SCORE Charlotte awarded its highest honor, the prestigious “Dick O’Brien Award” for 2023 to Helen Ruth (“HR”) Harwell of the SouthPark area of Charlotte, NC and Danny Fischer of Matthews, NC, in recognition of their exemplorary service in leading SCORE Charlotte as President Co-Chairs through the difficult years of 2021 and 2022 due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The “Dick O’Brien Award” was presented to Harwell and Fischer by Barbara Brill, current SCORE Charlotte President at the organization’s recent annual awards meeting and banquet in Charlotte, NC. SCORE Charlotte’s top recognition of a chapter member or members for exemplary volunteer service, it has been awarded annually since 2005 and is named for Dick O’Brien, a former Chapter Chair who volunteered tirelessly to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits achieve success. O’Brien passed away in 2005.
Brill noted that in 2001 and 2002, the President’s position was split between Harwell and Fischer to handle numerous and growing responsibilies and also restructure SCORE Charlotte from the organization’s traditional office environment to an on-line environment due the cononavirus.
“Remote mentoring consultations had to be set up remotely via phone, e-mail and on-line video services such as Zoom for its new and existing clients or small business owners and those wanting to start-up, expand or re-open an existing business,” Brill noted. “Free and low cost workshops such as Simple Steps in Starting Your Business and numerous problem-solving seminars were also restructured using these on-line video services,” Brill noted. “This required major adjustments in how SCORE Charlotte normally conducted business.”
“Harwell and Fischer led our chapter through two very tough years,” noted Brill. “All of our client meetings and SCORE Charlotte monthly and other meetings and numerous seminars had to be held on line versus in person.”
A volunteer organization consisting of 72 active, retired or semi-retired men and women, SCORE Charlotte was formed in 1965 as the 47th Chapter of SCORE National based in Hendron, VA, a suburb of Washington, D. C. A resource partner of the SBA (Small Business Administration), it is one of over 320 chapters nationwide with over 11,000 Certified SCORE members.
Harwell SCORE Charlotte Member Since 2014
An active member of SCORE Charlotte since 2014, HR (Helen) Harwell served as Charlotte Chapter Co-Chair for 2021 and 2022. Before that, she served as Vice President of Administration.
A native of Greenville, NC, HR has over 22-years experience in corporate and transactional law, estate planning and probate administration of estates. She moved to Charlotte in 1998 after graduating from law school and worked for a local firm handling numerous cases. Two years later, she moved on to focus on business law and estate/planning probate.
Since 2007, HR has been President and Owner of Harwell Law Firm, PA located at 6201 Fairview Rd., Suite 330 in Charlotte’s South Park area where she also resides. The firm focuses on transation legal matters including business law, estate planning and administration and probate administration of estates. She is licensed in both North Carolina and Alabama.
HR received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University, Auburn, AL in 1994 in business concentrating in management information systems and a law degree in 1997 from the Cumberland School of Law, a division of Samford University in Birmingham, AL.
Beside SCORE Charlotte, HR is active in numerous organizations in the Charlotte area
Including the National Association of Women Owners (NAWBO) and the Matthews (NC) Women’s Club Service League (NWCSL).
She is a member of the North Carolina Bar and the Alabama Bar Association.
Fischer SCORE Charlotte Member Since 1994
A resident of Matthews, NC, along with HR, Fischer served as Charlotte Chapter Co-Chair for 2021 and 2022. Before that, he served as Executive Vice President of External Affairs.
Fischer has been an active member of SCORE Charlotte since 1994. Upon joining SCORE Charlotte, he immediately stepped into the role of Vice President of Marketing on the Executive Committee.
In 2018, Fischer received his second Distinguished Service Award, an unusual feat in the Chapter’s history. The award was for his continued support of the chapter across the different client areas, e.g. human resources, marketing and client services as well as his active role on the Executive Committtee.
In his 30-year career span, Fischer has worked as a project manager, data quality analyst, division operational manager, portrait studio owner, franchise specialist, funding consultant and entrepreneur. Currently, he is a multi-unit team leader with H&R Block Tax Advisors.
Fischer is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park Campus, Robert H. Smith School of Business, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management.
He is also an active member on behalf of SCORE Charlotte in the Matthews, NC Chamber of Commerce.
About SCORE Charlotte
SCORE Charlotte serves clients in 13 counties in North Carolina (Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Stanly, Lincoln, Catawba, Caldwell, Alexander, Iredell, Rowan, Union and
Anson) and three counties in South Carolina (York, Chester and Lancaster).
In fiscal year 2022, the non-profit SCORE Charlotte organization helped 252 new businesses get started within within the 14 North Carolina and South Carolina counties it represents. As a result, 688 new jobs were created.
Overall, 1,540 men and women were served in over 2,700 sessions who wanted to expand or start a new business. SCORE Charlotte also sponsored 77 local in-person workshops attended by over 1,400 local men and women and with clients viewed over 580 national webinars attended by over 1,200 attendees from the 16 counties it serves in North and South Carolina.
Besides free mentoring, SCORE Charlotte members serve as SCORE Ambassadors and participate as speakers at business trade shows and events in the Charlotte Region. SCORE Charlotte also sponsors free and low-cost workshops such as Simple Steps in Starting Your Business throughout the year and sponsors numerous problem-solving seminars on how to start a business or deal with business growth.
SCORE chapters are located throughout the country, with nine in North Carolina. Sponsored by the SBA, SCORE is comprised of volunteers (some active in business) who mentor small business owners across a variety of business disciplines. Like all SBA partners, SCORE counseling is offered free of charge.