About our sponsors Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2009

Innovation is at the core of any organization. The sponsors of the 2009 Innovation in Business awards and conference are no different.

Smart Business asked the sponsors how they innovate as well as what innovative initiatives their organizations have implemented or undertaken during the past 12 to 18 months that have made an impact. Here’s what they said:

U.S. Bank

At U.S. Bank, we view every transaction as an opportunity to build deeper relationships with our customers. We have developed new, more comprehensive reporting and tracking programs that let our bankers across all lines of business understand a customer’s full relationship so that more advantageous recommendations and innovative solutions can be presented.

Sometimes a single employee or product can be the right answer, but more often, it takes the collaboration and teamwork of financial professionals across many areas of the bank working together to make sure the customer gets the best we have to offer. Sometimes the answers are simple, but more often, our customers depend on our regional, national and global capabilities and our expertise in specialized fields to see the big picture and to bring to the table sophisticated solutions to complex questions.

For more information about U.S. Bank, visit www.usbank.com or call (216) 623-9228.

Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. L.P.A.

Our innovative initiatives include three core areas of our business — people, product and performance. On the people side, our partnership has developed a leadership mentoring program — each attorney is assigned a partner mentor to guide him or her in career development and marketing, sharing best practices, helping make improvements in writing, file processing, leadership and court demeanor.

On the product side, one of our senior partners identified a completely new practice area for the firm, helping our financial clients generate better recoveries on commercial loans, combining our expertise in upfront call center collections with our steadfast recovery litigation.

And in the performance area, our IT team has made great strides in further developing our core data warehouse, a centralized data hub that interconnects all of our offices and systems together, providing faster and more detailed reporting for customers and our internal vertical teams.

Our efforts are necessary to keep us as the nation’s top debt recovery law firm and are all targeted to help us maintain and improve our overall customer service — we like to say, “At WWR, we get it.”

For more information about Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. L.P.A., visit www.weltman.com or call Alan Weinberg, managing partner, at (216) 685-1100.

Lorain County Community College

Lorain County Community College values innovation in its workplace and encourages its employees to engage in leadership at all levels throughout the organization. Employees are actively involved in achieving LCCC’s Vision 2015 goals. The LCCC employee brand demonstrates collaboration, respect, innovation and integrity, and those values contribute to a meaningful work environment.

LCCC also promotes innovation through its support to entrepreneurs that are creating new technologies and growing jobs through GLIDE, the Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise, a partnership of the Lorain County Commissioners, Lorain County and LCCC. The creation of the LCCC Foundation’s Innovation Fund further demonstrates a commitment to enhancing regional entrepreneurship through access to pre-seed funding. LCCC’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Center, which opened in 2007, is home to the Entrepreneurship Innovation Institute, which partners with organizations and entrepreneurs for education, support and access to technologies and work force development opportunities.

For more information about LCCC, visit www.lorainccc.edu or call (800) 995-5222.

Fortney & Weygandt Inc.

Fortney & Weygandt is proud to be a sponsor for the 2009 Innovation in Business Conference. We are a general contractor that has thrived by discovering better systems, improving methods and stressing consistent performance improvement. At Fortney & Weygandt, we salute innovation.

In early 2009, we embarked upon a course to improve productivity, lower costs for our self-insured health benefit plan and advance employee morale. Fortney & Weygandt partnered with Be Well Solutions to implement an incentive-based wellness program for our office staff, field employees and families. Health fairs were conducted, screening employees for risk factors for diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. The results were eye-opening as a significant number of people discovered that they had high risk factors that were previously unknown.

The good news is that all participants now have the information to take proactive, preventive steps in order to reduce their risk of cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Educational health seminars are being conducted regularly, covering topics such as healthy eating, the importance of exercise, smoking cessation and proper health screening. Our “Largest Loser” program was a huge success — 31 participants lost a total of 324 pounds in 12 weeks. Through these educational seminars, financial incentives and special programs, we are encouraging our employees and their families to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Through the wellness program, participants have quit smoking, lost weight and improved their awareness of their general well-being. These changes have made our workplace a happier and healthier environment. We are confident that this program will positively affect our bottom line through increased productivity, reduced health care costs and improved company morale.

For more information on Fortney & Weygandt Inc., visit www.fortneyweygandt.com or call (440) 716-4000.

Consolidated Technologies Group

Consolidated Technologies Group leads the way in helping businesses utilize technology to drive business results. This year, we launched our industry-leading product, CTG Convergence (www.CTGConvergence.com), a comprehensive online business system that integrates today’s most in-demand marketing and customer relationship management solutions.

As a fully integrated solution, Convergence enables business users to combine customer and prospect databases with multichannel marketing campaigns to simplify their marketing process, while at the same time greatly improving results through more highly targeted marketing practices. The application includes CRM functionality for tracking customers and prospects, along with integrated solutions for print, direct mail, e-mail, personalized URLs and texting campaigns. Making CTG Convergence even more innovative is that it can be privately bran ded for clients, promoting use of the system as an organization’s primary tool for customer relationship management, lead generation and client communication.

CTG Convergence, the latest innovation from Consolidated Technologies Group, puts the power of technology in your hands to drive exceptional business results.

For more information, visit www.CTGConvergence.com, e-mail info@ctgconvergence.com or call (216) 426-5328.

FIT Technologies

At FIT Technologies, finding ways to be stronger, smarter, better, faster is important to us. It’s part of who we are as an organization, and it’s what we strive to accomplish for our clients — finding solutions to make their systems and software run better so they can focus on their customers.

We support the Northeast Ohio community by providing a full range of services, from network monitoring to help desk, hosting, on-site technical support, application development, Internet connectivity and telecommunications services. We know that smart, strong IT helps businesses thrive, and our clients know that innovation relies as much on efficiency and effectiveness as it does on creativity. Our professionals design plans to meet a company’s goals for their technology health. We cultivate a high-touch and high-tech atmosphere with our employees at FIT, and we translate that into the service we provide our customers. At FIT Technologies, we take the work out of doing business.

For more information about FIT Technologies, visit www.FITtechnologies.com or call (877) 765-8989.

LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility

LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility has built a solid reputation as the premier venue for hosting full-service conferences, special events and business meetings. Our world-class facility has embraced elegance, high-tech communications and delectable culinary creations to assure your event is an absolute success.

LaCentre’s innovation extends to its technology, atmosphere, capability, flexibility, form and taste. Our dedicated and devoted staff provides clients with a positive and enriching experience with more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate events of nearly any size.

For more information on LaCentre, visit www.lacentre.com or (440) 250-2000.

Hughie’s Audio-Visual & Computer

At Hughie’s Audio-Visual & Computer, innovation is our lifeblood. As the premier live-event design and production resource in the region, Hughie’s stays on the cutting edge by offering audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging and roof systems for any type of event. Additionally, we offer computers, event registration, event production and video production, making us a true one-stop shop for all of a company’s production needs. Most importantly, with all of our resources, years of industry knowledge and cutting-edge technology, you can rely on our team working with yours to ensure many successful events.

For more information on Hughie’s, visit www.hughies.com or call (216) 361-4600.