Crystal Culbertson


Crystal Clear Technologies

Crystal Culbertson had launched a successful business, but there was something missing that would make Crystal Clear Technologies even better. Culbertson decided she needed to begin performing the services that she was selling in order to bring the consulting firm to its full potential.

So she and her husband, who was also the company’s president, brought services in house. It wasn’t easy and the Culbertsons had to raise some of the money for the firm by borrowing against their own property. But the risk paid off, despite a lot of sleepless nights.

CCT provides IT services to the military and government and advises companies seeking help through federal procurement policies. As you might expect when doing business in the government sector, there can be a lot of obstacles to work through. But Culbertson, the company’s CEO, has proven to be effective at making sense of it all and helping her business stay ahead of the curve.

She’s even shown a willingness to take a loss to help her customers when they really need it. It was March 2010 when CCT sent eight employees to Japan to install a secure broadband network at Kadena Air Base. The company had $1 million of supplies en route just as a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck the island country.

Shipping delays ensued and additional time was needed to locate supplies. But word of the cooperation and willingness of her people to find a way to make it all work spread quickly to others and opened the doors to new projects opportunities for CCT.

The drive and determination Culbertson showed to be there for her clients when they needed her most have been key factors in the company’s success. The company continues to grow and has reached a point where potential buyers have approached Culbertson. But the strong commitment she has for her people has kept her from seriously considering any of these offers.

How to reach: Crystal Clear Technologies,

Published in Florida
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 11:31

Evolve or Die: Evolution of Manufacturing 2013

All you need to do is look around to realize that the world is changing at a pace faster than anyone could have imagined. Every day, competition increases and the rules of engagement are rewritten. Keeping up with the Joneses is no longer enough to ensure survival.

Those manufacturers that understand how to remain in a state of constant adaptation have learned that this may be the only true key to thriving in the new economic realities of the global economy.

In the links below, we highlight 17 manufacturers that have taken steps to get ahead of change and forge their own paths. These award winners, honorable mentions and panelists for the 2013 Evolution of Manufacturing Conference, presented by Cuyahoga Community College, are truly setting the pace for others in this region. And we even identified a handful of companies that were engaged in initiatives “of note” to tell you about.

The conference is designed to recognize and showcase manufacturers and technology companies that have adapted to competition in a global economy through improved operations, new technologies, products or services. The 2013 program focuses on the continued evolution to advanced manufacturing with a focus on breakthrough concepts, transforming old-line manufacturers into high-tech manufacturers and what it takes to remain competitive and relevant in a new manufacturing age.

This year marks the 14th year of this annual event. This year’s honorees are culled from an extensive nomination and selection process which began in early fall and ended in early December.

Congratulations to the honorees and honorable mentions.


Click the links below to read the individual profiles for all of this year's honorees.

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Panalists

Tom Salpietra, president and COO, EYE Lighting International

Eric Lofquist, president and CEO, Magnus International Group

Suzy Remer, owner and CEO, Midwest Box Co.

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Winners

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Honorable Mentions

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Manufactures "Of Note"

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Sponsors


Published in Akron/Canton
Thursday, 31 January 2013 19:00

Manufacturing evolution

In a swiftly changing world, these three manufacturers have learned the art of adaptation.

Later this month, these three regional executives will participate in a panel discussion at the 2013 Evolution of Manufacturing Conference, presented by Cuyahoga Community College. They will address a topic every manufacturer faces: adapting to the 21st century manufacturing world.

Smart Business asked each panelist to share his or her thoughts in advance on what’s changed and how he or she has addressed it.


Tom Salpietra

president and COO,

EYE Lighting International

Q: What is the most significant challenge EYE Lighting has faced over the past few years?

A: Solid-state lighting, made up of LEDs or light-emitting diodes, was developed more than 50 years ago. However, it has only been within the last year or two that SSL technology has made its way into general illumination in the home and in commercial and industrial applications. The price premium in adopting SSL is still somewhat controversial, but in time, it will become a more affordable option. In the meantime, customers are demanding other energy-saving solutions in the form of traditional types of lighting.

EYE Lighting’s business strategy has been in the roadway, commercial and industrial markets. Over the last two years, we have been shifting our focus away from the older forms of bluish and yellowish lighting to ‘white’ ceramic technology and to solid-state lighting. We continue to make investments in R&D and manufacturing so that we can maintain our lead in providing high-quality, value-added lighting solutions for our customers.

Q: How has this better positioned you for long-term operational sustainability?

A. We manufacture more than 70 percent of our volume in Northeast Ohio with a dedicated and experienced labor force. Over the last couple of years, we have engineered new products and developed more efficient processes, retraining our employees to meet the needs of our changing environment. Our ability to make these changes and still sustain our company culture lies in our passion for continuing to subscribe to lean manufacturing and operate under our various ISO certifications. We are proud of our rigorous approach to ISO 9000-Business, IS0 14000-Environment, and OHSAS 18000-Health and Safety.

Q: With all these changes, how do you continue to adapt?

A. We must continue to expand our offering of various products and services, rethinking our strategy every couple of years: Are we on the right track? How can we enhance our competence? Should it be organically or through an acquisition? What other kind of improved business model can we develop? How will e-commerce and social media affect our go-to-market tactics?

These are the questions we continually challenge ourselves with on a continuing basis. Sometimes just by self-examination, the answers are fairly clear. At other times, we need to venture outside into other industries and businesses to know how they are handling their changing environment. In the end, we allow ourselves to learn and improve upon the experiences of others.

Q: So what big initiatives is EYE Lighting undertaking this year and next?

A. Our strategic initiatives over the next couple years encompass significant investments in ceramic HID and LED technology. We know our customers want energy-savings solutions, yet they want to maintain a high level of quality and performance across all their lighting needs. We will expand our sales personnel and our marketing campaigns, including our activities in e-commerce and social media. We are very excited about the contributions EYE Lighting can make to the marketplace, and we owe much of our success to our employees and our dedicated customer base.


Eric Lofquist

president and CEO,

Magnus International Group

Q: How has Magnus evolved over the past few years to meet growing demands in your industry?

A: Founded in 2007, Magnus initially focused on transforming petroleum-based co-products into liquid fuels and other carbon-rich materials. Eventually, we moved from traditional petroleum-based products to processing vegetable oils and naturally derived emulsions into natural waxes for items such as fire logs and candles.

The company’s most notable innovation came in 2010, when we vertically integrated our operation to convert discarded food industry co-products into unique, natural animal feed ingredients. Since then, Magnus has grown substantially by turning leftover raw materials — like restaurant fats, oils and greases, and sweets from food manufacturers — into healthier, tastier feed for the dairy, cattle, poultry and swine industries.

Q: How has this better positioned you for long-term growth?

A: Today, 90 percent of our product development is now on the animal nutrition side of the business. This sector is more predictable, profitable and stable than other industries in which we’ve worked, and there is less overall market pressure.

Our production facility is as diverse and as flexible as ever. Magnus’ ability to come to market quickly with one-of-a-kind, high-value animal feed ingredients has been critical to our success and the success of our partners.

The opportunities to collaborate with the world’s leading food companies, both as suppliers and customers, have been incredible. Magnus’ complete transparency and unique profit-sharing structure creates a difficult-to-duplicate business model that clients find attractive on several fronts. I think we offer the best product-price balance, boutique processing ability and special production techniques.

Q: So with all these changes, how do you continue to adapt?

A: Moving from petroleum-based inputs to sustainable global products has focused us even more on product quality. We recently became ISO/FSSC 22000-certified, which is the leading worldwide standard for food safety management. Achieving and maintaining that standard means we’re operating at a higher level of detail and quality systemwide. Now, all employees individually commit to a plant quality and safety pledge as a minimum requirement for being part of our work community. The net result has been increased product quality, enhanced customer and end-user satisfaction and measurable, award-winning growth in customer-shared revenue.

Q: As you look to the future, what significant initiatives is Magnus looking at for this year and next?

A: Our goal is to produce one new branded, natural product per quarter from prime and secondary co-products. Many of these will be exclusive animal feed ingredients. At any given time, we could have three to five different products under development. Some won’t make it past the lab stage — we have a strict, rigorous testing process — and some might not survive the market. But one or more will gain traction, and we’ve learned for that to happen, we need to always have a selective stable of products under consideration.

Why? Our future growth depends on constant innovation and remanufacturing. We need to be nimble to respond to unanticipated opportunities and have short uptime on new processes and products … all the while maintaining the superior product quality and service for which we’ve become known. We will stay ‘lean’ and ‘kaizen’ in our production strategies and continue to find groundbreaking ways to rescue landfill-bound feedstocks and convert them into renewable products.


Suzy Remer

owner and CEO,

Midwest Box Co.

Q: What have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced recently with Midwest Box Co.?

A: I became sole owner in August, and business has bounced back to almost pre-recession levels. But with our customers skeptical about their future business, ordering has changed. We now see very exacting ‘just-in-time’ ordering.

For our noninventory customers — those who do not use our warehousing program — we now need to be able to manufacture and ship product based on shorter lead times. For our inventory program, we find more customers are choosing this option to take advantage of price breaks and instant availability of their product.

Customer service is another area where change is happening quickly. It is more important than ever to be able to respond to a customer’s needs immediately. Many customers seem to wait until the very last minute to order and require us to fulfill their needs quickly. This has taught us how to be more flexible and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have inventory notifications that help our customers manage their ordering. We have developed delivery ability that allows us customer access in a more timely and efficient way.

We also acquired the Walford Industrial Park. We had been tenants here for more than 30 years. As owners of the park we can now expand to meet any future growth without moving.

Q: How has the economy played a role in changes you’ve made?

A: Pricing had become quite a challenge. In the past, we could develop a relationship with a customer based on our quality, service and competitive pricing. Staying true to our commitment of quality and service has worked well for us.  But today, we find customers who leave us due to perceived cost savings and then return after discovering that the quality and service of the company they left us for are not the same.

That’s something we’re addressing this year, so the biggest initiative for us now will be cost reductions. Margins have been squeezed. We are trying to be as aggressive with our vendors as our customers are with us.

Q: Let’s look back in time a bit. Midwest Box Co. has a rich history in this region, correct?

A: Yes. It was founded in 1964 by my father, Marvin Hecht. We started as a short-run supplier and have grown to become Cleveland’s oldest and largest sheet plant. As I mentioned, I became sole owner last year but came on board with my dad and sister in 2002.  Before that, I was involved in high-end retail. I didn’t really grow up in the business like many other second-generation owners have.

Around the time I joined my dad and sister, my father decided to purchase the industrial park where we were located, Walford Industrial Park. It has been put up for auction, and he thought it made sense. After my dad purchased it, he turned to me as we were leaving the auction and said, ‘Suzy, do something with this.’ So I ended up spending a lot of my time getting the park filled with tenants who needed industrial space. It wasn’t easy, so I decided to think differently and become a bit more innovative. Today, we have an eclectic mix of tenants, including Ray’s Mountain Bike Club. And these days, I spent all my time managing our real estate and running the company.


Click the links below to read the individual profiles for all of this year's honorees.

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Winners

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Honorable Mentions

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Manufactures "Of Note"

2013 Evolution of Manufacturing - Sponsors



Published in Akron/Canton

Each year, Smart Business recognizes more than a dozen regional manufacturers for their ability to adapt to a global economy through its Evolution of Manufacturing Awards. But those organizations aren’t the only ones in the midst of significant transformation. As part of this year’s program, we have also identified 14 manufacturers on which we’ve kept our collective journalistic eye. Each of these organizations is making its own impact.


Alloy Bellows & Precision Welding Inc.

Alloy Bellows was founded in 1935 as a welding, brazing and soldering company that assembled critical industrial bellows and other products. In the decades since then, Alloy Bellows has evolved to include custom engineering and manufacturing of a growing array of hydro-formed, mechanically formed, and edge-welded metallic bellows and bellows assemblies for industries as diverse as power generation, aerospace, semi-conductor, and oil and gas industries. By adapting its systems to meet its product offerings, Alloy in recent years has been able to improve margins by almost 50 percent, make product flow through the plant more efficient, and eliminate wasted time and motion. Today, what was once a cluttered operation is now an open, clean and easy-to-move-in operation with ample room for future expansion. Learn more at


The American Road Machinery Co.

The American Road Machinery Co. is an original equipment manufacturer that designs, builds and sells vacuum tank trucks and winch trucks for the oil field industry, as well as vacuum leaf collection machines, vacuum catch basin cleaning equipment, snow plows, asphalt and aggregate spreaders for contractors. In late 2011, the company entered the oil and gas industry to take advantage of its location in the heart of the Utica and Marcellus shale drilling space. In addition to new oil field products, American Road Machinery designed and built three new municipal snowplows. This year, the company plans to continue developing new products, with a wing snowplow set to begin production and a complete redesign of its vacuum leaf collector line. Learn more at


Cobra Plastics Inc.

Rather than hunker down during the recession, in 2008, Cobra Plastics Inc. designed a new building that allowed it to completely transform its production processes, revamp its management system and built a culture that fully embraced lean manufacturing. Cobra averages one kaizen event each month, and from those events have come the creation of numerous innovation, including a “crash cart” similar to what is used in hospitals. In 2011, the company developed a new “supermarket” system, which has become integral to Cobra’s pull replenishment system. In it, each item has a designated address, is reordered at a predetermined trigger point and is organized in “aisles” marked by cards and sorted according to product. Cobra’s “supermarket” has reduced lead time for customers from two weeks to three days. Learn more at



The manufacturer of themed terrariums, sprouting and science kits implemented a piecework pay system over the past few years that was to bring down assembly labor costs. Not only did the move rein in costs, it quadrupled productivity on the factory floor. DuneCraft added coaching, mentoring and management training to enhance its employees’ opportunities for promotion and growth in the warehouse. And it supplemented this with a ticketing system that held everyone accountable by reducing errors and improving quality. Combined, these moves shortened production lead-time, reduced backorders and allowed for better capacity so that DuneCraft could expand its private-label products. Today, employees make more money and enjoy a better working environment. Learn more at


DVUV Holdings LLC

In 2010, DVUV Holdings LLC President Michael Knoblauch saw an opportunity to expand his company because of a need in the marketplace. He founded DVUVSystems LLC as an add-on venture to complement DVUV, which manufactures UV-cured powder coating systems. Building on the company’s commitment to provide “better, faster and cheaper” solutions, DVUVSystems solved an increasing demand for powder coatings in the application technology area by working with companies that wanted to build in-house capacity to apply other products from the DVUV family. DVUVSystems designs, engineers, sells and supports UV-cured powder coating application systems for firms in the U.S. and China. Over the past eight years, DVUV’s sales have increased by more than sevenfold, and the company is now better positioned than ever to continue its global expansion. Learn more at


Kent Displays

A pioneer in the liquid crystal display industry, Kent Displays has transformed itself from a research-based organization into a business-to-consumer company. Its plastic LCDs, manufactured under the trade name Reflex, are used in a variety of applications in growing markets such as writing tablets, electronics skins and credit card displays. Among Kent Display’s products is a line of e-writers — the Boogie Board tablets — which were introduced in 2010 by Improv Electronics, Kent Displays’ consumer product subsidiary. In its first year in production, Boogie Board tablet sales exceeded forecast by 10 times because of their successful entry to the Chinese marketplace. By 2011, Boogie Boards were being sold in India. Today, the company is exploring other global markets for expansion. Learn more at


Mom’s Gourmet

Founded in the kitchen by Pat Hurley during the global recession, Mom’s Gourmet has carved out a viable niche for itself as the manufacturer and distributor of healthy, hand-crafted, artisan seasoning brands. Using a small-batch creation process, eye-catching packages and interesting names like Black Dog Belly Rub, Mom’s Gourmet products are gaining consumers’ attention. Sales more than doubled in the company’s second year, tripled the third, and by the first quarter of 2012, sales had equaled all of the company’s 2011 sales. Mom’s Gourmet products are today sold at numerous locations nationwide, including Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Orvis Co., Earth Fare, Cleveland Clinic’s 365 Wellness Center and Heinen’s. Learn more at


Morgan Engineering

Morgan Engineering is best known as the leading designer of overhead electric traveling cranes for other manufacturers, but the company also develops transfer cars, ladles, scrap buckets, presses and manipulators. To improve efficiency and competitiveness, Morgan recently invested in upgraded machine tool technology. It has also introduced new automation techniques to manage the man-to-machine interface of overhead cranes and is applying 3-D vision systems to overhead cranes to offer customers tools for automatically picking up and loading produces safely onto rail cars and trucks. During the recession, Morgan’s ingenuity allowed it to maintain full staffing, full shifts and full pay scales and has a record sales year in 2010. As a result, the company invested nearly $20 million to bolster its capabilities, enhance subcontractor partnerships and better position itself for future growth. Learn more at


PurUS Health LLC (dba Good Greens)

Doing business as Good Greens, PurUS Health has gone to market with two core products that underscore its motto “eat good, feel good, do good.” The first product is Good Greens Z52 Superfood: Greens and Red Formula, which is composed of 52 different superfoods and offers a tasty, healthy supplemental powder. The other product is the company’s Good Greens bar, which includes one serving of PurUS Health’s superfood powder in every bar. In less than two years, Good Greens bars have caught on with consumers and the company is in the midst of a both a physical expansion and national product expansion. Learn more at


Shearer’s Foods Inc.

During the past five years, Shearer’s has doubled its production, sales, facilities, product offerings and associates. As the largest manufacturer of kettle-cooked snack foods and a leading private-label snack manufacturer, Shearer’s nearly 2,000 associates each year produce more than 230 million pounds of snacks. Three years ago, the company acquired private-label snack producer Snack Alliance Inc., which immediately positioned Shearer’s to distribute products nationwide. In 2011, Shearer’s completed the final development phase of its Millennium Manufacturing Facility — the first LEED platinum snack-food manufacturing plant in the world. Last year, Shearer’s was acquired by Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm, which has further positioned the company for its ongoing expansion. Learn more at


State Industrial Products

For more than 100 years, State Industrial Products has forged a reputation as a leading manufacturer and distributor of specialty chemical products, systems and programs for cleaning and maintenance markets. In recent years, the company has evolved — adding more green products and focusing on service as a competitive advantage. State Industrial’s most recent green product line is the Ecolution odor remover. It produces a clean, subtle scent and has shown through lab tests to remove a higher percentage of malodors than other brands of odor neutralizers on the market. Because of its commitment to “green,” State Industrial has been recognized as a “Champion in the Use and Encouragement of Safer Surfactants” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more at


Talan Products Inc.

When Talan Products Inc. focused on overhauling its operations structure and product offerings at the end of 2009, impact of its transformation was nearly immediate. First, Talan, a contract manufacturer of high-volume metal stamping and aluminum extrusions supply, expanded into the solar industry. Then, it analyzed production lines and established new processes for each of them. This allowed the company to focus on quicker and more consistent set-ups and better performance predictability. By doing so, the company’s safety has increased, quality has increased, and delivery time has become the best in the company’s history. Additionally, Talan was able to add new employees, promote many existing ones and has experienced a series of record profits over the last few years — even with lower overall sales revenue. Learn more at


Tower Industries Ltd.

As the demand for better shower floors, bases, walls and kitchen surfaces has grown, so has Tower Industries Ltd. The company manufactures multiple surfacing materials, including granite, quartz and cultured marble, for use in the kitchen and bath. Over the past decade, Tower has expanded significantly — sales grew by 50 percent in 2010, alone — and the company saw additional growth in 2011 and 2012. As part of Tower’s 2010 capital investment to satisfy customer demand, the company expanded its solid surface manufacturing operations by acquiring a continuous casting line, which provided the ability to manufacture its Meridian sinks and related items at the rate of one per minute.

It also allowed Tower to expand its leadership position in the area of sanitary, institutional shower products. Learn more at


TowLift Inc.

As part of its continual quest for manufacturing excellence, TowLift in recent years has partnered with its global suppliers, educational facilities and industry experts to embrace lean Six Sigma processes and improve its operations. TowLift, which manages materials handling and manufactures storage concepts, has incorporated lean tools to improve information flow, eliminate defects, reduce waste, increase efficiency and provide just-in-time delivery of parts and services for its clients. This has allowed TowLift to better dispatch its 100-plus service technicians throughout its Ohio and Michigan footprint with the latest technology and the correct part in the least amount of time so that clients are able to manufacture better products for their own customers. Learn more at


Published in Akron/Canton

For Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, 2012 marked a year of great celebration — and not just because it marked the company’s 50th anniversary as a manufacturer of Tygon plastic tubing, a family of flexible tubing used in markets such as food and beverage, chemical processing, industrial, laboratory, medical, pharmaceutical and semiconductor processing. It’s also because Saint-Gobain’s Akron facility — the worldwide headquarters of Tygon tubing — drove another year of 25 percent sales growth, thanks to the productivity improvement efforts of the plant and its employees.

In 2012, Akron’s extrusion department took new steps to improve efficiency and productivity. Under the guidance of President Tom Kinisky, the plant successfully launched a manufacturing execution system (MES), which provides paperless visibility, implemented a new scheduling system and greenlit the automation and equipment integration of an extrusion line, continuing to position the company as a leading producer of engineered high-performance polymer products.

Innovation and new product development have also contributed to the success of Saint-Gobain’s Akron facility. The plant recently introduced a new family of Tygon products, Tygon S3, which addresses rising safety concerns about phthalates as well as worldwide regulatory pressure for environmentally friendly design. Environmental responsibility has continued to be a core driver in Saint-Gobain’s innovation efforts. In 2012, the company demonstrated its commitment to the planet by investing $900,000 to implement a closed-loop water system in Akron. While the financial benefit to the company was small, the system has reduced the plant’s discharged process water by 98 percent.

How to reach: Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics,

Published in Akron/Canton

Precision Polymer Casting LLC works hard to produce machine base castings that help their customers improve efficiency on the shop floor. But the products that come out of this growing company, which does business as Castinite, do a lot more than that.

The castings are produced at room temperature, which allows hydraulic lines, electrical wiring and pneumatic lines to be cast internally. This eliminates the need to run wires, hoses and lines that surround the base or have to be attached to it.

Assembly becomes a simple connection of supply lines, which in addition to saving hours of assembly produces a much better appearance.

That attractive appearance is also a result of the materials used to manufacture the machine base castings. The company uses synthetic quartz technology and castings can be produced to finished tolerances, eliminating the need to ship machine castings around for secondary processing.

The technology replaces cast iron and steel-welded machine bases and consumes 85 percent less energy to produce a similar cast iron base. No painting is required as the product will never rust or corrode under normal circumstances. If a little color is desired, it can be cast in color. The company uses the highest quality mineral aggregates found in the industry.

Another feature that helps the product is the vibration dampening, which substantially improves performance and the life of the machines. The end result is a product that helps customers be more competitive in their respective markets.

How to reach: Precision Polymer Casting LLC, (440) 205-1900 or

Published in Akron/Canton

A new grandparent would go to the ends of the earth to do the right thing for the first grandchild, and Barry Cik was no different. When he began searching for a suitable mattress for his first grandchild’s crib, he was startled to discover some of the materials used to make baby mattresses.

As a board-certified environmental engineer, Cik was determined to provide a safe place for the new arrival to sleep. It was a mission that presented plenty of challenges.

Cik learned that so-called “organic” mattresses contained potentially allergenic latex and were not waterproof. Anyone who has had a baby knows that this would be a big problem.

So together with his two sons, Jeffrey and Jason, Cik did more than just look for the right mattress. Cik founded a business, Naturepedic, which would strive to develop truly organic and nontoxic baby and children’s mattresses. This was all about his grandchild and his sons as Cik took the title of vice president and technical director rather than president and CEO.

Through hard work and research, Naturepedic has developed and marketed the first and only waterproof organic baby mattress. They contain no harmful chemicals and are manufactured in Northeast Ohio. Per the company’s policy, virtually all the components of the mattresses are made in the United States.

Today, they are sold in 300 retail stores and via 200 websites. More than 150 hospitals across the U.S. use them.

How to reach: Naturepedic, (800) 917-3342 or

Published in Akron/Canton

You were probably told at one point early in your life that you had to eat your vegetables in order to grow up big and strong, whether you liked them or not. That’s the beginning of the story.

With the passage of federal legislation in 2010, Country Pure Foods Inc. needed to find a way to incorporate vegetables into the products it sold through its school foodservice business.

Country Pure supplies hundreds of millions of portion juices to schools across the United States from locations in four states. Now, it needed to come up with a product where a vegetable juice was the first ingredient.

Raymond Lee, the company’s CEO, gathered his teams from manufacturing, marketing and quality assurance and charged them with being the first to market with a product that would qualify under federal guidelines. While there were fruit and vegetable juices on the market, none had a vegetable listed as the first ingredient.

Lee took the lead on many of the meetings and led discussions on how to market products that would qualify and would taste good so the children would want to drink it.

The result was two products with the fun names, Dragon Punch and Wango Mango. They were designed with colorful graphics, met the nutritional guidelines and perhaps most importantly for the children, they tasted good. Being the first products of their kind on the market, they also positioned Country Pure for future growth.

How to reach: Country Pure Foods Inc., (330) 753-2293 or

Published in Akron/Canton
Thursday, 31 January 2013 19:00

Evolution of Manufacturing 2013 Sponsors

About our sponsors


Cuyahoga Community College

In October 2012, Tri-C opened its beautiful and spacious 50,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Training Center (ATTC), featuring high-bay labs, multipurpose training areas and an energy-efficient and naturally lighted environment for learning. The ATTC links workforce education to the latest technology, and combined with the college’s Unified Technologies Center (UTC), it is the largest technology training complex in Ohio. The ATTC was designed and constructed to achieve LEED Gold Certification. It provides students with education, hands-on training and employment preparation skills for well-paying jobs.

Many of the programs offered take between 10 and 18 weeks to complete, providing employers with a constant feeder system of job-ready candidates for the in-demand high-tech industry. Among the programs offered are advanced metals joining, the Advanced Technology Academy, alternative energy and sustainability, the Cisco Technical Training Institute, construction engineering and construction technology, information technology, power distribution, solar photovoltaic technology and solar thermal technology, as well as wind energy and the Youth Technology Academy. Learn more about Cuyahoga Community College’s Advanced Technology Training Center at or call (800) 954-8742.


Meaden & Moore

Meaden & Moore provides a wide variety of accounting and financial management services for the manufacturing industry. The firm’s Manufacturing Services Group is focused on understanding topical issues that affect manufacturers and helping them develop solutions that reduce costs, adapt and implement innovative management systems, and re-engineer business processes.

Among the services that Meaden & Moore offers for manufacturers are cost accounting design, analysis and interpretation, product line profitability studies, internal financial reporting, critical performance measures, rate of return and capital expenditure analysis, strategic planning, pricing techniques and strategies, budgeting, cash flow analysis, lease versus buy analysis, and financial transactions.

For 90-plus years, the firm has focused its expertise and resources on providing the highest quality assurance, tax and business consulting services to organizations throughout the country. It recognizes that hard work and dedication translate into building trusted business relationships. With almost 200 professionals, we extend integrity and competence to each of our long-standing client partnerships.

For more information, contact Meaden & Moore at (216) 241-3272 or visit


Key Bank

Key Bank has worked as the primary financial provider for manufacturing businesses for nearly a century, establishing strong client relationships with advisers who understand the industry, where manufacturers have been and where they are going.

At Key, you’ll work with an adviser who is acutely aware of your market, your competition, your industry’s history and the latest trends. Drawing on a team of product specialists, your adviser will leverage deep expertise and resources, resulting in value-added ideas, insights and solutions in a wide range of fields, including commercial financing, treasury management services, equipment lease financing, foreign exchange, international trade services, interest rate risk management, syndicated finance, investment banking, asset management, private banking and wealth management.

For more information, contact Key Bank at (800) 600-2680 or visit is a full-service Internet technology provider with one of the largest service areas in Ohio and product offerings that range from high-speed access products to security and firewall-related services. With an extensive history in communications, has developed its network with a high level of adaptability and growth for an ever-changing Internet market. The firm has a history that extends longer than 100 years. Owned by Doylestown Communications Inc., is part of a communications consortium including local phone service companies, a cable television company and other Internet providers. has leveraged this background and experience to stay ahead of the technology curve and make development decisions that form steady growth.

For more information, contact at (888) 881-0805 or visit


Roetzel & Andress

With more than 220 attorneys and 12 offices located in Ohio, Florida, New York and Washington, D.C., Roetzel & Andress attorneys serve a broad spectrum of clients on a regional, national and international basis. Since 1876, our firm has been guided by the core values of innovation, client service, integrity and excellence in practice. Over the years, the firm has strategically grown in breadth, depth and strength of legal services offered in response to an ever-expanding client base and scope of legal needs.

Our commitment to excellence in client service includes investing the time to listen to our clients and thoroughly understand not just their legal issues but also their organizational structure and business goals. This, in turn, allows us to provide better counsel and offer our clients practical insight in matters that may affect their business. Roetzel’s entrepreneurial philosophy encourages our attorneys to think like our clients — with business minds, ready to embrace new challenges and implement innovative approaches.

For more information, contact Roetzel & Andress at (216) 623-0150 or visit


Duffy + Duffy Cost Segregation Services Inc.

Duffy + Duffy is one of the leading cost segregation firms in the industry – performing studies based on case law and IRS guidance using CPAs, construction engineers and estimators. Cost segregation allows commercial building owners to generate cash flow by accelerating depreciation deductions on their buildings and deferring taxes. An engineering-based cost segregation study is the only method recognized by the IRS to identify Personal Property and Land Improvements contained in a commercial structure, and this is where Duffy + Duffy excels. Commercial buildings of any kind constructed or purchased since 1987 are eligible for cost segregation, as are new buildings. Buildings purchased or constructed since 1987 are eligible for “catch up” adjustments, producing large tax deductions and increased cash flow. For manufacturers, cost segregation can be an effective tool in your financial toolbox. Learn more at or by calling (440) 892-3339.

Published in Akron/Canton

Within the manufacturing facility of Thogus Products Co., a plastic injection molding manufacturer, space was becoming limited, yet customer demand was getting higher. In order to keep customers happy as well as define their processes, Thogus and its president, Matt Hlavin, revamped resources within the plant.

The company put forth an effort to manage material more efficiently, manage inventory effectively and find ways to treat customers better. After getting a team together to execute this effort, Thogus was able to move machines, inventory and shelving, and with the same square footage, the company was able to efficiently stock material, manage finished goods inventory and put an additional three presses in its plant.

Thogus also examined each customer to understand all the services it was providing. If there was not value added to Thogus, their team found different ways to get the job done. As an example, Thogus could not stock items within the facility due to space, so the company found a strategic partner in order to rent storage space right across the street capable of holding more inventory for customers.

As Thogus evolved and made changes, it was able to save money and put that money toward customers’ needs, such as technology, new processes and new automation. In 2012, Thogus was able to hire 52 employees and grew by 50 percent. By putting forth these kinds of efforts, Thogus has increased added value by anticipating and satisfying clients’ known and unmet needs breaking the mold of a typical shoot-and-ship manufacturer.

How to reach: Thogus, (440) 933-8850 or

Published in Akron/Canton
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