PGN Consulting: Determined to Help Grow Minority-Owned Businesses

John Tooson IV and Calvin Brown

By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor

If you are a business owner and you need assistance with matters such as insurance issues, government compliance, human resources, sustainable technologies and/or risk assessment, PGN Consulting may be just the outfit you need to call.

When PGN Consulting (Personal Growth Network) opened its doors for business more than three years ago, the basic concept was to connect small businesses with employee benefits and insurance packages, to help them in all areas of human resources and government compliance, says Calvin Brown, co-founder and chief operating officer. “That was the founding function of the company.”

Insurance was, in fact, the long-time specialty of John Tooson IV, co-founder and chief executive officer. During his career as a CEO with over 30 years of experience in all facets of sales, management and operations, Tooson has specialized in group life insurance, individual disability income insurance, life insurance annuities, IRAs, business valuations, to name a few.

So PGN provides health and welfare actuarial services, benefits consulting for self-insured and fully-insured plans and a wide range of health insurance products.

“Employers need the right strategic partner and advisor to help them manage both their short-term cost control challenges as well as the longer-term issues of health program management, compliance, employee engagement, accountability, health and well-being. We deliver better outcomes – both to your benefits program and your employees,” reads the company’s profile.

However, as with many companies in recent years, during which they dealt with the effects of the COVID pandemic, PGN found it necessary to pivot and expand their services, says Brown.

The company went into distribution of a variety of products, such as apparel and paper goods, handmade and durable goods, hooking up with items provided by Ace Hardware for example.

Then came the third leg of the company’s operations: logistics – acquiring two warehouses, connecting contractors and suppliers, moving products.

“So many moving targets,” says Brown. “We have partners that we can plug into our many platforms.”

The company’s client base has also expanded given its increasingly diversified services – a variety of transit systems in the public sector, nonprofit agencies and for-profit businesses.

Now PGN has entered an entirely new phase and is diversifying even more, Tooson says, as the company starts PGN TV, a business streaming channel with a goal of “working with large companies across the country, interviewing CEOs and procurement officers to explain to minority-owned businesses and to provide knowledge so they are allowed to grow.”

Minority businesses, says Tooson, are not necessarily “small” businesses in the sense that they are destined to remain small. Business owners, with assistance, can “scale up and develop generational wealth,” he adds. PGN TV hopes to help such businesses scale up and “open their businesses up to the world” through the use of platforms such as Roku, iPads, iPhone and all the other methods and devices that are so readily available today.

PGN TV will help create commercials and podcasts and help such small businesses grow by opening up markets for their products and services “across the country and the world,” says Tooson.

Tooson, in the past, has managed an account base of major corporate clients representing $20 million in annual revenue with multiple product lines. He excels in generating leads, networking and developing new and exciting relationships.

Brown, a graduate of the University of Toledo, has years of experience working in such areas as human resources, labor relations, compensation, benefits administration and diversity/inclusion and retirement plans – with both private firms, non-profits and government bodies – such as the City of Toledo for a number of years.

“Our goal is to help your business become more profitable,” declared these two experienced businessmen when they created PGN in March 2019. The goal hasn’t changed but the ways in which they can assist other businesses have become ever more diverse and varied.