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Front Page » October 28, 2004 » The Women's Business Journal » Keep on Rolling: Business adviser leaves mark on Carbon C...
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Keep on Rolling: Business adviser leaves mark on Carbon County


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By MELANIE STEELE
Sun Advocate reporter

Jeri loves to ride her motorcycle with her husband Don when she isn't helping the business community and residents of Carbon County.

Jeri Hamilton has weaved her special talents and abilities in and out of the fabric of Carbon and Emery counties for nearly 10 years. With her in-depth knowledge of business, finance and accounting, she has guided many area entrepreneurs in making sound decisions and setting attainable goals in their business approach.

Her selection as the Sun Advocate Business Woman of the Year came as a surprise to no one but herself.

"I was floored. The thought never crossed my mind," she commented. "You don't go through life looking for those things. When they happen they're amazing, but they are not the reason you do what you do."

Although she is currently preparing to relocate to Moab to serve as the manager for the Eastern Utah Community Credit Union's new branch, her selection is a final thank you and farewell from all those whose lives she touched.

Born and raised in Emery County, she completed her Associate's Degree at the College of Eastern Utah. She would go on to Utah State University in Logan, where she would earn a double bachelor's degree in accounting and finance.

Upon returning to the area, Jeri and husband Don began a small business, Starpoint Pools and Spas.

Jeri said the scariest thing about beginning her own business was just jumping in and taking a risk. She also began her work with the Southeastern Utah Association of Governments (AOG) as a fiscal specialist, where she worked for three years.

When a position became available in the Business and Economic Development department, Jeri was promoted. She put her skills to work helping others begin their own business adventure.

She said her three years in Business and Economic Development afforded her the opportunity to help others realize their dreams.

Jeri provided counciling for residents seeking to start a business, supported the expansion of existing businesses, taught classes for area business men and women, assisted with the grant and loan process and performed a variety of other duties to encourage economic development in the area.

Although Jeri said it was rewarding to help people get started, sometimes helping a person see that a small business was not the right option at the time could be just as fulfilling.

That is why Jeri emphasizes a business plan to anyone she is helping, to make sure that he or she is not getting caught up in something they won't be able to get back out of.

As a consumer loan officer, Jeri helps clients get financing for cars, boats and other fun items.

"Unless you put it down on paper, you don't know," she said. "Sometimes just writing it down gives people a reality check.

There are also three sure things that can cause a business to fail.

First, Jeri said when owners don't have a clear vision of the direction they want their business to grow, it can hinder success.

"Everything is limited, like time and resources," pointed out Jeri. "You need a clear direction to proceed."

Second, entrepreneurs who do not watch their cash flow will inevitably run into trouble.

"You have to find a medium where you're not growing so fast you can't keep up," she commented. "It's an educated guessing game."

Finally, business men and women must be willing to take a risk.

However, not being informed about the industry and business practice is a risk that shouldn't be taken.

"It's a huge risk if you don't educate yourself about it," stated Jeri. "Get informed and then trust your instincts."

Risk is something Jeri has been willing accept, first in making a move over to the Eastern Utah Community Credit Union to become and loan officer, and now with her new responsibilities to guide the new Moab branch.

"It was a tough decision," Jeri commented. "But getting yourself out of a comfort zone is a necessary thing. You have to consciously make a choice."

However, Jeri said she has had mentors all along the way.

Aside from her husband Don, who Jeri said has been a key to her success, she has also received invaluable insight from Carbon County Commissioner and Credit Union President Michael Milovich, as well as former San Juan Commissioner Bill Redd.

Jeri and husband Don will be trying their hands at life in Moab.

Jeri met Redd through her work with the AOG. Redd said early on, he could see that she was a bright, hard working woman.

"I was impressed with both her desire for achievement and her methodology for going about it," he commented. "She has a desire of philosophically becoming, that is, being more every day. You don't see that very often."

Under Redd's guidance, Jeri had access to an endless supply of books and life stories.

"She listened to my little stories of success and laughed at my jokes," remarked Redd.

Redd said her move to Moab is another great growth opportunity.

For Jeri, the eventual plan is to return to the Carbon area. She and Don sold their small business, Starpoint Pool and Spa, to Trevor and Erin Rauhala. Jeri said the change of hands will allow the business to grow and flourish in a way that time couldn't allow for with Jeri and Don's full time jobs.

But, although Jeri expects time will bring her back to the area, she said she is still open to the possibility that life could take her elsewhere.

"I'll be playing in the sun and rocks in January instead of snow shoeing here. I think it will be exciting," she concluded.



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