UVA business professor to speak at chamber lunch

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FRANKLIN—Focus less on whales.

That’s the message Gregory Fairchild, associate professor of University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business will share with local professionals on Wednesday, May 25.

Rather than try to land “the next big company, or whale,” Fairchild will speak to the importance of bringing in smaller companies as well.

“This set of smaller firms are more like dolphins,” Fairchild said. “They work together and work in a packs.”

He said growing smaller, locally owned businesses is just as important as bringing in businesses. Fairchild said big businesses are also good for the community, but should work in tandem with smaller businesses to diversify a city’s business portfolio.

“It’s not a good idea to have all investments in oil, but instead to have some in oil, some in gold and other places as well,” Fairchild said. “If a community spends all its efforts to land whales and not develop and breed dolphins, then when the whale dies, or swims away, the community is missing a sizable commodity.”

He said while it’s great to have a plant in a community, a community loses some control when a plant headquartered somewhere else comes in.

Fairchild will be speaking to business professionals in Franklin as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties on topics related to promoting a healthy climate of entrepreneurship and business growth during a lunch discussion at the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. The lunch will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. and the cost is $10. Those interested, can register at www.virginia.edu/engagingthemind.

Fairchild also will speak to area high school students to inspire entrepreneurship. Fairchild said communities like Franklin lose a lot of their young talent to bigger areas, but he will show the students that the profession they want to pursue could be in the community if they start it here.