The mission of Vendor Boot Camp is to collaborate with small businesses to develop sustainable solutions that improve operations. We believe engaging in knowledge-sharing relationships helps business owners think through and discover solutions. Our vision is to be known as the operations consulting firm that helps to build empowered small business communities.
Meet Our Team
Harry Chambers, Jr., MBA
Harry enjoys helping other business owners create a better life for themselves and their children. He is dedicated to encouraging business owners to use their gifts, develop mutually beneficial relationships, and mentor the next generation to improve communities. He provides financial expertise, tools, and planning strategies that allow clients to choose how to scale their businesses.
“My paternal grandparents (Walter and Lucy Chambers) were Alabama farmers from 1890 to 1970 (for 80 years) and raised 15 children in the town of Greensboro, Alabama in Hale County. My maternal grandparents (Robert/Tomp and Ella/Morn Hunt) were Alabama farmers and barbers from 1930 to 1980 (for 50 years) and raised 11 children in the same town. They had few material posessions but sustained their families from the resources they planted and harvested on their farms.
My parents (Harry and Bessie Chambers) worked on their parents’ farms many years before they started our family (6 children) in Birmingham, Alabama. My parents moved our family into a public housing project (Loveman’s Village) but eventually purchased a home in the West End community of Birmingham, Alabama. They both had a strong work ethic as a result of working on their parents’ farms but wanted their six children to graduate from high school.
I spent many joyful days and nights on my grandparents’ farms during our summer breaks and Christmas hoidays. I did not fully appreciate how their ownership of the farms would influence my journey. I hated having to work on the farm, because it was hard. I thought I should’ve been enjoying my school breaks instead. I’ve realized how wrong and selfish I was.
I believe my exposure to our family’s farms and experiencing our families working together is ingrained my DNA. As dysfunctional as large families can be, I saw our families working together and owning the land that produced food and work for the family. My family honored and supported family, friends and our community. Many years would pass before one of the farms was sold, but the other farm remains in our family. This business ownership legacy I inherited is the basis for how I use my God given gifts to champion, celebrate and encourage business owners. I am keenly aware of the impact business owners have on their family, friends and community, as well as the lack of resources unavailable to many of them.
My experiences auditing, traveling, observing business owners and embracing the cultures in the seven countries where I worked are discussed in detail in my book entitled More Than Qualified: Responding To the Trails, Troubles, & Triumphs of African-American Business Ownership.
My wife (Linda) and I started our businesses after working in corporate America, academia, and the government, to offer business owners the skill sets, operational improvement tools and planning strategies that would allow them to choose how they would scale their business. My unusual journey is common for business owners who desire to create a better life for themselves and their children, use their gifts to encourage others, support and develop mutually beneficial relationships, mentor the next generation, and leave the community better than the way they found them. I encourage all business owners that they, too, can pursue these same things.”
Harry holds an MBA from Samford University and a B.S. in Business Administration from Alabama State University. He brings over 30 years of experience in management and accounting, which includes Co-founder of Chambers Consulting, LTD, Osborne Enterprises, Inc., and Better Business Better Communities Research, Inc.; International Auditor with Bank of America in California, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus, and Pakistan; Operations Officer with AmSouth Bank (now Regions); and Tax Auditor with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Linda G. Chambers, PhD
Linda's journey to helping business owners succeed began while taking a business record-keeping course in high school. She loves advising and teaching clients how to budget and manage daily business expenses. She provides accounting expertise, tools, and planning strategies to help clients avoid losing revenue due to poor operational decision-making.
“The plan to start a business came so quickly one day while my husband (Harry) and I were eating sandwiches in the park under a big tree. However, the idea of business ownership was sparked much earlier for me. M dad owned a taxicab and worked as an independent driver for a taxicab company by paying a license to use the company’s name. In return, the taxicab company would dispatch a fair share of the daily calls to him. For some reason, my dad preferred to own his vehicle rather than be a driver of the company-owned cars.
As a child, my dad would come home after work each day ready to “count up”, as he would say. While my siblings and I watched TV, my dad and my mom retired to their bedroom to begin the nightly “count up” of my dad’s earnings from taxi driving. This nightly ritual involved my mom recording the cash in a spiral notebook after my dad stacked the bills and counted them along with the coins. My dad seemed gifted at counting in his head, because he could do it quickly and never seemed to make a mistake in his calculations. He would have to wait for my mom to use a calculator to finish computing everything. Knowing my dad had already finished the calculations in his head, my mom would often blurt out to him, “If you’ve already counted in your head, why do I need to calculate it?” Needless to say, that was a question that I began to ponder and later decided to consider when choosing a profession.
It wasn’t until I was in the eleventh grade taking a business record-keeping course that I learned how to calculate employee wages and record the payroll. This course was thrilling to me, because it offered an opportunity to learn how to help my parents “count up”. This is how my quest to help couples like my parents began. I keep a painting in my office of an old married couple sitting at their kitchen table counting money. It has served as a reminder of how important it was to my parents to count their earnings.
Harry and I started our business, Chambers Consulting, LTD, in April 1987 in our home. Within two years, we moved the business to a rental space. Soon after that, we purchased a commercial building where we have operated now for 29 years offering accounting and tax services to small businesses. Our aim remains to help small business owners, but we’ve expanded into offering management consulting and strategic planning services to clients by forming a corporation (Osborne Enterprises, Inc.), now with extended leadership from our daughter (Hali). Through our corporation, Hali provides talent management services and Harry created a copyrighted business education program (Vendor Boot Camp©) where we train small business owners.”
Linda holds a PhD in Accounting from Capella University, Master of Accounting degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Alabama State University. She brings over 30 years of experience in accounting and auditing, which includes Co-founder of Chambers Consulting, LTD, Osborne Enterprises, Inc., and Better Business Better Communities Research, Inc.; Instructor of Accounting and Director of Sponsored Programs at Miles College; Manager of Expense Planning at United Healthcare; Comptroller of the Bessemer City School System; Internal Auditor with Energen Corporation; and Associate National Bank Examiner with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Hali A. Chambers, PhD
As a second-generation family business owner, Hali has first-hand knowledge of the life of a small business owner-manager and the positive impact it can have on a family and community. Her parents introduced her to their boutique financial consulting firm at a very young age. During her summer breaks, she would sometimes work in their office as an assistant to earn spending money. Even though her responsibilities were limited to sweeping floors, filing paperwork, and data entry, she enjoyed working with her parents and interacting with their employees and clients – it made her feel valuable and connected to something that made a meaningful contribution to her family and community. She will never forget the time she overheard her dad consulting a client who was having trouble finding dependable employees for their company. Not only did her parents expose her to real-world ownership problems like this but they also gave her opportunities to contribute to the growth of their small business which started in their house, relocated to a brick and mortar, and has now expanded into the digital economy. Hali’s passion for helping small business owners solve their talent management problems stems from her childhood experiences in her parent’s business, but her commitment to doing this stems from her values: freedom, creativity, nature, accuracy, and peace.
Hali always knew she wanted to contribute to the family business, but her goal after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tuskegee University was to leave home to attend graduate school and then work for a large corporation to build her professional credentials and make a name for herself. So, she moved to Chicago after college to pursue this goal. Hali earned a master’s degree in industrial/organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and began her corporate career journey at one of the world’s largest management services companies. After three months on the job, she was awarded a promotion due to high performance. Even though she enjoyed exceeding her boss’s expectations and earning a nice paycheck each month, the work was neither fulfilling nor in alignment with her personal values. So, five months after the promotion, she decided to leave the corporate world to pursue her lifelong dream of joining the family business full-time. She went back to school for a doctorate in business psychology to obtain formal business training that equipped her with the necessary research and analytical skills to investigate and resolve talent management problems in practical ways alongside the small business owner-manager who intends to create a sustainable business. Today, she works with her parents in the family business, providing hiring assistance, strategic planning services and entrepreneurial training to small business clients in various industries ranging from personal care services to courier and delivery services.
Hali brings a wealth of professional experience serving the talent management needs of organizational leaders in both for-profit and non-profit businesses, including Personnel Board of Jefferson County, Safer Foundation, ComPsych Corporation, Chicago Transit Authority, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Edward Jones Financial Services Firm, U.S. Department of Energy, Jefferson County Commission, Biogen Biotechnology Company, AstraZeneca Research-Based Biopharmaceutical Company, Southern Company, University of Alabama at Birmingham, REV Birmingham, Southern Research and various public safety agencies in San Diego, Buffalo, Omaha, Atlanta, Detroit, and Chicago. Her areas of practice include process design/improvement, pre-employment assessment, 360-degree assessment, survey research, training, and consulting.
While completing her doctoral degree program, Hali was selected by the faculty to participate in the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program. PFF is a national movement to transform the way aspiring faculty members are prepared for their careers. The PFF program provided her with opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities, and it inspired her to pursue teaching to help small business owners create sustainable businesses. Her first teaching job was at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she facilitated various master’s degree program courses online and received kudos from most students evaluated on her ability to coach them one-on-one to successfully complete complex assignments. She later became an Assistant Professor of Psychology at an HBCU in Alabama, where she taught several undergraduate courses and received kudos from most students evaluated on her ability to engage students in the classroom and communicate subject matter in a clear, concise manner.
The results of Hali’s doctoral research on small business owners’ succession reveal that an owner’s progression through specific levels of succession planning is predicted by the frequency at which he or she uses functional experts. This suggests that small business owners who put greater emphasis on the succession planning aspect of talent management during the first six years of their business, by hiring a professional with the necessary expertise, can avoid the costs of leaving their business legacy to chance. This serves as the foundation for Hali’s consulting practice and has been endorsed by her peers and superiors alike. As a result of studying the behaviors of various small business owners and how these behaviors contribute to the success or failure of their businesses, Hali developed the “Talent Management: Hire Right & Train to Retain” course to train the small business owner-manager how to avoid common pitfalls of hiring and training employees in hopes that their business legacy won’t be left to chance as a result. She facilitates the course through Vendor Boot Camp©, an entrepreneurial training program that her parents created in response to clients’ need for a solution to their small business operational problems.
To help prepare the next generation of small business owners, Hali wrote a children’s book about three siblings who learn to work together to start a lemonade stand business in their own neighborhood. The book is based on her own childhood experience. It includes a discussion guide for parents and teachers, as well as a kid-friendly business plan activity, to help young readers develop their own business ideas. Since launching the book in 2021 through Amazon, the book has received 100% 5-star global ratings and positive reviews from customers.
Hali’s gift of teaching, research on small business owner succession, and passion for helping small business owners succeed also led her to create and facilitate business workshops, called Little Bosses, for kids who are interested in starting their own businesses. The program is offered through Better Business Better Communities Research, Inc. (BBBCR). A percentage of the proceeds from her children’s book sales are donated to BBBCRI to help cover expenses associated with operating Little Bosses. In 2021, the Ensley Business Alliance agreed to sponsor a pilot of the program with a $5,000.00 seed grant. So far, over 20 kids have completed the pilot program of Little Bosses and provided positive feedback on their experience.