New Ownership: Joy Hawkins' Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
9.18Image.jpg


Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc.
Has Acquired the Local Search Forum

I’m pleased to announce that Joy Hawkins’ company Sterling Sky, Inc. has acquired the Local Search Forum. Joy does not need much of an introduction, I think everyone in the industry is aware of her many accomplishments (some of which I’ll share below.) In addition to all of her other contributions to the industry, she’s been an important part of this community since the beginning and a good friend.

Colan Nielsen, is the VP of Local Search at Sterling Sky. Colan was our 1st moderator 6 years ago and has been a loyal & invaluable part of the team ever since. Excited that Colan comes with the package - so he will be rewarded for his hard work by taking his rightful place at the top, helping Joy run the forum.


About Sterling Sky, Inc.

Sterling Sky Inc is owned by Joy Hawkins, who has been working in the Local SEO space since 2006. Colan Nielsen is the VP of Local Search and has been in the Local SEO Space since 2010. Here are some of our achievements:

· Columnist at Search Engine Land
· The only company in the world with two Google My Business Top Contributors
· Speakers at marketing conferences such as State of Search, LocalU, SMX, & Pubcon.
· Faculty Member at LocalU
· Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Contributors
· Certified Google Partner

Why I sold the forum… Most of you know I’ve been in semi-retirement, due to health issues. The time has come for me to go into full retirement. But you can't totally get rid of me, I’ll still be around some. :)

I’m looking forward to watching where the “Dynamic Duo” will take things. It will be very gratifying for me to see “my baby” evolve and grow under their direction! With their knowledge, energy and passion for supporting the industry, this community can only get better from here!


HUGE thanks to our team, our members & our sponsors!


PS This post is the cut & dried official announcement. In my next post, I’ll be sharing a more personal, detailed thank you & recognizing some very special people. I’m sure Joy & Colan will be by to wave hi and share more details too.



And now… Please join me in congratulating Joy and Colan!

 
Last edited:

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

I founded the Local Search Forum over 6 years ago, due to popular demand from Local Search professionals. They needed a positive and productive place to learn, vent and brainstorm about local search. The forum has grown over the years into one of the top industry resources - largely due to all of you! So I have a few people I’d like to acknowledge.


With Heartfelt Gratitude

Thanks to our Team

Special thanks to my special team! I could not have made it 6 years without your support!

More exciting news! I’m happy to share that our expert team will stay onboard.
So you guys are still in the same good hands and things will only get better from here!

So in addition to Joy & Colan, our current super mods, Scott Rawlins & Eric Rohrback will remain on the team. Plus David Baxter, my Forum Administrator, will continue taking care of all the technical things that need to be done to make the forum run smoothly, for Sterling Sky.


Thanks to our Sponsors
We all owe thanks to our longtime sponsor Grade.Us (Jon Hall & Garrett Sussman) for making this community possible and always contributing great content! We also have a couple new sponsors to welcome and thank: Tidings (David Mihm) & Whitespark (Darren Shaw).

Thanks to our Top Contributor Team (past & present):
Phil Rozek, Darren Shaw, James Watt, Casey Meraz, Priya Chandra, Michael Borgelt, Cody Baird, Dan Leibson, Christa Morgante, & Susan Staupe. I really appreciate the support you have given me and hopefully will continue to give Joy.



Thanks to our Members
Huge thanks go out to all our members, you make this forum great!
I admire the way so many of you have selflessly helped others over the years.
Here are just a few members that I think deserve some recognition & thanks.

2 of the most helpful (non staff) members in the last 6 months:
(Felt the need to highlight these 2 for their detailed, helpful answers. We appreciate you!)
JoshuaMackens and Cherie Dickey

Some of our most active members (besides staff) over the post 30 days.

Garrett Sussman (Sponsor as well as a top contributor)
JoshuaMackens
Tim Colling
Cherie Dickey
MiriamEllis
HoosierBuff
Sherry Bonelli
Chris_Gregory
rosie.brightlocal
Digitaldar
RikerJones
Jim Froling
(So sorry, due to limited “handwidth” I’m not able to list everyone.
There are so many more people that deserve recognition!)

As for me… Most of you know that I had to semi-retire a couple years ago, due to multiple hand injuries (RSI). After a lot of soul searching I decided it’s time to go into full retirement. However you can’t get rid of me that easily! I’m too hooked on this community to just walk away, so I’ll be around occasionally and will be joining the moderation team for a little while.

So in closing... I just can’t even express how thrilled I am with the way this turned out.
I don’t think the forum could be in better hands than with Joy & Colan!

Please welcome our new forum management team!
 

Chris_Gregory

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
55
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Linda, I wish you the best of luck on your not-so-retired-retirement =). Even though I started DAGMAR Marketing 7 years ago it was your Google Places training that got the ball rolling and gave me the tools and confidence to actually charge for local SEO services. DAGMAR has now grown to 10 full time employees. I know your dedication to the industry has had similar affect on other lives and companies.

Joy - congrats on your acquisition and looking forward to continuing the journey with you and Colan.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Thank you so much for the kind words Chris. I've enjoyed working with you over the years and am thrilled your company is doing so well.

Knowing I helped some people in some small way, is what helped to drive me all these years and it was great to hear that from you!
 

freerunr

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
74
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Enjoy retirement, Linda. Thanks for filling a void 6 years ago that has been helpful to all of us. We'll miss ya!
 

Marie Haynes

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
132
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Congrats everyone! So exciting!
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
289
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Linda, I wish you the best of luck on your not-so-retired-retirement =). Even though I started DAGMAR Marketing 7 years ago it was your Google Places training that got the ball rolling and gave me the tools and confidence to actually charge for local SEO services. DAGMAR has now grown to 10 full time employees. I know your dedication to the industry has had similar affect on other lives and companies.

Joy - congrats on your acquisition and looking forward to continuing the journey with you and Colan.
Same here! I remember the first training course from Linda about the same time. I wouldn't still be here without her help.

Congrats Linda!
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,833
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

One of the best transitions I've ever seen. Joy and Colan will continue the integrity of this place. I don't know if there are two other individuals that Linda (or the community for that matter) would rather have running this place.

Grand slam.

Thanks so much Linda for providing this place and actively managing it over the years. Forums can be a tricky place. Your track record in doing so is pristine and I'm so thankful for what you've created here.

Full retirement well deserved!
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Thanks so much Joshua for all your helpful posts over the years.
You've been a valued member for sure!
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Thanks also to Kerry, Marie and Chris. Very excited for you guys still have this forum after I retire and with Joy and Colan at the helm it's a WIN/WIN for everyone.
 

BenFisher

Local Search Expert
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
287
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Linda, thank you so much for just being who you area. I remember the days when we would talk on the phone for hours before I became a TC. Your love and dedication to the Local SEO community has always been amazing and I feel that Joy and Colan could not have been a better choice.
 

hajnasiewicz

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2016
Messages
117
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Wow! Congratulations, great news. This has been, and will continue to be one of my primary sources for information to help me grow in my career. I thank you Linda for all of your work on this over the years. I look forward to continued guidance from this group, and I'm excited for Joy and her team. This is such a great supportive network, thank you everyone.
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
254
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

I'm sorry to see you step down, Linda... but I'm also excited to see that Joy and Colan will be filling your shoes. I don't think anyone else could have been a better fit.

And I appreciate the shout out! This forum's discussions, even before I became a member, has been an invaluable resource to me during my journey learning local SEO, and staying up to date on current standards/changes. It's only right for me to give back where and when I can.

Onward and upward!!

Cherie
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,115
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Wow! What a great transition of ownership!

Linda - best of luck in your retirement and I hope it is a real blessing for you and your family!

Joy - What a great business move and what a great person to take over the leadership of the forum and the G+ community!

Well done, everyone! :)
 

Martin Briggs

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Messages
26
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

I don't post much but I've been lurking for a few years and this has always been a go-to place for great resources. It's always so positive and welcoming in here, and none more so than Linda - thanks and good luck! With Joy and Colan around, I'm sure you've left this place in good hands :)
 

Brian Barwig

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
69
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Congrats Linda! You had one of the first local search forums I ever visited, read, and contributed to. Big inspiration for me doing Local today. Good luck in the future and enjoy retirement!
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
254
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

It's always so positive and welcoming in here, and none more so than Linda
This has always stood out to me as well. Many times, especially in tech related forums, the conversations can get a bit condescending at times (to put it nicely). I have never, EVER seen that here from any member. It's difficult to cultivate a "safe for all members" environment like that - but it has been done very well here.
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,296
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

I also got my start in this industry by participating and networking in forums. When Linda started the LSF it skyrocketed my knowledge and passion for learning and helping others learn about local search.

Thank you Linda!

Thank you for the kind words everyone!
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,580
Re: New Ownership: Joy Hawkins’ Company Sterling Sky, Inc. Has Acquired the Forum

Congratulations, Linda! You’ve created a hell of a thing here. The breather is well-deserved.

I haven’t been too active for a while, but have enjoyed the forum since the beginning, and look forward to the next phase.
 

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