Outlook 2007

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Local business leaders weigh in on the future

Richard Tucker
managing partner, Arlington Capital

OK, maybe Richard Tucker is the real Joe Friday. Just the facts, ma'am.

“I expect the economy and my business to be very good in 2007,” he says. Well then … how did his company fare last year? “My prediction was accurate,” he deadpans. “We outperformed our business plan and actually did better than I predicted.” Thanks, Joe.

Ginger Patton-Schmitt
partner, Morris, Manning and Martin

Ginger Patton-Schmitt may not be superstitious, but no one would fault the optimistic attorney if she kept her fingers crossed about things she cannot control.

“We are counting on a seven and hoping for an eight as interest rates remain low and as consumer confidence in the housing market improves,” she says in response to how she would rank her company”s prospects on a scale of 1 to 10. She takes a similar view of the economy at large. “With the interest rates stabilized, and with

millions of dollars of adjustable-rate mortgages set to adjust in 2007, we think the economy in 2007 will rebound, especially in the residential real estate market, after a sluggish fourth quarter in 2006.”

Bill Russell
CEO, Russell Landscape Group

Landscaping guru Bill Russell would like to design a 2007 performance that blooms all year long. But that wouldn”t be realistic. Weather changes. Things happen.

“I expect the economy in “07 to continue to be robust due to expected favorable interest rates available,” he says. “However, corporately, we are not as optimistic going into “07 due to a soft housing market and the uncertainty relative to positive immigration reform.”

Jamie Kennedy
vice president, Anderson Insurance

Jamie Kennedy looks at two major events of 2006 and sees lemonade in 2007 – in the form of steady growth for his company.

“The economy will skyrocket in 2007, mainly because of the 2006 election results,” he says. “The economy always does best in times of war and government gridlock. We now have both. The insurance industry is very slow to respond, for better or for worse, to national trends. As a result, growth in our sector of the economy tends to be slow but steady. I envision Anderson Insurance following this same pattern.”

David Bowen
owner/partner, Bowen Family Homes

Like he”s creating a blueprint for a new home, David Bowen sees the big picture for 2007. He predicts steady growth for his company, and he sees the economy playing out this way:

“I think the first two quarters of 2007 will be challenging as builders try to move inventory that has accumulated from the later part of 2006,” he says. “I see improvement in the third and fourth quarter of 2007 from a result of lower material cost and land cost leveling out or, in some cases, dropping in price.”

Michelle Jenkins
president, Winmark Homes

For home builder Michelle Jenkins, making her “07 predictions is all about precision. Measure twice and cut once.

“By effectively managing our operations, we will achieve positive growth as well as maintain profitability,” she reports. “Obviously, we would be able to close more units in a stronger market. We believe the market will begin to strengthen after the first quarter.”

J. Michael McGarity
The McGarity Group

When J. Michael McGarity and his legal beagles put their noses to the ground, they pick up the scent of big success this year.

“My team of lawyers and professional staff are excited about the future of Gwinnett County and the legal market in gene

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