Column: Olympic veterans A.D. Frazier, Erik Vonk launch venture
By Maria Saporta
Friday, October 30, 2009
A new venture has been born out of a business friendship between two key people involved in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.
A.D. Frazier, who served as chief operating officer for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, has teamed up with Erik Vonk, who was president and CEO of Randstad North America, a major sponsor of the games.
The company, called BOTH Holdings, hopes to provide a service that more and more companies and independent contractors will need in days to come.
BOTH, which is based in Sarasota, Fla., stands for Back of the House. The idea is to provide independent contractors, single practitioners and freelance workers the same kind of services that bigger companies enjoy — from help with invoices, payments, human resources, 401(k) plans, business consulting, licensing, tax preparations and other back office services — at a monthly charge of $399.
“All the services we bundle together, you couldn’t buy those services individually for twice the price,” said Frazier, co-founder and vice chairman of the new venture.
When the economy begins to rebound, Frazier believes the workforce will look quite different than before. Companies will be reluctant to hire a bunch of new employees.
“As jobs come back in the marketplace, companies will want to contract with individuals rather than add to their workforce,” Frazier said.
But that kind of move holds some risks. It is important for companies to be able to prove that these contractors aren’t serving as de facto employees without benefits. Again, Frazier said BOTH Holdings will be able to help both companies and independent contractors operate legally and efficiently.
In addition to Frazier and Vonk, Atlantan Joey Reiman, a marketing professional, is involved with this venture.
Since he helped wrap up all the books for Atlanta’s Olympics, Frazier served as CEO of the Chicago Stock Exchange and worked with several different companies. He and his wife also have radio stations through their firm WolfCreek Broadcasting. He spends about half his time in metro Atlanta and half in Florida.
Georgia Power Co. President Mike Garrett, in a relatively informal gathering with Commerce Club members Oct. 27, expressed optimism about a possible agreement between Georgia, Alabama and Florida on water usage.
He credited his optimism to “the demeanor of all the parties involved right now.” The attitude is that “we ought to sit down and see if we can work this thing out.”
Garrett is particularly hopeful about warmer relations between Georgia and Alabama, and he believes an agreement is possible by the end of the year. He said the parties are working to resolve many of the issues behind the scenes.
“When the governors come together, I would like to be at a starting point that could lead to a resolution,” Garrett said.
Johnson Medal Awards
Atlanta is taking over a major awards ceremony — the Johnson Medal Awards.
The awards are named after James Weldon Johnson, an African-American leader who was born in 1871, attended Atlanta University, became a lawyer, a leader of the NAACP, a writer, a musician, a journalist and a diplomat, among other accomplishments.
This is the 13th annual awarding of the medals but it is the first time they are being given by James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory University, the new institutional sponsor.
This year’s awards will be given on Nov. 4 at The Carter Center.
There will be six winners: Alice Walker, an author who is receiving the award for literature; Gloria Steinem, a women’s rights pioneer who will get the journalism award; two civil rights award winners: U.S. Rep. John Lewis and activist Myrlie Evers Williams, the widow of murdered Civil Rights Movement leader Medgar Evers.
It also is the first year humanitarian awards are being given — one to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the other to Neville Isdell, retired CEO of The Coca-Cola Co.
In addition to Emory University, the other local supporters of this new Atlanta event are Coca-Cola, AT&T Georgia, Georgia Pacific, Delta Air Lines Inc. and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
GSU honors Isdell, Sullivan
Georgia State University will be awarding two Atlanta leaders with honorary degrees. The awards will go the Neville Isdell, retired chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola; and Louis Sullivan, founder of the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Isdell has agreed to be the keynote speaker at Georgia State’s fall commencement on Dec. 14 at the Georgia Dome.
Sullivan delivered Georgia State’s commencement address at the spring graduation ceremonies.
The Atlanta Women’s Foundation will have a male keynote speaker at this year’s Numbers Too Big to Ignore luncheon on Nov. 12 — Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times.
Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, co-authored the recent New York Times best-seller “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.”
The luncheon also will feature the annual Sue Wieland Embracing Possibility Award. The $10,000 award goes to one of the foundation’s outstanding grantee organizations. It is going to the Juvenile Justice Fund, which works with the Fulton County Juvenile Court to help families and youth under the court’s jurisdiction.