12/31/17 — Behind the scenes of success

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Behind the scenes of success

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 31, 2017 3:05 AM


In January of 2018, the Wayne Community College Small Business Center will be moving back to the Walnut Building, pictured above, on the college's man campus. Director Dale Fey will be offering counseling services to anyone who owns, or wants to start a business, in various locations around Wayne County including the Chamber of Commerce in Goldsboro and a location in Mount Olive that is to be determined.

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Dale Fey talks about his goals for the Wayne Community College Small Business Center. He will soon be moving his office from Dixie Trail to the main campus, and will also operate out of other satellite locations.

Dale Fey likes seeing people be successful.

So, after nearly a professional lifetime amassing his own credentials, being named director of the small business center based at Wayne Community College is an especially good fit.

"I'm the kind of person that likes to work in the background," he said, his philosophy being to "just get out of the way and let them do their job."

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, his own resume has a varied background -- from moving his family to North Carolina to be a plant manager in Greensboro to buying the business and running it himself, to later working in real estate.

When it all caught up with him and he got "kind of burned out," he went back to college and wound up earning an MBA and a master's of entrepreneurship, finishing both at the same time.

It rekindled not only his appreciation for education, but ignited a hobby of sorts -- work.

At one point he was at a crossroads between taking a job in sales or a lesser-paying position at a college. His wife, Karen, a special education teacher, nudged him toward the latter.

He found his niche at the community college level, gaining experience at Central Carolina in Sanford and Vance-Granville in Henderson, before coming to work a few weeks ago at Wayne Business and Industry Center.

At the outset, his office was at Wayne Works Advanced Manufacturing Center on Dixie Trail. That is changing up this week, with his department returning to the WCC campus.

As it turned out, offices of the small business center had not been converted, making the reversion easier.

Fey's role is also becoming more mobile, as he prepares to put his range of experience, from apprentice to blue collar and business owner, to use helping others.  It is just one reason he took the job, he says.

"Everything's about Goldsboro. The rest of the surrounding area doesn't get that attention," he said. "People are intimidated coming into a college. Different locations just make more sense to me."

His base of operations will be in the Walnut Building at WCC. But his connections to the community will be made when he takes his expertise on the road, offering one-on-one counseling.

On the first Monday of the month, he will be at the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation office from 8:30-10:30 a.m. On the third Monday of the month, he can be found at the main branch of the library from 3-5 p.m. And on the second Tuesday of each month, he will be at the Wayne Chamber of Commerce office from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

There are also plans to find a space for him to hold the counseling sessions in Mount Olive, he said.

The biggest piece of his role, he explained, is not about building industry, but rather to support those with a dream.

"My job is to make sure that everybody that comes in here can start a business somehow, to have a way to help you succeed at whatever you want to do," he said. "Maybe it's not a storefront. Maybe it's a building."

His goal for the free service is to listen and learn, weighing in with his impressions.

"I just have to be objective," he said. "It's really simple to sort the situation out.

"I'm just outside, outside the box, and that's the key. When you have those kinds of experiences, failure and successes, and then you're on the outside, it's so easy for you to tell somebody, 'You just need to do that.'"

It's actually a fun position to be in, Fey said.

Sometimes it's simply a matter of pointing out what is right in front of the person, he said -- like those who are pursuing what they think they "should" do and benefit from being encouraged to go with their strengths or build on right things they are already doing.

"It's like a puzzle," he said. "But you get the satisfaction of seeing people, the pressure kind of comes off of them."

Fey was attracted to the job, literally the business side and specifically this community, he said.

"I like what I see in Goldsboro," he said. "It's coming along. It's much different than it was 15 years ago.

"For me, this is what I'm supposed to do. This is what I'm paid to do. I like seeing people being successful."

A self-proclaimed "change agent," Fey said his talent stemmed from being a studio arts major in college, where they taught students how to see things in a completely different way.

His vision, he says, is to meet with as many people as he can and in turn, develop a network for his clients to access resources and services in the community.

The small business center primarily offers three things, Fey said.

In addition to the one-on-one counseling, it provides free seminars and also provides referrals in such areas as legal and tax services.

For a list of the spring seminars, visit www.ncsbc.net.

For more information on the individual counseling or to make an appointment, call 919-739-6941.