Business leaders win awards in after-hour event

Stephanie Rosso

Business leaders spoke to attendees about the importance of social media in growing businesses at the Portage Power After Hours in the University Library Wednesday night.

Hosted by the Kent State University Libraries, Streetsboro Chamber of Commerce, Portage Development Board, Kent Area Chamber of Commerce and Focal Point, the Portage Power After Hours is a business after-hour event that focuses on social media and celebrates the power it has given businesses in Portage County.

Kent State graduate Nathan Watson is the district executive for the Portage County Boy Scouts of America and has attended the event for the last year and a half.

“It’s basically a combined effort between the chambers of commerce to get business professionals to meet and greet, chat, socialize, network and it helps introduce you to people that you might not normally have a contact with,” he said.

Julie Brandle is the president and co-owner of Metis Construction Services, a female commercial general contractor company located in Kent, Ohio. She attended the event to share her social media experience.

“What they brought us here to talk about tonight is how we use social media in our business,” she said. “I work on the social media campaigns for our company. Metis has a Facebook, and then we have LinkedIn accounts and we’re trying to transfer that into LinkedIn for Metis.”

Like Brandle, business professionals gather at Portage Power After Hours to exchange ideas and help those who are unfamiliar with social media platforms.

Shon Christy is the social media marketing specialist at Focal Point Social Media and started the first social media marketing company in 2010. He urges Kent State students to attend the after hour event because their experience with social media is helpful to older business professionals.

“One of the most incredible things I believe is happening in cases like this is seasoned business veterans are seeing the value in what a young person provides because they’ve grown up with the technology. They understand the platforms,” he said. “How awesome is it when you get to talk to the president of a company as a colleague and teach them how to do something, rather than (them) teach you something.”

A Q&A session during the event explained the significance of social media and the impact it has on local businesses. Afterwards, demonstrations and small group discussions were held to help teach people more in-depth about media platforms and how they can reach out to a greater public.

The 2015 SoMe Awards were also presented to six recipients. Among the winners were President Beverly Warren, Brandle and Christy.

To learn more about the event and award winners, visit, #portagepower.

Stephanie Rosso is the libraries reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at[email protected].