A Troy University alumnus and a current student have teamed up to achieve their dreams of business ownership through the Small Business Development Center at Troy University.
Norman Glasco, a Chicago native who relocated to Montgomery due to a professional opportunity for his wife, is a 2021 Human Services graduate of the Montgomery Campus. He clearly wanted a way to combine his desire to help others with his entrepreneurial spirit and turned to the TROY SBDC for help.
“Norman had a couple of different ideas, but it was clear that he wanted to start a business and continue developing his entrepreneurial experience,” said SBDC TROY Director Juliana Bolivar, who served as Glasco’s primary advisor.
After brainstorming the pros and cons of his business ideas with Bolivar, Glasco settled in on starting a transportation company for airline passengers who needed rides from college towns to area airports. His goal was to connect with the students, professors, and potential employees he could transports.
FasGo Airport Shuttle was born but lacked the team to get it off the ground. Bolivar brought together her team of advisors. Will Pouncey stepped in for business planning and operations advising. His advice: start small, avoid debt, and use Glasco’s personal vehicle to get started. SBDC TROY-led classes in business credit and management got FasGo from concept into operation, and TROY student and SBDC client-turned-consultant Catelyn Blackmon started turning Glasco’s ideas into a brand identity as marketing advisor and building his own graphics skills.
Blackmon, who is an Interdisciplinary Studies major minoring in journalism, communication, and entrepreneurship, had first met Bolivar through TROY’s IDEA Bank and the Sorrell College of Business’ Troy Bank & Trust Entrepreneurship Program.
“We talked about her dreams of becoming a business owner and her desire to help people create their personal brands and use digital marketing to grow their businesses,” Bolivar said. “I recognized how her talent could help small business owners start their businesses and offered her work at the SBDC.”
Glasco was her first official client. Since then, Blackmon has worked on six different client brand identities, practicing client support and guidance skills.
“Norman was my first client. We had weekly meetings to discuss the goals for his brand and how I could help. I created his branding kit, branding strategies, and social media audit,” she said. “Norman was very proactive in learning and incorporating the strategies I had created for him; he utilized the materials by creating his business website which landed his first contract.”
In September 2022, Blackmon – with SBDC TROY’s help – launched her own business, Dreams Agency LLC to help small businesses with branding, brand strategy and media management.
She admits her SBDC experience allowed her to put her book learning to practical use.
“Helping Norman allowed me to take the information I have been learning in my courses and the classroom and apply it in my career and business,” Blackmon said. “Norman allowed me to put my branding and marketing skills to work.”
Now, Glasco who earned a contract with an airline to transport pilots and crews to and from the Montgomery airport, has two part-time drivers, added a Mercedes van to his fleet that includes both his Titan pickup and his wife’s car, and students and faculty from area universities and colleges are contacting him for lifts to airports in Atlanta, Montgomery and Birmingham.
“I want to help people, and one way to accomplish that is through an affordable ride to the airport. It’s something that’s needed in Troy and Montgomery and the surrounding area,” Glasco said.
“Since the day I walked in, Juliana and Kerstin (Stokes) gave me a feeling of belief that ‘I could do this’ after presenting my idea for the shuttle service. She told me that was a great idea and those encouraging words, with the support of the SBDC TROY team, kept me motivated,” he said.