Last spring, Billye Hill made The New York Times. The Northern Kentucky executive was featured in a piece about budding entrepreneurs who'd come out of the corporate world.

This year, fueled by referral growth, her company, Hill Technology Group, is still newsworthy. Through HTG, based in Crescent Springs, Ky., Hill has custom-designed some 75 Web sites for businesses and nonprofit agencies. She also created and operates aroundthe- nati.com, a site targeted toward African-Americans to apprise them of community events that previously may have missed their radar. Hill also hopes soon to add to her company's menu of services a short Web site-building class for businesspeople.

Not bad for a venture Hill gave herself three months to launch in the summer of 2001. At the time, she was a few years into a promising career in information technology at Procter & Gamble. She had already built aroundthenati.com on the side, when she sensed there was a communication gap between the organizers of community events and the public, given the prohibitive cost of traditional advertising.

"I had reached a crossroads where I wanted to develop this as a business," Hill recalls. "I thought, I'll give myself three months to try to do it full time, to see if it has validity to it and to see if it has legs to it. That [self-imposed deadline] soothed and calmed my family."

Such levelheaded thinking is typical for Hill, who says she regularly and rather naturally evaluates her ideas "” whether for her own company or for others "” in terms of their business potential.

"I constantly run through a business plan checklist in my own head "” how sound is this idea, is it feasible, can I make money at it and is there a need for it?" Hill says. "I just like resolving and meeting people's needs."

Some of the needs she's met, according to her Web site, include Zest and Ivory soaps, the Midwest Black Family Reunion, Cincinnati Empowerment Corp., the Cincinnati Medical Association, K&D Realty, and WCIN radio.

Colleagues who know her well say her personality is a key to Hill's success. Hill is pleasant to work with and freely gives of her time and business acumen, observes De Asa Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.

"Billye has great interpersonal skills "” she understands the value of building relationships," says Brown, who hired Hill, an active chamber member, to design the Web site for the street festival Ujima Cincibration. "She is always positive, always friendly. Sometimes Cincinnati can be so gloom and doom on itself that, when someone brings in a ray of sunshine, it's welcome."

Besides her upbeat style and impressive credentials for someone just 29, Hill also has the goods to back it all up, plus the gift of recognizing her strengths and limitations, Brown maintains. "When someone has humility, they know what they don't know and then can get the resources they need."

For Hill, such self-knowledge just enhances her work.

"I have to change my work environment about every year," Hill points out. "It's amazing how energized I get just moving my desk from one side of the room to another."