, they are all coming at things from different perspectives and with different concerns.  Being able to build consensus with everyone involved isn’t easy but it’s critical to success.”

Hawk spent much of the class discussing the history of his company and how it ended up happening.

“I always had all these different things I wanted to do before my business started but I was too scared to make that leap until circumstances forced me to start being less conventional,” said Hawk.  “For me, flexibility has been the theme.  If you pay attention, God places all of these challenges in front of you that you can either run from or turn into opportunities.  So over time, as a consultant, you gain more expertise and are able expand upon the kinds of services you can offer to clients.”

The Union County CEO Program is on schedule to have its first full class year in the 2015-2016 school year with a total of twenty students—representing each of the four high schools in Union County—attending a daily class on entrepreneurial thinking and business.  In addition to seeking more business investors, the program’s primary focus right now is finding the right teacher/facilitator for the class.