We asked locals to nominate Montgomery County’s most influential people – men and women who are shaping the community, influencing their industries, and making a difference. Dozens of amazing stories were submitted about passionate and committed locals. At Montco Happening, we salute all those who wake up every morning with the intention of leaving the world just a little bit better.
Ten outstanding individuals have been named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of the year, and we have the honor of sharing their stories on Montco Happening.
Meet Penn Valley’s James Freeman, the COO at Colonial Marble and Granite, the family-owned business founded in 2008 that is the fastest-growing provider of fabrication and installation of stone materials in the United States. The Lancaster Catholic alumnus and his team of stone material experts now serve the entire state of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and metro New York with offices in King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and New Castle Delaware..
Get to know one of Montgomery County’s biggest business influencers of 2016, James Freeman:
Montco Happening: What motivates you every morning?
James: My Family. I want them to have everything I didn’t have and more.
Montco Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
James: Spending the day with my wife and kids. Then dinner and drinks with my wife.
Montco Happening: Who inspires you?
James: My Mother inspired me with her tireless work ethic and never-ending love for her children.
Montco Happening: How did you decide to open Colonial Marble and Granite?
James: I was in a different sector of the home services industry prior to our ownership deciding to venture into Natural Stone. They say once you get into this industry you never want to leave. I find that to be a very accurate statement.
Montco Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
James: My professional growth. I started from the bottom and worked my way through ten different roles across three companies before I earned the chance to lead a company from top to bottom.
Montco Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
James: It took me a long time to become an effective leader for all of my employees. Every team member is different and needs to be managed as both an individual as well as a member of the team. Learning to be a “manager for all” was extremely challenging albeit rewarding.
Montco Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
James: I look forward to leading my company into the future by using innovation as the backbone of our growth and success. I expect to see us grow by more than 200% while also maintaining the close-knit, family feel of our origin.
Montco Happening: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
James: My co-workers would describe me as a hard-working, hands-on professional with the ability to motivate through my actions. My friends would describe me as a loyal friend who is always ready for a good time.
Montco Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Montgomery County?
James: Home. There is no better place to me than the home my wife and I have built for ourselves and our children. No place makes me more comfortable, no place is more fun and it has become the neighborhood go-to place for all of our friends and family.
Montco Happening: You can take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?
James: Remember to listen twice as much as you speak. That’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth. I would also remind myself to slow down and enjoy life more.
Montco Happening: Same question 10 years in the future.
James: I would remind myself again, as you can never do it enough, to slow down and enjoy life. Work hard but don’t forget that life’s best moments are easy to miss if you are not paying attention.
Your 2016 Montgomery County Movers & Shakers is sponsored by BKZ Consulting Partners, LLC, a veteran-owned credit card processing provider based in North Wales. BKZ manages and maintains relationships with the best processing and merchant services companies in the United States and delivers that expertise to local businesses. First-hand experience of the strengths and weaknesses of each company assures the right group of providers are working to meet your company’s specific needs. It also fosters long term effective solutions by creating a competitive environment in which each provider focuses on their core competency. Here’s how it works:
- Develop: BKZ connects the best processing service to a variety of leading applications, such as:
Mobile swipe QuickBooks integration Level 3 Data EMV technology Electronic check Fraud prevention programs and audits Invoicing Payer Authentication E-Commerce
- Implement: As the solution is introduced and installed, BKZ provides full-service project management. Milestone events, coordination with supporting services and assistance with closing of legacy service is taken care of during this phase. The goal is a seamless transition that is methodical and experienced.
- Train: All involved employees are trained in the daily use, reporting and maintenance of the solution. Quick reference guides, support numbers and common issues are covered. Actions taken during power outages or connectivity problems are covered to ensure customer transactions are completed and valid.
- Support: BKZ Consulting Partners continues to assist and provide support long after the solution is installed and operating. Quarterly reviews, technology briefings and ongoing guidance is a hallmark of our service.
BKZ founder Bob Zimmerman, a veteran of the USAF and Pennsylvania Air National Guard, worked in avionics on A-10’s. Years of attention to detail in a process oriented operation has translated nicely to the BKZ’s delivery of customer satisfaction.