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Chamber Nexus Forum supports second stage businesses

The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and its GrowJAX initiative recently hosted the quarterly CEO Nexus Forum featuring Interline Brands

Michael Grebe

Chairman and CEO Michael Grebe.

“The only way to be successful in business is to surround yourself with great people,” Grebe told the audience.  “Plans and capital are important but are secondary to a talent management process.”

During the forum, Grebe discussed technology’s impact on hiring and retaining employees, as well as sales.  He stressed the importance of investing in management teams and business models that generate repeatable growth and developing a plan to use during lean economic times.

Interline Brands is a direct marketer and distributor of repair and maintenance products with annual sales of more than $1 billion.  Grebe joined Interline Brands in 1998 as chief operating officer, when its revenues were approximately $175 million.  He moved up through the ranks to chairman and CEO and took the company public in December 2004.

The CEO Nexus Forum brings CEOs and business executives of second-stage companies together in an effort to cultivate economic growth.  The forums give second-stage business owners access to top-tier CEOs and help them accelerate their company’s growth.  A second-stage business is defined as a privately held, Florida-based company beyond its initial start-up growth and on the verge of expansion with 10-99 employees and annual revenues between $1 million and $49 million.

“Our audience enjoyed hearing the lessons Mike learned on his road to success,” said Sandy Bartow, vice president of the Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Development Division and president of the Chamber Foundation.  “The CEO Nexus Forum is one of many programs the Chamber and GrowJAX offer to support second stage companies.  When they grow, they add more jobs to our community and support economic development in our region.”

The Chamber’s GrowJax initiative hosts the CEO Nexus Forum quarterly.  The events are open to any CEO or C-level executive who meets the second stage criteria.  The next CEO Nexus is scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce in downtown Jacksonville.  The guest speaker will be Foundation Financial Group President Paul V. Scott.

More information about Second Stage Business Development is available online at

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