The 2016 Family Business Achievement Awards

Building a formula that works

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) is pleased to return as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2016 Smart Business Family Business Conference. As a proud partner in our community, we share the region’s commitment to educating, supporting and growing family businesses.

As a nationally recognized leader in higher education and a member of the League for Innovation in the Community College, Tri-C provides education and training to guide family businesses in a multitude of areas ranging from specialty courses to degree programs for the next generation. We know and understand that family businesses are an important part of the fabric of our community, and we remain committed to helping family businesses succeed and thrive.

Through its Centers of Excellence, Tri-C works to fill the educational, cultural and economic needs of our local communities by providing the most innovative and inclusive programming in their respective areas. Significant impact on workforce development in key areas of future job growth is important to the communities of Northeast Ohio as more than 85 percent of Tri-C students continue to live and work in the area.

Cuyahoga Community College is pleased to partner with Smart Business to bring you this premier event designed to showcase how to build and maintain a formula that works. Smart Business has assembled two remarkable panels consisting of top experts in the field of family business and they will educate, engage and inspire you with their insight, experience and depth of knowledge. The first panel consists of industry experts who will share their advice and give you tools to help in your own business. The second panel is a host panel of local CEOs who understand what it takes to succeed as a family-owned business and they have lived, worked and thrived here. These leaders will share the strategies that they employ to progress on their pathways to success and offer their insights on owning, running and working in a family business.

On behalf of Cuyahoga Community College, we offer our sincerest thanks to the business owners who agreed to participate in this innovative event, and we congratulate the 2016 Family Business Achievement Award winners. ●

cle_clm_AlexJohnsonAlex Johnson, Ph.D.
president
Cuyahoga Community College
www.tri-c.edu

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BrunswickBrunswick Companies
■ Todd A. Stein, president and CEO
www.brunswickcompanies.com
As the second-generation owner of Brunswick Companies, a private insurance and risk management agency located in Fairlawn, President and CEO Todd A. Stein has been instrumental in driving the steady growth of the business for more than 37 years while maintaining the long-term relationships established with clients, partners and philanthropic organizations.

Morton M. Stein started the company in 1972 based on the need for life insurance and fee-based risk management services and still maintains an office at the corporate headquarters. Mort is highly respected by his clients and business relationships as the founder of Brunswick Companies. Michelle Stein Hirsch, Todd’s daughter, is a senior vice president overseeing key business developments, client relationships and business operations. Daughter Rachel Stein Weinberg is a vice president of risk management and commercial operations and son-in-law, Adam Diamond is director of client management focusing on client relationships.

The company has flourished with each new generation bringing its own ideas and concepts to the forefront of the business and paying it forward. When there’s a situation, they all get together in a group discussion, work it out and determine not what’s best for the family, but what’s best for the company, and they respect each other’s decision. The family continues to reinvest in the business, most recently with a state-of-the-art agency management system, CRM system and newly renovated office space. The cohesiveness of the operations and relationships with clients in insurance and risk management has helped push Brunswick Companies to the next level of service to its clients. ●

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ConveyorConveyer & Caster — Equipment for Industry
■ Jeffrey Stohr, president
■ Trevor Stohr, vice president
www.cc-efi.com

In 1961, Albert Stohr Sr. founded Conveyer & Caster, opening the company’s first office on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. Just three years later he passed away and his son, Albert Stohr Jr., who had only been working at the company for a year, had to step up and run the family business. He found that he was quite good at selling casters and material handling equipment.

As his own sons, Jeffrey and Trevor were growing up, he knew that he’d like them to be involved in the business. The boys took on different roles at the company and learned humility, respect and work ethic while growing up around the business. Albert knew they needed to prove themselves outside the company, so he made the same deal with both boys: get a college degree, get a job at another company, be successful and then take a pay cut to come work at the family business. By 1992, both Jeffrey and Trevor were working at the company, alongside their father. Jeffrey found his home in sales and Trevor in operations.

By 2004, Albert was ready to sell and Jeffrey and Trevor were ready to buy the business. Knowing that generational change in a family business can be the end of it, Jeffrey and Trevor sought outside advisers to help them through the process. While Jeffrey serves as president, Trevor serves as vice president and both have helped ensure that the legacy of the company now known as Conveyer & Caster – Equipment for Industry, continues well into the future. ●

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FerriotFerriot Inc.
■ Craig Ferriot, president
www.ferriot.com

Ferriot Inc. has been providing custom mold manufacturing, injection molding and a host of other manufacturing solutions for its customers since 1929, when the three Ferriot brothers started a machining business out of a garage on Storer Avenue. Five generations later, the company continues to thrive and take pride in a family business heritage that can be traced back nearly a century. With such a long history, President Craig Ferriot and his team of 120 employees have a massive — but exciting — challenge as they continue building upon the company’s legacy. Today, Ferriot employs third, fourth and fifth generation family members.

As a vertically integrated manufacturer, Ferriot continues to align people and processes resulting in flexibility to meet the changing needs of its customers and the fluctuating conditions of the markets it serves. Ferriot Inc.’s recipe for adaptability is to stay small, but make big investments in products, technology and the development of human resources.

The company has invested in assembly line improvements, including robotic technology, to help increase the efficiency and capacity of its manufacturing operations.

Knowledge is another critical element in positioning the company for future growth. To that end, Ferriot’s team works hard to stay current on industry trends in both the plastics industries and those of its customers and suppliers. And the need to attain knowledge extends to all corners of the company, including the team members on the shop floor, where Ferriot strives to maintain a skilled and up-to-date work force. The company knows that investing in employee training will benefit all in the end. ●

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GeneralGeneral Metal Heat Treating Inc.
■ Katie Churchin, president
www.generalmetalheat.com

General Metal Heat Treating (GMHT) was founded in 1942. Arthur Torok joined the business as a young metallurgist and minority owner in 1962. By 1972, he had become the majority owner and president. Today, three of Art’s children are involved in the business: Chris Torok — in charge of maintenance and pyrometry, Deb Dougherty — in charge of quality and Katie Churchin — the company’s president in charge of finance and administration. The management team is rounded out with Frank Skully, who joined the company in 1976 and serves as plant manager as well as a shareholder.

GMHT has furnace lines that include vacuum, salt, pit, batch, draw and deep freeze. Over the years, the company has become known for high quality and the ability to heat treat complex jobs. GMHT is proud to be Nadcap and AS9100C certified. This level of quality certification is not typical for smaller, owner-operated heat treat facilities. These certifications allow GMHT to heat treat parts for aerospace, nuclear and other industries that require a high level of quality and technical capabilities.

The company has a strong base of younger employees and the leadership team firmly believes that these talented employees who truly care for the business are the core of its success. GMHT prides itself on its people-to-people interaction and to this day, does not have voicemail to ensure that all customer needs are dealt with quickly and directly. Employees and owners work directly with the customers to understand each job’s requirements and to customize the heat treating to those needs. ●

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HowardHoward Hanna Real Estate Services
■ Howard W. “Hoby” Hanna IV, president
www.howardhanna.com

Howard and Anne Freyvogel Hanna started their family business in 1957 in a single office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Today, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is the fourth largest real estate company in the U.S.

Howard and Anne’s three children, Hoddy, Helen and Annie, and the third generation, Annie Hanna Engel, Hoby Hanna, Kelly Hanna Riley, Duffy Hanna and Dennis Cestra, Jr. carry on the family tradition throughout the company in 205 offices across eight states with more than 7,000 sales associates and employees.

As the Hanna’s expanded the company, they looked first to the Buckeye State and have been at home in Ohio since 1996 with the acquisition of Del Realty in the Youngstown area. They went on to acquire many other smaller companies in the Mahoning Valley region and then focused on Cleveland. In 2003, Howard Hanna acquired the Smythe Cramer Co., which at that time was the second largest real estate broker in Ohio, and followed that up with a second major expansion in 2008 when it acquired Realty One.

As one of the most respected family-owned companies in the U.S., the company is now led by Howard W. “Hoby” Hanna IV, who serves as president. It’s a company focused on building stronger communities. It’s also the only real estate firm in the nation to offer a 100 percent money back guarantee, meaning that if the buyer of a guaranteed home is not satisfied, the company will buy back the home for 100 percent of its purchased price. ●

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IndependenceIndependence Excavating Inc.
■ Victor DiGeronimo Jr., president
www.indexc.com

When the late Sam DiGeronimo came to the U.S. in 1928 from Abruzzi, Italy, little did he realize the impact his life’s work would have on the city of Cleveland and beyond. Sam’s son, Don started Independence Excavating Inc. in 1956 with a backhoe, a bulldozer, a truck and a few employees along with the guidance and financial assistance of his father. The company quickly grew to become a leader in the residential and small commercial excavation field. In 1971, Don lost his battle with cancer and the responsibility for running the business was assumed by Don’s brothers — Vic, Rich, Bob and Tony.

Under this management team’s leadership, the company began to expand and diversify, honoring the legacy of Sam and Don by performing quality work with honesty and integrity. Today, the company has become a large diversified construction company led by the third generation leadership team, which strives to maintain the original core values of its humble beginnings. The company owns and operates an impressive fleet of more than 400 major pieces of construction equipment and continues to remain loyal to its roots.

Victor DiGeronimo Jr. serves as president and oversees a succession planning strategy that focuses on developing capable and industrious family members that support the long-standing culture of the organization. Family members wishing to work in management are required to obtain a degree and are promoted by meeting or exceeding established criteria. These individuals must earn the respect of their peers, gain experience from senior managers and abide by the core values instilled by its founders. ●

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KaufmannKaufman Container Co.
■ Roger Seid, CEO
www.kaufmancontainer.com

Kaufman Container Co. has been in existence for more than 100 years. That by itself is a testament to successful evolution as the business environment has changed over the years. The company was founded in 1910 and is currently in its second generation of family business, led by CEO Roger Seid. The third generation is actively involved in learning the business. Non-family member management consists of a president — Ken Slater, vice president of finance — Karen Melton and executive vice president of sales — Jeffrey Gross. The family has realized that to continue to be successful, you need to have the right people involved at all levels — family or not.

As customer requirements have changed, so has Kaufman Container. The company has become a global source of packaging to satisfy all of its customers’ needs for innovative designs and cost effective packaging.

Today’s packaging is global and is constantly becoming more complex. Kaufman’s experienced sales and technical staff guides customers through their packaging project whether they are building a custom package or utilizing stock available components. The end goal is a package that is functional and provides the look the customer wants.

Kaufman Container has the knowledge and expertise to determine which sources can provide the right product at the most competitive price, which is a key reason that the company grows with many of the nation’s best, renowned packagers of consumer and industrial products. The team at Kaufman Container recognizes that no two companies are alike and believes that every company it serves is entitled to individual service. ●

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KichlerKichler Lighting
■ Tony Davidson, president and CEO
■ Roy Minoff, chief administrative officer, general counsel and family member
www.kichler.com

The early years of Kichler Lighting were a challenge that only became more complicated with the imminent demolition of the building it had occupied. When the company relocated to 2101 Superior Ave. in 1956, only one story of the five-story building was occupied. Sam Minoff, the company’s sole owner at the time, worked hard to grow the business and eventually, Kichler occupied the whole place and ultimately took ownership of the building.

A 10-year loan from Prudential Capital gave Minoff the funds he needed to experience significant growth. As he traveled around the country selling lighting, he asked local retailers about good area sales representatives and then worked to secure their services in order to build a national presence. His sons joined the company as Barry came aboard part-time in 1963 and Roy followed in 1977.

As the business changed, so did the physical needs. In 1974, Kichler outgrew the Superior Avenue building and Minoff bought the abandoned Inland-Ryerson Steel building a few blocks away at East 38th Street and Superior Avenue. At just more than100,000 square feet, it was difficult to imagine outgrowing the space, but in 1993, Kichler again moved to its current home, which provides a spacious 632,000 square feet. That space has been further expanded with remote distribution points in Atlanta, Georgia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Hartford, Connecticut.

These days, Roy serves as chief administrative officer and general counsel. The company is led by Tony Davidson, who serves as president and CEO. ●

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KIKOKIKO Co.
■ Richard T. Kiko Jr., CEO/broker
www.kikocompany.com

KIKO Co. was originally founded as Russ Kiko Associates in 1945 by the grandfather of Richard T. Kiko Jr., who currently serves as CEO and broker. Russell T. Kiko Sr. started by conducting auctions on the family farm with help from his wife, Coletta, and their 13 children. Seeing himself as a pioneer in the auction industry, Russ selected a covered wagon as the company logo. Today, the KIKO wagon has become a well-recognized brand representing auction excellence in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Russ and his sons continued to build Russ Kiko Associates and the Richard T. Kiko Agency, which was founded in 1969. The third generation, which includes Dick Jr., had grown up in the world of auctions and real estate. As soon as they were old enough to work an auction, they did. They would take inventory in dusty attics, empty basements, handle livestock and tag items for sale. They set box lots in perfect rows and even did cashiering. Dick Jr. remembers when as a teenager, his job was to wear the cashier’s money belt and collect cash payments from the winning bidders the moment they won the bid.

In 1983, the third generation started transitioning from behind the scenes to become licensed auctioneers and Realtors themselves.

Dick Jr. left the company for a time and gained valuable insight through other experiences before returning to KIKO in 2002. He became CEO of the auction company in 2004 and was subsequently named CEO of KIKO Co. ●

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KrishKrish Services Group Inc.
■ Peruri Srinivasulu , president
www.krishservicesgroup.com

What was once was a one-person technology company over the last five years has grown to 26 employees worldwide, with offices in the U.S., India and Romania.

In 2011, Peruri Srinivasulu founded Krish Services Group Inc., an information technology company that assists businesses with technology in the office and beyond.

With a passion for small businesses and involving his family to grow the opportunities within the business, Srinivasulu encourages family members to work together by sharing ideas and thoughts about capital growth and creating a financially-sound, family-friendly venture. The entire family is held accountable for the success and strength of the company.

He also encourages other family members to pursue career opportunities that follow their own passions to start a business that fills a need. Srinivasulu’s own children are still young; however, they are given the opportunity to learn and digest the family business as they grow, immersed in the culture of family working together for success.

Srinivasulu works tirelessly to grow Krish Services Group so when the time comes, his children will be well-versed in how to run the family business and take it to the next level of success. Whether they will one day lead the company or find another company to enhance or create, they will have the foundation, knowledge and the business acumen to lead successfully.

Six family members are involved in various company roles. He also employs 20 team members from outside the family who are taking on significant leadership roles within the company operations in India. ●

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MinuteMenMinuteMen Companies
■ Jay Lucarelli, president and CEO
www.minutemeninc.com

MinuteMen was formed in 1968 by Samuel G. Lucarelli with money he saved while working as a beverage distributor. Instead of putting a down payment on a house, Lucarelli focused in on a different type of vision — to win clients’ loyalty by redefining the term “commitment to service” in the emerging temporary help industry.

The company started as a day labor/temporary staffing company and has continually added new divisions and products. The following are part of the MinuteMen Companies: MinuteMen Staffing, Complete Personnel Logistics, MinuteMen HR, MinuteMen Select and 1-888-OhioComp is a workers’ compensation Managed Care Organization.

Family is an obvious primary value of the company. The roles of each Lucarelli family member in the business are clearly defined. Jay Lucarelli is the CEO/president MinuteMen Companies and his brother Sam Jr. is the president of MinuteMen Staffing. Both are sons of the founder, while Symantha Bowen, daughter of the founder, heads the human resources department.

Grandsons George Lucarelli, HR specialist, and Sam Lucarelli, dispatch, also work for the company, as do Danielle Latarski , unemployment services (their cousin) and Eric Ries, area manager (son-in-law of the founder).

Jay Lucarelli developed MinuteMen Select professional employer organization and has grown this from a start-up to the largest PEO in Ohio. This company pioneered the self-insured PEO business in Ohio and its growth has been largely due to its innovative model. The other MinuteMen companies have thrived and continued to grow under the change in leadership since 2013 when founder Samuel G. Lucarelli passed away. ●

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OzanneOzanne Construction Co.
■ Dominic Ozanne, president
www.ozanne.com

After working as a building inspector for the city of Cleveland, Leroy Ozanne in 1956 founded Ozanne Construction Co. Soon, he became the first African-American member of the Associated General Contractors of America in Cleveland and one of the first African-American in the nation to join the construction trade association.

Today, with Leroy’s son Dominic at the helm, Ozanne Construction is one of the city’s largest minority-owned construction firms with $80 million in construction projects.

Dominic first joined his father’s construction firm as a summer intern, and after graduating from Harvard Law School and practicing law, he joined his father full-time as general counsel in 1980.

Ozanne Construction is a multi-disciplinary construction management company doing business throughout the midwestern and southern U.S. with offices in Cleveland and New Orleans

Throughout the past 50 years, Ozanne Construction has successfully worked for some of the nation’s most respected and demanding owners including the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Air Force Construction Management Division, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Postal Service, the NASA Glenn Research Center and the General Services Administration.

With a directed focus on customer relationships and quality, the company is a prime example of a thriving family business. A 2014 Award winner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s “Best in Class Workforce Diversity,” Ozanne Construction has a talented and diverse professional staff consisting of more than 20 LEED-accredited (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Green Associate construction professionals and a headquarters and field staff of more than 50 people. ●

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PeoplesPeoples Services Inc.
■ Douglas J. Sibila, president and CEO
www.peoplesservices.com

It was 1914 when Joseph Schrader founded Peoples Cartage and Storage Co., the first commercial trucking establishment in Massillon, Ohio, and surrounding area. The company became established and in 1946, Raymond L. Sibila, owner of Sibila Trucking that he founded in 1936, purchased Peoples. The company continues today as one of the oldest carriers in the area.

When the business was incorporated in June 1950 as Peoples Cartage Inc. Sibila was president and his son Donald was vice president. Ray’s other son, Ronald, joined the company in 1957 after graduating from Ohio University and serving three years as a navigator in the U.S. Air Force.

The company branched into public warehousing in the late 1960s. Ray Sibila retired in 1971 and his son Donald was elected president, serving until 1986. The company continued to grow and expand existing businesses.

In 1991, Peoples Services Inc. was formed as the parent company of Peoples Cartage and related companies. Ten years later, Ron’s son and the third generation, Douglas Sibila, was elected as president and COO. Doug Sibila was named CEO in 2004 and Ron Sibila remained chairman of the board.

Ron and Jane Sibila had five children; four of them currently work for Peoples Services: Michelle (Sibila) Habermann, chief strategy officer, corporate secretary and who served as a member of the board of directors; Mike Sibila, maintenance manager for all Ohio facilities; Joni (Sibila) Locke, manager of the Massillon facility; and Doug Sibila, who joined the company in 1990 after working for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). ●

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SPMountSP Mount Printing Co.
■ Scott C. McGill, president
www.spmount.com

Seeley P. Mount, a teenaged drummer boy in the 195th Ohio Infantry during the last battles of the Civil War, teamed up with a partner and established the Mount & Carroll printing firm in 1867. Four years later, Mount bought out Carroll and renamed it The SP Mount Printing Co.

Today, SP Mount’s great-great grandsons, the fifth continuous generation of family operation and ownership, follow in the footsteps SP laid out. President Scott McGill and Executive Vice President Jerry McGill Jr. continue the family tradition as the oldest surviving printing company in this part of the U.S.

When the company began, printing was done directly from type, which had been set by hand and using foot-powered platen printing presses. The end of World War II ushered in offset printing. Production speeds doubled and anything that could be photographed could be reproduced in quantities at reasonable costs. As demand grew, better presses became available, leading up to the six or more color computer-controlled printing presses of today.

While SP’s modern printing presses make it possible to meet today’s demand, the company couldn’t exist without highly skilled people. Employees obtain on-the-job training and advanced class work from local universities. This has helped SP Mount’s employees produce award-winning projects.

SP Mount was inducted into the Weatherhead School of Management’s Family Business Hall of Fame in 1998 and is recognized for its focus on customer needs. The family’s active participation in managing the business is key to its continued success and statute in the graphic arts community. ●

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StandbyStandby Screw Machine Products Co.
■ William F. Marcell II, COO
■ Frederick W. Marcell, owner
www.standbyscrew.com

Standby Screw Machine Products Co., a third-generation family-owned business, was started in 1939 by William Frederick Marcell in his garage with one machine. When defense contracts increased after World War II started, the company obtained other machines and began a period of growth during which his son, Frederick William Marcell, took over.

He had the foresight in 2003 that in order to remain competitive, the company would have to offer a lower price alternative to its customers. He established a plant in China to continue to make and sell the products and still grow the business in the United States. That facility has complemented the Berea, Ohio, plant and has helped keep the business financially stable even during the difficult years of 2008-2009.

Members of the third generation have been working in the business since they were children. William Frederick Marcell II saw the need to incorporate robotics for better efficiencies and accuracies. Several robots have been put in place both in Berea and China. With this cutting-edge technology, Standby has received wide recognition.

As an auto parts manufacturer, Standby Screw parts can be found in vehicles including Aston Martin, BMW, Cadillac CTS V, Camaro, Challenger, Ford, Jeep Cherokees and Wranglers and Mazda. Standby parts are also found in outdoor power equipment such as blowers, chainsaws, chippers, lawn mowers, rototillers and trimmers.

The business employs more than 120 people in the U.S., many of which have been working with Standby their entire career, not counting family. There are more than 300 employees worldwide. ●

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ConiglioThe Coniglio Co.
■ Gwenay Reaze-Coniglio, president
www.theconigliocompany.com

The Coniglio Co. grew from its humble beginning as a small general contractor with three employees in 1994 to more than 25 field and management employees with projects in the private and public sectors. Founded by husband-and-wife team Gwenay Reaze-Coniglio, president, and Thomas Coniglio, vice president, the company has completed projects in more than 10 states.

In 2001 and with her eyes on growing the company, Reaze-Coniglio revised the business plan and through her steadfast and innovative business practices, she hired vital management and field personnel and engaged key community partners to leverage resources for future success.

With clients ranging from the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals to the U.S. Air Force and Walmart, the company has a reputation for its strategic planning and partnerships.

As an effort to promote the growth of the Northeast Ohio region, Reaze-Coniglio is a member of the President’s Council LLC and has participated in the ACE Mentoring Program for inner-city high school students interested in architecture, construction and engineering.

She has also participated in economic development initiatives with the city of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and agencies in the region including Akron’s Habitat for Humanity—Women Build, constructing a home with all-women trades.

The Coniglio Co. was one of 100 small businesses invited by President Obama to participate in the Winning the Future Forum, held in 2011 in Cleveland. Companies shared their stories of hard work and success to describe the paths they took and how economic programs can help encourage similar successes for businesses. ●

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TheReservesThe Reserves Network
■ Don Stallard, founder and chairman
www.TRNstaffing.com

When Don Stallard founded The Reserves Network (TRN) in 1984, he envisioned it as an executive recruiting firm focusing on permanent professional placements. But the company soon recognized a growing need for temporary office and industrial employees. With a commitment to providing superior customer service and comprehensive recruiting efforts, TRN established itself as the staffing service of choice for job seekers and employers seeking temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions.

TRN today has more than 40 operating locations in the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast and has attained prominence as local and regional force in the staffing industry.

The company’s largest growth has been in the past decade with Stallard’s sons, Neil and Nick, transitioning into prominent management roles.

Neil joined the company in 1991, and over his 25 years with TRN he has held positions in the areas of operations, recruiting, marketing and management. In 2012, he was named CEO of the company and oversees all day-to-day operations, with expertise in business development, recruitment, IT, quality control, training and facilities.

Director of Operations Leisa Stallard, Neil’s wife, has been with the company since 1999.

After working as a financial consulting adviser, Nick joined the company in 2003 and began to oversee TRN’s Orlando office. He moved back to Cleveland in 2005 to serve in business development and finance positions. After five years, he was appointed CFO and directs the financial planning and forecasting, treasury functions, accounting, acquisitions and real estate endeavors.

TRN has received several prestigious awards for outstanding sales growth and management excellence. ●

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VitamixVitamix
■ Jodi L. Berg, president and CEO
www.vitamix.com

Jodi L. Berg’s great-grandfather William G. “Papa” Bernard started Vitamix by selling kitchen tools for which the value far exceeded the price. In the 1930s, the company created a focus on improving the vitality of people’s lives when the Barnard family realized the connection between whole-food nutrition and health. They were introduced to a unique new product called a blender, naming it “Vita-Mix” because “vita” means “life.”

Then in 1949, Bill Barnard convinced his father to take his popular live Vita-Mix demonstrations to the newest form of advertising — television — and launched the first “infomercial.” Bill Barnard and his wife Ruth inherited the business in 1955, officially changing its name to Vita-Mix Corp. in 1964 when their son, Grover, joined the company. The Vitamix as its name became set itself apart from other products on the market.

Thirty years later, John Barnard, Berg’s father, and his brother Grover, now president, used their engineering backgrounds to improve the performance and durability of the Vitamix product line — further developing the technology that allows families to pass their cherished Vitamix machines from one generation to another.

In 1999, Grover retired and John assumed the role of president. In his 10 years as president, Vitamix focused on customer feedback and continued to see growth and global expansion. His second-oldest child, Jodi, became president in 2009, and the company was already recognized as the market leader in blending technology.

Berg’s determination has led to phenomenal growth and has created a high-performance customer-centric culture focused on creativity and innovation. ●