The Washington Post

New group brings together CEOs, athletes

A Tysons Corner-based law firm is sponsoring a new, invitation-only meetup between former athletes and top local executives called the Corporate Huddle.

The first meeting is scheduled May 9. Former Redskins such as Doc Walker, David Harbour and Gary Clark are to mix with local chief executives such as John Hillen of Sotera Defense Solutions, Jeff Handy of Fulcrum IT, Brad Antle of Salient Federal Solutions, Greg Hollis of Trinity Protection Services and Matt Curry of Curry’s Auto.

“I thought we would ... get the ex-athletes from basketball, golf, football to come together and sit down with CEOs from around D.C. for mentoring, networking and professional development,” said Kelly Bellas, who is organizing the monthly sessions for Berenzweig Leonard law firm.

Harbour, who played for the Redskins in 1988 and 1989, is now Virginia manager for eXp Realty, a cloud-based real estate brokerage. He said he joined the Corporate Huddle to share some of the technology advances he has learned.

“It’s sounds a little Star Trekkie, but maybe one thing I can bring to the table is showing how companies can drastically reduce overhead, and increase productivity and efficiency,” Harbour said.

Other former athletes include Maryland and Bullets star Cedric Lewis; former Redskins punter Derrick Frost; Mark Stock, who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Redskins and the Colts; former top amateur golfer Tiffany Faucette; and Ebong Eka, who played professional basketball in Europe and appeared on Real Housewives of D.C.

Power to the people

Electrical contractor Jim Fabiszewski (he goes by Jim Fab) of Fab Electric loves rumors. Anytime there is a rumor of a storm, he sells more generators.

The Gaithersburg businessman this year started a division that sells commercial and residential generators.

“My phone started ringing at 5:30 this morning,” he said a couple of weeks ago, after one of the region’s late-winter snow scares.

Sales started taking off at his company after Snowmageddon a few years back, then they hit another high last summer, after the devastating derecho caused massive power outages.

“Ten years ago, we were doing three or four [generators] a year,” said Fab, 52. Now it’s 20 a month, he said, which will bring in more than $2 million in sales this year.

The generators, built by Generac Power Systems in Waukesha, Wis., cost around $11,000 to $12,000 each. Some run on natural gas, while others run on propane tanks that must be buried in the backyard.

The Mid-Atlantic corridor between New York City and Washington “is a great market for us,” said Generac executive Russ Minick. “That corridor has become the epicenter.”

The Buzz hears:

Washingtonians are too busy for that midday haircut appointment. So David von Storch’s Bang Salon is now offering 8:30 a.m. haircuts. “With the increasing demand of work schedules, many people no longer have time to break away from the office for a hair cut,” von Storch said in an e-mail. The new hours “make it easy to squeeze in a workout and get your hair styled, too, before a long day at the office.” Don’t worry, complimentary coffee comes with the visit.

A new Web site arrived in Washington this past weekend that allows you to find someone to clean your house for the price of a couple of cocktails — er, plus tip. Homejoy, the San Francisco-based Web site that connects apartment dwellers with vetted cleaners, is already in eight cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. Its co-founders are brother and sister Aaron and Adora Cheung, who started the Web site after they who could not find affordable cleaning help. Homejoy, which charges $20 an hour, has investors that include Y Combinator and Andressen Horowitz.

Factoid of the Week

50 million: That’s how many flowers Bell Nursery currently has growing in its grower network of 30 family farms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, all bound for Home Depots across the Mid-Atlantic. That number is up 20 percent over last year, because of a pickup in home sales. The giant nursery, headquartered in Montgomery County, is doubling its production of begonias and New Guinea impatiens. Sales are expected to take off as soon as the weather breaks.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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