Last month the National Small Business Association elected Jeffrey Van Winkle to replace David Ickert as chairman. The NSBA is a 65,000-member advocacy group known for its research (pdf) on small business issues. Van Winkle is an attorney at law firm Clark Hill, splitting time between Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich. Van Winkle spoke to me about what he hopes to accomplish during his year as NSBA chairman. An edited excerpt of our conversation follows.
How does your work inform you about what matters to small business owners?
One of the buckets my clients fall into is higher-growth companies, which [have] often been companies that are propelled by tech. I also have clients that are closer to Main Street, [including] franchisee groups, or retail groups, or entertainment-related businesses. My experience with those clients gives me a great appreciation of what a small business trade organization should be about. I’ve heard their stories; I’m part of their world.