NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Health Care and Pharmaceutical Services
Dale Wollschleger’s experience in the pharmacy industry is vast. He held positions at Medic Pharmacy and at Lutheran Family Pharmacy before he requested an early buyout from the latter pharmacy in 2004.
In 2006, he started a durable medical equipment business, called Family Home Care, which he operated out of the back of the Lutheran Family Pharmacy. During his time at Lutheran, he worked with a large population of psychiatric patients taking several medications each with very different sets of instructions such as dose size and frequency.
These experiences helped Wollschleger identify a widespread need in the pharmacy market for compliance packaging to enable patients to manage their prescriptions and adhere to instructions associated with their medications. He was particularly drawn to this idea because of the business opportunity and the positive affect it could have on patients his pharmacy served.
With this idea, he founded ExactCare Pharmacy in 2009. Wollschleger’s main focus was to develop “an easy-to-use multi-medication packaging solution for administering medications” named the ExactPack.
The ExactPack started out as a manual process dividing patient’s medications into separate packages to be taken throughout different times of the day. This process became automated with a machine that produces the ExactPacks. Within the ExactPack, there is a separate packet of medications to coincide with each different time during the day in which a patient is required to take their medications.
Like most pharmacies, the packaging and shipping of the prescriptions is free; ExactCare generates profits through the sale of the prescriptions. This new business rapidly expanded and by 2010 Wollschleger moved ExactCare out of Lutheran to a new space to better accommodate his growing operations.
ExactCare’s workforce grew from three employees to 70 and serves patients throughout Ohio. In 2011, Wollschleger purchased an additional pharmacy in New Jersey in which he implemented this same business strategy.
How to reach: ExactCare Pharmacy, www.exactcarepharmacy.com
How Brendan Anderson and Jeffery Kadlic created a new way of investing at Evolution Capital PartnersWritten by SBN Staff
NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Brendan Anderson and Jeffery Kadlic
co-founders and managing partners
Evolution Capital Partners
When Jeffery Kadlic and Brendan Anderson met, the experience and business knowledge of each turned into the evolution of a new way of investing within small and midsize markets. They realized that there was a niche in small and midsize markets that was begging for the attention of investors to obtain the appropriate capital and business plan that could lead to success and growth.
Kadlic and Anderson took a leap of faith in 2005 by co-founding Evolution Capital Partners, and as managing partners of the firm, they quickly became entrepreneurs assisting the small business market.
Their passion for wanting to see small businesses succeed is uncanny, and something both Kadlic and Anderson take pride in. Evolution distinguishes itself from other private equity firms by taking control of the investments and building the company’s success rather than buying a company, trimming down the investment, and then selling.
Evolution’s specialty and passion is helping small businesses navigate that difficult territory between startup and becoming a large, professional firm. Kadlic and Anderson know the challenges that arise during this phase of a company’s growth, and they are experts in providing business owners with the resources, both financing and advising, they need to grow a small business into a booming company.
In addition, Kadlic and Anderson know that small business financing is only one part of developing a business, so Evolution offers a comprehensive approach. The company won’t just hand over capital and wish a business good luck. Rather, Evolution will become partners with a business, taking on the burden of any risk involved and offering advisory services to ensure that those companies have the resources to make the right decisions.
The company’s continuing ability to reach out to the small business community and grab the attention of businesses looking for an answer to achieve success has delivered significant growth.
How to reach: Evolution Capital Partners, www.evolutioncp.com
NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Education and Non-profit
William Scott Duennes
Before the term “social enterprise” was coined, Cornucopia, Inc./Nature’s Bin, under the direction of William Scott Duennes, was a leader in setting the standard for socially responsible companies in northeast Ohio.
Duennes joined Cornucopia in 1986 and in just one year, due to his display of leadership qualities, the board of directors approached him about transitioning into the role of executive director. He accepted, and the organization has been flourishing ever since.
Cornucopia is a nonprofit organization that operates five community-based vocational training sites providing opportunities and employment services to people with disabilities. The primary training location is Nature’s Bin, a retail grocery store that Cornucopia operates.
Throughout Duennes’ tenure as executive director, he has maintained a focus on the organization’s mission to help people with disabilities develop their skills, confidence and workplace potential. This is evidenced by the partnerships that Cornucopia has made with retail and non-retail organizations.
Duennes decided to expand beyond the retail world with respect to rehabilitation training to meet the needs and interests of the individuals the program serves. Cornucopia placed 40 individuals with disabilities that were part of its training program into competitive employment in 2012.
To emphasize the organization’s focus on rehabilitation efforts and related success, Duennes recently arranged for the income statement to list rehabilitation revenue ahead of Nature’s Bin retail operation revenue.
While maintaining a steadfast focus on the training program affiliated with Cornucopia, the retail business associated with Nature’s Bin continues to thrive, breaking industry norms by being more than just an organic food market, and widening its target market base by appealing to the needs of people in the community.
Specifically, through product diversification and its ability to identify, develop and serve niche sub-markets, the organization under Duennes’ leadership is an industry leader in sales per square foot, averaging 32 percent more than its competitors.
How to reach: Cornucopia Inc., www.cornucopia-inc.org
NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Distribution and Manufacturing
president and CEO
Chromaflo Technologies Corp.
Scott Becker’s story begins 33 years ago when he was hired as a color matcher for a London-based company in Pennsylvania. After a highly successful journey through the colorants business, Becker now leads a nationally recognized supplier — Chromaflo Technologies Corp.
As president and CEO of Chromaflo, an independent global colorant provider to the coatings and thermoset plastics markets, Becker has turned opportunity to success using the recession, targeting customer needs, and carefully strategizing partnerships and acquisitions. At his core, Becker wants what is best for the company, its people and its customers.
The way in which he has handled the company’s challenges only reiterates his passion for success. While at a company called Plasticolors, Becker had a vision to transform what was a single-focus, small business into a global leader. Becker spent several months convincing shareholders to take a leap of faith with the acquisition of Colortrend, which would launch the company into a broad range of markets. The acquisition of Colortrend transformed Plasticolors into what the business is today as Chromaflo.
One main component of Becker’s success is his philosophy of “give the customers what they want.” That attitude resonates throughout the company, from the customer service to the business’s alliances and partnerships. He uses a “less rules” strategy in his customer service department and is in constant contact with his customers to understand their needs and demands.
That philosophy helped Becker and Chromaflo to grow the business during the recession while others were cutting back. In 2008-09, Chromaflo was building opportunity and gaining customers, and didn’t have to partake in any layoffs. Becker’s leadership helped transform Chromaflo and increase market share, leaving other companies to catch up.
Thanks in part to Evonik Industries’ Colortrend acquisition, which Becker orchestrated, Chromaflo has grown substantially in the last three years. The company’s employee count has more than tripled.
How to reach: Chromaflo Technologies Corp., www.chromaflo.com
NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Retail and Consumer Products
founder and president
Brand Castle, LLC
The idea of Brand Castle, LLC, came to Jimmy Zeilinger while he was in a local bookstore and came across a cookbook aimed for parents who wanted to create cooking projects with their children.
Being a devoted parent, he immediately thought of the hassle it would be to obtain all the ingredients needed to complete a cooking project in that book and how a kit that included the ingredients would make the task so much easier. After consulting about the kit idea with his wife Andrea, he quickly discovered that he had a great idea on his hands.
Since selling its first Crafty Cooking Kit in February 2005, Brand Castle has become the leader in interactive baking kits for children and adults. However, that success didn’t come without its hurdles.
Brand Castle almost closed its doors after its first six months as a result of listening to market researchers who wrongly advised Zeilinger, who is founder and president, on the type of demand for his products. Relying on this information, he spent all his personal savings and borrowed from family to launch Brand Castle by “slotting” the products via the grocery channel.
Six months later, this strategy proved to be unsuccessful when the products were not selling as anticipated and national retailers began to close out the product. Instead of closing the business, Zeilinger decided to change the market strategy to embrace seasonality and elected a low margin, high volume approach when selecting retailers.
Brand Castle is now an international company with employees in the U.S. and China. What started with six products ranging from paint-your-own-brownie to a rainbow cookies kit has grown into a portfolio of more than 300 items sold under three different brand names and numerous licenses, including Crayola, Disney and Sanrio. Each Brand Castle product aims to help families create memories.
How to reach: Brand Castle, LLC, www.brandcastle.com
NEO Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Joel E. Adelman
founder and CEO
The Advance Group of Companies
In 1998, Joel E. Adelman established The Advance Group of Companies, which is dedicated to providing entrepreneurial staffing companies with the opportunity to flourish and grow. Advance not only provides capital funding to its clients, it also provides various back office services that include information technology, payroll and tax, and recruiting/search software.
Based on his experience and knowledge, Adelman, who is founder and CEO, intended to establish a business selling consumer products. However, his exposure to payroll services at a national staffing convention led him to uncover an underserved market. This fueled Adelman’s passion, and he became determined to create a new solution for the staffing industry.
Adelman combined several different services into one business, developing a company with few direct competitors. Advance offers entrepreneurs all-inclusive services and support.
The company recently introduced a new service, Workforce Solutions, which matches the demand and supply of labor. Adelman once again identified a need in the market and discovered a manner in which to capitalize on it, bringing together small and midsize staffing firms and introducing them to Fortune 500 consumers in need of their services.
As the largest independent provider of funding and leading provider of solutions for the temporary staffing industry, Advance has grown steadily. As to be expected, the company’s revenue declined during the recession. However, Adelman’s foresight and management decisions allowed the company to enhance its earning potential by expanding its service offerings.
When the economy began to improve and the demand for staffing escalated, Advance grew at 25 percent. Advance has maintained that 25 percent growth rate for the past three years and forecasts that it will continue to grow at this rate.
Adelman’s one-of-a-kind business offers fellow entrepreneurs an opportunity to realize their aspirations via technological and monetary support. As a result of his innovative and unique offerings, the supply of labor better matches the demand.
How to reach: The Advance Group of Companies, www.advancepayroll.us
Consumers expect two-way communication with brands that is timely, relevant, human and most importantly, accurate.
Companies and brands that have embraced this reality are in a much better position to engage customers, build relationships with these customers and create advocacy. Those with phobias about technology and customer engagement will find growth and creating customer loyalty increasingly difficult.
Shift from one expert to many. One industry that is highly affected by the growth of this trend is health care. For health care systems, doctors have traditionally been the experts and patients took direction solely from their family physician.
That no longer happens in many cases as consumers seek information from search engines, websites and health care ratings organizations that are all perceived as “experts.” And in light of health care reform, the amount of misinformation that is accessible and shared is enormous.
These information shifts, however, are not exclusive to the health care industry. We have seen this in virtually every industry we represent, from automotive to health care to home and building products. The categories and industries may be different, but the shift in consumer behavior as a direct result of digital technology is similar.
Brands no longer have complete control of their message, and the best thing to do is take advantage of that by embracing digital influencers and developing strategies that leverage influencers rather than trying to ignore their presence.
Brand advocates. Every brand has the power to create advocacy. This is what leads to the influence-the-influencer approach to marketing. By embracing technology, brands can engage consumers to the following:
- Gain additional perspective on your brand, products and services. Give them online venues to write about positive experiences.
- Acknowledge their feedback through Facebook posts, forums, comments and tweets. Answer their questions, address their concerns and correct any information that is incorrect. Take them offline so you do not offend them or create a negative perception for you.
- Delight and enlighten them: Content is king. Photos, videos, infographics … any way you can engage your audience, do it! Create content that is relevant, timely and focused on what consumers want and need. Optimize content for search engines. Create blogs with relevant and fresh content. Drive consumers to your website and ensure proper analytics are set up so that you can track their behavior.
- Lastly, track and measure! Determine what your goals are and what your key performance indicators will be prior to any endeavor.
Relationship building. To be authentic, brands must focus on helping consumers and not selling them. Brands do this by ensuring messaging is targeted and relevant at every touchpoint in the customer’s journey.
Advocacy building. The best way to build authentic advocacy with consumers is to understand their concerns and mindset. This can be accomplished by incorporating a digital listening and responding strategy that includes a specific and timely process for consumer support, to acknowledge their feedback through social media and other means. The goal is to create mutually beneficial relationships with consumers.
Future Team. A team of this type helps keep us ahead of cultural shifts. Their insights help us create and implement metrics to support a brand through all touchpoints and help offset competing brands’ efforts. You should do this too.
Embrace digital technology now to capitalize on this important way your target consumes information.
Maggie Harris is vice president of account services at Hitchcock Fleming & Associates (hfa). Reach her at www.teamhfa.com.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called the Affordable Care Act or just Obamacare, represents one of the most far-reaching government overhauls of the U.S. healthcare system since 1965 when Medicare and Medicaid came into being. It will be phased in over time, with the majority of the changes taking effect in 2014.
The act focuses on increasing the rate of health insurance coverage for Americans and reducing health care costs. Here’s what some area businesses have on their minds about health care reform as the time nears for the full impact of the ACA:
- Steve Brubaker, chief of staff, InfoCision Management Corp.
- Craig Shular, chairman and CEO, GrafTech International
- Alan P. Jacubenta, president and CEO, Mango Bay Internet
- Rick Hull, president and CEO, Premier Bank & Trust
- Chuck Abraham, executive vice president/CFO, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Inc.
- Rick Solon, president and CEO, Clark Reliance Corp.
- Andy Zynga, CEO, NineSigma Inc.
- Jodi Berg, president and CEO, Vita-Mix Corp.
1) How is your company preparing for changes associated with health care reform?
- With more than 4,000 employees, education is key and our priority is to make sure we provide everyone with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. There are a lot of changes on the horizon and it’s important we communicate these changes in a timely manner. We are doing this though our internal communication channels such as our employee newsletter, employee intranet and face-to-face meetings.
- GrafTech has always provided an excellent health care plan to its team members. We are well-positioned to comply with the PPACA. Our plan is affordable for our employees; therefore, no one will be eligible for government subsidies and GrafTech will not be assessed a penalty.
- We are in constant contact with our benefits agent whom we have worked with for a number of years and have been very pleased with his knowledge and service. He attends all the latest classes and seminars available to keep us apprised of the latest laws. He will let us know what's changing with the different carriers and how it might have an impact on our current and future coverage.
- Most importantly, we are making sure we stay educated on the changes. It is important that we are able to answer our employees’ questions and also be supportive of their needs. Our budgeting process is robust, and we spend a lot of time in this area making sure we are making the right choices for our employees and our company.
- For more than three years, we have been learning about the requirements since the ACA was passed in March 2010. We will review our current plan design with our benefits consultants this summer. At that time, we will assess any changes that may be required for our 2014 renewal, including the possibility of adding a high-deductible option to our current plan.
- Our preparation for health care reform has consisted of our human resources staff reviewing the law with our health care providers and consultants. In addition, our legal counsel has reviewed our existing health insurance programs to insure compliance.
- We are working closely with our brokers, Oswald Cos., for frequent and regular updates regarding health care reform and the related steps of adoption. Oswald advises us of both milestones and compliance requirements so we can plan for and execute on each. Staying informed is most of the battle for us right now as we ramp up toward 2014.
- We have been educating ourselves regarding the elements of the law through articles, seminars and benefits affiliations. We offer a fairly comprehensive health plan to our employees today and are constantly monitoring the progress, changes and evolution of what is available in the insurance marketplace. So far we do not believe that the changes will have a large financial impact on Vitamix.
2) What are you doing specifically to contain health care costs for your employees?
- As a self-insured employer, we’ve always placed a high value on providing our employees with comprehensive health and wellness programs. Reducing our claims is a priority by ensuring our employees have convenient tools like on-site wellness clinics and fitness facilities to promote healthy decisions, and decrease employer out-of-pocket expenses. Where many companies are cutting back on amenities, we embrace the concept as a driver of employee engagement.
- GraFit is a company-sponsored wellness program that includes free biometric screenings and incentives to make healthy lifestyle choices.
We offer employees the opportunity to purchase fresh produce from a local vendor who delivers to our site every week.
Our leadership team helps shoulder the burden of health care costs too. Mid-level managers each pay an additional $150 per month for health insurance; senior-level executives pay an additional $200 per month.
- Every year, we go through a process to get health care quotes from different providers. We compare their offerings in order to get the best coverage for the best price. If a change is warranted and it is cost effective, we do it with the least amount of coverage change as possible. The current provider usually matches what we were able to find through quotes, decreasing the overall increase in price.
We have opted to continue to pay a larger portion of the overall cost rather than pass that on to the employees. In addition, we shop our benefits annually to make sure we are receiving the best possible coverage at the lowest cost possible. We continue to search for new tools to add to our offering that will allow the employees to have all the benefits they need. We also have a wellness program that is aimed at preventive care.
- Even though not required to at the time, our plan implemented coverage for Essential Health Benefits (basic preventive/wellness services), elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, and an expanded definition of dependent. Additionally, we have tried to raise “wellness” awareness through a number of efforts: encouraging participation in the Heart Walk and other types of exercise, administering “weight-loss challenge” initiatives and sponsoring yoga and meditation classes at the agency. We also discuss regularly with our associates the importance of wellness, use of network providers, requesting generic drugs when available and proper use of urgent care facilities — in short, being wise consumers of health care.
- We started several years ago to educate our employees on the types of activities and choices that drive health care costs. We utilize our health care providers and consultants to propose innovative programs to help us control costs, and we have gone to a wellness program to promote individual health care improvement.
- We have a high-deductible HRA plan in place. We have taken the deductibles up to $5,000/$10,000 for premium reduction. We cost-share the premium with employees — the company pays 75 percent and the employees pay 25 percent of the premium. Further, within the high-deductible plan, we set a sub-deductible of $500/$1,000 for each employee, after which the company reimburses 80 percent of claims until the plan deductibles are met. It may sound complicated, but it’s kept us in the top quartile when compared to our peers for affordability of our plan to employees. We are also in the early phases of a wellness program, which we expect over time will help control/reduce cost increases. The biggest motivation for us to have such a plan is simply to provide resources that keep our employees feeling as healthy and energetic as they can, which we hope translates into more fulfillment while at work.
- We take a Total Wellness Approach to our employee benefit plans. We were early adopters of an outcome-based medical benefits coverage that encouraged positive healthy behavioral changes among our employees. Through a combination of biometrics, education, fitness programs, and financial incentives driven by wellness promotion, we will experience the benefit in overall reduced health care costs for the long term. We started a tobacco-free campus in 2012, and do not hire tobacco users. Vitamix still pays 100 percent of its employee medical premium; however, we have implemented a high deductible plan that employees can reduce to zero if they meet the criteria for modified NIH biometrics targets. For example, an employee who meets all target range biometrics for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and smoking, along with participating in health education, training, or regular physical exercise, will incur no deductible for the year.
3) Do you foresee having employees pay a larger share of company-offered health care coverage?
- We’ve always taken a strategic approach to employee health and wellness. What that looks like right now is adapting our offerings to not only comply with the new requirements, but also to provide our employees with coverage that meets their family’s individual needs. We continue to monitor and will comply with all of the reform’s expanded coverage choices so we can provide our employees with effective and affordable options.
- That is not our current intention, but we will continue to monitor and evaluate if a change in the cost share model is required. Over the last 10 years, we have managed our program to an annual average inflation rate of 3.7 percent. This compares favorably to the national average of 6.3 percent over the same period. Our concern is that elements of PPACA do not lower insurance costs, but in fact cause the rates to go up.
- Things are unpredictable other than we know that there is a good chance that prices will continue to skyrocket. If we had to, we would ask our employees to pay a share of the expense for health coverage. It depends on what happens in the beginning of 2014 with community rates and what they offer versus staying with private insurance and the cost to the company.
- Not at this time. Our goal is to allow our employees continued benefits while keeping them affordable to the employee.
- Our goal would be to minimize having employees pay a larger share. Since we are in a service industry that relies heavily on high-caliber talent, our benefits plan is one of several tools used for recruitment and retention. Our goal would be to continue to make the health benefits as affordable and attractive as possible to our employees.
- We have always believed that paying a substantial portion of the health insurance premiums is helpful to recruiting the best people. We do not contemplate increasing the percentage that our employees pay.
- We pride ourselves with trying to have a healthcare plan in place that is affordable yet quality coverage for our people. While I think it is too soon to draw a line in the sand about the cost sharing, I can say that philosophically we are opposed to increasing the burden on our employees.
- We do not foresee this happening in the future; however, until the full impact of the ACA is discovered, we will reserve our opinion on the matter. Some pundits say it will definitely increase overall costs, while others say more competition will reduce costs long term. We are unsure what our health care insurers will do; however, our focus will continue to be on what we can control, and for now that is our wellness offerings and employee incentives toward better health.
Earlier this year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg set off a renewed debate on an old question: Why aren’t more women in executive positions? The answer you get depends on whom you ask. Some say it’s outright discrimination, while others argue that it’s an aggressive, inflexible culture that limits women’s advancement or drives them to opt out.
Who is the CEO?
For anyone who questions that there is a problem, the evidence is quite clear. While research shows a correlation between a company’s financial performance and the number of women in its governing body, women held just 14.4 percent of executive officer positions at Fortune 500 companies in 2010.
More than a quarter of companies had no women in an executive officer position. And 48 percent of Fortune 1000 companies had one or no women on their boards in 2012.
As an entrepreneur and business owner for 30 years, I know firsthand many of the challenges that women face in the workplace. One of the most pervasive issues is this: a deeply entrenched belief that productivity and effectiveness are defined by the number of hours you spend at the office.
Any executive today knows that working at least 60 hours a week is standard. While technology has simplified our lives in many ways, it has also complicated it. We’re now expected to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to respond to requests at any hour of the day or night.
At most companies, the rewards go to those who are willing to put work above everything else, and to do it over the long haul. Those expectations are coupled with a complex and ever-changing global environment that make us — women and men — more fearful and stressed out than ever before.
With that kind of prevailing climate in many companies, it’s no surprise that people looking for a sense of equilibrium choose to leave.
Gender representation needs
Until productivity and effectiveness are redefined to allow and encourage contributions of varying levels, we’ll never achieve fair gender representation. Even worse yet, we’ll never get the best we can from each person. We need to redefine successful leaders not as those who work through the night, but as those who are empathic and balanced, those who cultivate productive and healthy people and work environments.
Eventually companies will have to heed the call to re-examine their work cultures, asking themselves hard questions about who is best served by maintaining the status quo. Finding a balance between work and life is gaining increasing importance and can’t be ignored.
Find the right balance
In a global study conducted this year by LinkedIn, entitled “What Women Want @Work,” 63 percent of respondents defined success at work as “finding the right balance between work and personal life.” To the question, “Would you like a more flexible work environment,” 65 percent answered that flexible working would better enable them to manage career and family.
If you’re wondering how to get started, open-mindedness and creativity are essential. You have to be willing to throw out the old to bring in the new. That means a willingness to redefine roles and responsibilities, focusing on what needs to get done rather than how it gets done.
People don’t need to work overtime or full time to be productive, and responsibilities can be divided in innumerable ways.
We must begin by deeply examining our prevailing notions of work and being willing to consider that people can be more productive and effective if we create more flexible, empathic work environments. Only then will we create truly productive, efficient, profitable businesses that add value to the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
Donna Rae Smith is a guest blogger and columnist for Smart Business. She is the founder and CEO of Bright Side Inc.®, a transformational change catalyst company that has partnered with more than 250 of the world’s most influential companies. For more information, visit www.bright-side.com or contact Donna Rae Smith at email@example.com