This week on The Urban Business Roundtable, UBR Contributor Renita D. Young speaks with Stephen L. Hightower, the founder and CEO of Hightowers Petroleum Co. Based in Middletown, Ohio, the petroleum products distribution company earned revenues of $227 million in 2011 to land at No. 17 on the Black Enterprise 100s list of the nation’s largest Black-owned industrial/service companies.
Hightowers Petroleum had a banner year for sales growth in 2011, increasing revenues by nearly 48 percent over 2010 to land at No. 3 among the top growth leaders of the BE 100s industrial/service companies. In the June 2012 issue of Black Enterprise magazine, Hightower credited the growth with his company’s ability to secure new clients, including Walmart and Chrysler. “It’s really a phenomenon just being able to manage the growth of new customers coming on board,” says Hightower, “while maintaining the customer base that you already have.”
The second largest minority-owned company in the Cincinnati area, the full-service, licensed motor fuel dealer transports fuel, gasoline and other petroleum-related products to clients including General Motors and Delta Airlines, nationwide. The company has been recognized as a 2010 Regional Minority Supplier of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Hightower joins the Roundtable to share how he launched his company and the growth strategies he used to build it into a regional powerhouse.
Also, UBR Contributor Samantha Pass speaks with PencilWorx Design Group Founder and CEO Lavon Lewis, who shares the importance of creating a powerful logo to brand your business. Lewis and his Atlanta-based firm have earned more than 45 awards, including the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Technology Firm of the Year and an Atlanta Golden Addy from the American Advertising Federation. Lewis is also the author of Today Is A Great Day for A WOW Image!: Tips for Branding and Marketing Your Company or Organization for Success (Dunamis Publishing Associates).
In my “Alfred’s Notepad” segment, I talk about the latest classes in session this week at Small Business University (SBU), a free online video course at BlackEnterprise.com offering expert advice to entrepreneurs looking to start and grow profitable small businesses. This week’s sessions are taught by me, Alfred Edmond Jr., and focus on Time Management advice for entrepreneurs. My course topics: “Finding Balance,” ” Part-Time Entrepreneurship,” and “Getting Organized.” This week is also a great time to view or review courses taught by my fellow instructors over the past seven weeks. Remember: Your business’s most important assets are you and your time. Go to http://www.BlackEnterprise.com/sbu to register and learn more.
And finally, every week on UBR, you’ll get motivation and inspiration from author and entrepreneurial icon Farrah Gray, a weekly wrap-up of business news from USA Today business correspondent Charisse Jones, our Patient Investor Report from Khoa X. Ho of Ariel Investments and key economic intelligence for small business owners from our UBR economists Derrick Collins and Rasheed Carter.
If you have a question you want answered or a topic you want addressed on The Urban Business Roundtable, connect with me at BE Insider, the social media network for people who are serious about Black Enterprise. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.
Alfred Edmond Jr. is the senior VP/editor-at-large of Black Enterprise and the host of the Urban Business Roundtable, a weekly radio show, sponsored by Ariel Investments, airing CST Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WVON-AM 1690, the Talk of Chicago. You can also listen live online at WVON.com. Check back each week for UBR Spotlight, which features additional resources, advice and information from and about the topics, entrepreneurs and experts featured on the show.