Wiregrass Graduate Wins $10,000 in Business Plan Competition

March 3, 2014

Angela Roark Angela Roark

Valdosta, GA – Angela Roark’s passion in life has always been to help others. Her choice in careers shows just how dedicated she is to fulfilling that passion. While her journey took many twist and turns, each step has led her to where she is today. Angela is an entrepreneur and a two-time Wiregrass Georgia Technical College graduate. She is the owner of Hairspray Salon and Spa in Valdosta, GA and was recently announced as the winner of the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition to open a second business, Monarch Hair Solutions. Monarch Hair Solutions is a cranial prostheses center for individuals facing hair loss due to hereditary, genetic, hormonal, or other medical reasons.

Angela began her journey as a student in a large university after high school. She soon learned that being in a large university setting was not for her and decided to look at other options. She decided on Wiregrass Georgia Tech (then known as Valdosta Tech) to enroll in the cosmetology program. At that time the program had a wait list and she was eager to learn a skill that would allow her to begin working in a short period of time. After some counseling from the admission office, she decided to enter the medical assisting program. Looking back now, she realizes that was just one of many unexpected turns her life would take.

Angela graduated from the medical assisting program in September of 1990. While in that program she did an internship with Valdosta Family Medicine who hired her full time after graduation. She then moved to South Georgia Medical Associates. In all, Angela worked for eight years in the medical field. “I learned so much when working in the medical field. I loved what I did. Unfortunately, I had a hard time as I became too attached to each patient. It just broke my heart every time I learned we had lost a patient.”

The emotional toll of working in the medical field led her to return to college. She decided to go back to Wiregrass to earn her cosmetology license. At this time she had young children and wanted the freedom and independence to spend more time with them and their activities. Cosmetology had been her first career choice and she felt it was time to give it a try.

She graduated from the cosmetology program in September of 2000 and began working in a local salon. She did this until she opened her first salon in Clyattville, GA. She then moved her business, HairSpray Salon and Spa, to her current location on Northside Drive in Valdosta. She credits the support and guidance she received while at Wiregrass for the success she has seen today. “At Wiregrass you get close to your instructors and they are so supportive. Many times they pulled me aside and encouraged me when they saw me struggling. They reinforced that I could go do this and would help me restructure where needed to reach my goals. My former cosmetology instructor Carol Jeter still encourages me. My success is their success. They are so proud of each of their graduates and continue to be supportive long after you’ve graduated.“

Angela Roark wins Business Plan CompetitionAngela Roark is announced as the Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition at the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber Annual Luncheon.

At the annual Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber Banquet in December, Angela was announced as the recipient of the $10,000 Southwest Georgia Bank Business Plan Competition. The year-long competition helps develop potential area businesses through workshops and rigorous judging to receive $10,000 in capital funding plus several thousands of dollars in in-kind assistance.

“This has been one of the most awesome experiences of my life,” said Roark. Angela is expanding on her desire to help others by starting Monarch Hair Solutions, a Cranial Prostheses Center. The center will provide skin care, nutritional education and support, cranial prosthetic hair systems and analysis, and a number of other support and educational services for persons with hair loss due to alopecia, medical treatments including chemo radiation therapy, surgery, or other medially related issues. Roark plans to use the $10,000 capital infusion to secure a building for her business along with special machinery to create molds for custom made hairpieces.

“It was not a mistake for me to go through the medical assisting program. The training I had in the medical field along with my cosmetology experience is what has led me to this new business. I feel like each of these steps I’ve taken in my career has led me to this, my ultimate goal. I’m able to combine everything I love to do into a career that I love. I would not have been able to do that if it wasn’t for the education and support I received from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.”